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Ending A Dance

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Ending A Dance

As far as Argentine Tango is concerned we’re taught the steps, the patterns, the figures, a very small amount about the music (that there’s a beat and that you should follow it). We hear these words about ‘following the line of dance’, which is a bit about floorcraft really. We get indoctrinated into the activities, and some never really do, of Cabeceo and to a lessor degree Mirada. And for the most part we’re left to our own devices as to ‘How to start a dance with someone’, ‘What to do during that dance with someone’, and ‘How you may want to interpret the music while dancing’. At no point along the curve has anyone ever said to you, more than likely, “This is how you end a dance with your partner”.

Guess what ?

Tango Topics, while what’s about to follow will sound like a sales tool, it is anything but that. It’s express a point that is rarely talked about but rather assumed and not a whole lot of thought is put into it. That said, Tango Topics has put a great deal of thought into ‘How to start a dance with your partner‘. It also has videos on how to Cabeceo and how NOT to Cabeceo. As well the importance and usage of Mirada and why you want to use it. Tango Topics has an inordinate amount of articles (see: Tango Floorcraft) as well as videos on floorcraft and how to engage the idea. It has articles & videos on the specific vocabulary of Argentine Tango to create a little bit of variety and spice in one’s execution of the dance. Like for instance Milonguero Ochos, Traveling Ochos, as well as Ochos Variations, Cortados, Turns, Sacadas, Ganchos, Social Colgadas, Paradas, Social Volcadas, just to name a few. As well as an extensive video series by Detlef Engel and Melina Sedo on Argentine Milonga. It also has extensive video teaching tools on how to listen to the music on the whole, and what you’re wanting to pay attention to and why. It even has a tango thoughts section that can help with your tango issues. Out of all of that, there’s no video and no article that can help you to understand HOW YOU END A DANCE.

To be fair, there’s a video on how you want to walk someone from the floor, but that’s not really a video and an article on what might seem like common sense when in fact, believe it or not, it’s not common sense for a lot of people.

So today we’re going to skip all the build up to this and get right down to Today’s Tango Topic – How To End A Dance.

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Have you seen the Walking Systems video ? This video series showcases the Six Ways of expanding your walk in Tango using: Parallel System Walking, Cross System Walking, Three Track Walking, ‘Lazy’ Ochos, The Snake Walks, & Alternate Walking.

Learn > The Six Ways of Walking

mark found the habanera in gold madness. you can too! 🙂

How Do We Want To End A Dance ? Answer: Simply. Nothing flashy, but very simple and plain which is to say: The way you start a dance is how we want to end a dance. If you started out facing each other, then you want to end up facing each other. How hard is that ?

How Do We NOT Want To End A Dance ? Answer: In a Pose. Frequently what you’ll see from performances is a ‘Posed’ ending to their dance. Meaning that whatever step they end in, they freeze in a tableau. That ‘tableau’ is usually a very exaggerated and stylized position that almost NEVER happens in tango…ever. Which is great if you’re performing and want to show off. But, in case you hadn’t noticed, you’re not showing off, you’re Social Dancing, and you’re not performing for the room. It’s just YOU and YOUR PARTNER. Which is to say that there’s absolutely ZERO reason to do engage in a Tango ‘Pose’. None. Yes, it may look cool…to you! And, yes, it may be ‘fun’ for about 2 seconds. However, the reality is that you will look a little ridiculous. At the same time if you end with a Pose constantly, it gets (as the Brits say) “Cheeky”. Meaning that it’s just too much. Once or twice in a blue moon, and by that we mean once every few years, but not every song of every tanda. So….ummmmm…not so much with that idea. See the how we want to end a dance above.

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Have you seen our Practical Tango Advice posts ? Not to toot our own horn but these are like little free classes on bits of information that you already know, but seem to forget when the music starts. Think of these as all the things your teacher would have told you in a private lesson but didn’t have time to do so!

See > Practical Tango Advice

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Enter The Salida Step. ‘Salida‘ comes from the root word ‘Salir‘ in Spanish. Which, when translated from Spanish to English, means “to Leave” or “to Exit”. When an ‘IR’ verb in Spanish is put in the past, this is a Past Participle which in English adds an ‘ed’ ending to the verb. In Spanish, we add a ‘ada’ or in this case ‘ida’ ending. Which when translated would make the verb become “Leaved”, which isn’t a word but “Left” or “Exited” is. However, from a Tango perspective, the word Salida means “to leave one’s seat, and enter the floor or the line of dance“. Further still, it also implies the very first step that we engage in as dancers. Typically that first step has always been a side step (Lead Right to Left, and Follower Left to Right) to enter the line of dance as quickly and expeditiously as possible so that we can begin dancing with our partners. Over time the ‘Salida Step’ has become somewhat more intricate in the multiple ways in which we can start the dance and enter the line of dance, thereby expanding the side step to include vast swaths of vocabulary. We even teach a variation on a theme of this idea which we call “The Dark Side Salida” which you should totally go look at. It’s a fun exploration of what you could do to start a dance!

However the Salida Step also refers to the Closing Step of the Dance! Meaning ? It’s the very last thing that you do. Or in this case invoking the thing we pointed out above, finishing as you started. Facing your partner.

One More Salida. Over time the Salida Step has also referred to the exiting step. Which is also the step OUT of the Line of Dance. Which in this case, should be, a side step > Lead Left to Right, and Follower Right to Left. This indicates, historically speaking, that we have now ended the dance. While this may sound ‘boring’, and a little antiseptic. It is anything but that. We want to end in such a way that calms things down not ramps things up!

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Have you seen the Tango Topics Tango Thoughts ? Over 130+ posts (and more) on every idea, concept, history, codigos, floorcraft, the male follower, the active follower, what to wear, shoes!, cake…yes cake at Milongas, advice on where to go in New York, Berlin, London, and of course a few Milongas in Buenos Aires, and so many more…go look.

See > Tango Thoughts

take a look at our specialty posts on cabeceo, mirada, age, sitting, and more

A Little Squeeze. Typically the end of the dance is a good place to add a bit more a hug, a quick bit of compression to the embrace, to add emphasis to the closure aspect and then a quick release and back to the realities of getting to know this person a bit more.

However….

Grrrrrrr…

This is where a whole swath of Male Leads have gone off the deep end in terms of crossing boundaries. They hold on a little too long. They squeeze a little too tight. And then to add insult to injury, the crown jewel awkwardness > They decide to put their head into the Follower’s neck.

Ask any Female Follower if they enjoy having a someone they don’t know all that well, have only just met, and that person decides to place their head in the crook of their neck while at the same time turning their face towards that female’s cheek.

Ask them if they enjoy that ?

The answer is a qualified “no”.

Qualified in the sense that if they know that person really well, or they’re married to or dating that person, then it’s sweet…ish…sort of. But for the most part, if that was done out on the street, that Follower would run as far away as possible, as quickly as possible.

It’s awkward, creepy, strange, and just inappropriate! Which is to say, Male Leads…STOP DOING THIS. You’re crossing boundaries. You may think you’re sharing your ‘soul’ with the female follower you’re doing this to or with, but the reality is that it’s wholly invasive!

Of course the men that need to hear this message, the men that need to see and feel just how awkward it is, will never hear it because you dear reader aren’t sharing this stuff with them. Which is not a plug to share it, it’s that if you find this stuff invasive and inappropriate then the burden is on you to share this stuff far and wide so that they hear the message.

Last words. End the dance any way you want, whatever works best for you. However, keep in mind the things were mentioned above. No one, not even this page is telling you what to do. It’s simply pointing out to you that there are desirable ways to engage in the formalities of social convention. Which is to say that ‘simple is best’. Put another way, that we want to end in such a way that we are creating closure with our dancing partners. Or another, there’s closure to the song, yes ? Shouldn’t there be closure to your dancing expression with your partner ? Answer: Yes there should be.

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The Linear Molinete

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If you were logged in, you’d see the full free version of this Article which includes the Follower’s, Lead’s, & Dancing Perspectives! Just sayin’… 🙂

 

The Linear Molinete

You’re out social dancing, and you’re finding yourself with either being led to a lot of Follower’s Molinetes, or the you’re leading the Follower’s Molinete over and over again with very little variation. From a Leading perspective, you’re stuck in Lead’s Mindset, or you’re just out of ideas where you feel like you need to impress the Follower with something new or different. From a Following perspective, you really don’t care just as long as the whirling dirvish you’re dancing with stops every once in a while and leads something else that is a bit less stressful. The only thing you’re caring about right now is staying in front of your Lead and trying NOT to be in the Lead’s armpit.

Scenario over!

Today’s Tango Topic deals with a variation on a theme that almost never plays itself out in a crowded Milonga mostly because you know…it’s a crowded Milonga. There’s no space for craziness. However, what we’re talking about today isn’t craziness. It’s a variation on a theme that you already know how to do from a Leading and Following perspective.

So today we’re going to skip all the usual build up to this and generate a bulleted list of what it is that we’re after and why.

With that said, let’s dive into Today’s Tango Topic – The Linear Molinete.

learning tango is challenging. registering makes it easier. 😉

Have you seen the Walking Systems video ? This video series showcases the Six Ways of expanding your walk in Tango using: Parallel System Walking, Cross System Walking, Three Track Walking, ‘Lazy’ Ochos, The Snake Walks, & Alternate Walking.

Learn > The Six Ways of Walking

mark found the habanera in gold madness. you can too! 🙂

What is a Linear Molinete ? In its simplest form, it’s the Follower’s Molinete spread out along a line instead of a circle around one’s Lead. In the Follower’s Molinete, the Lead engages in a Giro, or a self-turn over a singular spot. The Lead can not move from that spot otherwise it makes work for the Follower. In the case of the Linear Molinete the Lead has several options, however, the simplest one is that as the Follower is led to engage Back/Side/Forward, the Lead can engage Side/Side/Side, or Forward/Side/Back, or Back/Side/Forward with the Follower’s motion. The difference between the circular version of the Molinete/Giro structure and the Linear version is that the Lead’s steps are also Linear as well.

So instead of the Follower’s back step going around one’s lead as it would in a normal Follower’s Molinete, the Lead could invoke a side step with their Follower’s Back step. Or they have, as indicated above, three different options > Side/Forward/Back.

