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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.

Creative Boleos I

Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
5/13/2013

This video is from our class on creative and unexpected boleos. We do not cover all of the instruction given in the class in this video. This demo is for our students to remind them of the material covered in the class.

 

Soltadas Part 2: Compression, Impulse and Expansion

Date: 4/15/2013
Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks
Song: Navegante (Vito Dumas) by Carlos Di Sarli with Roberto Rufino

This class was the second in our series on Soltadas. We focused on building compression within the embrace and using an impulse to create expansion. As always, this video does not cover everything we talked about in the class, but tries to cover some of the major concepts. We also discussed how these concepts can be applied to our more traditional tango.

Floorcraft
This is a more nuevo tango move and requires more space than we might have at a typical milonga. We stressed, to our students, the importance of respecting the space that we have. These are not moves that we would do at a typical, crowded milonga. This could be used, but only on a large dance floor when you have plenty of room. For example, we have an alternative hour after our usual milonga, often during this time there would be plenty of room for these steps.

Also, not all milongas are crowded or maybe towards the end of the evening the floor thins out. These moves do not move backwards, they progress forward. You need at least 2 to 3 steps in front of you, that is all. Just be respectful of the flow of the line of dance and the other dancers on the dance floor and you should be fine.

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.

Linear Volcadas from Back Crosses

This class primarily focused on linear volcadas initiated from back crosses.

12/03/2012
Melodía Porteña (1937) by Juan D’Arienzo

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.?

Linear Volcada from Back Crosses?
At 0:06, 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. At 1:06, we do the same step to the other side.

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.

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.

Milonguero Dip and Playful Rebotes

11/19/2012
Gato by Edgardo Donato with Horacio Lagos

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.??

Milonguero Dip with Playful Rebotes (Rebounds)
The “Milonguero Dip” is an embellishment (adorno) to the woman’s forward cross. Whenever a woman is taking a forward cross with her left foot, the man dips down onto his left foot and leads her to a quick counter-clockwise pivot. He then steps back with his right and she steps forward into the close side of the embrace with her right. He then leads her to pivot again to take a forward cross in front of him and leads her playfully to rebotes back and forth.  This step can be seen at the very beginning of the video at 0:06


Origins of this Step?
When I first went to Buenos Aires, I saw many of the older dancers doing this step and loved it. Years later, I took a class with Murat and Michelle Erdemesal and her the term “milonguero dip” for the first time. The term was originally coined by Jennifer Bratt and Ney Melo, two great tango dancers and teachers. On that same trip, I took several lessons with Osvaldo and Coca Cartery and picked up this cute rebound (rebote) step from them (below is a picture from that class).??

Tip for Men: Wait until her left foot has her weight, before you lead the dip and pivot. To lead the pivot, send an impulse through the embrace down and around her left hip. Imagine a big circle around your embrace around your arms and backs, then imagine a smaller circle inside the embrace around her hips. Just like with any other pivot or boleo we want to send our impulse around the inner circle or “inside the embrace” instead of the outer circle.

Tip for Women: At the moment of the Dip, the man lowers his vertical axis and the woman should match him. The couple should return to a normal height with the next step.

Tip for Women: As the woman dips and pivots, she should unhook her feet so that she is ready for the next step. Don’t leave your right foot hooked behind your left. During the dip and pivot, the woman should not try to stay glued to his chest, she should relax her embrace and role on his chest letting her right shoulder come closer to him than her left shoulder.

Tips for Rebotes: In the first one, the man is leading with his upper body while keeping his legs apart in an open side step. This is very important, the rebotes are not points. They should have some weight transfer and feel like real rebounds using the whole body not just the legs. To be even more specific, we begin to switch weight, but rebound before we get 100% to our new leg. So our shifts happen in the middle of our steps.

Musicality?
We looked at executing the step with a smooth, elegant musicality (DiSarli, Fresedo) and with a sharper, more staccato musicality (Donato, D’Arienzo). For the rebotes, women should always be listening to the music, but they really really have to for the rebounds to work. She needs to be hitting the beat with her feet going back and forth. She can also do embellishments to play with the music.

Variations
Milonguero Dip with simple exit (0:20)
Simple back and Forth Rebotes (0:38)
Rebotes in Salida Americana (0:40)
Milonguero Dip from Giro (1:32)
Milonguero Dip from Ocho Cortado (2:07)

Milonguero Dip examples from Sunderland Milonga in Buenos Aires. You can see the Milonguero dip at 4:20, 10:27, 13:50 and 16:44 (couple in background, green dress):

Volcadas Part 1: Basic Circular and Linear Volcadas

12/09/2013

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.

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.

 

Misc - Traspie to Ocho Cortado, Barridas to Paradas & Single Axis Turns

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)

Single Axis Turn from Side Step (1.53)

Embellishment for the Men at Parada (2.00)



 

Compact & Elegant Variations of the Ocho Cortado

Instructors: Clint "el gato" Rauscher & Shelley Brooks

Song: "Bailemos" by Carlos di Sarli with Mario Pomar singing.

Compact Ocho Cortados (for crowded dance floors)
We started by looking at very compact variations on the ocho cortado, for small spaces. Most dancers take several preparation steps to get into the ocho cortado. We tried to trim this process as much as possible. We looked at this in parallel system (.34 of video) and in cross system (.40 of video). The most compact of all is shown at 2.27 of the video.

Elegant Ocho Cortados
Usually, ocho cortados have a built in rhythm of quick quick slow. The first concept that we explored was letting go of the quick quick slow and stretching out the time it takes to execute the ocho cortado. We still want the feet to be hitting on the beats of the music, but we can skip beats and take our time.

Stretched Ocho Cortado in 3 parts

The primary move that worked on can be seen in several places in the video but at 2.12 if can be seen the best. We start with the side step with the man's left and the woman's right. The man stays on his left and leads the woman to a back cross step, then to a side open step and then to the forward cross step (cruzada).
Tip: The man stays on his left until he leads her to the cruzada at which time he switches back to his right. He should leave his right leg behind for most of the move and lead the move in his whole body. When she takes the side step, the man should pull his right foot slightly back to make room.
Tip: The man should step a little farther than her on the first side step. Each step should have a slight feeling of rising and falling into the steps. The man should not lift her with his arms but rather his whole embrace should go up and then settle.
Tip: Also, notice how much each person pivots during this move. You can not leave your feet stuck to the floor, they must pivot.

Bonus steps:
Ocho cortado with barrida to leg wrap (2.47 of video)

Initiating Ocho Cortado from a Side Step (1.54 of video)

Ocho Cortado with Barrida to Cruzada (2.07 of video)