Home > Tango Resources > Tangology 101 Blog

Tag Name: open embrace


Creative Weight Change Part 1 with Cruzada and Parada

Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
Song: Solamente Ella by Carlos di Sarli with Jorge Durán 1945
More at: Tangology101.com

The main focus of this class is the idea of having the follower change weight in order to enter into cross system rather than the leader and dancing slowly and elegantly with women taking an active role. Then we added a short figure including a cruzada (cross), with a parada (stop) mordida (bite).  

Boleos - Circular and Linear

Music: "Felino" by Electrocutango
Instructors: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks

In this class, we look at both circular and linear boleos (In-Line).

Circular Boleos
Boleos are moves that take a lot of time to do well and require relaxation in the embrace.

The leader should lead the boleo with a circular impulse around the follower's supporting leg making sure not to disturb her balance (axis), relax his embrace to allow her to pivot and complete the boleo, and then wait on her to return to neutral.

Women should pivot as much as they can before wrapping their free leg around their supporting leg. They should also not cut their boleos short, just when you think you have reached as far as you can, push to get just a little more out of it. The followers should let their free leg come back to collect next to their supporting leg by the time their upper bodies return to neutral.

Linear Boleos (In-Line Boleos)
Linear boleos require a linear impulse in the direction that we want the free leg to go. Once that impulse is sent, the leader should lean in the opposite direction creating a counter balance and opposition force to complete the linear boleo. For back linear boleos, this actually creates a very small colgada feeling. For forward linear boleos, it creates a small volcada (compression) feeling.

Floorcraft
Of course, we discussed floor craft and techniques for doing them safely. Forward circular boleos should not be a problem on the social dance floor.

Back circular boleos should be done with a little more care. Usually, we recommend leading them either with very low energy so that the follower keeps her feet on the floor or so that her boleo happens in a corner or towards the tables. For example, I would never lead a big back boleo with the woman's back towards the center of the dance floor. We also mentioned that if the followers do not trust their leader, that they should do very tiny back boleos and keep their feet on the floor.

Back linear boleos are rarely done on the social dance floor and only when there is plenty of room, such as late in the evening when there are only a few dancers left on the floor.

Forward linear boleos can be done on the social floor depending on how they are executed, for example, we looked at one that started from forward ochos and then the woman pivots and does a forward inline boleo between the leaders legs (1:35 of video).

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:

 

Exploring the Cruzada Part 3: Milonga

In this class, we explore creative ideas for using the cruzada in milonga.

The Forced Cruzada
With this technique, we lead the followers to cross their right foot in front of their left feet. This can be a strange feeling for the followers until they practice. The women should resist the temptation to twist their hips and pivot. They should have a very relaxed leg and simply let the leg, not the hip, go in the direction of the move. The clearest way for the men to lead this is to mirror the women. If we are doing the same move, but in reverse, then we should be moving in the correct direction. Also, for the women, do not cross too deeply so that your weight change can be smooth.

For the leaders, don't get too caught up on the idea of forcing the cross. We do not even need to make contact with her for this step. It is more about direction and removing other possiblities such as walking straight back.

Back Cruzadas
If we think about the cross as a technique rather than as a step then we should be able to get them on any step going forward or backwards. Here we are stepping forward and then changing direction to move back diagonally. Again, the followers should simply take their free leg in the direction that we are moving. As with the previous move, if the leaders mirror the followers then we will be assured of moving in the correct direction.

The Milonguero Dip

In this Tango lesson, we teach a figure called The Milonguero Dip, and is part of our Popular Steps for the Social Dance Floor series. This step is a popular step that I saw used in the milongas of Buenos Aires, Argentina. I have recently been informed that the step was named "milonguero dip" by Ney Melo and Jennifer Bratt.. and that they first saw it done by Javier Rodriguez and Geraldine Rojas and that Javier called it "ocho seco."

The joy of this move is in the musicality and the swoosh feeling it gives the followers during the dips (changes of our vertical plane). Every time I teach this move, it always receives lots of positive feedback from the followers. They love it.

Breakdown of the steps:

  • In this class, we started the move off from back ochos. When I lead a back ocho to the man's right, I begin by pivoting on my right foot counter-clockwise and crossing my left foot in front of my right, while leading her to take a back cross with her left around me. KEY MOMENT: My left foot should hit the floor at the same moment her left foot hits the floor. At this moment I also go down slightly in my left leg(dip).
  • At this point, there should be lots of compression in the embrace, as I lead her to take a side step around me with her right foot as I pivot around on my left and switch weight to my right.
  • I continue leading her around to a forward cross step with her left, as I step around her with my left. KEY MOMENT: As I step around her with my right, I need to make sure that I do not go too close to her (I might push her off her axis and that I don't go to far away (pulling her off of her axis).
  • I sink down (dip) into my left leg as I lead her around to another forward cross with her right. As she takes that forward cross I step back diagonally with her.
  • To finish I lead her to yet another back cross in front of me and I switch weight to return to parallel system and walk out.