In the example above: The Follower’s back step is indicated by the Lead to go straight back instead of around, and the Lead then goes with them staying the same distance, at the same speed, in the same direction, and at the same level. Only in the example the Lead takes a side step with the Follower’s back step. Same with the Follower”s side step – a linear side step, the Follower goes side, and the Lead matches it. On the Follower’s Forward Step, the Follower is led to go forward and the Lead takes a side step.

This is, in its simplest form, a Linear Molinete for both roles.

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 Reality of WHY You Need This: There are many moves, steps, patterns, and figures to Argentine Tango that are really cool. What you may not realize is that most of that stuff is ‘fluff’, they’re nice to have, they’re nice to know, but honestly, you’re not going to use them that often! Mind you this is one side of the argument. This ain’t that! This piece is one of the more venerable selections of Argentine Tango that you will use frequently like Walking, Milonguero Ochos/Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete/Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross. Tango Topics take this stuff very seriously, and we say that because we use this stuff ALL – THE – TIME! Our case is that you need this stuff because > This is all about foundation, or one of the Seven Foundation Steps that we use all the time to create the dance that we know as Argentine Tango. That’s why! 🙂 That said, you do actually need to watch this stuff. You can learn what you need from this video and then apply it. No lie. No gimmick. As always YMMV and to remember that the video itself is only a stepping stone! You will need some private lessons to go along with it to get the ‘feel’ of things. That is the reality of WHY you need this stuff. So subscribing for a few months to TangoTopics to get what we’re on about wouldn’t kill you. Further, it would probably help to hear another person saying what your current tango teacher has been saying all along. Think of this stuff as one more reminder that you absolutely need to hear.

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learning tango is challenging. registering makes it easier. 😉

Have you seen our Ocho Transition Series ? This important four-part series covers the four important transitions between the two common type of Ochos (Traveling & Milonguero), and the 2 common types of turns (Molinete/Giro, and Milonguero). Each one is a challenge on its own. And each one can seriously up your dancing abilities.

Learn > Ocho Transitions

mark found the habanera in gold madness. you can too! 🙂

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

explore your dance with a subscription! 😉

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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DIASS – Five Social Figures

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If you were logged in, you’d see the full free version of this Article which includes the Follower’s, Lead’s, & Dancing Perspectives! Just sayin’… 🙂

 

DIASS – FIve Social Variations

Dancing In A Small Space. Typically the idea of dancing within a confined or restricted space is a fearful one for the inexperienced Lead or Follower. Most of that fear exists in either hitting something or someone, or not being able to contain or control what one is doing. So when things in the line of dance get really confined some people get really nervous, and they can’t think outside the box that they’ve put themselves into. The idea of dancing in this environment plays it’s out in a few places, either a crowded local milonga during a special event like a live orchestra, or at a Marathon, an Encuentro (in Europe, not in the United States), or at any Milonga in Buenos Aries. Tango Topics has defined this idea before of what that means and issued two (actually 3, and now 4) videos on the subject of Dancing In A Small Space which we call “DIASS” for short. Today we further the ‘DIASS’ idea a bit by adding a few variations to a theme. The theme being the Five Common Social Figures or the 5 things that we do constantly on at Milonga within the line and lane of dance. Those Five Common Social Figures are as follows:

1.) Walking.
2.) Ochos.
3.) Turns.
4.) Crosses.
5.) Cortados.

To be clear, as there’s a lot of room for interpretation in what those five things actually mean. So let’s clear that up right now:

1.) Walking. Means that we’re engaging only 1 (Parallel System on 2 Tracks) of the 6 Ways of Walking as a foundation of movement.

2.) Ochos. Typically the idea of Ochos engages 2 of the possible 8 types of Ochos > The ‘Lazy’ or Milonguero Ocho or the Traveling Ocho (Forward or Back).

3.) Turns. Turns in Argentine Tango refers to 2 of the possible 8 types of Turns that are commonly used in Argentine Tango. The Follower’s Molinete to the Lead’s Giro, and The Milonguero Turn.

4.) Crosses. Usually when we’re talking about Crosses, we commonly only refer to one type of cross. However, there are in fact multiple variations and several types of Crosses. In this instance we’re only referring to 1 out of 256 types of Argentine Crosses – The common or Normal Cross.

5.) Cortado. In most people’s minds there is only one type of Cortado. However, if you’ve been following this site for some time, you’ll note that’s not the case. In this instance, we’re only referring to the Linear Ocho Cortado from the Closed Side of the Embrace.

These are the Five Social Figures. For more detail on the subject, please go look at the full video in the tangotopics archive.

Using these five figures as a foundation we can create numerous variations on a theme that work with in the line and lane of dance. Those ‘variations on a theme’ are the foundation of this video which are Five Social Figures Variations that we’re exploring today in today’s Tango Topic.

learning tango is challenging. registering makes it easier. 😉

Have you seen the Walking Systems video ? This video series showcases the Six Ways of expanding your walk in Tango using: Parallel System Walking, Cross System Walking, Three Track Walking, ‘Lazy’ Ochos, The Snake Walks, & Alternate Walking.

Learn > The Six Ways of Walking

mark found the habanera in gold madness. you can too! 🙂

First a reminder of What is “Dancing In A Small Space” (or ‘DIASS’ as Tango Topics refers to this idea) ! There are two parts to the answer to this question:

First, in it’s simplest form, it’s all about the vocabulary and engaging Five pieces of Tango vocabulary. The Five Pieces ? 1.) The 5 of the 6 Ways of Walking. 2.) Milonguero Ochos (sometimes referred to as ‘Lazy’ Ochos)3.) Milonguero Turns (not the Follower’s Molinete). 4.) Back and Forward Crosses (not the Argentine variety, there’s no space!). And 5.) Linear (and Circular) Ocho Cortados. This is all done in Close Embrace. Note that there are no Sacadas, Colgadas, Volcadas, Ganchos, Boloeos, or Death Drops and/or Drags. None. However, there are a whole bunch more pieces of Tango vocabulary that almost never get talked about, or thought of here, that can also be applied, such as Calesitas, Paradas (Step Over), Pasadas (Drags & Sweeps), ’Patter’ (sometimes referred to as ‘Pitter-Patter’), The Incrementals (see Golden Nugget Extensions), just to name a few.

Secondly, there’s the actual ‘Dancing’ part of the statement which is more about movement more than anything else. Said movement is done in a very confined space, no bigger than one meter square, if that. The people that practice this way of dancing, while they may not be conscious of it, there is a sincere desire to not to take up space, mostly because there isn’t any space to begin with. This is moving in milonga environment really, where the distance between couples, on all sides, is no more than about the length of one hand (about 17 centimeters). So from the perspective of the Small Space Dancer, there is precious little space to ‘do’ anything at all due to the conditions of the ronda, so as a result of this confinement, the dancing part is really about the minimal. Everything is done either around the lead, or the space that the couple current occupies and does not extend beyond that space. Quite factually, depending on which city we’re in when dancing this way (Buenos Aires comes to mind), one would take up no more space than the space that one’s feet occupy at that moment in time, and no more than that, but without moving from that spot!

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 ? 🙂

FREEMIUM REGISTRATIONpractical tango advice, open articles, free videos

you can do better, all it takes is practice and time.

The Reality of WHY You Need This: There are many moves, steps, patterns, and figures to Argentine Tango that are really cool. What you may not realize is that most of that stuff is ‘fluff’, they’re nice to have, they’re nice to know, but honestly, you’re not going to use them that often! Mind you this is one side of the argument. This ain’t that! This piece is one of the more venerable selections of Argentine Tango that you will use frequently like Walking, Milonguero Ochos/Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete/Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross. Tango Topics take this stuff very seriously, and we say that because we use this stuff ALL – THE – TIME! Our case is that you need this stuff because > This is all about foundation, or one of the Seven Foundation Steps that we use all the time to create the dance that we know as Argentine Tango. That’s why! 🙂 That said, you do actually need to watch this stuff. You can learn what you need from this video and then apply it. No lie. No gimmick. As always YMMV and to remember that the video itself is only a stepping stone! You will need some private lessons to go along with it to get the ‘feel’ of things. That is the reality of WHY you need this stuff. So subscribing for a few months to TangoTopics to get what we’re on about wouldn’t kill you. Further, it would probably help to hear another person saying what your current tango teacher has been saying all along. Think of this stuff as one more reminder that you absolutely need to hear.

bsas-prep-title

learning tango is challenging. registering makes it easier. 😉

Have you seen our Ocho Transition Series ? This important four-part series covers the four important transitions between the two common type of Ochos (Traveling & Milonguero), and the 2 common types of turns (Molinete/Giro, and Milonguero). Each one is a challenge on its own. And each one can seriously up your dancing abilities.

Learn > Ocho Transitions

mark found the habanera in gold madness. you can too! 🙂

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

explore your dance with a subscription! 😉

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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register for the site at no cost & get more great, and detailed content from tango topics!

 

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The Follower’s Exercise

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The Follower's Exercise

There are many exercises that one can do as a Follower to improve one’s abilities and executions. To clean them up, sharpen them, hone them. This site boasts a few that have helped over the years and that I teach the intensive student to use to strengthen their tendons and stretch their muscles, and mostly to retool their neurological awareness as well as their thought processes. However, there’s one exercise that I make every Follower student do in their private lessons. It’s the first thing they do when they come into class. More over it is the single most important exercise that they can and will ever do for so many reasons. 11 actually, which you’ll see in just a moment (assuming you’re a subscriber, and if you’re not then you can still subscribe for the $99.00 deal). This exercise is, on one level, a precursor and set up for doing everything that the Follower will ever do in Tango. Secondly, it’s also set up for a very important technique that gets talked about but never enacted (disassociation/pivot). We’ll get to what those things are in just a bit. And lastly this exercise is seemingly really, insanely, simple. It is anything but that for a wide variety of reasons. Why ? Mostly, it requires exacting precision, control, and an attention to detail that more than likely will drive you batty. It does that with each and every Follower that does it for 2 reasons.

1.) The attention to detail is absolutely crucial to your awareness and your control.

2.) The Turn Out Factor (More on that later).

