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Argentine Wraps

Argentine Wraps

The Argentine Enganche is actually a misnomer of a word. “Wrap” is the Anglo-American version, whereas the Spanish cognate is actually “Enganche”.  The words Themselves are somewhat telling, in either language. How’s that ? In the English version something is going to wrap something. In the Spanish something or someone is going to be Enganche’d. The English version refers to one very specific thing, while the Spanish version is a much broader definition. Much broader. This is one of those pieces of Argentine Tango vocabulary where it rightfully classifies as ‘cool’, seemingly ‘intricate’, and definitely worth doing once or twice as spice or accent but certainly not an entire dance filled with them (ahem, hint, hint, hint). That said, let’s talk about the Argentine Enganche and in specific the Argentine Wrap!

What is an Argentine Enganche ? The Enganche is a family of tango movements, and the Argentine Wrap is a limited subset of the Enganche that we want to explore. An Enganche can be but is not limited to where the dancer’s free leg, can engage their partner’s free leg or the open space between their legs in a myriad of different ways through either a Gancho, a Ganchito, a Rebound, un Libre Pierna (a free leg) Columpio (swing), or a version of a Sacada, and/or a Wrap in the English sense of the word.  However the Argentine Wrap is a limited subset of the Enganche idea. A bit more specific really, where the Lead, or the Follower, mostly the Follower in this instance, can, and will, 'wrap' their free leg around their partner's standing leg usually from a side step. However a Wrap can be achieved from either back or forward steps as well, however it is slightly more challenging to do so.

The Argentine Wrap is 1 of 4 Displacements that happen in Argentine Tango. The first that this site has talked about is the Argentine Sacada. The next is the Argentine Gancho. Next is the Argentine Boleo (for Lead or Follow). And the very last is the Argentine Wrap (or Enganche). Displacement ? What’s that ? Meaning that the Free leg will either drift away as a result of an invasion as in the case of an invasive step. By default if someone steps into you, you're going to step backwards or away from them. There are 3 possible responses to this invasive step. 1.) A displacement. 2.) A Default Resolution. and 3.) A Learned Resolution. The video above unfortunately doesn't make a distinction between 2 and 3. The one that we're after is #3. A Default Resolution is one that has been developed by the dancer as their goto behavior. In the video above it's where the Follower allows their leg to go back but they as a result of the invasion allow it to swing but their default training know that that's a less than desirable thing so they bring it to closure or collection and allow their body to turn as a result. 

So let’s get started. We have a lot of ground to cover concerning The Argentine Wrap!

Difficulty Rating:  3.0 Stars3.0 / 5

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Purchase! The video above is small snippet of a full HD video (total runtime: 31m:49s). You can purchase The Argentine Wrap for just 34.99 not including your level discount. You can get a $3.00 discount if you register to see the discount code!

From A Following Perspective this is learned vocabulary for you no matter which version or idea you’re doing (Enganche or Wrap). This is not something you are going to do by default. The reality is that you must be taught how to Wrap and how to Enganche. What to listen (feel) for, how to respond at the beginning, during the middle, and at the end. By default you will displace your leg, or take it away from the Lead, as a result of what the lead will invite you to do. Your first response is the safest one, to go away. The wrap on the other hand, requests of you to do something else, and that’s where we need to learn the proper response. So let’s focus on just the Wrapping component itself.

To be clear and to get this into your head before we go any further: The Wrap is always, always, always, always, always your choice! Not the Lead’s. Got it. Say it out loud: “The wrap is my choice”.  No matter what some Lead tells you to do that you’re expected to them. That’s absolute bullshit. Put simply: If you do not feel safe, if you do not feel taken care of by the lead that you’re dancing with, then you know what ? Don’t go there. Just don’t. The right and proper thing to do here is the displace your leg, meaning to allow you leg to drift away from the Lead’s invitation! 

That said, probably the most difficult thing for you is the invasion itself on the typical side step that’s led. The rest for you is a piece of cake. In a lot of ways, if this is done right, this is very similar to the Follower’s Molinete. It’s Forward, Side, and then Back. There’s just a few things that make that side step slightly more challenging. Below are a few things to keep your mind:

The ‘Circular’ Side Step: The side step is around your lead, not away.

