The 'Pulled' Gancho

The ‘Pulled’ Gancho. The word ‘Pulled’ here is quite apt. A ‘Pulled’ Gancho is exactly what it sounds like. Before we can walk you through this, we have to talk about what a Gancho is before we get to the issue at hand and what the Lead can do to stop it from happening, and more importantly what the Follower can and should do to stop it from happening! In Today’s Free View of Practica Tango Advice, we display and discuss an aspect of Tango happens all too frequently, The ‘Pulled’ Gancho.

What is an Argentine Gancho ? Fortunately for you, dear reader, you have a whole series of articles and videos on this stuff. The 4 Common Ganchos are available for you to watch. This video covers something that is NOT in those videos. Put simply the Argentine Gancho is a tiny hook with (from either a Leading perspective or a Following perspective), in this case a Following perspective, the Free leg. Both roles can, and do, Gancho, or ‘hook’ the other with their Free leg in some very interesting and unusual ways. 🙂

What is a ‘Pulled’ Argentine Gancho ? You’ll see this from time to time, where a Lead will use their Right arm to pull the Follower into a 30 to 50 degree lean (applying force really), into and onto the Lead. All the while ‘jerking’ the Follower’s torso around with the Lead’s arms, hoping that the Follower will understand to allow their Free Leg (usually the one furthest away from the lead) to swing freely, around the Lead’s straightened right leg (assuming parallel system) thereby resulting in a tiny ‘Gancho’. Phew!

From A Following Perspective, For you this is and should be an Ocho. Nothing more than that. Usually this is done out of the Forward step of your Molinete, or deliberately from the Americana Embrace. More on the Ocho below. The fact is that you’ve done this so many times that it should be second nature. However, there are some gotchas here as indicated below:

The Follower’s Free Leg Debacle. For you there is a component to this that is all on you, and you have to be exceptionally fastidious about it. In case you’re not clear on this point, you are in 3 in heels. That heel is a lethal weapon. And letting the Free leg FLY FREE is a major no-no. You do not, under any circumstance, want to allow that leg to float free on a crowded dance floor. Why ? Because more than likely you’re going to impale someone with that heel girl! It’s that simple. So in other words ? Come to Collection, and keep that leg and foot close, about 6 or 7 inches out and and even that’s pushing it!

The Interrupted Ocho. The fact is that this is an Ocho for you. Nothing more, nothing less than that. It just so happens that the Ocho is interrupted. It’s interrupted for two reasons: 1.) The lead’s foot is in the way, and 2.) their knee is in the way. Therefore you can’t complete the other side of the ocho! As a result of that interruption, your free leg swings away and around as you complete the other side of the Ocho and…..Gancho! For a clearer explanation of this technique, please see the Free Leg Gancho video. 🙂

Dancing Defensively. You do not need to do Gancho, ever, with your Lead. The Gancho is always, always, always your choice. Put simply if you do not feel safe…. If you do not feel as though you are being taken care of by your lead…. If you do not feel as though your body is being respected, then you know what ? DUMP THAT LEAD A.S.A.P! Any Lead that does what the video above is showing, is not being respectful of you, your time, or your skill set. No lead should pull or push you. Ever. It’s not just cool. Period. Further still any Lead that forces you to do this should be promptly walked away from!

Some people may argue with the harshness of this attitude but the fact is that a Lead that is doing this is a.) Either unaware that they’re doing it. and/or b.) Doesn’t care about you as a person per se, just that you execute X, Y, and Z in their idea of what is timely. You would think that ‘discussing the issue’ with them would be the proper and right course of action. Not so. The fact is that their egos are engaged at that point, and you ‘discussing it’ with them while they’re dancing with you is not an option. Really it’s not. It’s like the Lead who dissects your dancing with them as you’re dancing with them. Not cool. Further still while some Leads do actually like feedback, them actually doing anything about it is a completely different story. The fact is that 2 steps later they’ll go back to doing what they were doing before you said anything. Why ? Because it’s all they know and it’s what they’re comfortable with. They honestly have to be trained NOT to do what they’re doing. Which takes time, patience, and a lot of reminders to stop the pulling, pushing, squeezing, compression, tension, resistance, and force.