On the surface, just looking at the sample above, it looks like 4 steps, in the extreme, that you’d never…ever do on a social dance floor. So as far as you’re concerned you’re gonna say to yourself “That’s ridiculous! No one dances like that!“. And you’d be right. You’re never, ever going to dance like that. Ever. Except when you understand a few things about the exercise that a.) It’s set up for other things. b.) it’s doing things in the extreme so that doing them in the minimal, later on, is a piece of cake. c.) it’s creating a level of precision and control that as a Follower you more than likely may not possess today. And d.) It’s one long isolation technique (more on this later). That said, let’s dive into the video that we’re calling: The Follower Exercise > One Exercise To Rule Them All!

learning tango is challenging. registering makes it easier. 😉

Have you seen the Walking Systems video ? This video series showcases the Six Ways of expanding your walk in Tango using: Parallel System Walking, Cross System Walking, Three Track Walking, ‘Lazy’ Ochos, The Snake Walks, & Alternate Walking.

Learn > The Six Ways of Walking

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A Few Things…

1.) This exercise can be done by seasoned dancers, and should be actually, but won’t be for a variety of reasons, as well as the absolute beginner. a.) The seasoned dancer doesn’t read this stuff, they feel it’s beneath them (mostly). b.) The seasoned dancer will take one look at the video above, or just screenshot image and completely disregard what’s here because I’m barefoot. And lastly, c.) I’m a man talking about Follower Technique, what on earth do I have to possibly state about Follower Technique let alone a Follower Exercise ????? Answer, quite a bit. Which you can review here

Truth be told, the sooner that you start doing this exercise, the easier things will get in more ways than can imagine.

2.) The simplicity of the exercise itself is beguiling on multiple levels, and also exceptionally frustrating IF and ONLY IF you are honest with yourself. If you’re not honest, then the exercise is exceptionally easy and a complete waste of your time.

So what are you being honest about ? Where you’re landing your foot and more importantly HOW you’re landing your foot (supination), where you’re sending your leg (the extension), how much opposition you’re actually engaging (extreme opposition), what’s going on with your arms, hands, and your head (where’s your head pointed)! This exercise, done properly, should challenge you in every way possible. The tolerances involved should push you to your extremes, it should push you beyond your comfort zone. And that’s what we want, we want you outside of your comfort zone. Why ? It is only through pushing beyond that zone, that change and awareness begins to happen.  Further the exercise is the embodiment of a simple but overriding principle of Tango Topics: Overshooting to Under do! Why is that relevant here ? Because if you can do this stuff in the extreme, then doing it in the minimal, will be a piece of cake for you, because you’ve already done that and more! That’s why. So you being honest with yourself and what your body is doing is kinda important.

3.) Seemingly you’re never going to apply any of this stuff. Not true. You’re going to apply it everywhere. Here’s just 2 benefits. a.) You’re extensions. Sometimes called ‘Projections’. Cleaning those up will visually create the lines that you’re looking for. Do yourself a favor, video your walk going backwards from your hips down, from the side. Do it in skin tights or stalkings please, not a skirt. You need to see your legs. You’ll be surprised at a few things, most notably how much you bend your knees (more on this later), and more importantly how unattractive and inconsistent your extensions are. b.) You should start to notice how unstable you are. How much you wobble when you walk, and the fact that you more than likely can not follow a straight line going backwards! And all done without holding onto someone else. If you’re wobbling that much by yourself, imagine what’s happening in the embrace with someone else!! For those of you that will argue, “that’s what the Lead is for”…No, it’s not. No one likes to be used to hold someone else up. No one. If the roles were reversed (and I have done this with Female Follower students), more than likely you wouldn’t like it either. So what on god’s green earth makes you believe that a Male Lead/er would like it ? Answer ? They don’t. So…not so much with that. This exercise will help you with your stability, with your control, with your executions of everything that you can imagine and more that you can’t.

4.) Socks or Bare feet. In the video above I’m not wearing any shoes. That immediately and completely discredits the validity of what I’m saying in the video. To those people I say this: The barefoot thing is all about feeling your foot in contact with the floor. The shoes, whether you know it or not, are compensating for you in more ways than you’re currently aware of. So we want to remove any and all compensation! We want you to feel the floor with your foot and not the shoe impacting the floor. And remember this is an exercise.

Further still on this topic, at some point later on, we do engage what we call ‘heel work’. Where we engage all of the work above, and then some to apply it in heels, only because you’ve done it with precision, control, containment, and you’ve built up the necessary strength in your tendons, it’s not so much of a bother to be in a pair of heels. The only difference now is that you have control over them. Versus wobbling all over the damned place.

Put another way, as you know a pair of heels is not an easy thing to manage. They’re wobbly bits that seemingly has you balancing on the head of a pin. Yes you look hot in them, and they’re very sexy but let’s get real ladies, those things are downright uncomfortable after about an hour in them. And if you haven’t trained yourself to be in them, properly, that hour seems like six! And 2 hours….good lord, let alone 6 hours in them!!!! Training ? What training ? Isn’t endurance enough ? No. Endurance is not training. It’s learning to manage the pain. You can learn to be in a pair of heels through a process that we call “The Ballet Rise”. Only through doing this work can we build the necessary tendon strength that we’ll need going forward to be in a pair of heels, in a controlled, contained way. 

Realistically though, a foot, any foot, shouldn’t be in a pair of heels. It’s not good for your blood flow to the foot and the toes. It’s not good for your bones in the long term, and the joints in specific, not to mention the cartilidge of those joints. And it’s certainly not good for the nerves of the foot. How’s that ? The Plantar’s Nerve which sits just behind the pad of your foot and is the one that you keep rubbing in the arch of the foot. That nerve, is the one that is attenuated when your foot seemingly goes ‘numb’. It’s numb for a few reasons. 1.) You’ve been impacting the shit out of it all frakking night long. 2.) The Lead/ers that you’ve been dancing with have been drilling them into the ground with hard, driving steps. And 3.) You’re in a pair of 3 in heels that are cutting off your effing blood supply!!! What did you think was going to happen ??? Your foot was going to sing an aria at being placed in a frakking prison ??? Seriously ????

So let’s be sensible here, and work up to being in heels. Start in bare feet or socks, it’ll make your life about 10,000 times easier, for now. Later on, we end up doing heel work. Sadly before this site goes off-line we never get to that heel work. That was originally only done in private session with my intensive level students. 🙁

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Have you seen any of our Foundation Series ? It’s over an hr (8 videos) of Foundation Technique covering your Extensions, Feet, Posture, Embrace, and the beginnings of your Walk, and much more….

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This article contains the following topics that you want to register to see with full examples even if you’re not a subscriber:

1.) The Turn Out Factor!
2.) Leg Extensions (Part 1)
3.) The Straight Line on the Floor!
4.) The Pigeon Toed Feeling.
5.) The Weight Transfer.
6.) Opposition Explained.
7.) Extreme Opposition Used.
8.) Homo-Lateral Movement.
9.) The Long Extension (Part 2)
10.) The Knee Bend (Compression).
11.) The Little Lean We Don’t Want.
12.) Your Body Wavers.
13.) The Isolation Technique/Ballet Rises
14.) The Eleven Reminders.
15.) The Actual Exercise (seen above).
16.) The Leg/Foot Reminders.
17.) The Checklist.

These are the 17 topics that are covered in this extensive article that goes over every aspect of this very important exercise and then some. It’s a full treatise on how to extend one’s leg…as a Follower. Everywhere!

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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Beginning Tango – The First Lesson

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If you were logged in, you’d see the full free version of this Article & Video. 🙂
Notation: The video above is only a sample of the full 15-minute video. Only registered users and subscribers can see the full video.

Beginning Tango – The First Lesson

Welcome To Argentine Tango. You have stepped into a world where you will find dance, music, pleasure, history, pain, triumph, relief, patience, hurt, conversation, friends, upset, community, loss, communication, love, layers, and a different kind of reality that spans the entire world. Tango is a family, it is a way of life, a dance, a different lifestyle that will last until the next dance or the next life time. You will meet people from all over the world that more than likely will not speak your native language, may not share you political views, will not know where you live or where you come from or care for that matter. With regards to Tango, none of that stuff matters.

Tango is life (“Tango es vida” in Spanish).
Tango is a way to have a conversation without speaking.
Tango is moving to music that will move you to emotional places.
Tango is technique.
Tango is communication.
Tango is choreographed. (stage or performance tango is)
Tango is entirely improvised. (social tango is)
Tango is a walking embrace.
Tango is a nightmare of sweat with nice shoes and nicer clothing.
Tango is intimate.
Tango is insanely difficult.
Tango is beautiful.
Tango is all over the world.
Tango is the unending onion.
Tango is your worst high school nightmare come back to haunt you.
Tango is sexist, ageist, and gender imbalanced. (yup)
Tango is grace. (depending on your point of view)
Tango is an exercise in personal patience.
Tango is a horizontal desire in vertical form. (uuugh, not)
Tango is an exercise in minutiae.
Tango is study.
Tango is what you make of it.
Tango is ….

One word that is often used to describe the conversation of Argentine Tango, is ‘Connection‘. Tango Topics eschews this word because it rightfully has about 7 different meanings which can be found here in our dictionary of tango terms. The point is that you’ll hear the word a lot in a myriad of different ways. The problem with it is that what one person hears, and what another means by it, may be two very different things! And therein lay the rub, as it were. Some beginners find that the language to describe what’s going on, the way in which something is said, is unclear, inconsistent, and lacks any validity or reality to what’s actually going on. What one teacher describes as X and what another describes as X bear little resemblance to each other. There is no consistency to what X actually is. So you may find yourself going a bit crazy. Arrrgh! For instance, you may hear the word “Ocho” from two different teachers or dancers, and when you watch them doing said ‘Ocho’, what one does and what another does bears little resemblance to the other. There are several reasons for this disparity. Language being chief among them. The problem lay with the fact that there lots of gray areas and no standardization in Argentine Tango. The truth is that anyone can teach Tango without any certifications, but they can teach or show you ideas. And the issue with that is there is no consistency with language or examples and/or any standardized or  structured curriculum or what tango is or is not. There is no ‘right’ way to Tango. For most people this is on some level very scary and at the same time very freeing. This mindset opens up the doorway to everything being possible, and also brings up one of the core components of Social Dancing in Argentine Tango: Improvisation. Everything that you’ll see at a Milonga (with the exception of a performance), is entirely improvised!

