Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance

Back Sacadas 2019

Sacada. Meaning – ‘a-really-cool-move-that-you-think-is-really-complicated-but-is-an-illusion of techniques’.  For most people when they see a sacada for the first time, their reaction is one of surprise that a.) it looks really complicated (it’s not). and b.) that they can never see themselves doing one (you will). And these are usually forward sacadas for the Lead into the Follower’s side step. Usually. There are about 1024 sacadas, which drops to 512 when you rule out certain impossibilities. In reality, there are about 10 different ‘flavors‘ of them that when you combine the different flavors of walking systems, that number jumps to an insane number.  Things go right off the rails (as the saying goes) when we see a sacada that does not fit into this paradigm. Enter the “Back Sacada“.

Important Notation: This article & video has been re-written, updated, and the video has been completely redone for 2019 going forward. Originally the video that accompanied this article was 31 minutes and 35 second in length. It is now over 1 hr and 35 minutes.  The original video is still present and available for purchase, as it contains desirable information. However, the article that represented it is no longer present. 😉 Enjoy.

What is a Back Sacada ? The easiest way to describe this Sacada, which is a displacement, where either the Lead or the Follower will displace and then take the place of their partner by using a Back Step! Generally, these types of Sacadas require Applied Disassociation to make them happen for either role. Typically this type of Sacada is created whereby the Follower is led to Sacada the Lead, whereas the second most common variety is the Lead will Sacada the Follower.  Of all the Sacadas that one can lead and follow, this is probably the most challenging for a variety of reasons. Most notably because you quite literally have to have mastery over proprioception in order for them to work properly. Most people, however, do not have the necessary mastery, so they end up bumping into one another and feet getting stepped on, repeatedly. While this isn’t always the case, and not to disparage anyone’s experience of them Leading or Following these ideas, the fact remains that unless proprioception has been mastered then this type of Sacada will repeatedly fail.

Difficulty Rating:  (3 / 5)

From a Following Perspective. This is the quite possibly the scariest of all moves in Tango for the Follower. Why ? Most people have an innate desire NOT to hit or hurt anyone, and the Follower’s Back Sacada opens up that fear in very real ways. The Follower’s Back Sacada to the Lead’s side step or Forward Step is quite possibly one of those moves where the Follower has to do some serious acrobatics to make it work. Or so you would think. Not entirely true. Almost from the day that a Follower learns to dance. They’re expected to do 5 things right from the start: 1.) Walk backwards. 2.) Embrace nicely. 3.) Cross their feet. 4.) Turn. and 5.) Ocho. It’s the 5th one that we’re on about because your ‘Ocho’ as you understand it, with a tiny modification, and a little bit of technique work can become your default for all Ocho movements and thereby take the ‘scare’ factor out of any and all Back Sacadas for you. The fact is because the Follower is stepping backwards into their Lead they’re trusting (eeeek) that they’re not going to hurt the Lead! Talk about scare the shit out of you! “Please god, don’t let me screw this up!”. Usually that screw up comes in one of three ways. 1.) Missing it entirely (which is rightfully not the Follower’s fault, the move is poorly led most of the time). 2.) Stepping on their Lead’s foot (he led it, so why are you apologizing for it?). and 3.) Not placing their heel close to the floor. You see, the Follower is in 3in heels, and those things are lethal weapons, leaving the heel up, can cause…shall we say, ‘Issues’. 🙂 However, the solution to making a led Back Sacada work for you ? Is two fold … 1.) Learn to collect your feet. No. Seriously. Frequently you throw your leg out behind you like so…

And the 2nd solution ? Extend your leg only AFTER you have completed your Applied Disassociation!

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From a Leading Perspective. The Back Sacada qualifies as the quintessential ‘cool‘ move that quite honestly is on the radar screen (at the beginning) and is seemingly just out of reach for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the Applied Disassociation that’s in the equation, and not a ‘Pivot’. Applied Disassociation ? In order for MOST Back Sacadas to work, that means that you’re going to have to do some foundational work that you would think only belongs in the purview of the Follower: Study Your Ochos. And the foundation of the Ocho is ? Applied Disassociation. Most Leads think that kind of work is beneath them. They see women doing this work and think ‘Follower’ Technique. “I don’t have to study that stuff.” And they’d be wrong. If you want the cool toy, then that means you have to lose the attitude and go learn how to Follow and in specific learn how to Ocho without being pushed, or pulled in order to do it. That’s where the study of Applied Disassociation comes in. Correction: Intention Based Applied Disassociation! This isn’t pushing and pulling folks, this is work. And quite honestly, most people don’t want to do it. They’d rather push and pull to do the job. It’s not necessary. How does this relate to the Back Sacada ? Because the engine of the Lead Back Sacada is in fact their ability to freely Apply Disassociation without the use of resistance from the Follower, tension in the arms, or needing to push off of, or compress the Follower in any way, shape, or form, not even in the slightest. And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s more if you allow yourself to explore the possibilities.