The ‘Free’ Leg: The resulting Free leg,  is being requested to ‘wrap’ around the lead’s leg, deeply and fully. You’ve got to get in there. You can’t be dainty about this one. It’s the fleshy part of your thigh wrapped knee deep to the fleshy part of your lead’s thigh. And being ‘dainty’ about touching the inner part of the lead’s leg doesn’t work here. In short, you’ve got to get all up in the lead’s business. Don’t be shy about this. Get in there.

The Time Sensitive Part: The exit from the wrap is time sensitive. Meaning that if you get in and out quickly without listening to the speed of what’s been led, then things look a little choppy. Or if it’s the polar opposite, if the Lead’s speed is very quick, and you’re moving as though you were stuck in molasses, then we have a slight problem. So we’re always looking to match the speed of the lead AND the music! That’s a tall order.

Nine times out of Ten, you’re going to end the common form of the Wrap on your back step. And that means thinking of the Back Step as if it were an Ocho, and that’s because it is one. So technically if you execute a Wrap the right way, you should end up doing a full 360!

The Free Leg Automatic Wrap: There’s another type of Wrap that happens for the Follower. This Wrap, however, is where the Follower assumes that because their Free Leg is swinging free, that it is meant to Wrap. They’ve been taught this shall we say ‘less-than-desirable’ leads who are used to flinging them around. This is not something you want to engage in. If you’ve been shown this, or taught this, it’s not wrong…it’s just less than desirable behavior. Put simply, there’s no reason for that leg to swing freely like that unless you’re specifically been led to a Volcada, and the Argentine Wrap does not by any stretch of reality resemble an Argentine Volcada. So in short, keep your legs together!

The Older Milongueras: There’s a story that is often told to younger women by the older women, that you don’t open your legs to a man that isn’t your husband. And the wrap breaks that conventional thinking. Which is one reason why until just a few decades ago, the Wrap was viewed as shall we say, scandalous Follower behavior. Thankfully the mores of the day have changed, and things are a bit more relaxed. 🙂

One More Thing: There’s only one reason for you to Wrap, and one reason only. Just because a Lead sticks their leg between your legs is no reason for you Wrap your legs around them! No. Poor form. There’s a reason why this happens. And that reason has everything to do with rotation. If there’s no upper body rotation, there’s no wrap! 🙂

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bsas-prep-title

From a Leading Perspective again focusing on just the Argentine Wrap and not the Enganche group as a whole, this is accent or spice vocabulary. Don’t get all (no pun intended) wrapped up in doing them. This is clearly vocabulary you use sporadically, and very sparingly at that! That said, let’s dive into 5 things you do not want to do here.

However before we get there, because some of you only read your section instead of both! It’s important to point out to you that the Argentine Wrap is always, always, always, always, always the Follower’s choice. Which is to say that just because you stick your leg in there does not make it so that the Follower MUST wrap their leg around yours. No! Not by any stretch of the imagination. It is always the Follower’s choice to Wrap their legs around yours. So don’t get all persnickety with them if they don’t. You lead it once, and let it go. If it goes well, smile.

Now to the 5 things You Want to Avoid:

Learned Vocabulary: This is ‘learned’ vocabulary, meaning that the Follower must be taught or trained how to respond appropriately, it’s not something they’re going to do by default! So in other words, you do not want to do this with a beginner Follower! This is one of those pieces of vocabulary that you should not lead on a/with a beginner dancer. Major No-no! Not ever. They need a whole bunch of stuff at the beginning of the curve of their dance and this, as much fun as it can be, is not one of them! So that’s a “no” to the Argentine Wrap with the beginner dancer! Are we clear ? 🙂

You’re an Unsafe Lead: You’re not being safe with them, and you’re not taking care of them, and they’ve opted not engage in this with you for safety reasons.

You’ve Gone Too Deep:  Your invasion step is too deep, and therefore they will displace by default. This can also be seen as being a little too creepy. And trust that you don’t want any part of that!

You’ve Gone Too Shallow: Your invasion step is too shallow, and therefore there’s nothing to Wrap! This means that the Follower has to infer what’s being asked of them in any of the 4 common Wraps.

You’re Not Leading Disassociation:  There’s no upper body rotation, and thereby no indication to ‘Wrap’.