Which brings up another point with regards to teaching and learning: You don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know who’s for reals and who is talkin’ trash. Sometimes a really good indicator of a quality instructor is the size of their class, most times it is not. That just speaks to that teacher’s ability to market and how polished they appear to be. This is not necessarily a good indication of quality instruction. Sometimes the indication that someone is a good instructor is the recommendation from another dancer. However, that recommendation is based on how well that particular person felt comfortable with that teacher and how that person got what they needed to get from that teacher. There may be no objective information there but rather entirely subjective. And sometimes it is the work product of a student thenselves. The ‘work product’ is ideally what you’re looking for. If you like how a particular dance looks when they dance, ask that dancer who they studied with to generate that kind of movement. Ultimately you will need to decide what works best for you. You may change teachers several times to find one that you get and understand. There’s a fly in the ointment with this line of reasoning, and it’s that Tango requires growth, and change, and what you experience now is only a stepping stone to what may come later. The process of learning tango is not through one person but rather many. It is said that to raise a tango dancer in the modern world, it takes a villiage. Tru dat!

You may have it in your mind from TV, Movies, or social media that Tango is a very romantic or passionate dance. While there may be some truth in your own personal perception of how you can understand what you’re seeing. The reality is far from it. The last thing in the world that most of the better dancers in the room, and on the floor, are thinking about is romantic or sexual desires. It is mostly a very distant after thought. The thing that they’re really after is a really good dancing experience. Which isn’t to say that those thoughts don’t happen, it’s to say that for most people in the room (not all, there are always the creepy dudes….uuuugh!) they’re in the room to dance, to see their friends, to hang out, to dress up, to have a nice time and an evening out listening to very nice music. This is what’s called “Social Tango”, and believe it or not this is part of the reason you’re wanting to study Tango at all > to have a taste of the Milonga Experience. Tango isn’t just about the steps, it’s about the culture of the dance that goes with it!

Tango is all of these things, and at the same time, none of them. It really depends on your perspective of where you’re at emotionally, intellectually, and the vantage point that you enter the dance with. As Yoda said to Luke Skywalker before he entered the Cave of Evil, “…only what you take with you“. The same is true here in more ways than you can count. It is here that we start the idea of Tango. Tango is only what you take with you.

In the following article and the video above we address Tango from 3 important aspects.

1.) The Movement (or Vocabulary) of the dance.
2.) The Music of the dance.
and 3.) The Codigos of the dance.

All three of these things must be studied, practiced, danced, and pursued with equal due diligence, if you want to start on the pathway to being a good dancer in Argentine Tango. Oh and one more thing…and this one you have to get into your head: Instant Mastery ? That’s not going to happen. Tango is going to take you a while, and rightfully a lifetime to ‘master’. Being a beginner, is a good thing in Tango. A very good thing.

That said, let’s dive into Tango Topics idea of Beginning Tango – The First Lesson

learning tango is challenging. registering makes it easier. 😉

Have you seen the Walking Systems video ? This video series showcases the Six Ways of expanding your walk in Tango using: Parallel System Walking, Cross System Walking, Three Track Walking, ‘Lazy’ Ochos, The Snake Walks, & Alternate Walking.

Learn > The Six Ways of Walking

mark found the habanera in gold madness. you can too! 🙂

Part One: The Movement of The Dance

Movement ? What does that mean ? It means the foundations of the dance. Tango consists of three simple steps that will rightfully take you the rest of your life to fully grok and understand. As a side note, one our first teachers used to say, “There are really only two steps in Tango! Your left and your right”. And while this was meant as a joke. It’s an allegorical joke with ooodles of truth bombs to it in ways you haven’t even begun to understand yet. However, for the novice dancer, and even the dancer that may read this and pass this along to you > Tango consists of three steps:

A Forward Step. (in the video)

A Side Step.

And a Back Step. (in the video)

For the Follower the important step to learn is the structure of the Back Step.
For the Lead the important step to learn is the structure of the Forward Step.
And for both roles, they use the Side Step in very different ways and level of executions. If all of that sounds really simple, it’s not. It will take years, and we’re not kidding, literally years to perfect these seemingly simple steps. To make them look, and feel effortless, so that they become part of you

The reason why this video, and section, is focusing on these 3 simple steps is because they’re related to a very important construct in Argentine Tango: La Caminata or The Walk. Tango is based on the walk. There’s a Zensunni phrase that goes, “If you can walk, you can dance”. It is the foundation of the dance. The walk is everything in Argentine Tango. Make that walk clean, clear, consistent, stable, controlled, and precise, and you’re onto something. Less than that, and you’ll spend years, quite honestly a decade or three, in tango purgatory because you haven’t resolved how to walk yet. And the really bad part about that is that you won’t know it. Uuuugh! Putting on a pair of tango shoes, and/or nice clothes to go with those tango shoes will not hide a less than desirable walk. An unstable walk (from either partner) will result in an embrace (see the next paragraph) that hangs, pulls, and pushes. Which will result in you either being dragged around or you dragging someone else around the floor. Not to mention back pain, and a neck pain that will more than likely require a visit to the chiropractor. And unstable walk may also, more than likely result in you not dancing. This is why it is absolutely crucial to have a Tango Teacher that focuses on the walk to start with, and continually for several weeks into your Tango training. Months really. Years at the earliest. It will take you weeks to unlearn what you think you have learned. Months to retrain your body to do something very different from what it’s doing today. And years to make it part of you. At its core, Tango is a Walking Dance. The more that you focus on that walk, the easier the dance becomes.

Contained in the walk of Tango is its Embrace. The Embrace is what gives Argentine Tango its iconic look. Most people see Tango as ‘passionate’, or ‘sexy’. The reason is because from where they’re sitting, their frame of reference is of a couple very close to each other so they must be ‘intimate’ with each other, or they’re having some kind of romantic or sexual relationship. That may or may not be true. But the only relationship that the dancing couple is currently having is with their partner, the music, the floor, and the couples around them. The perceptions that other people don’t matter. What you’ll see at a ‘Milonga’ (what is loosely understood as ‘the dance party’) is two basic embrace types: Open Embrace, and Close Embrace. Truthfully there are many types of embraces, which you can explore through our dictionary of embraces. Open Embrace, means that there is ‘space’ between the partnership. Think of it as “Space for Jesus” 🙂 . ‘Close Embrace’ is a lot closer and can be any number of ideas from body-on-body, to body-very-close-to-body, to body-not-touching-but-very-close-to-touching-body and everything in between. More than likely the more common idea that you’ll see presented and danced is “Close Embrace” dancing and its variations. The video above shows you both of these ideas or what Open and Close Embrace is. Realistically as far as the Argentines are concerned, these terms are Norte Americano ideas. Realistically as far the Argentine is concerned, there is only El Abrazo, or The Embrace. There is only one. Theirs. This Open or Close or Vee, or…any one of the distinctions are North American ideas and definitions because we, as North Americans (and really the rest of the world), need the distinction of what we’re seeing coming from the Argentine way of thinking about the dance.

A skill that is used in the video above to initiate and communicate one’s ideas, and which Tango Topics refers to repeatedly as “Intention” is Intention Based Dancing. What’s that ? In it’s simplest form, ‘intention’, is a way to ask someone to do something with you (not for you or to you. this is an important mental distinction when it comes to intention) while dancing to music. Sounds simple enough, right ? There’s just one little caveat to ‘Intention’ and ‘Intention Based Dancing’  > You can not use your head, arms, shoulders, elbows, forearms, wrists, hands, thumbs or fingers to push, pull, compress, or squeeze to communicate your ideas. Rather your entire body is used with a little lean forward, to the side, or backwards. The arms act as a dummy transmitter, they do not add or magnify the intention of what’s being led or followed in any way, shape, or form, from a Leading perspective or from a Following perspective. Doing so would be considered ‘rude’ and ‘pushing’ someone. However, you will hear in other classes from other teachers, another idea called “Resistance” or “Resistance Based Dancing”. In short, Resistance Based Dancing means that we pull, push, use pressure and force, arm and hand compression, and really strength to communicate our desires and responses. Is one more desirable than the other ? In our opinion, ‘yes’. But that’s for you to decide not for us to dictate. You’ll figure out which one is less work, and is far easier to get but difficult to master, and which one will will leave you in a sweaty mess wondering how you pinched a nerve and why your arms feel like they’ve gone 10 rounds in a prize fight!

To be clear, all of the stuff above is Foundation. It is the basis of how we move in the dance. Forward, Side, and Back with an Embrace.  More than likely though the thing you’re wondering about is what are the steps, the basic vocabulary of the dance ? There are many ‘steps’ or figures in Argentine Tango. But the Five Common Figures of Argentine Tango is what you’ll run into. Which are: Walking, Ochos, Turns, Crosses, and Cortados.

1.) Walking. Walking refers to how you walk, when you walk, and why you walk. Tango Topics details the Six Ways of Walking. This isn’t how to walk, but rather what you can do with that walk once you’ve got the hang of it.
2.) Ochos.  These are a very specific type of vocabulary that can invoke a micro turn or not. There are 8 Types of Ochos that Tango Topics details, and the two more common ones are what we call “Traveling Ochos” and “Milonguero Ochos”. Fortunately for you we have an entire video on this subject and rather than duplicate that effort here, once you’re done with this video, please go load up our Eight Types of Ochos video.
3.) Turns. At some point beyond Walking and Ochos, you’re going to have to learn how to turn, because the Line of Dance isn’t moving or has ground to a stop but the music hasn’t…and you can’t just stop dancing because the line of dance stops, so for that reason, and a whole bunch of others we have to engage some level of Turning with Tango. And fortunately for you, we have a primer on the Eight Types of Turns in Argentine Tango!
4.) Crosses. At some point you’re going to run into a really weird thing that will happen, and that’s what’s called “The Argentine Cross”. Put simply, this is where the Follower is led to cross their feet. However, this is not the only type of cross, there are many types of crosses in Tango but this is the most common of all crosses and we have a FREE video on this topic. Just follow the link above and start your free education today.
5.) Cortado. The last thing that you’ll see, of the basic vocabulary is the beginning of the door opener to other ideas in tango, and that’s the Ocho Cortado. It’s sort of a combination between an MIlonguero Ocho and an Argentine Cross culminating to a Linear Ocho Cortado! These are the Five Common Social Figures of Argentine Tango and they form the basis of what you’ll see at a Milonga when out social dancing.

End Part One. Want to see the all THREE parts ? It’s free. All you have to do is register. Registration is free. Just scroll down to the form below and fill in your name, ane email address and you’ll be good to go. There’s nothing to buy. Nothing to download. Just pure tango information. Go ahead, what do you have you to lose ?

