Class Title: Rhythmic Alterations with Cross Over Step and Cadencia
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
Song: Son Cosas del Bandoneón by Enrique Rodriguez with Roberto Flores singing
The primary step that we worked on is at the very beginning of the video. We start by entering cross system and then executing a change of direction with me crossing my right over my left turning 180 degrees. Then I step forward with my left and do two rock steps (Cadencia) turning 90 degrees each to return to the line of dance. This step is very musical and works well with rhythmic orchestras such as Rodriguez, Canaro, Biagi, D'Arienzo, etc.
Another focus here is playing with the rhythm of quick, quick, quick, quick, slow. This happens with the two sets of rock steps.
One tip is to not try too hard with this step. It is small and compact. Stay close to each other. For the rock steps, it is important to stay in the middle of the step and a touch down into the ground as we rock, so that we don't feel the need to collect our feet. Also, we are both pivoting a great deal during this step.
Alterations are concept steps which includes Arrepentidas, Cambios de Frente (Changes of Front) and Cambios de Dirección (Changes of Direction).
The lessons below are focused on one or more of these types of Alterations. Often they are combined to create very dynamic steps.
Cambios de Dirección (Changes of Direction)
A change of direction is pretty straight forward, we are altering our direction. The tango couple is moving in one direction and then begins moving in another direction. This can happen on any foot and in any direction. This could be as simple as stepping forward and then stepping back.
Cambios de Frente (Changes of Front)
Imagine your body has 4 sides straight, to your left, to your right and behind you. You are always facing in one direction and if you change your direction to face one of the 3 remaining directions then you have changed your front (frente).
Arrepentida (Repent) or Rebote (Rebound)
With an arrepentida, we step with one foot and then immediately take it back suddenly without resolving the initial step. For example, I could step forward with my left, bounce off of the left and then step to the side with the left. So, I started to go forward, changed my mind mid-step and then decided to go to the side instead. These steps are often sudden and use a quick, quick, slow rhythm.
Cadencia or Balenceo (Rock Step)
This is a simple change of direction where the leader interrupts the couple in the middle of a step and rocks back and forth either in place or in a cirlce. The key to this step is keeping the axis in the middle of the step.
Clarification: As you can see, in each of these we are either altering our direction or altering our front OR often both at the same time. We can change our direction without changing our front, but we cannot change our front without changing direction.
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.
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.
Demo of Circular Volcadas with Music
Forward Volcada to Both Sides
At 0:45, we demonstrated a volcada to both sides of the embrace.
TIP for Men: Notice that my left only moves slightly, my right foot is leading the volcadas to both sides. Men also, attempt to collect your feet in the middle of each volcada, it makes it look neater and is a clearer lead for her.
360 Volcada from Rebote
At 1:00, we demonstrate getting a full 360 turn with a volcada from a rebote (rebound).??TIP: This is really a single-axis turn. After the rebound, I want to get my right foot very close to her right foot, so that I can get a lot of momentum for the single-axis turn.
Double Volcada with Split Weight Turn
This is one of my signature steps. At 1:25, I lead her to a volcada, but instead of returning her to a “tight” cruzada, I lead her a little more to my left so that her feet are separated by a few inches. As she puts her free leg down, I stop her so that her weight is evenly split. She is on axis at this point and I walk around her with her weight split. As I get all the way around, I move her weight back to her right and lead another volcada. You need the space between her feet, mentioned above, so that she can have room to pivot.
Forward Volcada from Back Cruzada
At 2.21, I lead a back cruzada and then initiate a forward Volcada.
Demo of Linear Volcadas to Music 12/03/2012
Melodía Porteña (1937) by Juan D’Arienzo
Alternating Back Volcadas
At 0:19, we do alternating small back volcadas. The main tip here is that I am going slightly down and back up to free up her leg each time.
Back Cross and Volcada from Rebote
At 0:28, we are in cross system and I step into her back open step with my forward cross step and then rebound (rebote) back and to the right (diagonally) causing her to do a back cross and then volcada.
Tip: With this step, I have a little contra-body happening since I am stepping outside partner. I keep that contra-body position as I step back and straighten after the back cross.
Back Cross and Volcada from High Sacada
At 0:40, we enter cross system and I step inside with my left performing a high sacada to her right leg. At 1:22, we do the same high sacada but in parallel system.
Tip: For a high sacada, we perform a sacada above the knee so that our upper thighs touch. It is not a push, we barely make contact.
Simple Back Crosses
At 2:07, we do some simple back crosses in parallel system, but here they are pretty much all on axis and not so much volcadas.
Sacada to Giro to Back Cross and Volcada
At 2:18, we did not go over this in class.. I just did it as we were dancing.
Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks class demo to "La Vida Es Corta" by Ricardo Tanturi canta Alberto Castillo, 1941.
In this class, we took requests from our students and worked on concepts that they wanted to work on. Each couple had their own things that they wanted to work on and this demo puts them all together.
Traspie to Ocho Cortado
At .07 of the video, we start with an arrepentida (rock step) to the open side of the embrace. We then begin a side step but interrupt it and return towards the close side of the embrace (traspie). We discussed with the guys that it is more of a point and pause than a change of weight at the moment of the traspie. The great thing about this move is is circularity and flow.
Barrida in Close Embrace
At .22 of the video, we perform a barrida while staying in a close embrace. To do this I relax my embrace and turn my upper body towards the close side of the embrace while taking weight on my left foot, freeing my right for the barrida. I perform the barrida with my right and then take weight on it leading her to collect and then cross over (pasada) my right foot.
Parada with Barrida to Single Axis Turn
At .29 of the video, we perform a parada and then a barrida in close embrace.
Tip: At the beginning of the parada, I stop her with her weight still on her left foot. As I step around her for the barrida, I shift her weight to her right foot before starting the barrida.
At the end of the parada, I take a small step back and instead of leading her over my left foot, I sweep (barrida) her right foot with my left in a circle around me (single axis turn).
Tip: At the moment of the single axis turn, I tighten my embrace just slightly and breath up for the single axis turn. Also, the men should simply turn around the woman and not sling themselves around her. Don't overdo it.
Tip: The women should control their left (free) leg during the single axis turn and not allow it to sling out, thus compromising their balance.
His Barrida to Her Barrida to Pasada
At .40 sec of the video, I sweep Shelley's leg and then lead her to sweep my leg back.
Tip: During any Barrida, the women should keep a slight amount of pressure on the man's foot, this will allow him to go in any direction with the barrida.
Sacada Exit for Parada
At .50 of the video, we perform a basic parada sequence and then I tuck my left leg behind my right, change weight, and perform a sacada with my right to her forward cross.
Basic Alteration from her Forward Cross
At 1.16 of the video, I lead Shelley to a forward cross and then change the direction (alteration).
His Barrida to Her Barrida to Leg Wrap (1.32)
His Barrida to Her Barrida to Single Axis Turn (1.43)
This class demo is from a class on adding rhythmic embellishments to the ocho cortado using the music of Juan d'Arienzo. We looked at embellishments for both men and women. We started by encouraging the men to use their feet a little more to the rhythmic music of d'Arienzo, but picking up their feet slightly and stepping to the rhythm of the music. We also looked at using the quick quick slow rhythm on the arrepentida leading up to the ocho cortado and on the side step.
You can see a very basic ocho cortado at .43 of the video.
Embellishments for the Women
We started by discussing the fact the the men are not doing anything different. They are simply leading an ocho cortado and the women are choosing which embellishment to do.
The first embellishment can be seen at .23 of the video. You can see that Shelley places her weight on both feet during the side step and pivots her hips and feet (not her upper body) clockwise and then pivots back and crosses.
At .29 of video, Shelley shifts her weight completely to her left leg, pivots on her left and flexes her right foot up. (We also encouraged the men to be more playful with the music and to repeat the ocho cortado twice in a row).
At 1.27 of the video, Shelley shifts her weight to her leg and actually collects her right. She then returns to her right, pivots and crosses. This one is tricky and requires women to be very fast on their feet.
Very Compact Ocho Cortado
At .51 of the video, you can see a very compact ocho cortado which could be used for very crowded floor. The men simply turn their chests (not hips) clockwise while extending their right foot slightly forward. His weight and balance should remain on his left foot.
Starting at 1.00 of the video, we can see several embellishments for men. Essentially, I am balanced on my left foot and using my free, right foot to place it to the inside of her right foot and then the outside of her left (and added a barrida for fun). I could also place my foot to the inside of her right foot, etc.
