Home > Tango Resources > Tangology 101 Blog

Tag Name: traspie


Milonga con Traspié

In this week's class, we focused on milonga con traspié. We had several people stay after class, because they were so excited about milonga... so we ended up running out of time to do the instructional part of the video... we will try to do one next week for this class.. but here are some highlights in text:

 

We started with more milonga basics of keeping the simple, regular time rhythm of 1, 2, 1, 2 by changing weight.

With all of these steps, we focus on:

* keeping the rhythm. Both the man and woman are responsible for holding the rhythm.

* staying relaxed and trying to release any tension in the embrace and especially in our hips and legs. This will help with quickly switching weight.

* precision footwork by bringing our feet completely together when we can.

* mixing dancing to the single, regular time rhythm and dancing double time. In my opinion, lots of people look like they are just running around the dance floor during milonga, because they are trying to dance double time the whole time. I prefer dancing in regular time and using double time more sparringly.

:07 to :16
Then we step outside partner, bringing out feet together and changing weight to the rhythm. Then we step back and change weight to the rhythm and repeat.

:17 to :21
Then we step outside partner, bring our feet together, change weight and immediately step back, change weight and back forward outside partner and repeat.


:25 - Traspié to the Side
There is a lot of confusion over the term traspie. Some think of it as a stumble step or as dancing in double time (quick-quick). While these are partly true, I think a more accurate definition is using the same leg twice. Some say it comes from the term "pie detras" which means "foot behind." I think this is a very accurate description of what happens.

We start the side traspié by stepping outside partner with our right, then we take a step to the side with our left and then forward AGAIN with the our left, leaving the right foot behind. So, we use our left to step to the side and then re-use it again to step forward.

We can also think of traspié as rebotes (rebounds) or arrepentidas (repents). We often do traspiés in double time or as syncopated steps, but that is not what defines a traspié. But do keep in mind that when some teachers talk about traspié they are using it as a synonym for double time or syncopation.

:44 - Here I step back and then perform a side traspie and back to collection. Then I take a forward step and another side traspie and back to collection. Then immediately to a back traspie and continue back.

1:36 - Mix n' Match Traspiés
Here we do a string of traspiés forward, side and back for both the leader and the follower. You can see here that we can mix and match the traspiés. I can do forward while she does back or we can both go forward or both go back etc.

 

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)



 

Milonga: The Baldosa Box with Variations

Milonga is one of the 3 basic rhythms that we dance to at tango dance parties, also referred to as milongas. Milonga is in 2/4 time and is one of the predecessors of Argentine Tango.

The Baldosa Box
A baldosa is a large tile. You are considered a great tango/milonga dancer if you can dance on a baldosa (i.e. in a small area). The baldosa box is a basic and very useful figure of tango, vals, and milonga which goes like this:

Steps Leader Follower
1 Back open step with the right Forward open step with the left
2 Side open step with the left Side open step with the right
3 Forward cross step with the right to the open side of the embrace Back cross step with the left to the open side of the embrace
4 Forward open step, back in front of the woman, with the left Back open step with the right
5 Side open step with the right Side open step with the left
6 Change weight, in place, to left / Often this step is done in double time Change weight, in place, to right
  Then repeat. Often steps 5 and 6 are double timed (quick quick). Also, sometimes I like to collect and change weight at 4 instead of stepping forward (.22 of video).

To see a clear demonstration of this step, watch .15 to .19 of the video below.

Variations

We then looked at many ways to alter the figure to add musicality. We started this class, by listening to several popular milonga and finding the 1 & 2 in the music. Milonga has two beats per measure. The 1 is usually the strongest and we encouraged the leaders to find the 1 and to step on it with their right feet. We also encouraged the women to be listening to the music (as always) and to want to step or change weight on each beat, unless the men specifically do something to prevent that.

  1. If the floor is crowded, I often change weight in place instead of taking the forward step at number 4 above (.22 of video).
  2. Turning the step - You can turn any of these steps, but I especially like to turn the side step (Step 5 above) 45 to 90 degrees and then turn back to the line of dance on the next back step or side step.
  3. Rocking the side step - I also like to create a rocking feeling with the first side step (Step 2) (.39 of video). I begin taking the side step to my left, then rock back to my right, collect my left and change weight.
  4. Hesitation steps (.11 of video) - I would also refer to these as traspie. Most people refer to traspie as meaning double timed steps, but the true meaning of traspie is "to stumble". Whatever you call it, I begin taking a small step back with my right leg and stop mid-way through my step. I put a tiny amount of weight back on my left and push off to take a slightly larger step. I want to resist rocking back and forth, so I don't go completely back to my left. It is more of a feeling of going back, slight pause and going back some more. We can use these hesitation steps on all of our steps forward, side, and back. (1.21 of video). I also like to do double hesitations on my side steps (4.01 of video).
  5. Toe Points (.53 of video) - I love this one and women really seem to love it as well. There are a few hints for this one. I step outside partner to the open side of the embrace with my right foot, making contact with my upper right thigh to the her upper right thigh. Then I pivot slightly to the left and then back to the right (repeat as many times as I like) and then step back with my right. Another secret is that I try to stay as much on my left as I can, so that my right leg is free to move side to side, BUT I can't lean my upper body backwards. I want to stay upright and straight.
  6. The walk around (1.51 of video). When I begin walking backwards, I keep turning clockwise with my right shoulder going away. I also take very small curved steps to try and create a very small circle. She is on the outside of the circle so she has to take much larger steps. I have to keep curving, until I want to exit. Once I get back to the line of dance, I straighten my body and she comes back in front of me. I usually do this when I step back with my left and then have her take a straight step back into my path with my back right.

Below you will find a video of these steps being demonstrated to two different milongas, one slower and one faster.