Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance


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Tango Building Blocks – Number 3

In Today’s Building Block Episode (#3) we have three pieces of tango vocabulary that are used:

1.) Lead & Follow Incremental Steps
2.) The ‘Gooey’ Gancho
3.) The Follower’s Back Sacada.    

The first of these elements is used, sparingly, but not as much as they should be. It is probably one of the more musical items that either a Lead or a Follower can engage in that clearly and decisively ‘Interprets’ the Music from their perspective. (Please note the usage of the phrase ‘Interprets the Music’. This is in our concerted opinion a far more useful and helpful way of talking about the umbrella misnomer that is frequently misused: Musicality). In the easiest form, the Incremental Step, is very similar to a Milonga Traspie. The only difference is that the Incremental Step is done outside of the Habanera Rhythm and can be used anywhere. Whereas the Milonga con Traspie is used only inside Milonga, and in specific where we want it to be inside the Habanera, and if we’re being persnickety (and we are) inside El Golpe. And if you don’t know what either the Habanera Rhythm is or what “El Golpe” is, you can see it them both here. The second of these elements is used very infrequently, the Gooey Gancho, and in our opinion not enough, as it is one of the more beautiful forms of the Gancho. But due to the Gancho having been overused and forced onto so many Followers that they rightfully have a distaste of and fear of it, it’s no wonder that it’s not exactly the most popular vocabulary on the block. And lastly, this is the most common form of the Back Sacada, the Follower’s Back Sacada to the Open Side of the Embrace. Usually this piece is done from the Linear Ocho, or the Circular Ocho, but the more common form is from the Follower’s Molinete!

That said, let’s dive into Today’s Tango Topics Building Block.

Difficulty Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

see spot run. see spot tango. see spot register. good spot.

Have you seen any of our Sacada Videos ? If you have a want to learn how to Lead and to Follow the Argentine Sacada, then this is the video series for you. Close Embrace Sacadas? No problem. Simple Sacadas ? Yup. Back Sacadas ? You betcha! And a lot more.

See > All The Sacadas and The Ultimate Sacada Bundle

the traveling ocho eluded him. he subscribed. he’s better now.

What is a Tango Building Block ? In many ways, Tango is a lot like a set of Lego™ Building Blocks. With just a few simple blocks you can build very complex and intricate structures. Tango is the same way. With just a few basic moves like forward, side, and back you can build very complex movements that can later be applied in very different ways. That’s what makes Tango so amazing. It’s never the same dance twice even with the same partner and the same music!

A Tango Topic Building Block goes one step further. This isn’t just about showing you a move or a step, pattern, or figure but giving you tools that you can integrate into your dance immediately. Ideas that you hadn’t even thought of or considered.

Frequently when we dance, we get very ‘stuck’ in our repetition of the same piece of vocabulary over and over and over again. This series is designed to give you ideas, options, and opportunities to employ differences to add a bit of spice to your dance using very simple ideas.

Let’s get something out of the way going further: This video series and everything in that follows is not a step, pattern, or figure video series. We’re not going to teach you a series of patterns. We believe that steps don’t really help you. Tango, for lack of a better way of putting it, is a dance that is choreographed on the fly, meaning that it is improvised. While that improvisation has some elements to it that are common (the building blocks) how you put those elements together is where the real artistry is at. Put another way, the dance is not ‘canned’, meaning that it is mapped out precisely in time to the music as though you would choreograph a ballet. That would be a performance. What Tango Topics is offering you is a way to expand your dancing repertoire using the vocabulary you already know today, in ways you hadn’t really thought of, and more importantly for use on a social dance floor.

There’s a lot more to this ArticleThere’s the extensive Lead’s Perspective, the deeper Follower’s Technique Perspective, and sometimes we throw in a complete Dancing Perspective part, all of which are only visible to Tango Topics Freemium Registered Users, Gold Subscribers, Diamond Level Users, and Milonga Madness Users. To become a Freemium user, Registration is absolutely 100% FREE, click the button below, and you get access to this article, and over 400 videos, hundreds of articles on a wide range of Tango Topics. So what are you waiting for, go register, then login to your Tango Topics Library page and then select the “ARTICLES” button and you’ll see this article with all that good stuff in there. Easy. No ? 🙂

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The Case For WHY You Need This ? Actually, you don’t need it. Huh? Hmmm…that’s no way to sell videos or subscriptions. You’re right. It’s not. That’s because we’re not in the business of teaching you useless vocabulary that you probably don’t need. Stay with us on this one, it’s not going where you think it is. From a very specific point of view, this is cool vocab. No doubt about it. However, from another point of view, the social dancer who’s been dancing a while, a long while, this is nothing more than vocabulary that doesn’t further the cause of Social Dancing. Now here’s the kicker – Both, yes, BOTH points of view are valid. Here’s why:

From the Social Dancer’s point of view, you’re never going to use this stuff. Maybe once in a blue moon, but in reality the better that you get, the less you use this stuff. From their point of view, it’s four pieces of vocabulary that you need: The 6 Ways of Walking, Traveling Ochos/Milonguero Ochos, The Follower’s Molinete/The Milonguero Turn, and lastly – The Argentine Cross. That’s it. That’s all you need. From the Dancer’s point of view that’s hasn’t mastered this stuff yet, this is cool and you want to play with it, and to be able to master it. To find it’s in’s, out’s, how’s, and why’s, and mostly to have fun with it. Both points have their merits.