From a Leading Perspective, four words for you - PLEASE. STOP. DOING. THIS. 🙂 This is not a style. It’s not a ‘fun’. Nor is it desirable:

If your roles were reversed, this were you in the Follower’s position, would you want some Lead manhandling and jerking you around ? Probably not. So why on earth would you want to do this to a Follower. More than likely you wouldn’t.

In actuality aside from the flinging free legs fact, is that the Follower becomes highly unstable when you pull them into a Free Leg Gancho as depicted above, and more than likely will collapse and fall down the lead’s body (the action and not the person). Is this desirable ? No. You ideally want a stable, controlled, and contained Follower to dance with you. So this means no using your arms, hands, or body to pull or push in any way, shape, or form. But rather guide, or suggest that the Follower is invoking a series of Linear Forward Ochos (Ochos that are in a line and don’t necessary travel down the line of dance, hence the ‘linear’ part - See video).

The Americana Embrace ? Why are you looking at this video ? Simple. Because the Americana Embrace is a component in the Free Leg Gancho that you're wanting. 

One more thing… Just because you stick your leg into the walking path of the Follower does not mean that they’re immediately going to ‘Gancho’ their lead. No. You, as the Lead, must learn to create space or in this case must learn to receive a Gancho, and that means bending your knee of the leading leg/foot to create that space. Most Leads make the mistake of stepping into the Follower’s space with a ‘straight’ leg. This is an error. Or to put this another way, there’s nothing there for the Follower to Gancho. Got it ?

From a Dancing Perspective both roles have a responsibility here. From the Follower’s perspective, it’s that when they’re being led properly to keep their free leg close to the standing leg on the Ocho! From the Lead’s perspective it’s to learn how to do this without tension, force, resistance, pressure, compression, or pushing and pulling but rather to invite, to engage, to suggest, to propose, to intend to ask for the Free Leg Gancho!

The Free Tip & The Soup. Typically as a free or paying subscriber you would see some things here that are either missing in the video, or some other details that the video implies or does not make absolutely clear. However, because this an open version of Practical Tango Advice, you're seeing all of it here.  Enjoy this free preview of today's Practical Tango Advice, and remember that this is just a small sample of what else is behind the the paywall of Tango Topics.

The Truth. It takes a lot of work to do these posts and videos, this is one reason why they're not free. I am a teacher and I have to make my living somehow and rather than teach local classes where there is political tango competition over students and class spaces. I choose to bypass all of that and instead focus my message on a much bigger tango community: the world. Usually these posts contain lots of information for you to take and learn from textually. If you can translate what's implied into actionable language, then you don't really need the video. However, having the video makes things about 10,000 times easier. 

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So, please, go right ahead, go watch all the presentation videos on youtube all you want. Because that's what they are 'Presentation' videos. The couple's that you're used to seeing are performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they're not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about 'Social Dancing'. So please, go spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that situation. Bend your body this way or that, twist and force this position or that. Place your foot here or there and figure it out.  Which can be a lot of fun, but more than likely it won't help you, because you're missing something: The explanation from an experienced teacher! (ahem) ME!  The goal of youtube videos is to entice you to go study with those teachers in person. The goal of these videos is allow you to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own space, so that you can play them over and over again to improve your understanding of the vocabulary or technique being described to therefore better your dancing experience. The goal of classes and workshops is to get you to come back over and over and over again, thereby spending more money with that teacher. This website and the videos under it are here to act as a resource for you to help you to improve your dance. Pay once and be done with it.

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In an hour long class, with the blind leading the blind through rotation of partners (uuuggggh!), you may glean a piece of the information you need and not get the whole thing, and you’ll miss important pieces that you’ll end up having to take a private lesson for to get the finer points. This way, you can watch over and over again, and get all the supplementary materials, and if you want you can still go take the class, only you’ll be better prepared to do so!

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