Important Notes: This move requires a relaxed embrace, so that she can pivot inside my embrace (especially my right arm). If I hold her too tightly she will find it difficult to do the large pivots necessary for this move and it will be very uncomfortable.

Musicality Notes: In the first part of the demo, we danced to Carlos di Sarli's "Junto A Tu Corazon." This this we keep things rather calm and stretch the dips out as long as we can. Starting at 0.43 we dance this same way to Juan d'Arienzo's "Compadrón" to show how it works, but does not quite fit with the music. Then bumped the energy up just a little bit to fit with d'Arienzo. We shortened the steps and made them a little more staccato as opposed to the more legato of di Sarli. In both cases, we use a quick-quick-slow timing for her first back cross and side step.

 

Video Demonstration:

 

 And a second video of us teaching this step:
 

Class Notes for The Structure of Tango: Part I

The Structure of Tango
Part I: Cross Steps and Open Steps

Click Here to Download PDF of Full Class Notes

Introduction: At the end of this class, you will find that no matter which foot you are on or what system (Parallel or Cross) you are in that you will always have at least 9 steps that you can execute.

In Tango classes, teachers often teach figures or patterns. These can be fun and give students something to do when dancing. I think of figures as sentences and all the figures that we do during a song as paragraphs. In this class, we are taking a step back and looking at each and every step we take as a word. And each of those steps will have a beginning, middle, and end. Our goal is to make every single step that we take in tango count.

There are 3 basic steps of tango: the Open Step, the Forward Cross, and the Back Cross.

A Cross Step is defined by the orientation of the man and woman to each other. Whenever a couple takes a step, if they both stop in the middle of their step and turn (pivot) so that their hips face one another and their legs are crossed (twisted) then they are taking a cross step. If their legs are not crossed then they are taking an open step.

Cross steps can move in only two directions forward and back, but Open steps can forward, side, and backwards. In fact, Open steps have a 180 degree range of movement.

At any moment in the dance, both the man and the woman have these 3 steps available to them and when you combine these possibilities in both Parallel and Cross Systems starting on either foot you end up with 36 possible steps.

Turn (Giro) to the Open Side of the Embrace from Cross System

Synopsis: This class focuses on a Turn to the Open Side of the Embrace starting from Cross System on the Close Side of the Embrace. As embellishments, we looked at a forward circular boleo for the woman and back cruzadas for the man when getting into and out of cross system.

Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks

Video Demonstration:

 

Figures:

Figure 1: Turn to the open side of embrace from cross system on the close side of the embrace with back cruzadas for the man and a forward circular boleo for the woman
In Slow motion at 2:44 of Video Demo

Step 1: The man takes an open step to the side with his left leg and the woman takes an open step with her right leg. She collects while he crosses his right foot behind his left (cruzada) and changes weight. At this point, he is on his right and she is on her right so they are in cross system.

Step 2: He then takes a forward cross step to the close side of the embrace and she takes an open back step.

Step 3: He takes an open side step while she takes a back cross step. On this step, the leader relaxes the embrace and brings her perpendicular to him. The man's right shoulder and her left shoulder are connected but they do not have contact on the open side of the embrace and are at a 90 degree angle to one another. At this point, he can make slight contact with his upper right thigh to her upper right thigh and lead her to perform a boleo.

Step 4: He steps back with his left but keeps weight on both feet as he begins to turn his embrace counter-clockwise.

Step 5: As he pivots around counter-clockwise, the woman will feel slightly left behind at this point and so will take large steps around him to try to get back in front of him. To start she will take a long forward step around him with her left and he will end with his weight on his left foot.

Step 6: The woman will continue to try and get back in front of him by taking a large open side step with her right. The leader will bring his right foot behind his left and change weight.

Step 7: Same as Step 2 above.

Step 8: Same as step 3 above, but now he brings her back in front of him. They are still in cross sytem so he can exit in cross system or switch weight to return to parallel.

Tip: On step 2, the man should pivot his upper body slightly counter-clockwise to make room for stepping to the close-side of the embrace.
Tip: On step 3, the man needs to open the embrace and bring her to a 90 degree angle to him and contain her in front of him by blocking her with his right arm. He is not applying pressure with that arm but merely creating a stopping place for her so that she stays slightly in front of him.
Tip:
On Step 4, he should stay very forward in his upper body and bring her around with his embrace. Since she wants to return to the embrace and get back in front of him she will take a nice large step around him. She will not step away from him. Look at how close her left foot is to his at 2:51 of the video.
Tip: On Step 5, at the beginning of step 5 she is still not 100% back in front of him so she continues to take a large open side step. MEN: If she takes small steps on 4 and 5 and is slightly to your right then you might want to stay on your left and exit to the open side of the embrace in parallel system.

Variations:

SIMPLEST VERSION OF THIS MOVE
At 23 second mark of Video
Figure 2: Same as Figure 1 only the leader does not perform the back cruzadas and they exit simply in parallel system.

Figure 3: Same as Figure 1 only the leader does not perform the back cruzadas, he simply changes weight.
At 16 second mark of Video