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DIASS – The Extended Vocabulary Edition

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If you were logged in, you’d see the full free version of this Article which includes the Follower’s, Lead’s, & Dancing Perspectives! Just sayin’… 🙂

 

DIASS – Extended Vocabulary Edition

Notation: The video above is only a 5-minute sampler of 2 of the 8 vocabulary choices in the full 22-minute video. Only paying subscribers can see the full video with the footwork.

Dancing In A Small Space is not without its challenges for a lot of dancers, space, obviously being chief among them. It doesn’t matter what role you’re dancing, you will still experience one, if not multiple, challenges. One common of those areas of concern is, for the Lead, keeping things small enough- at all times while at the same time not being repetitive (hence this post). As a side note, a Lead will tend towards compressing the embrace to ‘protect’ the Follower and may not realize that their version of an embrace is already compressive! So to them adding more compression with their hand or forearm to protect the Follower further, they’re completely aware that they’re adding compression, but what they’re unaware of is just how much compression is there to begin with! For the Follower, the reason that DIASS is challenging is the clear but obvious awareness that the floor is crowded and that they must keep things as tight as possible without injuring one’s self or any of the dancing couples around them. That means so that we’re clear: 1.) The Follower’s Molinete, and in specific their back step, must not go away from their Lead. 2.) The Follower’s Cross (The Argentine Cross), must be clean and small. 3.) Stability is absolutely crucial to your awareness of your surroundings. IF you’re wobbling all over the place, you’re fighting your stability and what not and are not aware of how much space you’re taking up! And that’s just the tip of the scary iceberg. God help you if you’re in BsAs for the first time, trying to dance at either Salon Canning, Villa Malcolm, El Beso…or the like. You’re going to be challenged in ways that this article will not mention but has mentioned in either our BsAs articles (seen here), or our other articles on Dancing In A Small Space.

All that said, there’s another challenge with Dancing In A Small Space, and that’s the “Lead’s Fallacy”. What’s that ? It’s where the Lead believes, erroneously so, that they can and should add much more vocabulary to keep the Follower interested, or to keep the Follower from being bored, or to seemingly elevate themselves to a better class of dancer. Not true. It is erroneous thinking that will not solve your problems in any way, shape, or form.

Truthfully you can dance the 5 Social Figures of Argentine Tango all night long and never feel a need to expand on it. It should be noted that usually adding more vocabulary is not necessarily a good thing. Ideally what needs to happen is a complete exploration of the variances of the vocabulary that you currently have access to. Again, not to sound like a broken record, this also means from a Leading perspective as well as a Following perspective. Which is to say: Understand what you’re doing. Explore Your Dance! This is also why it is absolutely crucial that the Lead and the Follower understand the Six Ways of Walking in all of their fabulous and wonderful permutations. There’s a reason why this site keeps advocating this idea, and that’s not only because it works, it’s because you could quite conceivably dance nothing but the Six Ways of Walking all night long with every partner and they’d never be bored, you’d never be bored, and you’d have near-infinite exploration of the dance! And then there’s the next layer, that’s adding the musical permutations that can be explored. Hundreds upon hundreds of vocabulary variations that you can think of and then some.

So unless these things are done then Today’s Tango Topic is absolutely pointless! That said, let’s dive into today’s topic of Dancing In A Small Space: The Extended Vocabulary Edition (EVE).

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Have you seen the Walking Systems video ? This video series showcases the Six Ways of expanding your walk in Tango using: Parallel System Walking, Cross System Walking, Three Track Walking, ‘Lazy’ Ochos, The Snake Walks, & Alternate Walking.

Learn > The Six Ways of Walking

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What is DIASS: EVE ? In short, this is a series of 8 pieces of tango vocabulary that tangotopics has identified to be used as accent or “spice” in addition to Five Social Figures (and its variations) as well as volume 1 and volume 2 of Dancing In A Small Space (DIASS) in Argentine Tango. The key component in the sentence here is ‘ACCENT’ or ‘SPICE’. Most of this stuff is a little flash, with the exception of #7 and #8, but aside from those things this stuff is purely to be used as more than a variation and as a  singular usage at best. They should not be used as the repetitive movement over and over again so as to annoy one partner and one’s partner should not expect it, nor should it be required of them either!

This isn’t rocket science, it’s really simply in fact. ‘EVE’ as we’re calling it, is really just a conglomeration of vocabulary that you see everyday at Milongas that has been modified to fit within the line, and lane, of dance with one monster modification: They’re Smaller than their regular kissin’ cousins. The idea is to make this stuff fit inside the lane of dance, and fit inside the line of dance, and more importantly to take up no more space than the standing spot that you’re currently over. No stepping backwards (mostly). No breaking the line of dance. No exiting one’s lane. One must keep the ronda moving at all times. This is the Marathon/Encuentro/BsAs environment where things are packed tighter than a snail’s ass! In this environment things have to ‘fit’ precisely, otherwise blood or bones will be exposed and we don’t want that to happen…ever. To be fair, and while it was mentioned above, we’re mentioning it here in its definition as a reminder, do not attempt some of this stuff until you mastered walking cleanly, clearly, and without wobbling or needing your partner to walk. If you can’t walk backwards by yourself in a pair of 3 in heels without crossing over your natural body meridian or you can not walk (as a Lead) without crossing over the body’s natural meridian or supinating your feet to do so, then there are issues to say the least that need to be addressed.

Difficulty Rating: 1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) to 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Notation: When the “What is … ” section of an article is blue, that means that the article is freely available to registered, users. When the section is yellow, the article is still free, but the video is for paid users. 😉 

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What are in the Eight Pieces of Vocabulary in EVE ?

1.)Follower’s Calecita. (All users) This is basically the Follower walking in Forward or Backsteps (although the latter is uncommon and some difficult to actually lead for a variety of reasons, most notably: habit) around their Lead. Calecitas can be done in Open or Close Embrace, but in this case because we’re talking about DIASS methodology, we’re talking in Close Embrace and making things very small and gradual for both roles. All users.

2.)The Simple Sacada. (Freemium/Subscriber) The Simple Sacada can be done in Open or Close Embrace, but this is DIASS so we’re employing it here in small spaces as methodology to engage a turn. Which by the way has an interesting possible side effect where the Follower can be led to engage in a Milonguero Turn as a result instead of the resolution that you see above. The Tango Topics Subscriber sees both of these options in the full 22-Minute video. 🙂

3.)Argentine Enganche/Wrap. (Subscriber Only) In North America we call this a ‘Wrap’. Where the Follower’s leg wraps between and around the Lead’s. The problem with these pieces of vocabulary are that they can go wildly wrong, mostly on the part of the Follower who is unconscious of their leg and what has to happen to it. 😉 And when we’re talking about DIASS methodology, that wrap has to be insanely tight, small, and fast. The Follower has to get in and out just as quickly.

4.)Single Axis Turn. (Subscriber Only) Seemingly this piece of Tango vocabulary was made for DIASS methodology. Thankfully it takes up very little space. The only problem with it is its entry point, and a failure to engage the Mordita (the foot sandwich). A lot of Followers, and rightfully so, mistake the opening of the Single Axis Turn for a Volcada. Why ? That’s because they start out almost exactly the same way. And due to the prevalence of the Volcada over a Single Axis turn the Follower will mistakenly think “Ahh Volcada”, and thereby release their ‘free’ foot/leg and allow it to swing free. While this isn’t such a huge thing. It does impede the required centrifugal force that is generated by the turn itself. Thereby slowing down the turn.

5.)Social Volcada. (Subscriber Only) Yes you can add a Volcada to DIASS. Should you ? That’s a completely different story. All we’ll say is this: Use. It. Sparingly. Like as in ONCE IN A BLUE MOON! There’s a reason why this entire topic is accent vocabulary and not the meat of the dance. This piece completely exemplifies it. Yes it’s loads of fun, and yes it’s cool. But to engage it as your goto move…not so much with that! That said, the SOCIAL Volcada is not an egregious one. Meaning it’s really small and fits within the line and lane of dance. It’s nothing more than a glorified argentine cross, that’s a bit more flashy. There are several examples of this piece of vocabulary here on Tango Topics, here’s just one of them:

6.)Floating Cross. (Subscriber Only) Arguably on this list this one will create an enormous amount of confusion, because watching the floating cross, and doing/feeling the floating cross are two very different things. There is a tiny amount of ‘lilt’, and that lilt is the floating part. It’s a glorified Follower’s Back Cross, but it’s a back cross that takes its time.

7.)Parallel System Rock Step. (Subscriber Only) The quintessential goto move for most Leads. They use it so often and with such frequency that you’d think that it was one of the 7 primary foundational moves. That’s not true of course. But still. This piece, when used properly and not overused (hint, hint, hint … remember this is accent vocabulary here), can create an interesting surprise for the Follower. At the same time the Follower has loads of options to play with Rock Step adornments and amagues, especially with the resolution. The two problems, as with all adornments and amagues is always a.) the Lead not rushing through X. and b.) time! The other problem with the Step Step/Resolution is that it is all too easy for this thing to violate the prime directive of DIASS. It can take up too much space! Oddly enough this particular Rock Step can lead (no pun intended) to the last item on this list….

8.)Ocho Cortado. (Subscriber Only) THE goto move of most leads in DIASS, but oddly enough it was left out of the first 2 iterations but was included in the FIVE SOCIAL MOVES

When are Different Vocabulary Used and Why ?

In certain types of Tango Events one particular type of moves are used more often and more predominantly than others. The reason is that some types of vocabulary work best depending on the venue and the type of Tango being invoked or danced. For instance:

Weekly, Local Milonga ? All 8
Marathon? All 8
Festival or Mini-Festival ? All 8
Encuentro ? All but #1 & 3.
Buenos Aires ? It depends on the venue. But, all but #1,#3,#5. There’s no space for that noise

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 Reality of WHY You Need This: There are many moves, steps, patterns, and figures to Argentine Tango that are really cool. What you may not realize is that most of that stuff is ‘fluff’, they’re nice to have, they’re nice to know, but honestly, you’re not going to use them that often! Mind you this is one side of the argument. This ain’t that! This piece is one of the more venerable selections of Argentine Tango that you will use frequently like Walking, Milonguero Ochos/Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete/Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross. Tango Topics take this stuff very seriously, and we say that because we use this stuff ALL – THE – TIME! Our case is that you need this stuff because > This is all about foundation, or one of the Seven Foundation Steps that we use all the time to create the dance that we know as Argentine Tango. That’s why! 🙂 That said, you do actually need to watch this stuff. You can learn what you need from this video and then apply it. No lie. No gimmick. As always YMMV and to remember that the video itself is only a stepping stone! You will need some private lessons to go along with it to get the ‘feel’ of things. That is the reality of WHY you need this stuff. So subscribing for a few months to TangoTopics to get what we’re on about wouldn’t kill you. Further, it would probably help to hear another person saying what your current tango teacher has been saying all along. Think of this stuff as one more reminder that you absolutely need to hear.