As with all ‘Advanced’ vocabulary, we as L/leads, must research the frak out this stuff. We must make it fluid with our own bodies first and foremost. We must be stable. We must be clean. We must be clear. We must be all these things to the point where we’re not needing Resistance (tsk, tsk, tsk) or Pressure or Pulling or Pushing from either our embrace or our partner’s embrace in order to execute the desired Back Sacada. At the same time, we should also recognize that, yes, once we learn it and get all the bugs worked out (the aforementioned pressures and compressions from the embrace), that we’re going to go a little Back Sacada crazy. That’s fine, you need to see how it can work and where it can work and with what pieces of vocabulary. How it can fit here and there.  However, please also make the realization that it doesn’t become your goto move. These pieces of vocabulary are ‘accent‘ material. And in some environments, they’re really not acceptable at all. For instance, the Tango Encuentro environment, as a requirement to dancing there, you want to engage DIASS. And Back Sacada is NOT part of DIASS, and realistically may not necessarily fit or be possible for a wide variety of reasons. Not to mention the fact that the Follower more than likely isn’t expecting it because of the Encuentro environment! The environment dictates that your dance become a very contained version of Social Tango where the emphasis is on expressing yourself musically while adhering to the 4 primaries of Social Tango: The 6 Ways of Walking, Traveling Ochos or Milonguero Ochos, The Follower’s Molinete to the Lead’s Giro or Milonguero Turns, and the Argentine Cross. The crux here is that we want to use this vocabulary sparingly, as accent material, and nothing more than that. Think of the back sacada as Salt in a meal. If you add too much salt, the food becomes unpalatable. The same is true in Tango. Too much of anything and it’s just not fun anymore. So the order of the day, especially with this stuff is less is more.

These 3 Back Sacadas are just one of a few that we’ve singled out here. There are many, many, many more.

From a Dancing Perspective. The Back Sacada takes up an inordinate amount of space on a social dance floor, while it is the cool flashy move, it also like spice in a meal. Spice ? Use it too often or too much and you ruin the meal! Use it sparingly (very sparingly) and then it’s a nice surprise now and again (like once in an evening and then let it go). However, most of you, specifically the Leads, are not going to hear this and think that you’re being ‘cool’ because now you can set up and receive a Back Sacada or you can do them yourself. The fact is that there really is no space on a social dance floor for them, except in the middle of the room. And most certainly not on a crowded floor in the outer track. Not now. Not ever. But again, you’re not going to hear that because you’ve gone Sacada crazy, and you want to try out the cool new toy. Let me introduce you to the only place where you should use them – A ‘Practica’. Specifically the ‘North American’ version of one. Where it’s not a class, it really is about ‘practicing’. That’s about the only place where you really want to pull this thing out and play with it. So if it doesn’t belong on a social dance floor, then why teach it ? Answer, it’s not about the Sacada but rather the underlaying technique of how you generate one – the Applied Disassociation!

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this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

About The Video. Total runtime for this video is: 01:38:55. This is a combined video format, lead and follow technique are mixed together. The item in bold is unedited and is at the top of this article as a sample.

Introduction – 00:06:22
Disassociation/Applied Disassociation Review – 00:20:54
Trailing Foot – 00:05:27
Leg Extension – 00:11:06
Dangling Foot Error – 00:04:18
First Common Back Sacada – 00:12:35
Second Common Back Sacada – 00:07:00
Dancer’s Cheat/Lead’s Cheat – 00:05:41
First Common Multiple Back Sacada – 00:07:34
Second Common Multiple Back Sacada – 00:02:26
An Interesting Back Sacada and a Surprise Back Sacada – 00:07:47
Close Embrace Back Sacadas/Closure – 00:07:45

Related Videos:

6 Ways of Walking – The Walking Bundle – Download
Simple Sacadas 2018 – Article/Download
Back Sacadas 2015 – Download
Disassociation – Definition/Download
Applied Disassociation – Definition/Download
Applied Disassociation ExerciseMember Only

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

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