Your Embrace is too Compressive: This should be self evident, but a bit more fleshed out here is that you want to create space with your arms, not compress or restrict the Follower’s motion in any way, shape, or form with your arms. Tsk, tsk, tsk! Doing so, make it very hard for the Follower to ‘follow’ you!

A Positive Aspect: Having said those things, there are major positives to using an Argentine Wrap. One of them is that it is a great way to transition from Open Embrace into Close Embrace and vice versa. This is a transitionary step, one that can and should open a Tango Door for you: The Fluid Embrace Construct. A Fluid Embrace ? In the modern idea of Argentine Tango this idea has come up in recent years, as a way to incorporate more vocabulary choices that seemingly break the Close Embrace idea. The Fluid Embrace opens that doorway and allows for the inclusion of other ideas that allows for the embrace to change based on the vocabulary being executed, and the Argentine Wrap is one doorway that we can safely (to a degree) walk through to that place of the Fluid Embrace dancing idea.

About The Video. This video comes in at 31m:49s in length in 18 Sections. Both lead and follower technique is combined and integrated in the video.

Section 1 - Introduction - 00:01:46
Section 2 - 5 Points of Follower Technique - 00:01:50
Section 3 - Beginning Lead Technique - 00:02:18
Section 4 - Lead and Follower Technique Together - 00:01:31
Section 5 - The Closed Inside Wrap - 00:01:29
Section 6 - The Closed Outside Wrap - 00:01:19
Section 7 - 5 The Practice Embrace - 00:01:26
Section 8 - The Open Side Outside Wrap - 00:00:25
Section 9 - Open Side Inside Wrap - 00:00:21
Section 10 - Three Lead Errors Detailed - 00:01:54
Section 11 - The Follower’s Choice - 00:02:36
Section 12 - The Back Sacada Wrap Option - 00:02:03,
Section 13 - Wrap Review - 00:02:35
Section 14 - The Double Wrap - 00:01:39
Section 15 - The Close Embrace Wrap - 00:01:20
Section 16 - The Follower’s Choice - 00:02:36
Section 17 - The Flashy Wrap - 00:03:37
Section 18/End - Closure/Practice - 00:01:41.

It can be purchased for $24.99 or downloaded as part of your subscription with your discount.

From a Dancing Perspective the Argentine Wrap/Enganche is easily one of the more intricate looking and can be an elegant thing to do. However, typically what happens that it is poorly executed by the lead squeezing the living daylights out of their Followers, and flinging them around through the Wrap. We don’t want this. Not by stretch of the imagination. When executed properly the Wrap can be a very fluid expression of the music. To be fair, the Wrap can be also be a little scary for some people. It’s rightfully going to freak them out for a variety of reasons. So in short we want to use this stuff sparingly. Carefully. And then here’s the hard part, let it go. It’s accent vocabulary that works really well with the ‘Long Stringy’ notes of say late Di Sarli, Caló, or Pugliese. However once it’s used, let it go and get right back to dancing. It’s spice. A surprise. Let it be that and nothing more.

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 Watch It On Youtube ? Why should you pay for this video, or subscribe to this website when stuff like this is available on Youtube ? Because what you'll find on Youtube doesn't explain and walk you through the how an Argentine Wrap works! That’s why! 

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. 😉

Eventually, one way or another you’re going to pay for this lesson, either here and now, or with them. TANSTAAFL! The difference between that lesson and this ? Is that you get to play this lesson over and over and over again. Further still, there are supporting materials (other videos) that help to explain the language and the underlying technique.

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!

The Last Word. Tango Topics is little reminders and snippets of information that your teachers would have told you about but didn’t have time to or didn’t care to remind you for the umpteenth millionth time. Do you need videos like these ? Yes. Why ? Simple…you need as many reminders as possible in as many forms as you can get. In today’s Tango world it does take a village to raise a dancer. And that means having as many voices, reminders, ideas, concepts, perspectives as possible. This video and the rest of the ones that are sitting behind the Tango Topics paywall are that. While what you’re seeing above is only the smallest hint of what’s contained in the actual video. It should be enough for you to make a reasoned and intelligent choice that perhaps there’s something of value in this site and the videos that are here. Considering becoming a Gold, Gold Plus, or Diamond level subscriber today.

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Ocho Cortado Wrap

Ocho Cortado Wrap

The Linear Ocho Cortado is a venerable piece of tango vocabulary used primarily for cutting turns, adding accents to the ends of musical paragraphs, or just to add a bit more ‘fun’ to the dance. It’s great in open, fabulous in close embrace, and just delish when led and followed slowly. There’s nothing crazier than an Anti-Ocho Cortado (reversing the Cortado, lead doing the follower’s steps & the follower doing the lead’s), while going against the music as counter point. 🙂 However, far too often a fair number of Leads, and a good number of Follower overuse it as if it were going out of style and they just have to get all they can in, before the end of the Ocho Cortado. After about the 3rd time most Followers yawn and yearn for something else, a little nuance, a little spice, a little…something else. While this belief could make most Leads (the person, not the action) cop to the ‘more vocabulary is better’ philosophy that pervades most leading classes, there is another way to go here. And that’s the add nuance. The nuance in this case is today’s Tango Topic: The Ocho Cortado Wrap.

What is An Ocho Cortado Wrap ? Put simply it’s a Follower’s leg wrap....

mixed with an Ocho Cortado (the ‘Cut’ Ocho).

To be fair the Ocho Cortado is not really an Ocho, not by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it a broken one at that. It is more akin to the Follower’s Molinete more than anything else.

Difficulty Rating: Ocho Cortado: 2.0 Stars2.0 / 5 Wrap/Enganche: 3.5 Stars3.5 / 5

From A Following Perspective you’re going to do a fair amount of work for this one. And most, if not all, of that work comes in the form of awareness on your part in 3 distinct areas below, and then their execution. This mixed move requires you to execute with some level of deftness and clarity what’s being asked of you so be prepared.

1.) Recognizing the Cortado. The Ocho Cortado itself is an easy piece of vocabulary for you to execute in Close or Open embrace. There’s really nothing crazy about it. The fact is though that you do actually have to recognize that this is a Cortado that’s being executed and not your Molinete. And the key component to that recognition is the opening check step that happens at the beginning of every Ocho Cortado. That motion tells you 2 things: a.) An Ocho Cortado is in your immediate future and b.) Something else could happen along the same lines, using an Ocho Cortado as the basis for that the other movement. 😉

2.) The Wrapping Indicator. Speaking of other things…. this particular piece of vocabulary for you is all about the nuance of the Wrap (Enganche) itself. So you ideally want to listen for something very specific: The invasion of the lead’s leg into your space, against the fleshy part of your thigh. That invasion tells you that this is no longer going to be an Ocho Cortado but instead, a Wrap!

and 3.) Your Side Step. Because you have already determined that it’s not going your Molinete, but instead of an Ocho Cortado, you need to make a small change in the execution of your side step: Instead of it being circular, it wants to be a linear side step. The reason being that if you’re too close, then the Wrap that the lead is looking for will not happen or become too unwieldy because you’re too close (circular side step).

Your awareness of these things regardless of whether or not you’re being led to an Ocho Cortado or a Wrap is can literally change the quality of its execution from one of “oh shit” (as in surprise) to “that’s cool” which will open up doors for you in terms adorning the Wrap itself, as there are a few places within the Wrap you have an inordinate amount of control over: the Leg up, the Leg/Calf Wrap itself, the Exit Wrap, and the Leg down. Lots of places to add a bit of ‘flash’.

The difficult part for you will be in the Wrap itself, your desire is to displace your leg (sending it out and away) unless you’ve have been trained to respond to a wrap specifically. And beyond that, the next major difficulty for you will be making the Wrap elegant and not gaudy. 🙁 The gaudy part is easy as it comes in many forms. The elegant part ? That takes time, patience, and practice. As there is a method to making the Follower’s Wrap actually work well regardless of who you are dancing with. For that to happen, look at 10 Wraps in the Tango Topics Archive. It’s full of Follower Technique on this topic.

From a Leading Perspective the Ocho Cortado Wrap is all about clarity for you. You need to be absolutely clear that you are leading ‘X’ and not ‘Y’. Otherwise the Follower will default to an Ocho Cortado. This axiom assumes that said Ocho Cortado is in their vocabulary, and they’re not suffering from Autopilot Following. 🙁 So what does “Clarity” look like from your perspective ?

1.) The Wrap Invasion. Every Lead that tries a wrap makes one of the few following errors. a) Stepping too deep. b.) Compressing the Embrace (Pulling). c.) The ‘Straight’ leg syndrome. d.) Watching the Follower’s feet. e.) Stepping too shallow. or what seems like a personal favorite -> f.) Stepping into the middle of the Follower’s space and just ‘expecting’ them to “Wrap”. Better known as not actually leading a damned thing. 🙂

2.) Leading the Linear Side Step and not a Circular one. 

3.) Opposition as you enter an Ocho Cortado. The oppositional forward step across you, is absolutely crucial to the success or failure of an Ocho Cortado. This is what will differentiate the move from the Follower's Molinete.

Without these three things being absolutely crystal clear in you, this nuanced variance becomes a lot like a watching a gymnastics tournament, and about as pleasurable from the Follower’s perspective, sadly. Mostly this stuff comes down to actually leading this stuff but not over-leading it. That’s a fine line. You have to suggest, but not force. You must indicate, but not use your arms to do it. You must invite without resistance in any way, shape, or form. Resistance is Less Than Desirable. Period.

One thing that should be obvious is that the ending vocabulary, how you exit, mostly will be Traveling Ochos more than anything else. Why ? Because the ending step of the Wrap is set up for just that! 

dancing in a small space ? watch these videos!

bsas-prep-title

About the Video: This video comes is 21:44 in length in 14 Sections.

Section 1 – Introduction – 00:00:20
Section 2 – Ocho Cortado Review – 00:00:48
Section 3 – Lead Reminders – 00:02:22
Section 4 – Follower Reminders – 00:03:23
Section 5 – Ocho Cortado Both Roles – 00:00:23
Section 6 – The Wrap For Leads – 00:01:33
Section 7 – The Wrap for Followers – 00:01:42
Section 8 – Wrap and Cortado Together – 00:01:43
Section 9 – The Open Embrace Version – 00:00:50
Section 10 – The Close Embrace Version – 00:01:14
Section 11 – The Open Side Cortado Wrap – 00:00:40
Section 12 – Why This ? – 00:01:56
Section 13 – A Double Wrap – 00:01:53.
Section 14 – Adding a Lead Gancho – 00:01:19.
Section 15 – Closing.

It can be purchased for $15.99 or downloaded as part of your subscription with a discount.

From a Dancing Perspective truthfully this is nuance vocabulary. Nothing more, nothing less. And it should rightfully be used as such. Spice. Accent. Think of adding the wrap to this as a little tiny surprise. A change of pace. Nothing more than that. It’s a variation on a theme of Ocho Cortado Options with a clear fixation on the Wrap as the exit possibility. Are you going to see this a lot ? No. Is the Follower going to expect it ? No. Is the Lead going to not push or pull in this or use their arms ? That remains to be seen. In reality this stuff does fit within the line and lane of dance, and can be a very useful too in accenting certain singular accent notes in say Di Sarli, Fresedo, or Caló. De Caro, Tanturi, or Rodriguez may not work unless the wrap is more of an enganche more than anything else, a quick ganchito. So really, more late Di Sarli more than anything else.   

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 Watch It On Youtube ? Why should you pay for this video, or subscribe to this website when stuff like this is available on Youtube ? Because what you'll find on Youtube doesn't explain and walk you through the how an Ocho Cortado Wrap works! That’s why! 

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. 😉

Eventually, one way or another you’re going to pay for this lesson, either here and now, or with them. TANSTAAFL! The difference between that lesson and this ? Is that you get to play this lesson over and over and over again. Further still, there are supporting materials (other videos) that help to explain the language and the underlying technique.

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!

The Last Word. Tango Topics is little reminders and snippets of information that your teachers would have told you about but didn’t have time to or didn’t care to remind you for the umpteenth millionth time. Do you need videos like these ? Yes. Why ? Simple…you need as many reminders as possible in as many forms as you can get. In today’s Tango world it does take a village to raise a dancer. And that means having as many voices, reminders, ideas, concepts, perspectives as possible. This video and the rest of the ones that are sitting behind the Tango Topics paywall are that. While what you’re seeing above is only the smallest hint of what’s contained in the actual video. It should be enough for you to make a reasoned and intelligent choice that perhaps there’s something of value in this site and the videos that are here. Considering becoming a Gold, Gold Plus, or Diamond level subscriber today.