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Single Axis Turns (Week 1) with Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks

Song: Tal Vez Sera Su Voz (1943) by Lucio Demare with Raul Beron singing
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks of Tangology101 and Tango Evolution

Note: This is a demo for our students and for perspective students to see the type of material that we cover. This demo covers a 1.5 hour class with lots of instruction, exercises and discussions of musicality which are not covered in the video.

We looked at two different single axis turns, both turning clockwise or to the close side of the embrace.

Step 1
At 0:11, we start by switching to cross system and performing a barrida (sweep). Then we execute the single axis turn (180 degrees) and then we step back and turn to return to the line of dance. This step also includes a change of front, discussed in other lessons.

Hint: Keep it calm. Don't try too hard. Just simply turn, don't try to sling yourself around.

Step 2
At 0:42, we start with a rebound step, twisting to get her to step close to my right foot with her right foot. Then we use the unwinding of that  twist to generate the momentum for our turn.

Hint: At the end of the turn, we want to come back straight and make sure we are balanced and that our feet are together before stepping back. We want to avoid falling back. We want that back step to be controlled and deliberate.

Single Axis Turns

When we turn, we have have three axes: her axis, his axis and a shared axis.  Here are some examples. In a calesita, where the man goes around the woman, the woman has her own axis and is also the shared axis. Imagine a pizza and the woman is in the center of the pizza and the man is walking around the crust. Another example, would be a typical molinete where the woman is going around the man. In this example, the man would man would have his own axis and he would also be the shared axis. The last example would be where both the man and the woman turn around a common center axis, but they each still have their own axis stepping around.

A single axis turn would be where all 3 axes combine at a common point and turn together. Single axis turns often have a feeling of spinning and also of colgada, leaning out from the common center. In close embrace, the colgada feeling is very small but present. This small colgada creates centrifugal force which helps us turn.

While this may look simple from the outside, it is an advanced concept which takes months of practice to master.

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.