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Single Axis Turns (Week 2) and Leading by the Creation of Space

Song: No Te Apures Cara Blanca (1942) by Lucio Demare with Juan Carlos Miranda
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks

This is from our second week of "Single Axis Turns." This week we looked at initiating single axis turns from a colgada, barrida and boleo.

This class also had another theme which was leading through the creation of space. We believe that a large part of leading and following is that the leader creates a space and the woman then fills that space. This allows for a very comfortable dance which does not require force or pushing or pulling or lifting. If the leader clearly creates space and the follower is perceptive and willing to enter the space created then a lot of unnecessary actions can be avoided.

Tip: Women should not let their free leg fly out and up. Women should keep their free leg relaxed, but weighted into the floor.

Tip: Women should notice that Shelley lifts her knee at the beginning of the colgada to the side, but then lowers it as we start turning in the other direction.

Tip: Don't try to hard. Both men and women should practice pivoting 180 degrees and then 360 degrees without throwing themselves around.  They should just take their upper bodies around in the direction they want to turn and then let their hips and feet fall in underneath.

Tip: Single axis turns can be thought of as mini-colgadas. We should have some opposing force in order for a single axis turn to feel stable.

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.