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Soltadas Part 2: Compression, Impulse and Expansion

Date: 4/15/2013
Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks
Song: Navegante (Vito Dumas) by Carlos Di Sarli with Roberto Rufino

This class was the second in our series on Soltadas. We focused on building compression within the embrace and using an impulse to create expansion. As always, this video does not cover everything we talked about in the class, but tries to cover some of the major concepts. We also discussed how these concepts can be applied to our more traditional tango.

This is a more nuevo tango move and requires more space than we might have at a typical milonga. We stressed, to our students, the importance of respecting the space that we have. These are not moves that we would do at a typical, crowded milonga. This could be used, but only on a large dance floor when you have plenty of room. For example, we have an alternative hour after our usual milonga, often during this time there would be plenty of room for these steps.

Also, not all milongas are crowded or maybe towards the end of the evening the floor thins out. These moves do not move backwards, they progress forward. You need at least 2 to 3 steps in front of you, that is all. Just be respectful of the flow of the line of dance and the other dancers on the dance floor and you should be fine.

Sacadas II: Back Sacadas

A back sacada (displacement) is when one dancer steps backwards into the space that their partner just vacated. This class video covers 3 weeks of back sacadas.

Basic Sacada Technique
A sacada is a displacement, meaning that we are taking the place of our partner. We are entering the space that our partner has just vacated. To accomplish this, the leader leads the follower to take a step and as she is taking weight onto her new supporting leg, he steps in to the space she is leaving. He should step just inside of her free leg just after the moment that it becomes 100% free of weight. To resolve the step, he should take weight on the leg he executed the sacada with and both partners should return to face one another.

Tips for Good Sacadas:

  • Slow and Low - Don't rush back performing or receiving back sacadas. Also, stay low to the ground when performing them and that will help with your balance and will cause your partner to take a nice long step giving you a larger window for the sacada.
  • Keep the heel down - As you execute a back sacada, attempt to keep your heel as low as possible to avoid any inuries.
  • Don't fall backwards - As you execute a back sacada, do not lean back. Extend your leg while bending the knee of your supporting leg. Once the free leg is extended, push off the supporting leg sending your hips and upper body together. Often, leaders send their upper bodies and then their hips and this creates a falling feeling. Also, keep your balance towards the forward part of your foot and don't fall back onto your heels, especially when completing your step. As you complete a step, stop just shy of putting weight onto your heels.
  • Relax your embrace - If either partner has a stiff embrace, they can easily pull themselves or their partner off axis (balance). The embrace should be relaxed and should slide, adjust so that each person is only responsible for their own balance.
  • Practice pivoting - Good pivoting and balance is essential for back sacadas. You should practice pivoting 180 degress with your legs together. Think about pushing your thighs together as you practice your pivots.
  • Respect her axis - Do not step in the middle of her step or towards her new supporting leg, as this will disrupt her vertical axis and cause her to loose balance. When performing a sacada step behind the other persons hips, if the hips touch then one of you will probably be knocked off their axis.
  • Don't kick her - Step inside of her step but not on her toes and do not worry about making contact with her leg. There should be little to no contact between the leader's and follower's legs. You are not pushing her leg out of the way, you are taking the space as it is leaves.
  • Complete the step - Leaders, finish your step by taking weight on the foot that you performed the sacada with. Don't just stick the foot out and then pull it back. Finish the step by taking the space that she just left.

Figure 1: Close Embrace Sacada (.11 of video)
In this first sacada, the leader performs a back sacada while maintaining a close embrace. After leading a cruzada, he steps outside partner to the open side of the embrace with his right leg while collapsing his right arm, allowing the follower to shift to his right side. This creates room for him to perform a back sacada with his left leg to her open step.

Figure 2: Her Back Sacada (.28 of video)
We start this sacada from back ochos. When leading her to a back ocho to the close side of the embrace, the leader sends an impulse around her, causing her to quickly pivot with her feet collected.  He leaves his left leg free to recieve the sacada which he leads by inviting her to step back. In this figure, after the leader receives the back sacada he keeps leading her around in the molinete while crossing his left leg behind his right and performing a forward sacada to her forward cross step.