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Have you seen our Ocho Transition Series ? This important four-part series covers the four important transitions between the two common type of Ochos (Traveling & Milonguero), and the 2 common types of turns (Molinete/Giro, and Milonguero). Each one is a challenge on its own. And each one can seriously up your dancing abilities.

Learn > Ocho Transitions

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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!

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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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Milonguero Turn Trick – Personalized

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If you were logged in, you’d see the full free version of this Article which includes the Follower’s, Lead’s, & Dancing Perspectives! Just sayin’… 🙂

 

Milonguero Turn 'Trick' Personalized

You’re out social dancing, and you’ve been practicing your Milonguero Turns with your favorite partner, and you feel like you’ve got it down, so now it’s time to take it of the lab and put it on the floor and try it with other dancing partners. This, by the way, is not how we want to create a good practice regime. We do have a treatise on what to practice and how to practice. But more on that later in another article. 😉 You’ve accepted a request to dance with someone else, it’s a Di Sarli Tango tanda, and you smile, and you walk to the floor with your partner, engaging a the Lead’s Cabeceo! Stepping onto the floor, and engaging in your partner’s embrace, you settle into each other. Readjust, hopefully employing the “The Readjustment Phase” of the dance, a very important component, and then begin to dance, slowly, patiently, cautiously figuring out each other, rather than throwing every known piece of vocabulary at your partner in the first 30 seconds. Or some crazy cool move that you think is cool but your partner may find somewhat ‘annoying’ at best. Especially dancing to Di Sarli. Tsk, tsk, tsk. It’s around this time near the end of the first musical paragraph that your partner initiates their first turn. If you’re Leading you discover immediately that what your partner heard as a turn was in fact the Follower’s Molinete and not the Milonguero Turn that you intended. If you’re Following at this point, you’re wondering why the Lead keeps turning or why the Lead is squeezing the living daylights out of your back and what that’s all about. As far as you’re concerned you’re doing what the Lead asked invoking a Milonguero Turn by default because you know the rule but they keep squeezing and turning. Uuuugh!

Scenario over!

Today’s Tango Topic deals with that moment right there where there is obviously some confusion, a bit of a hiccup in what would have otherwise been a lovely and near perfect dancing experience.

The Milonguero Turn is one of Tango’s underused but extremely elegant turns. However it comes with a tiny little problem embedded in it. The problem ? Default Behavior and Default Expectation. The Default Behavior ? The Follower’s Molinete as the response to a turn. The Molinete/Giro structure is one of the seven basic moves of Argentine Tango that is used so often and with such ubiquity that we almost don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just that we start turning and magically a Follower’s Molinete occurs. However, as in the case above, what happens when the Lead wants to invoke a Milonguero Turn instead ? A hiccup is what happens and from there things get ugly quickly.

That’s what Today’s Tango Topic is all about. So without further yappment, here’s Today’s Tango Topic on The Milonguero Turn TrickPersonalized.

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Have you seen the Walking Systems video ? This video series showcases the Six Ways of expanding your walk in Tango using: Parallel System Walking, Cross System Walking, Three Track Walking, ‘Lazy’ Ochos, The Snake Walks, & Alternate Walking.

Learn > The Six Ways of Walking

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What is the Milonguero Turn Trick ? First and foremost, the Trick itself isn’t a ‘trick’, it’s more of a reliance on Follower Default behaviors. Secondly, the ‘Trick’ only solves the first major hurdle of the Turn itself – The Follower’s Back Cross.

The problem with the Milonguero Turn, and it is a problem, is the opening step, the Follower’s Back Cross. By default, the Follower will not want to cross behind or back cross, unless this is their default turn or default behavior. Truthfully there are very few Milonguero Turn default based Followers. Usually the Follower has been trained in the Molinete/Giro structure as their default. So the moment that the Lead starts a turn, the Follower thinks and responds with “Molinete”. This is not desirable. While the Molinete is a very sexy turn, it’s not what we’re wanting out of the Follower at all. We ideally want the cleaner, less stressful, Milonguero Turn for a whole bunch of reasons.

Before you go any further you’re going to ask, “Well, if the Lead led it then the Follower should follow what was led!”. True to a degree but then again, you’re dealing with default behavior, and that stuff is insanely difficult to override, most of the time. That’s why this ‘Trick’ exists.

The opening back cross presents a problem: How to generate it ? And that’s where the Milonguero Turn ‘Trick’ comes in. It says, “Fine…the Follower has default behaviors, one of them is to come to collection, still another is not to a leg fly away from them, still another they have a desire to make things as small as possible, less work”. All of these default behaviors can be used to the Lead’s advantage if properly invoked. And that’s what the Milonguero Turn Trick does, it invokes all three of those defaults and overrides the Follower’s desire to Molinete. It supersedes it almost immediately so that the Follower never, ever wants to Molinete!

In its simplest form the Trick is a Simple Sacada, but a fully unrealized one. The reason this is said, is because a Simple Sacada should and would take the place of the Follower, but it doesn’t. In its more complex form, it overrides the Follower’s default behavior to Molinete and replaces it with a back cross.

Remember that the turn trick only solves ONE problem – Initiating the Follower’s Back Cross. It doesn’t solve the entire Milonguero Turn, you still have to learn to lead and follow those things.

Difficulty Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Notation: When the “What is … ” section of an article is blue, that means that the article is freely available to registered, users. When the section is yellow, the article is still free, but the video is for paid users. 😉 

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Have you seen our Full Musical Course ? It covers the Beat, On Beat, Off Beat, The 5 Musical Pauses, Tango Music History, What to Listen for, How to Listen, and includes 14 Days of Tango Music, then 30 Days of Intensive Music, and more! For Leads & Followers! Take Your Musical Understanding To A Whole Other Level!

Try > Our Tango Music Course

bob was mr. boleo. he subscribed. now he walks & his partners love him.

Why this video exists ? It exists for 3 reasons. 1.) It was part of a longer lesson for this particular student on the Milonguero Turn, and Elements of Turning itself. 2.) To give the student  a reminder tutorial for when I wasn’t there. 3.) I taught a Milonguero Turn class rather recently and then discovered this a few days after the class, and realized that this is actually a perfect reminder for anyone that wants to play with the Milonguero Turn on how to build it and what should happen.

Further this video exists with the student’s consent. So don’t get all persnickety that we’re showing you a private lesson without the student’s knowledge. They’re fully aware of the video and fully endorse it.

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 Reality of WHY You Need This: There are many moves, steps, patterns, and figures to Argentine Tango that are really cool. What you may not realize is that most of that stuff is ‘fluff’, they’re nice to have, they’re nice to know, but honestly, you’re not going to use them that often! Mind you this is one side of the argument. This ain’t that! This piece is one of the more venerable selections of Argentine Tango that you will use frequently like Walking, Milonguero Ochos/Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete/Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross. Tango Topics take this stuff very seriously, and we say that because we use this stuff ALL – THE – TIME! Our case is that you need this stuff because > This is all about foundation, or one of the Seven Foundation Steps that we use all the time to create the dance that we know as Argentine Tango. That’s why! 🙂 That said, you do actually need to watch this stuff. You can learn what you need from this video and then apply it. No lie. No gimmick. As always YMMV and to remember that the video itself is only a stepping stone! You will need some private lessons to go along with it to get the ‘feel’ of things. That is the reality of WHY you need this stuff. So subscribing for a few months to TangoTopics to get what we’re on about wouldn’t kill you. Further, it would probably help to hear another person saying what your current tango teacher has been saying all along. Think of this stuff as one more reminder that you absolutely need to hear.

bsas-prep-title

learning tango is challenging. registering makes it easier. 😉

Have you seen our Ocho Transition Series ? This important four-part series covers the four important transitions between the two common type of Ochos (Traveling & Milonguero), and the 2 common types of turns (Molinete/Giro, and Milonguero). Each one is a challenge on its own. And each one can seriously up your dancing abilities.

Learn > Ocho Transitions

mark found the habanera in gold madness. you can too! 🙂

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

explore your dance with a subscription! 😉

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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Eight Types of Turns

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Notation: The video above is only a 15-minute sampler of the full 40-minute video. Only paying subscribers can see the full 40-minute video with the footwork. However, the real toy is in the Tango Topics archive of videos on Turns. This video is only a taster of what’s actually there.

 

The Eight Turns of Argentine Tango

In today’s Tango world, the Turn has become a necessity. We would like to believe that Tango is the lovely and amazing walking dance that we have heard said it was. The reality is a little different. Tango is no longer a walking dance. Don’t mishear that as the walk is unimportant or that you don’t have to study how to walk. Not true. You absolutely must study your walk: How to extend your leg (forward, side, or back), how to land your foot in a step (forward, side, or back) in relation to specific vocabulary, when to flex or bend the knee and why, what part of the foot is required and when (and why), what muscles to use and why, when to use your toes, how to strengthen the foot, etc. This is the technique of walking and that stuff is extremely important in order to begin to move efficiently, and effectively. This is not something that should be left to watching a 5-minute video on YouTube but actually, spend months and literally years learning and then re-learning, and refining. Because the study of your walk, and its refinements, absolutely makes for Today’s Tango Topic to exist. One can not even begin to study this topic unless one has mastered one’s walk. And by ‘master’ we mean to infer not perfection but rather well beyond functional so that it comes fluidly from you. Without wobbling, wavering, or using your partner for stabilization in any way, shape, or form. Today’s Tango Topic deals with the next most important element beyond the walk and goes right to the heart of the statement above that Tango is no longer a walking dance. In fact, today’s modern tango is more of a turning dance more than anything else. And the reason why isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. It’s a series of factors that generate the state of affairs in Tango. For more on what those factors are, and why they exist and how to fix it, look at Floorcraft 102 – The Incomplete Turn, it explains those details in spades. So the turn has become the defacto, go to element that one must study with as much diligence as one studies one’s walk.