And now to the one twist in our point that you probably weren’t expecting. This stuff actually has validity, maybe not from a social dancing perspective, immediately, but more from a movement, and musical perspective. The fact is that this is all about one thing and one thing only: Skillz!

There’s a reason you study vocabulary like this, and it’s not because it’s cool (it can be), or that’s it’s musical (it is), or that it’s fun (it is that), or that it adds a little spice and variety now again (the once in a blue moon methodology). It’s because it’s all about your Foundation. Or put another way, because this vocabulary works your foundation in a really good way, by breaking down the movements to their component elements, so then you can become a much more fluid dancer so that you can use it, or not. It’s about availability, accessibility. Not about using it. Using it is entirely up you. But working the instrument, that’s what this vocabulary does. It works your instrument, … ahem…that’s you in case you weren’t paying attention.

No one wants to admit that they need help. That their dance isn’t stellar. Furthermore, you really don’t know that your dancing skills aren’t absolutely amazing until you see a room full of people all dancing way better than you are. And then you see it and feel like the poor cousin at the kiddie table during a holiday meal. There’s a reason those people have achieved ‘better’. It’s doing work like what you see in the video above. Being able to turn this stuff on and off as if it were a switch. A good portion of the time when we’re dancing we only think about the ‘cool’ toys in our dancing and we neglect the one thing that makes those cool toys possible: Our Foundation. That is, in case you’re not paying attention, this video series and others like it.

the full video is only available to subscribers

About The Video. This video is 3 sections and when combined create a singular viewing experience of 31m:07s.

Part 1 (16:55) – Explains the 3 pieces of vocabulary with options and variations. Part 2 (07:05) is with a Metronome to show you how some of these ideas can be set to a time signature. And part 3 (07:37) is with a piece of music. There is no Technique discussed in the video.

For technique please visit the individual topics listed below:

Part 1 – Explanation (00:16:55)
Part 2 – Metronome Tools. (00:07:05)
Part 3 – Music (00:07:37

Full Technique Videos In This Article: 

Cross Body Incremental Steps – Article / Download
Golden Nugget ExtensionsArticle / Download
Gooey Ganchos – Article / Download
Back Sacadas 2019 – Article / Download 

Related Videos Mentioned In This Article: 

Follower Technique Series – Definition/Download
The Six Ways of WalkingDownload

Applied DisassociationDefinition/Download
Linear OchosDefinition/Download
Traveling OchosDefinition/Download

the full video is only available to subscribers

The Missing Information. Dearest Reader. TangoTopics is glad that you want to read this Topic, so that you can dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, you’re missing three important parts to this Article: The Follower’s Perspective, The Lead’s Perspective, and The Dancing Perspective. Which can change your thinking by informing of some important pieces of information that you may not necessarily be aware of. Watching a 5 minute video will not help you to change. Change is a concerted effort and requires a little thinking on your part: Becoming a Freeium User! As the name implies, it’s FREE. Register. You get to see everything above, and a whole lot more! 😉 Have a nice day.

Have you seen the Milonga Madness series ? Over 2.5 hrs of pure Milonga Instruction GOLD with one of the best Social Milonga Teaching couples alive: Detlef Engel & Melina Sedó! It covers everything you need to know to get you up and running today with Milonga. Don’t delay, subscribe today!

Milonga Madness with Detlef Engel & Melina Sedo

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Why should you subscribe instead ?  Several reasons.  1.) Probably the biggest reason is to save a boatload of money. Buying these things outright isn’t cheap. Besides when you buy you only have access to the one video. Subscribing, on the other hand, gives you access to everything else so you can see the foundational material that goes with this stuff. 2.) Even if you’re a Free User, you’ll get access to free tips that aren’t available to anyone just reading the post like this one. 3.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 4.) Because the Dancing Perspectives (Lead, Follow, and Dancing) are hidden to the open user. And that’s where all the information is at, unless you actually subscribe. Until you do, those very important textual descriptions of what’s going on for both Lead and Follow you want to read. 5.) And the real reason you should subscribe ? If you’re used to YouTube videos where you’ll see a performance, those Youtube videos don’t explain or walk you through how these ideas work! That is why! What you’re seeing is a presentation, a performance. Not how things work! And what you really need to see is how things work, and more importantly why they work! This website shows you that and more! 

Remember that what you’re seeing is a couple that is performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they’re not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about ‘Social Dancing’  or how to make things function on a social dance floor. Social Dance floor ? Your local milonga! They’re showing flashy moves as a presentation! But not stopping and talking about how this works, why you’d want to put that piece of vocabulary there, or how to make things fit. This website is all about those things and more!

You could watch those videos and thereby spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that particular 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. This is known as Tango Twister.  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 showing you how to properly excute this stuff from a Leading Perspective as well as from a Following Perspective!

The goal of YouTube videos is to get you to study with those teachers in person. The goal of Tango Topics videos allows 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 you’re done.

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 of how and why things work, so you can easily reference those things in the corresponding articles that go with the material, and or any language in the Tango Topics Dictionary. 


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