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Alterations to Both Sides of the Embrace in Tango and Vals

6/10/2013 - Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
 
In this class, we focused on Alterations (or Changes of Direction) to both sides of the embrace. The primary focus was on musicality. The first part of the step is very floaty and smooth, then the changes of direction are very rhythmic and the final part is smooth again. The changes of direction use the quick-quick-slow rhythm.
 

In the video, we do two short demos to both a tango and a vals.

Alterations from Forward Cross

Date: 02/18/2013
Teachers: Clint and Shelley of Tango Evolution and Tangology101.com
Song: Bahia Blanca by Carlos Di Sarli

The alterations happen at :18 and :22. In the first one I am leading her forward and then she pivots 90 degress (change of front) and she steps backward (change of direction). So, in one step we change fronts and change directions, thus an alteration. In the second one, we change from her moving backwards to her moving forward in one step.

Also, at 2:42 we do a Cerpentina (or reverse sacada). We did a class on this recently, but did not make a video of that class, so we worked it in here because some students had been asking for a demo of it. It can be a dangerous step, so you really should get some instruction in it before attempting it.

Embellishments (adornos)
Of course, we work in many embellishments to our dance, but some worth noting in this demo are:

1. At the very beginning, we do little tucks before taking the first side step
2. At :34, Shelley does a castigada
3. At 1:27, I do an embellishment to her ocho cortado with a a small parada.
4. At 1:36, Shelley does another castigada and then little taps before exiting the parada.

Of course, with all of these embellishments, I am waiting and giving her the time to perform them.

Second Demo

We also did a second demo for this class which shows similar steps done to the more rhythmic "Pénsalo Bién" by Juan D'Arienzo.

We pause during D'Arienzo, but they are brief pauses, not the long stretched out pauses of Di Sarli. So, most of the embellishments are "worked in" to the pace of the music. What I mean by that is that in Di Sarli, I pause and give Shelley plenty of time to embellish, but in D'Arienzo, I do not pause as much so Shelley and I work the embellishments into the rhythm. This is more difficult and requies the embellishments to be sharp and precise. Here are some to look for:

1. At :09, Shelley does a quick tap as she pivots
2. At :13, I do a quick point and tap of my toe
3. At :15, I work in a quick tap while walking
4. At :20, Shelley works in a quick tap
5: At 1:05, we both embellish our forward crosses by tapping our feet together
6: At 1:36, Shelley does multiple taps as she pivots around
7: At 2:04, Shelley embellishes the Ocho Cortado by flexing her foot up.

Rhythmic Alterations with Cross Over Step and Cadencia

Date: 2.11.2013
Class Title: Rhythmic Alterations with Cross Over Step and Cadencia
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
Song: Son Cosas del Bandoneón by Enrique Rodriguez with Roberto Flores singing

The primary step that we worked on is at the very beginning of the video. We start by entering cross system and then executing a change of direction with me crossing my right over my left turning 180 degrees. Then I step forward with my left and do two rock steps (Cadencia) turning 90 degrees each to return to the line of dance. This step is very musical and works well with rhythmic orchestras such as Rodriguez, Canaro, Biagi, D'Arienzo, etc.

Another focus here is playing with the rhythm of quick, quick, quick, quick, slow. This happens with the two sets of rock steps.

One tip is to not try too hard with this step. It is small and compact. Stay close to each other. For the rock steps, it is important to stay in the middle of the step and a touch down into the ground as we rock, so that we don't feel the need to collect our feet. Also, we are both pivoting a great deal during this step.

Alterations - Rebounds, Changes of Direction and Changes of Fronts

Alterations are concept steps which includes Arrepentidas, Cambios de Frente (Changes of Front) and Cambios de Dirección (Changes of Direction).

The lessons below are focused on one or more of these types of Alterations. Often they are combined to create very dynamic steps.

Cambios de Dirección (Changes of Direction)
A change of direction is pretty straight forward, we are altering our direction. The tango couple is moving in one direction and then begins moving in another direction. This can happen on any foot and in any direction. This could be as simple as stepping forward and then stepping back.

Cambios de Frente (Changes of Front)
Imagine your body has 4 sides straight, to your left, to your right and behind you.  You are always facing in one direction and if you change your direction to face one of the 3 remaining directions then you have changed your front (frente).

Arrepentida (Repent) or Rebote (Rebound)
With an arrepentida, we step with one foot and then immediately take it back suddenly without resolving the initial step. For example, I could step forward with my left, bounce off of the left and then step to the side with the left. So, I started to go forward, changed my mind mid-step and then decided to go to the side instead. These steps are often sudden and use a quick, quick, slow rhythm.

Cadencia or Balenceo (Rock Step)
This is a simple change of direction where the leader interrupts the couple in the middle of a step and rocks back and forth either in place or in a cirlce. The key to this step is keeping the axis in the middle of the step.

Clarification: As you can see, in each of these we are either altering our direction or altering our front OR often both at the same time. We can change our direction without changing our front, but we cannot change our front without changing direction.

Misc - Traspie to Ocho Cortado, Barridas to Paradas & Single Axis Turns

Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks class demo to "La Vida Es Corta" by Ricardo Tanturi canta Alberto Castillo, 1941.

In this class, we took requests from our students and worked on concepts that they wanted to work on. Each couple had their own things that they wanted to work on and this demo puts them all together.

Traspie to Ocho Cortado
At .07 of the video, we start with an arrepentida (rock step) to the open side of the embrace. We then begin a side step but interrupt it and return towards the close side of the embrace (traspie). We discussed with the guys that it is more of a point and pause than a change of weight at the moment of the traspie. The great thing about this move is is circularity and flow.

Barrida in Close Embrace
At .22 of the video, we perform a barrida while staying in a close embrace. To do this I relax my embrace and turn my upper body towards the close side of the embrace while taking weight on my left foot, freeing my right for the barrida. I perform the barrida with my right and then take weight on it leading her to collect and then cross over (pasada) my right foot.

Parada with Barrida to Single Axis Turn
At .29 of the video, we perform a parada and then a barrida in close embrace.
Tip: At the beginning of the parada, I stop her with her weight still on her left foot. As I step around her for the barrida, I shift her weight to her right foot before starting the barrida.

At the end of the parada, I take a small step back and instead of leading her over my left foot, I sweep (barrida) her right foot with my left in a circle around me (single axis turn).
Tip: At the moment of the single axis turn, I tighten my embrace just slightly and breath up for the single axis turn. Also, the men should simply turn around the woman and not sling themselves around her.  Don't overdo it.
Tip: The women should control their left (free) leg during the single axis turn and not allow it to sling out, thus compromising their balance.

His Barrida to Her Barrida to Pasada
At .40 sec of the video, I sweep Shelley's leg and then lead her to sweep my leg back.
Tip: During any Barrida, the women should keep a slight amount of pressure on the man's foot, this will allow him to go in any direction with the barrida.

Sacada Exit for Parada
At .50 of the video, we perform a basic parada sequence and then I tuck my left leg behind my right, change weight, and perform a sacada with my right to her forward cross.

Basic Alteration from her Forward Cross
At 1.16 of the video, I lead Shelley to a forward cross and then change the direction (alteration).

His Barrida to Her Barrida to Leg Wrap (1.32)

His Barrida to Her Barrida to Single Axis Turn (1.43)

Single Axis Turn from Side Step (1.53)

Embellishment for the Men at Parada (2.00)