We see the turn as one of the 7 Basic Moves of Tango Vocabulary (see link) that is used in every dance by every dancer at every Milonga in the world. It is almost as ubiquitous as the Argentine Cross. So much so that one may lead or follow a turn and not even be aware that they’re doing it. The primary turn that is taught and then danced is the Molinete/Giro structure. From a Leading perspective, this primary or basic piece of vocabulary is one of the ways that we can create navigational structure as well as generate musical structure. And it also has the obvious ability that allows to use it as filler content until we’re ready to do something else that may lead up to something else. From a Following perspective, it is one of the very first things we are taught to master and must become facile with because our very tango lives depend on it for a whole host of reasons which will become obvious later on down the line.

However, ‘The Turn’ isn’t a singular turn. There are in fact EIGHT, yes you read that correctly, EIGHT types of Turns in Argentine Tango. And that’s what this video is all about.

That said, let’s take a deep dive into the 8 Types of Turns for Argentine Tango.

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Have you seen the Walking Systems video ? This video series showcases the Six Ways of expanding your walk in Tango using: Parallel System Walking, Cross System Walking, Three Track Walking, ‘Lazy’ Ochos, The Snake Walks, & Alternate Walking.

Learn > The Six Ways of Walking

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Three Techniques To Turning. Before we get into the Eight Types we have to look at a few foundational tools that must be present before we can even begin to talk about turns. While some of the turns in the Eight Types do require the study of item 2 below, it’s not required for the other turns. In fact, what you’ll find is that items 1 and 3 are far more common than item 2 on the list.

1.) Walking Technique.
2.) Disassociation/Applied Disassociation Technique.
3.) Crossing Technique.

Walking Technique can loosely be described as how one extends one’s leg and lands one’s foot on the floor, either in response to or initiation to movement. The study of one’s walk is absolutely required before you can even attempt any of the turns in today’s Tango Topic. Why ? You need only look at the following short 3 videos to see why this is an issue that must be resolved before you make the attempt. And if watching the videos below is just too much for you and you want to skip them, the simple answer is: STABILITY. Now go watch the damned videos! 🙂

Two Extension Errors

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Thud

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More Extension Errors

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Disassociation/Applied Disassociation is really the preferred method of motion for a wide variety of reasons. Most notably because it allows for fluid and seemingly natural movement not to mention it also allows for greater precision control, which in certain cases of the type 7 turn, is absolutely required like where if you don’t complete the turn things are definitely going awry!

Just so you know, there are two videos on this topic in the archive. And while it’s lovely to sit here and yap about this stuff, you really do need to see it. So here’s a not so subtle plug to actually go and subscribe so you can see those two videos. They’re in the Ochos section. The first two videos. Please, for the love of God, go look at them. They’ll tell you everything you need to know about this fabulous and lovely technique that really are the bee’s knees!

So here’s a bit more detail about Disassociation and Applied Disassociation, in the case of Disassociation, the feet (are in collection), the knees (are together), and the hips do NOT move forward or back or rotate under the spinal column. If the hips move or rotate in any way, it will ruin the torsion that is being built up by upper body’s rotation or disassociation. The upper body, the arms (see: Arm Collapse – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rERBb-Fsh7M), shoulders, and torso move as one unit rotating around the entire spinal column from the 7th, 8th, and 9th vertebrae, while keeping the hips from “Slipping”. If you allow the hips to move even a degree or two it will rob you of Torsion. What you’re doing is very similar to what you’d with a rubber band by twisting it or winding it up. Eventually, the rubber band can not twist any further and will either break or unwind itself due to the amount of torsion that is being generated. That’s what we call a release of torsion. That same action occurs in Applied Disassociation. The upper body has Disassociated. Now the lower body (hips, knees, and feet) will unwind or release the energy that’s been built up.

Another way to think of Disassociation is as if it were a globe and we split that globe in half at the equator line, and rotate the northern hemisphere of that globe 45, 90, 180, or even 270 degrees ahead of the southern hemisphere. Applied Disassociation is where that southern hemisphere of that globe must rotate to catch up with the northern hemisphere’s rotation. The method by which that Applied Disassociation is generated is ‘torsion’.

Why is this stuff important in a type 7 turn ? Because the motion itself creates the illusion of natural fluidity. We say ‘illusion’ because in this instance that naturalness is actually something that’s been slowed down and stylized. This is a wholly unnatural action you’re asking your body to do. But in learning the action and then practicing it, the results speak for themselves. Sharp, crisp, clean, and controlled body rotation that is segmented and precise to within a degree or two.

The other reason why this stuff is important going forward is that in either role, the dancer is NOT dependent on their partner in any way, shape, or form for rotational movement. They can feel the intention of the rotation coming and then invoke the necessary motion. As a direct result of that motion now being controlled by the dancer and not the dance partner, that frees up the dancing partner to do other things. It also frees up the dancer to add and/or subtract embellishments and adornments to the Applied Disassociation as part of the equation.

Crossing Technique, you would think that this technique would be easy and you shouldn’t have to think about it. Wrong. The reason is that what we have is what’s known as a “Dirty Cross”. This is where the feet have crossed for a variety of reasons, and there’s space between the crossing feet. We have an entire topic video on just this item alone. Why does this apply here ? Because of Eight Types of Turns in Tango, two of them rely heavily on Crossing Technique!

Once these three techniques are embedded in the dancer, one can now progress towards the Eight Types of Turns. However, it should be noted that these are not the only things that need to be addressed before progressing. There are also a host of other things: Posture, Embrace, Body Position/Body Placement, Music, Application of Music, and more than this article can not talk about, otherwise, this thing would be a tome! For that, please read the rest of what Tango Topics is on about….it covers all of that stuff and more!

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What are the Different Types of Turns ?

Type 1The Walking Turn. (Freemium) In this type of turn, which has been showcased before in different videos, the couple essentially walks in a very tight circle. What makes this turn unique is that not only is it functional, but it’s also insanely musical, and on top of that, exceptionally easy! However, like everything else on this list, it has a “Gotcha”, and it’s a pretty big one too. There’s a reason why this turn is almost never taught, and it has to do with the rule that we’re all taught as dancers, “Never walk backwards against the line of dance”. Never. Ever. Which is to say that this turn, after about the 2nd or 3rd steps, will have the couple going against the line of dance.  Which as you can imagine creates problems for everyone. However, there is a solution to this problem of walking against the line of dance, and that’s to angle the turn a bit, and keep the turn tight (a small walking circle) to that the effect and timing is absolutely minimized. This turn can be done in open or close embrace, or any embrace format really. It’s best case use is in Close Embrace for a wide variety or reasons. There are multiple variations to this turn, and those variations come in the form of Walking Systems or The Six Ways of Walking. You can add loads of variations to this turn simply by changing the walking system. So while you can use a walking turn as often as you like, it does tend to get a little old after about the 2nd time through, not to mention if you don’t manage the line of dance issue you’re going to be holding up the line of dance. So it is for this reason that once you’ve got this thing down as a couple. You may want to look at Walking Systems in order to add about 18 different ways to vary the Walking Turn. 🙂

Types 2 through 6 are (Subscriber Only) 

Type 7The Molinete/Giro Structure. (Freemium) This is the turn that everyone thinks of when we say “Tango Turn”. It is the ubiquitous turn made very popular by Gustavo Naveira and Fabian Salas back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The structure itself is actually 2 structures in one. There’s the person in the center of the circle, and that’s the Giro structure. And then there’s the person on the outside of the circle, and that’s the Molinete structure. From the Molinete position, this person takes 3 steps (Back-Side-Forward, or Forward-Side-Back, or … etc). Typically it’s the Follower that does the Molinete part, and the Lead that does the Giro part. But that’s only half of the equation. The other half is when the dancers switch roles as it were, and the Lead does the Molinete part, and the Follower does the Giro part. There are lots of places where this thing can and does go wrong. One them is in the Back step of the Molinete. The person doing the Molinete part, steps away from their partner on the Back Step. When in fact we want that step to go around the Lead and not way.

This is easier said than done in open embrace, but not in close embrace because the Lead’s hips will continually be in the way, and they need to accommodate the Follower. This is known as the Molinete Problem.

That’s just one of many possible gotchas that happen with this turn. And yet it is the predominant turn and has been for the last 30 years.

Type 8The “Milonguero” Turn. (Freemium) The last item on this list is by far the simplest and easiest as well as what we believe to be the sexiest one, if not the most elegant. From the Follower’s point of view, it’s a back cross, a side step, and a forward cross (sometimes called cross-in-front). The turn is usually done in close embrace for a wide variety of reasons, as this was the predominant turn that was danced for almost 70 years until Gustavo Naveira and Fabian Salas came along and turned (no pun intended) the Tango world on its ear with the Type 7 on this list. There is a gotcha to this turn, and it’s that the Follower more than likely has the Type 7 turn in their heads and getting them to do anything else (this is known as fighting default behavior) is nothing short of like going to dentist, like pulling teeth and just as painful for both parties.

Hey!!!! Wait!!!! Where at the other 5 turns ? What happened to them ? They’re here. But if you want to see the textual descriptions and all of the gotchas, and basically the rest of the article….which is extensive, you’ll have to register (it’s free).

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 Reality of WHY You Need This: There are many moves, steps, patterns, and figures to Argentine Tango that are really cool. What you may not realize is that most of that stuff is ‘fluff’, they’re nice to have, they’re nice to know, but honestly, you’re not going to use them that often! Mind you this is one side of the argument. This ain’t that! This piece is one of the more venerable selections of Argentine Tango that you will use frequently like Walking, Milonguero Ochos/Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete/Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross. Tango Topics take this stuff very seriously, and we say that because we use this stuff ALL – THE – TIME! Our case is that you need this stuff because > This is all about foundation, or one of the Seven Foundation Steps that we use all the time to create the dance that we know as Argentine Tango. That’s why! 🙂 That said, you do actually need to watch this stuff. You can learn what you need from this video and then apply it. No lie. No gimmick. As always YMMV and to remember that the video itself is only a stepping stone! You will need some private lessons to go along with it to get the ‘feel’ of things. That is the reality of WHY you need this stuff. So subscribing for a few months to TangoTopics to get what we’re on about wouldn’t kill you. Further, it would probably help to hear another person saying what your current tango teacher has been saying all along. Think of this stuff as one more reminder that you absolutely need to hear.

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Have you seen our Ocho Transition Series ? This important four-part series covers the four important transitions between the two common type of Ochos (Traveling & Milonguero), and the 2 common types of turns (Molinete/Giro, and Milonguero). Each one is a challenge on its own. And each one can seriously up your dancing abilities.