Figure 3: His Back Sacada to her Open Step (.36 of video)
We start this step from an arrepentida (a repent). As the leader leads the follower to an open step, he pivots on his right foot and performs a sacada with his left to her open step. He could then continue leading the molinete and execute another back sacada to her back cross.

Figure 4: His Back Sacada to her Back Cross to a Calesita. (.45 of video)

Figure 5: His Double Back Sacada (1.03 of video)
In this step, the leader performs a back sacada to her back cross, but does not complete his step. He pauses there and then performs another (higher) sacada with his right leg.

Figure 6: His Back Sacadas to Both Sides of the Embrace (1.14 of video)

FIgure 7: Altering the Speed of the Back Sacada (1.22 of video)
We should constantly be adjusting our steps to the music. If the music slows down, then we can slow down and move almost in slow motion. If we are moving together then this can be a lot of fun.

Figure 8: Interrupted Cruzada to Back Sacada (1.59 of video)
The leader leads a cruzada but does not give her time to settle. As she is crossing, he pivots her and they both step forward and he then performs a back sacada to her forward cross.

Figure 9: Double Back Sacadas (4.13 of video)
Here the leader performs a back sacada to her forward cross and then leads her to collect and to then perform a back sacada to him.

Women's Musicality
This has nothing to do with sacadas, but watch the leg wrap at 1.47 and see how Shelley completes the wrap and flicks her foot right on the accent in the music. I CAN'T LEAD THAT. That is her paying attention to the music and trying to accent the step.

Video Demonstration:


Demonstration performed to "Forma" by Bajofondo Tango Club


Electronic Tango Tandas

Song Orchestra Album
Listen to this tanda
Upbeat tanda that is very easy to dance to.
Felino Electrocutango Felino
Los Vino Otros Aires Dos
La Yumba Otros Aires Dos
Listen to this tanda    
Tango Tango Jointz  
Percanta Otros Aires  
Allerdings Otros Aires  
Bluesy electronic tango set. I would usually pic 2 or 3 to play depending on how long I wanted the tanda to be.
Blues de la Parcas Demoliendo Tangos Carne Argenta
Tango Cancion Gotan Project Lunatico
Amor Porteno Gotan Project Lunatico
Hoy Bajofondo Tango Club Mar Dulce
Praga Demoliendo Tangos Carne Argenta
Listen to this tanda
I love all of these songs and the are very upbeat.
Borges y Paraguay Bajofondo Tango Club Mar Dulce
Pa' Bailar Bajofondo Tango Club Mar Dulce
La Gloria Gotan Project Tango 3.0

This is a downtempo set, but the songs are very interesting.
Listen to this tanda

Centroja (edited to end at 3.20) Bajofondo Tango Club Supervielle
Forma Bajofondo Tango Club Supervielle
Bruma Moviola Supervielle
Listen to a version of this tanda
These songs are from a CD of remixed Carlos Gardel songs. The idea sounds a bit cheesy, but the songs are very well done.
Por Una Cabeza
(edited to start at .17)
Metrotango Gardel Remixed
Bandoneon Arrabalero Metrotango Gardel Remixed
Caminito Metrotango Gardel Remixed
Listen to this tanda
Interesting songs.. a little bluesy... The last one is a technically a milonga, but it is so slow that it is possible to dance tango to it. It is also has Hugo Diaz playing harmonica mixed into it.
Tango d'Amor Tango Jointz Palermo Nuevo
Vuelvo Al Sur Tango Jointz Palermo Nuevo
Tango, Que Misterio Tango Jointz Palermo Nuevo
Listen to this Tanda
I like "Reflejo de Luna" a lot, but it is hard to fit into a tanda. I think this one works pretty well.
Luna Alexkid  
Reflejo de Luna Alacran  
Libertango Bond  
If you love to dance slowly, then you will love this set. This mix of Buenos Aires is still one of my favorite songs to dance to.
Buenos Aires (Plush Mix) Steve Arguelies Remixes Piazzolla  
Villurca Yira Roots of Electronic Tango (Downtempo)
Plano Secuencia Carlos Libedinsky Narcotango
Listen to this tanda
As with many alternative tangos, these are technically milongas, but they are slow enough to dance tango to if you like. I find these types of songs a little annoying, because you keep trying to decide whether to dance tango or milonga.
Sentimientos Jaime Wilensky Tango Project Vol. 2: New Tango
Una Llamada Tanghetto Emigrante
En Mi Soledad Bajofondo Tango Club Bajofondo Tango Club
Luna (edited) Alexkid  
Thes are all tango cover songs by Tanghetto. They all have very heavy beats and switch rhythms a decent amount. Advanced dancers that like alternative music can have lots of fun with them. Beginner dancers will struggle and often run around way too fast to them.
Sweet Dreams Tanghetto El Miedo a la Libertad
Enjoy, The Silence Tanghetto Buenos Aires Remixed
Blue Monday Tanghetto Buenos Aires Remixed
Listen to this tanda. Downtempo set which I have had lots of good feedback about.
Erase una Vez Gotan Project Gotan Project 3.0
El Duelo Tanghetto Hybrid Tango
Calles de Piedra Tanghetto Hybrid Tango
Dancers usually like this set. The first song is a tango-milonga where the rhythm keeps switching, but it is very pretty.
Gente Que Sí (edited to end at 4.15) Carlos Libedinsky Narcotango 2
Esa Carlos Libedinsky Narcotango 2
Dos Carlos Libedinsky Narcotango 2
Classic electronic tango set.
Vi Luz y Subí Carlos Libedinsky Narcotango
Otra Luna Carlos Libedinsky Narcotango
Plano Secuencia Carlos Libedinsky Narcotango
Once again, these are mostly milongas, but you can also dance tango to them. These are more Rap / Hip-Hop inspired tangos.
Mi Corazón Bajofondo Tango Club Bajofondo Tango Club
Mi Confesion Gotan Project Lunatico
Pa' Bailar (Siempre Quiero Mas) Bajofondo & Julieta Venegas Pa' Bailar EP
El Anden Bajofondo & Mala Rodriguez Mar Dulce
Miles de Pasajeros Bajofondo Tango Club Bajofondo Tango Club
Cite Tango (Astor Piazzolla) Gotan Project Inspiracion Espiracion
Santa Maria Gotan Project La Revancha del Tango
Whatever Lola Wants Gotan Project & Sarah Vaughan Verve Remixed 2
Buenos Aires Metrotango Gardel Remixed
El Día Que Me Quieras Metrotango Gardel Remixed
Anclao' en Paris Metrotango Gardel Remixed
Perfume Bajofondo Tango Club Bajofondo Tango Club
Montserrat Bajofondo Tango Club Bajofondo Tango Club
Hablando Tango Tango Fusion Club Tango Fusion Club
Décollage Bajofondo Tango Club Bajofondo Tango Club
Ya No Duele Bajofondo Tango Club Bajofondo Tango Club
Pulmón Bajofondo Tango Club Bajofondo Tango Club
Bahía Blanca Tanghetto Mas Allá del Sur
El Arte de Amar Tanghetto El Miedo a la Libertad
Tango Mistico Tanghetto Mas Allá del Sur
Blue Tango Tanghetto Mas Allá del Sur
Fake Plastic Trees Tanghetto Mas Allá del Sur
El Cordon Seoan Buenos Aires / Paris Vol. 3
Rojo Profundo MondoTango Buenos Aires / Paris Vol. 3
Under the Moon Seoan feat. Ekaterina Tango Tomorrow
Ojalá (feat. Natalia Clavier) Federico Aubele Berlin 13
Berlin Federico Aubele Berlin 13
Barrio Sur Tanghetto Hybrid Tango
Perfume Bajofondo Tango Club Bajofondo Tango Club
Obscura B.A. L.A. Thomas  
Alexanderplatz Tango Tanghetto Emigrante
Immigrante Tanghetto Emigrante
Vida Moderna en 24 Tanghetto Tango Fusion Club 1
La Caída Tanghetto Emigrante
El Boulevard Tanghetto Emigrante
Recursos Humanos Tanghetto Emigrante


Nuevo Bluesy Tango Part 3: Twisty Ganchos

This class covered twisty ganchos (hooks). We start with leading a regular gancho and then give a little extra twist at the moment of the gancho.

We started by discussing that a gancho is a hook and not a kick and that each gancho has several moments:

  1. The Preparation or Initiation - This is when we position our bodies close to one another and the leader makes contact with his upper thigh to the followers upper thigh. The leader is creating an aperature (window) for her to hook through.
  2. The Lead - Then the leader leads the gancho by leading the follower to take a step, but he has put his leg in the way, so she hooks around it. The follower extends her free leg until her upper thigh cannot go back any further and then she hooks her leg around the leaders.
  3. The Resolution - The follower does not automatically exit the gancho. After she hooks around the leaders leg, she waits for him to resolve the gancho. If he were to freeze there, then she would freeze there. This allows for ganchos to be done very slowly or very quickly or with little energy or a lot of energy.

    The leader has two distinct ways of resolving the gancho. He can lead her to take a step or he can straighten the leg she is wrapped around.

FIgure 1: From Forward Circular Boleo to the Open Side (.15 and .25 of Video)
In this figure, we lead a forward circular boleo to the open side of the embrace. While the follower is finishing the boleo, the leader steps behind the follower's right foot with his right leg. At the same time, he is making contact with his right upper thigh to her right upper thigh.  He then leads her back around and she hooks around his right leg. This happens as he is changing weight to his right leg. He then shifts back to his left and straightens his right leg to resolve the gancho.

We also discussed that this gancho can be lead on or off axis. To lead this off axis (colgada) then the leader will extend his right arm during the gancho and twist.

Figure 2: From Forward Circular Boleo to the Close Side (.33 and .43 of Video)
This is essentially the same as above, but it is a bit more tight do to the embrace.

Figure 3: Rebound Gancho (1.08 of Video)
This is not so much a twisty gancho, but it came up during the class. The leader leads the follower to a forward step away from him while stepping behind her. He does this by extending his right arm and then brings her back straight into him. It is really a back inline boleo for her but since he is behind her it turns into a gancho.

FIgure 4: Reverse Gancho with Twist (2.44 of Video)
In this step, the leader leads the follower to a forward cross to the open side of the embrace. He stops her before she collects and steps behind her, makes thigh to thigh contact and then twists to get a gancho. I call this a reverse gancho since she is doing the gancho while moving forward rather than backwards.

Figure 5: Sacada to Twisty Gancho (2.20 and 2.31 of Video)
We did not get to this one during the class, but since we did it in the demo, I will comment on it. The leader leads the follower to a forward cross to the close side of the embrace. He performs a sacada, but instead of going to the leg she is leaving, he steps close to the leg she is going to (her new supporting leg). He then stops her in the middle of her side step as he does a big pivot on his right and steps behind her with his left.

Video Demonstration:


Nuevo Bluesy Tango Parts 1 & 2

This video demo covers two classes.

The first was on finding the middle part of each step and being able to shift her weight back and forth between her legs without resolving the step, until we are ready.

We talked about the fact that each step has 4 parts.

1. We send our free leg

2. We transfer our weight 50/50 in the middle of our step

3. We completely transfer our weight to our new supporting leg (finding our balance)

4. We collect our new free leg.

Many times we skip these moments in our steps and just jump from 1 to 4, falling into steps rather than transferring our weight all the way through a step.

In the second class, we look at forward & back sacadas for the leaders and forward sacadas for the followers. At 2.30 of the video, we also looked at getting a back sacada while staying "primarily" in a close embrace.

Video Demonstration:



Alternative Tanda 3: Electronic Tango (Electrocutango, Otros Aires)

This weeks alternative tanda focuses on electronic tango music. "Felino" is almost a classic of electronic tango and is often used at alternative milongas. I have put it with two songs by Otros Aires, one of the best modern tango bands. The second song mentions the greatest classic tango orchestras  Pugliese, Troilo, d'Arienzo. The final song is a great cover of Pugliese's classic song, "La Yumba."


Alternative Milongas

Song Orchestra Cantor/Singer Year Type
Alternative Milonga Tandas
Fox Trot "Milonga" Tandas
Listen to this Tanda        
Danza Húngara n.5 Enrique Rodriguez Armando Moreno   Fox Trot
Diez Soldaditos Enrique Rodriguez Armando Moreno   Fox Trot
La Colegiala Enrique Rodriguez Roberto Flores   Fox Trot
Por Las Calles de Instanbul Enrique Rodriguez Armando Moreno   Fox Trot
Marcelina Enrique Rodriguez Armando Moreno   Fox Trot
Yo Busco Una Novia Enrique Rodriguez Armando Moreno   Fox Trot
Luna Veneciana Enrique Rodriguez  Armando Moreno   Fox Trot
Alternative Milonga Tandas
Listen to this Tanda        
Al Galope Color Tango     Milonga
Milonga Sentimental Lidia Borda, Estaban Morgado
Brian Chambouleyron
Morena Estaban Morgado     Milonga
I like the first 3 in this set the best... The one with Iggy Pop is completely silly but fun.
Sur O No Sur Kevin Johansen      
Maki Maki Goran Bregovic      
This Is A Film (feat. Iggy Pop) Goran Bregovic      
This is A Film Arizona Dream      
Balamouk Les Yeux Noirs      
Listen to this tanda        
Leonel, El Feo Bajofondo Tango Club      
El Llorón Electrocutango        
Pequeño Paria or Narigon Daniel Melingo      
Milonga Triste Hugo Diaz      
El Lloron Hugo Diaz      
Taquito Militar Hugo Diaz      
The Way You Move Outkast      
19-2000 Gorillaz      
Clint Eastwood Gorillaz      
Petite Fleur Chris Barber      
Fibre de Verre Paris Combo      
Fleur Blanche Orsten      
Summertime (Doin' Time) Sublime      
What I Got (Reprise) Sublime      
Santeria Sublime      
Leonel, El Feo Bajofondo Tango Club Daniel Melingo    
Noche Transfigurada Daniel Melingo Daniel Melingo    
Narigon Daniel Melingo Daniel Melingo    
Electronic Milongas
Leonel, El Feo Bajofondo Tango Club Daniel Melingo    
Mi-Lon-Gone Korey Ireland      
Narigon Daniel Melingo      
Leonel, El Feo Bajofondo Tango Club Daniel Melingo    
Zitarrosa Bajofondo Tango Club      
Tango, Que Misterio Tango Jointz      
Silueta Porteña Trio Garufa      
Milonga Sentimental Otros Aires      
El Llorón Electrocutango      
Rotos En El Raval Otros Aires      
Junto A Las Piedraz Otros Aires      
Leonel, El Feo Bajofondo Tango Club Daniel Melingo    
Milonga Sentimental Metro Tango      
Rotos En El Raval Otros Aires      
El Andén Bajofondo Tango Club      
Mi Corazón Bajofondo Tango Club      
Miles de Pasajeros Bajofondo Tango Club      
El Llorón Electrocutango      
Quisiera Volver a Verte Bailongo!      
Postales Federico Aubele      
Sin Rumbo Otros Aires      
Un Baile Beneficio Otros Aires      


Split Weight Moments I

In tango, each step has a beginning, middle, and end. There is a moment in the middle when our weight is evenly distributed between both legs. We can use that moment to create some very interesting possibilities.

We cover lots of information in our classes, but here are some of the major tips.


  • We started by practicing finding the moment where are weight is split during a step and rocking our weight back and forth between our feet.
  • We explained that if the leaders stay slightly down and don't collect their feet themselves, then it will help the women stay down and not collect.
  • Followers are following the upper body of the leaders, not their feet, so leaders need to be very clear and stop their upper body at the moment her weight is split.
  • We also talked about our crucial pivoting is to tango and that followers should not "make" the leader pivot them, but rather when they feel his invitation to pivot they should pivot themselves. We also discussed that good pivots happen on the forward part of the foot and not with the whole foot on the floor.


Video Demonstration: