Tango Topics | Social Dancing Tools

The Argentine 'DIp'

The ‘Dip’ is a very common form and expressive move used in most social dances. Argentine Tango has it’s own version of a ‘Dip’, however this version of the Dip looks nothing like what you’ve seen before. It’s almost not worth calling it a ‘Dip’ to begin with but it is in truth of fact, the Argentine version does classify as a ‘Dip’.

Let’s back up a moment and address the possibility that you have no idea what a ‘Dip’ is. A ’Dip’ refers to what is called a Dancing Dip. And it is what it sounds like, a physiological dip in the movement of the couple. Where one partner, the Lead, stops the dance for a moment to express some aspect in the music. Usually that moment is characterized by a long, languid note.  At that point the other partner (the Follower in this case) is led into a controlled, but partial, fall within the embrace of the first partner (the Lead). This is a ‘Dip’ in technical terms. Usually this kind of move is very, very dramatic, and done in the extreme to maximize it’s effect. And the effect is very visual, generating lots and lots visual lines, postures, and poses for the couple. One such idea is the ‘Death Drop Dip’ (which Tango does use in Performance Tango) where the Follower is led to almost touching the ground with their back, and one arm stretched out towards their partner  The Argentine Social Dance version of this idea is the polar opposite of this extreme idea. The Argentine Dip is more felt than it is dip. That said, let’s talk about the Argentine Dip.

From A Following Perspective you are going to be the one who is being ‘dipped’ here. And unlike other social dances where the dip is exceptionally overly dramatic that borders on the athletic gymnastic display, the Argentine version of this for you is more about a ‘lag’ than anything else. The key component for this dip to work for you is where it is done. Usually, you’ll find yourself led to this out of an Argentine Cross. Specifically a forward step across your Lead. That forward step IS the Argentine Dip for you. However, it’s how it is done that makes this very unique. There is no back bending, no acrobatics here for you. None. This is all about a lag in response time for you. The more that you lag on taking the forward step across your the Lead, the more that you ‘Dip’. That lag is the dip itself. However, let’s be clear about something. This is entirely a led move for you. Meaning that this is not something that you ideally want to initiate on your own. Doing so would create unintended consequences for both roles, mostly confusing the hell out of your Lead. Not to mention it would violate the guidelines of an Active Follower (yes, there are guidelines). That said, while this site is all about the role of the Active Follower, initiating an Argentine Dip out of the Argentine Cross on your own can create more problems for you than it’s worth.

That said, you do have an aspect that is totally under your control: Your technique of the Forward step out of the Cross. 1.) How and where you place your foot. 2.) how you extend your leg. 3.) Where you place your foot. and 4.)  The speed at which you do these things. These 4 elements are all under your control. Executing any 1 or all 4 of these things creates options and opportunities for you. Further you can actually control where the partnership is going just by moving that leg/foot by 2 or 3 millimeters towards or away from your Lead.

There’s one place where the Argentine Dip can be employed that is not in the video, and in this case it’s all about you. It’s from your Molinete, and in specific your side step, into your Forward step around your lead, which is a resolution to come back to face your Lead. That resolution IS the Dip! You have so many options to ‘dip’ at that juncture it’s not even funny anymore.

So while the Argentine Dip doesn’t give you the ability to initiate it. It does, once led to do so, give you an inordinate amount of options and opportunities to do something else that makes both partners look absolutely fabulous!

From a Leading Perspective, like everything else in Tango, you’re responsible for initiating this one. It also falls on you to do something that you’re not going to want to do. And that’s allow the Follower some space to play with this one. You can lead the Argentine Dip to be certain, however, the real beauty of this lay in allowing the Follower play with the lag time a little bit, specifically on their Forward step.

To be clear, you’re going to lead the Follower to an Argentine Cross in either Parallel or Cross system, and after such instead of leading them to walk out of it, or to side step (tsk, tsk, tsk) you’re leading them to a Forward step across you. In the transition from the cross step to the Follower’s forward step is where the Argentine Dip actually happens. The trick in how this is done is in the video itself. You’re not going to see it specifically no matter how many times you slow it down to frame by frame, you have to have it explained in exactly what the Lead is doing to generate this ‘lag’ in the Follower. There is a toy here, and the toy once understood can be applied nearly everywhere! One really cool place where it could be applied is in leading the Follower’s Molinete. Specifically their Side Step into their Forward step around you, which ends up as a resolution. That resolution IS the dip as was pointed above. However there’s one little trick here that you want to use here, and again it’s something you’re going to have to fight yourself on. It’s creating space for their resolution. You’re going to want to pull them closer and you can’t do that here. You have to allow them the space to ‘lag’. That space IS the dip!

Where are you going to use this stuff ? The answer is musical. You just don’t throw these things in their willy-nilly, haphazardly. No. They’re done in time to a particular point in the music. Where you might ask ? Think late Pugliese (before he left Argentina for Paris) 1950 – 54, that time period of his music. Think Miguel Calo, almost anything later. Think D’Agostino’s “Trasnochando” (the ’43 version), or “Cafe Dominguez” (the ’55 version, there’s only one out there). What you’re listening for is a place in the music where the bandoneon has a long ‘stringy’ note and stretches out for a beat or two. That beat or two is where you would place the ‘Dip’.



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From a Dancing Perspective the Argentine Dip is not seen, it’s felt. The moment you see it you’re going to think, what’s the big deal ? It’s easy to miss. Really easy. It just looks like a hesitation really. That hesitation is the ‘dip’ itself. However to the dancers this is something that is clearly felt. Specifically on the crossing step and coming around to lead the Forward step across the Lead. That transition is where the hang/lag/hesitation happens, however the dancer feels that  as a sharp shift in inertia, it almost feels like a tilt-a-wheel, where you’re being throw apart from each other and yet at that moment, the hang that occurs is a ‘whoosh’ and that whoosh happens for just an instant and it’s probably one of the better moments in a tanda, like a ‘wheeeeee’ moment when you were a kid flying down a hill on your bicycle. Only this happens for just an instant. It’s insanely cool! 

The Missing Information.  There’s a free tip (for registered free users) that’s not here because you’re not logged in. If you were logged in, you’d see a free tip, but because you’re not, you’re not seeing it. So ? If you want the free tip, then go register as a free user and login. 🙂 However, if you want the toys, and to see the 13 minute HD quality video on how to properly lead and follow the Check Step/Incremental Step and all the toys that go with it. Then you have 2 options. 1.) You can buy it. or 2.) You can subscribe!

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, with real world examples, of how this stuff works! That’s why! And furthermore, what you may see from some of those videos is shall we say, less than desirable social tango technique. So, please, go right ahead, go watch all the presentation videos you want. Spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out from the single camera angle how things might work in that situation. Which may help you, and more than likely it won’t, because you’re missing something! The explanation from an experienced teacher! Which is precisely why those videos exist on Youtube. The goal of those videos is to entice you to actually go study with those teachers in person. Eventually, one way or another you’re going to pay for this lesson, either here and now, or with them. 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 underlaying technique. Which 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 armed to do so!

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