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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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Walking Systems

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If you were logged in, you’d see the full free version of this Article which includes the Follower’s, Lead’s, & Dancing Perspectives! Just sayin’… 🙂 Notation: The video above is only a 22-minute sampler of the full 1hr and 14-minute video. Only Gold Subscribers and above can see the full video with the footwork. However, Freemium Users can read the full article for free!

The 6 Ways of Walking

In today’s Tango world when we talk about the foundations of Tango, we talk about “how” to walk. Or actually the mechanics of how we walk, how we extend our legs, what happens to the knees, what happens to the ankles, what happens to the feet, and how we land our feet as a Lead or as a Follow. These things are vitally important as to how to move efficiently, effectively, and with ease. Suffice it said that these things, the how-we-do parts are a matter of opinion in some cases, an informed opinion in others, and still this stuff is not a settled issue at this point almost 100 years on going forward. The reason we mention these things is because this video is not about how to walk, or how to land your foot, or even how to extend your leg. But rather it’s about the different ways, 18 in fact, in which we walk in regards to Tango. And these things are insanely important for two reasons as it relates to Argentine Tango: 1.) Because these 18 ideas are the foundation of everything that you will ever do with regards to tango. They’re the step into and out of every piece of vocabulary. 2.) These 18 ideas are very nature of versatility and really they’re the foundation of improvisation! If you study and practice these ideas to the point of mindful repetition, then you will have the ability that we all seek: Improvisation. That’s not a sales boast to get you to register. That’s a fact. These 18 ideas comprise the pathway that we all seek as Leads or as Follows, to inspire, enhance, and generate a creative interpretation of the Music, or to improvise to any piece of music regardless of genre, or partner, using nothing more than forward steps and back steps! That said, let’s dive into what Tango Topics calls “Walking Systems for 2019“.

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What are Walking Systems ? These are the many different ways that we can walk in Argentine Tango. Not the how-we-walk but the multiple methods to the ways in which we might want to walk, first canonized by Gustavo Naveira & Fabian Salas, and then expanded upon here for your edification. The ideas comprise a composite or overall vantage point that no matter what situation one is in, there is a walking solution for that situation. One example of this is the Walking Turn. Most Leads, when they hit an obstacle in their pathway, will invoke a Rock Step as a way to solve that problem. It’s their go-to move. A Walking Turn on the other hand, is another more creative way to solve the same problem while at the same time creates far more options and opportunities for both roles to engage in musically as well as from a vocabulary perspective and a navigational perspective. Tango Topics Walking Systems provide a way into any situation and any number of ways out of a situation that does not include a piece of specialty vocabulary (Volcada, Sacada, Colgada, Parada, Pasada, Boleo, Gancho, Calesita, Rock Step/Resolution, Single Axis Turn, etc) as a possible resolution, or for that matter any of the 7 of the 8 Types of Ochos, OR any of the 8 Types of Turns, or for that matter an Argentine Cross as a potential resolution! No. Walking Systems are the Resolution! They’re the solution to each and every issue that you can come up with. Not to mention they also solve an age old problem for most Leads, “What do I do next ?”. Walking Systems is one of the simplest yet most powerful answers to that question! Because not only do Walking Systems answer the question they go far beyond it!

Years ago when Gustavo and Fabian came up with a way of describing Walking Systems, as they pertain to Argentine Tango, it was a way of systemizing or standardization of the dance. Meaning that if you could look at something and describe what was happening with a simple phrase, then you could also repeat it and build on it! Those standardizations became what we now know today as the two predominant ways in which we talk about Tango Vocabulary and the dance as a whole: Either a piece of vocabulary is done in Parallel System, or Cross System.

Tango Topics Walking Systems for 2019 encompasses these two primary ideas and adds a bit more to them each, and then goes far beyond them to encompass 4 other ideas which on the surface may appear to not be one or the other, but in reality is both at the same time as you’ll see especially when you get to the section on “Alternates”!!!

Walking Systems expands on these ideas by using Orientation changes, Changes of the Embrace, and lastly a completely new idea (for some of you) that almost never gets talked about but is in fact quite revolutionary in our opinion!

These are Walking Systems for 2019 going forward as Tango Topics sees them.

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Important Notation: In 2015 we originally shot this video, and because our language has changed, and a few more ideas were added, it was absolutely necessary to reshoot this with the updated content. That version is still in the archive and will remain there as ancillary material for all subscribers of the service. Secondly above we stated that there are 18 ideas here. There are. However, the video’s subtitle is the Six Ways of Walking! So what’s that all about ? There are 6 primary ideas and under each idea, there are 2 or 3 variations on the primary, so 18!

 

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Why do you need this stuff ? Think of Walking Systems as what you do AFTER you’ve learned the foundations of how one walks as a Lead or Follow. Walking Systems are what you can do with that walk. Hence the ‘ideas’ part above. Another reason why you need this topic in your understanding of Tango is Versatility. And still, another is, and a longer answer, Improvisation. The fact is that you could do worse by just studying this stuff alone. If you did nothing else except studying walking and walking systems, you’d already be ahead of the game but the reality is that most people study the mechanics of walking for about  5 minutes and then move on to the vocabulary that they see everyone else doing, Ochos, Turns, Crosses, and then the specialty vocabulary which is studying all the crazy stuff they think that Followers want so that their Follower’s don’t become bored (Volcadas, Colgadas, etc). This is commonly known as Lead Mindset. This mindset a false belief system that, erroneously, believes that the Lead must perform all sorts of vocabulary and have a dizzying array of said vocabulary that will keep the Follower entertained in the course of dancing with said Lead. This is, of course, not true but no one wants to hear that fact.

Versatility means that these 18 ideas by themselves are just that, ideas. Implying that on their own they’re not going to do much for you. However, when you place one idea behind another and continually swap them out for the next, something very interesting begins to occur: Facility. You begin to have ease, a comfort with exploring the “What If…” realm. At the same time when you put them together, they can form an entire dance all on their own without doing anything else! We know, we’ve spent entire nights doing nothing but these ideas just to prove a point to see how successful or interesting this stuff can get. Versatility means that as a Lead, or as a Follow, you become so conversant with these ideas that variations of these ideas start to emerge on their own! And there are more here that we haven’t even begun to touch on.

Now to the longer answer, is that while no one has said anything about how to put things together, meaning that a Lead must choreograph an entire song on the fly right from the moment they step on the floor. That ‘choreography’ has to come from somewhere, right ? One place it could come from is steps, patterns, and figures. There is a certain comfort in employing steps, patterns, and figures. It gives one a false sense of competency. The real test comes when you run out of figures to employ, lest you repeat one’s self (which we do not want to do), and then you’re stuck with the problem you had when you started. What do next ?!?!?!? Again, you’ve run out of figures and you don’t want to repeat yourself. And this is where Walking Systems comes into play. They replace the need to invoke figures. Completely. It should be noted that another problem with the steps/patterns/figures solution is that somewhere about 10th or 15th figure, and after you’ve danced with every Potential Partner in the room, they all have your number and what you’re capable of doing! Further still is that in order to keep yourself from being ‘stale’ you absolutely must learn new material constantly and pepper in an ever-dizzying array to one-up yourself. How do you spell work ? We spell it “steps, patterns, and figures”. Which is to say, “Not so much with that idea!”.

Improvisation refers to two things: 1.) It refers to creation on the fly of singular or individual steps not a group or pattern of steps or figures but nothing more than walking forwards or backward. But it’s how you do that, hence the walking systems themselves which creates variety. 2.) It refers to the musical interpretation of one note for one step. Which gives you greater levels of granular control over what you’re doing in a dizzying array of possibilities.

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Have you seen our Ocho Transition Series ? This important four-part series covers the four important transitions between the two common type of Ochos (Traveling & Milonguero), and the 2 common types of turns (Molinete/Giro, and Milonguero). Each one is a challenge on its own. And each one can seriously up your dancing abilities.

Learn > Ocho Transitions

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The Walking Systems

Before we get into the systems themselves, it’s important to recognize that we walk on paths or ‘tracks’. Meaning that our feet (ankles, and 1st metatarsals) pass very close to each other (slide next to). This is known as “passing through collection”. These tracks do not cross over each other except in very specific circumstances. Think of train tracks, that are very close to each other. Typically there are 2 tracks of walking paths, sometimes there are 3, and sometimes there are 4. Sometimes, as you’ll see, their “Orientation” changes, meaning that in order for some of this stuff to work, either the Lead or the Follower must change their orientation towards or away from their partner in the line of dance. And sometimes that orientation change may invoke an embrace change. That said, on to the Walking Systems:

1.) Parallel System. This walking tool comes in 3 flavors, 1 of which we use all the time. It is the staple of the dance. This system is walking with a partner using opposite feet.

Example: If Follower is led to step backward with their Right leg/foot, the Lead steps into that space that has been vacated with their Left leg/foot, and then continue on with the Lead stepping with their Right leg/foot into the space that Follower just vacated with their Left leg/foot.

This walking system can be done on 2 or 4 tracks without an orientation change and is done without crossing over the body’s natural meridian. As well as on 2, 3, or 4 tracks with an orientation change. However, in the case of 3 or 4 track, these variations can only be achieved by changing the position or orientation of the Follower by use of an “Americana” Embrace either to place the Follower to the side of the Lead or directly in front of the Lead!

The 3 flavors of Parallel Walking are:

Type 1a – 2 Track Parallel walking (with and without an orientation change).
Type 1b – 3 Track Parallel with an orientation change. And
Type 1c – 4 Track walking with and without an orientation change.

2.) Cross System. This complex walking tool comes in 3 flavors, as well as 3 different types of entry variations, and 2 different exit variations. This system is walking with a partner uses the same feet.

Example: If the Lead steps with their Left leg/foot, the Follower is led to step with their corresponding Left leg/foot, and then continues on with the Lead stepping with their Right leg/foot, and the Follower stepping with their Right leg/foot at the same time.

This walking system can be done on 3 or 4 tracks walking without an orientation change (not shown in the video above), and 2, 3, or 4 tracks with an orientation change. 2, 3, or 4 track these variations must use an “Americana” embrace format either to place the Follower to the side of the Lead, or directly in front of the Lead!

The Two Flavors of Cross System Walking are:

Type 2a – 3 Track Walking without an orientation change using 1 of the 3 entry methods below.
Type 2b – 4 Track Walking with an orientation change.

3 Types of Entry Points to Cross System:

a.) