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Tag Name: vals


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La Pista y La Ronda

Very nice and simple graphic illustrating some of the key elements of good floorcraft for dancing Argentine Tango. There are more complex illustrations out there and feel free to post them below, but I do like the simplicity of this one.

La Pista translates loosely to "the dance floor." Another commonly used term is La Ronda (The Round) which is more closely related to "the line of dance." In other words, we dance in the line of dance (La Ronda) on the dance floor (La Pista). But these terms can be used interchangeably.

For newer (and not so new) dancers, the main things to notice in this illustration are:

  1. There is an outer lane, an inner lane, and the center of the dance floor. Generally, better dancers dance in the outer lane, but may sometimes use the inner lane as well, but rarely the center of the floor. It should be noted, that not all dance floors are large enough for these 3 areas. For example, at our milongas (Plaka and 57th), there is really only room enough for an outer lane and a center of the dance floor.
  2. The outer lane should be wider than what is represented in the illustration. My opinion is that it should be approximately two body widths. You do need room to move a little sideways to execute ochos and basic turns. So, the inner lane or those dancing in the center, should not crowd the outer lane. Too often, dancers straddle the outer and inner lanes.
  3. Dancers should stay in their lane during an entire song. If you are forced from the outer lane into the middle lane, you should stay there until the song ends and only then move back to the outer lane. It is considered very bad manners to constantly switch lanes during a song.
  4. Dancers should generally enter the dance floor at the corner's, unless it is an oddly shaped dance floor. Leader's entering the floor should attempt to make eye contact with the leader that they are entering the floor in front of. That leader should then nod or indicate approval for the couple to enter the floor in front of them. You do not have to do this if there is plenty of room for you to enter the dance floor without getting in anyone's way, but this is rarely the case on a crowded dance floor. This also means that leader's need to have their heads up when dancing and paying attention, especially when near a corner, so that they can acknowledge couples wanting to enter La Ronda. (Organizers: Do not put tables in the corner, that is where people need to cue up to enter the dance floor.)
  5. Avoid going backwards against the line of dance. A small back step is generally acceptable, but it should be small and preferably after you have first moved forward. What is unacceptable is taking large or multiple back steps against the line of dance. It is especially unacceptable for leaders to be facing against the line of dance and moving forward. I often say that the leader behind me should never be able to focus on my face. The only time he sees my face should be as it is in motion turning. It should never stop and move towards him.
  6. This is not in the illustration, but is one that I see more and more. Do not walk across the dance floor if people have already started dancing. Organizers can help with this by making sure that there is space behind the tables for walking, if at all possible.

Click here for more about Floorcraft and General Milonga Etiquette.

Vals - Part 1 - Hesitation Steps and Change of Direction

Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks

This is part 1 of a series in vals (waltz). In this class, we look at vals with a special emphasis on finding the 1 (the strong beat) and then using either the 2 or the 3 (the weak beats). We suggested that finding the 1 is the most important thing in vals, because we almost always step on the 1. We also put forward, that in our opinion, the most used rhythm in vals is stepping on the 1 and the 2 and skipping the 3... so most of the time we are going to be dancing using the following rhythmic pattern... 1,2,-,1,2-,1,2,-... instead of trying to step on all 3 beats. After you are comfortable using the 1 and 2 while skipping the 3, we recommend then working on using the 1 and 3 while skipping the 2.

We then looked using this rhythmic structure in hesitation steps and a dynamic ocho cortado with a change of direction.

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.

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Traditional Tanda of the Week 34 - Enrique Rodriguez Vals

This week's traditional tanda is a fun set of vals by Enrique Rodríguez and Angel Condercuri. This set is always a crowd pleaser. It is just incredibly happy and fun. I usually play 3 vals, so I play the first two and then pick between the last two depending on my mood.

Tengo Mil Novias (I Have a Thousand Girlfriends/Brides) is about a guy that can't settle down because he loves all the women, blondes, brunettes, etc. Isabelita is about a beautiful porteña. "Estas Chicas se quieren Casar" translates to "all these girls want to get married." Fru-Fru is actually a classic French Chanson titled Frou-Frou and is, if I am understanding the translation correctly, about how women in skirts are much better than women wearing pants. Frou-Frou is the sound that a woman's skirt makes when it rustles.