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Leg Wraps and Ganchos - Class Demo - Charleston, SC

Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
May 2014
 
In this demo, we start with the most basic of leg wraps (ganchos), leading her to a side open and stepping into her step to receive the wrap (:14). The primary leg wrap from the class can be seen clearly at :22 and 1:55. It starts with a rebound step and lead her around/over my right leg, creating an opportunity for her to wrap. One thing that we discussed in the class was the technique for the women, to make these safe for the dance floor, is to not extend the leg out after the wrap.. notice at :25, Shelley's knee is bent and goes up instead of out.
 

Then we proceed to demonstrate more complex wraps showing how they can be used to express the music, such as at 1:17. Two of my favorites are the double wrap at 1:44 and the inside the embrace gancho at 2:00. We also did a piernazo (high leg wrap, above the man's waist) at :45. 

Calesita Q&A

February 2016

In this video, we answer questions about the calesita from emails:
Why does she stay on one leg during the calesita and not step?
Can you walk forward around her during the calesita?
Why does she do a calesita sometimes when I want her to step?

Contralateral vs Unilateral Rebotes (Rebounds) in Milonga

 January 2016

Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
 
In this class, we look at the difference between Unilateral rebounds and Contralateral rebounds in Milonga. Of course, these could also be used in tango or vals. Recently we took a Milonga class with Chicho and Juana and we noticed that often he would execute a rebound unilaterally, where we usually teach them contralaterally. So, we thought it would be an interesting focus for a class on rebounds.
 
We also look at several interesting variations and adornments.

Volcadas Part 1: Basic Circular and Linear Volcadas

As always, this demo is provided as a reminder to our students about the material we covered in class. In the actual class, we discuss both women and men's technique, musicality, and navigation.

 
Volcada
A volcada (tilt, to tip over) is when the leader and follower both lean forward, off-axis, into one another. This is also referred to as in carpa (tent).
 
Forward Circular Volcada
We started off with a volcada to a forward cruzada (cross). Volcadas can be done linearly, but I prefer to begin teaching with a more circular Volcada. We start with a small back circular boleo with her left leg, to free up her free leg. Then I step back and around her with my left leg, bringing her off-axis towards me (volcada). She lets her left leg "float" forward. I collect my feet and then step forward with my right to the open side of the embrace, thus leading her to a cruzada and back onto our axis.
 
TIP for Both: The connection (weight) in the volcada should be distributed through the upper torso, not just in his right shoulder and her left shoulder. He should keep his torso flat throughout the movement, if he tilts to his right all her weight will go to his shoulder. She should send her weight to his center (spine) not to his shoulder, this will create maximum balance. She also needs to pivot her supporting leg/foot to stay pointing towards him.
 
TIPS for Men: After the leader steps back with his left, initiating the volcada, he should then collect his feet before stepping forward with his right.
 
At the end of the volcada, he should step forward with his right and return her to her axis. But he should not step too close to her, as this will knock her off her axis in the other direction. He needs to leave a little space between their feet so that both can return to their own axis before taking another step.
 
TIPS for Women: At the moment of the volcada, the woman should let her free leg float forward. The foot of her free leg should be at minimum under her knee, but can extend completely straight depending on her styling. The foot should follow the direction of the movement.
 
Don't collapse, keep your core strong and straight. The hinge for leaning forward should happen at the ankles. Don't let your hips break forward or back.
 
Don't bring your free leg back into the cruzada until he begins bringing you back onto your axis. By the time you are completely, back onto your axis your feet should be crossed.
 
Linear Volcada from Back Crosses
We start by entering into cross system and leading the the woman to back crosses (ochos). When I step forward with my left, I send a small impulse forward sending her free leg (right) back, past neutral. I then take a small diagonal step back with my right, she should bring her free leg in the direction we are moving in and thus we get a back cross from her. The larger step I take back the larger the volcada, so it can be very small or large. I collect my feet and continue in cross system to a forward cross.
 
Tip: There is no pivoting involved in this step. When we initiate these from back ochos (back crosses) they are walking back crosses and not pivoting back crosses. I am keeping my chest flat and not using any contra-body movement.
 
Tip: For the men, it is very important to collect your feet after each step. When I step forward with my left, I collect BEFORE stepping back with my right.. then during the volcada, I collect my left. You can also see that I am sometimes doing an embellishment once i have collected during the volcada.
 
Tip: the woman's free leg needs to be super relaxed, as always, so that it can react and move in the direction my intention/impulse sends it.
....

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.