Vals is one of the rhythms that we dance to at Milongas (Tango Dance Parties). This class will focus on understanding the rhythm of Vals, how to incorporate your existing steps into Vals and new steps that fit nicely into Vals.
Synopsis: This class focuses on using Cross Steps in the rhythm of Vals.
Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks
Dual Molinete or Giro 20 Second Mark of Video Demo Description: All in Cross System, MBC & WBC + MOS & WOS + MFC & WFC + MOS & WOS Tip 1: This move is usually repeated twice and works best with a quick quick (Double Time) on the MBC & WBC + MOS & MOS then slow slow on MFC & WFC + MOS & MOS. Tip 2: After the Back Crosses and Forward Crosses both the Man and Woman collect their feet and Change Weight instead of taking real Side steps. Tip 3: This is a very circular move, so the Man and Woman should very much step AROUND the other never stepping away from one another. Tip 4: Do Not skimp on the Forward Crosses, take real forward steps around each other.. not tiny ones. The Man’s Forward Cross can also go deep to get a Sacada.
33 Second Mark of Video Demo Description: MFC & WBC in Parallel System + MOS & WBC in Cross System: Man performs a MFC and the Woman a WBC and the Man collects and changes weight to his Left and pivots the Woman clockwise and perform a MOS & WBC in Cross System, The Man then collects and changes weight to his Left and REPEATS from beginning. TIP 1: The Man always collects and changes weight to his Left on every step. He is always stepping with his Right. TIP 2: The Man always steps with his Right on the downbeat and is double timing every step. The Woman is not changing weight with him, she is just stepping on every downbeat.
Drunken Ochos 12 Second Mark of Video Demo Description: In all Cross System, MOS & WBC + MOS & WBC + MOS & WBC: From Back Ochos in Cross System, as the Man leads the Woman in a WBC to the Open Side of the Embrace, he takes a tiny step forward with his left turning counter clockwise 90 degrees. Then he takes a large Open Side Step (MOS) with his Right as he leads her to a WBC to the Close Side of the Embrace. REPEAT Tip 1: This is all in Cross System and the Man and Woman are both stepping on the downbeat of the music. Tip 2: The turn happens with the Man’s Left foot, his Right foot only goes side ways. Tip 3: The Leader must lead ochos which require the Woman to pivot, not walking or non-pivoting ochos.
Arrepentida with a Cross Over Step. This is a very musical move and is very helpful for changing directions if you need to in order to avoid a collision with another couple.
Figure 1: Arrepentida with a Cross Over Step In Demo at :28 of Video Demo
In Slow motion at 2:36 of Video Demo
Step 1: The man takes a Side Step with his left and does a quick weight change to his right (double time). The woman takes a Side Step with her right. They are now in cross system.
Step 2: The man then takes a Forward Open Step with his left to the open side of the embrace and leads the woman to take a Back Cross Step with her left. His upper body is turned slightly clockwise to her.
Step 3: The man then takes a Forward Cross Step with his right to the open side of the embrace but does not complete that step, rather he rebounds off of his right as he steps back and counter-clockwise with his left. This results in a change of direction of about 180 degrees. Then he crosses his Right foot in front of his left. The woman takes a Back Open Step and then rebounds off of her right foot and takes an Open Side Step around the man with her right foot.
Step 4: The man changes weight to his right foot which is now crossed in front of his left. Both the man and woman collect.
Step 5: Repeat Step 2
Step 6: Repeat Step 3
Step 7: Repeat Step 4
Step 8: Repeat Step 2
Step 9: The man takes a Forward Cross Step with his Right and leads the woman to take a Back Open Step with her right and to perform a Forward Cruzada and to change weight to her left. The couple is back in Parallel System.
Tip: There are double times (quick-quick-slow) for the man on steps 1, 3 and 5. There is a double time for the woman at step 9.
Tip: On step 3, the man needs to contain the woman and give a lot of energy to the rebound and to bring her around in the change of direction. He does going slightly down in his right leg to get more energy from the floor for the rebound. He also makes sure not to collapse his embrace. he needs to keep his embrace solid so that she does not get behind him.
Tip: On step 3, the woman should feel the man lower in the rebound and that should be an indication of a large step coming. She will need to take a large side step around the man in order to stay in front of him.