Check Steps/Incremental Steps

These are simple pieces of tango vocabulary really. It’s a step. Nothing more than that. Don’t get confused or lost in thinking this is overly complex. It’s not. It looks cool but there it’s insanely simple. It is leading and following a step. That’s it, that’s all. To be a bit more clear, there are two piece of vocabulary, one is an extension of the other. The Check Step itself which is an unweighted led extension (the Followers) which can be show with or without a lead’s extension in a myriad of ways (forward, side, back, or around!). And then there’s the Incremental Step which is a continuation of the Check Step idea, only in…increments - hence the title “Incremental Step”.  These are really simple things however, the cool  part of using them comes when you start to apply this stuff to music, and in specific 8th or 16th notes in the music. However these things take on monster significance in Milonga and Sincopa! That said…let’s look at the Check Steps/Incremental Steps.

Check Please! The video above is only a small snippet of the HD video (run time: 16:26). It only shows one important aspect of the Check/Incremental Step the weight transfer, but not the rest of how to construct a Check or Incremental Step! If you'd like you can Download Check Steps and Incremetnal Steps for just 19.99.

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From A Following Perspective let's be clear about something, there’s not a whole lot here for you that you haven’t already heard, that you haven’t already done. There’s no great surprise here from a technique standpoint. Sadly. This is something that you’ve been led to do a thousand times. It’s walking, and really stepping, not necessarily walking as far as you’re concerned. However there is a tiny, but important twist.  The twist ? Responding to the intent. How’s that ? The amount of the intent that you receive from the lead (the action, not the person) is equal to the size of your step. So a little bit, means a little step. A moderate amount, means a moderately sized step. A lot ? Means that you’re taking huuuuuuge steps. 😉 That’s the key to making these things work for you so that you don't end up stepping too far away from your lead. It’s about ‘listening’ to the amount of intent from your L/lead.

To be fair, a good number of leads are not clear about their ‘intent’ to do something, they're very ‘fuzzy’ actually, an unclear lead. Half heartedly doing something and then when it fails (because they just expect X, Y, and Z to happen), they stop in the middle and try something else, and you're left standing there to fix it so that you both don't look foolish. 

Correction: The key to making the Check Step function properly is clear, direct intent. However, the Incremental Step, is more about continual intent that acts more like a pulse more than anything else. It’s the same impulse for you for the Check Step, but instead it is starting and stopping over and over again. However, the stop in this case is done without a weight transfer until the end of the step! So for you, this is really about the Follower’s Extension and making that extension as long and as clean as possible without a weight transfer at all until you’ve been led to do so.

From a Leading Perspective this thing is all on you. And in this case, it’s all about execution. The cleaner your lead is, the more precise your lead is, the more detailed your lead is without pulling or pushing. Or as a lot of leads resort to using compression (squeezing) their Followers with their right arm/forearm to ‘stop’ them from going too far (with either the Incremental or Check Steps).  The cleaner you make your lead without using force, tension, or resistance, and the more that you employ Intention, the easier that Check Steps and Incremental Steps become.

The Check/Incremental Step functions because of the application of controlled intention, not because you’re squeezing your partner to get them to move and then stop. No. Intention is what makes this thing work, and then the really cool part is the illusion that you can generate with this, by making it appear that they’re going on their own with it, and then the cool part, catching up with them! That’s just one possible application.

One thing to be careful of is not engaging the weight transfer until the end of the step. This part is insanely important. Understand that this is really about leading the Follower’s extension either for a single step (Check) or a continual step (Incremental). Most Leads make two mistakes here with the Check/Incremental step: 1.) Engaging the weight transfer, and then 2.) Pulling back from it. This effectively creates a ‘Rock Step’. This is not a ‘Rock’ Step at all, and it should not be confused with one.

Now to the really cool part: Applying this stuff musically. And in specific, in Milonga and any and all instances of Sincopa in Tango, Vals, and Milonga! How’s that ? The Check Step itself is a singular step. However, the Incremental Step allows for there to be 2 to 4 incremental motions which when placed in time to the music, allow for you to appear to accentuate the musical notes in syncopation to them! That’s where this stuff takes on a brilliance all it’s own. And put this in terms of ‘call and response’ where you lead the Follower to extend, extend, extend (that’s the call part), AND THEN catch up with them by extending your leg after the fact (the response part), then you create this wonderful illusionary visual that you’re ‘playing’ with the music.

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From a Dancing Perspective the Check Step is used more often than it’s kissin’ cousin, the Incremental Step. The fact is that you see more of one (Check), and less of the other (Incremental).

Check Please! The video above is only a small snippet of the HD video (run time: 16:26). It only shows one important aspect of the Check/Incremental Step the weight transfer, but not the rest of how to construct a Check or Incremental Step! If you'd like you can Download Check Steps and Incremetnal Steps for just 19.99.

FREEMIUM ACCESSget access for free, just register Subscribe for $1.99enter code: "TANGO7-199" 20% OFF DIAMONDenter code: "DIAMOND-20" Get GOLD+VIDEO Membershipget video feedback of your dance!

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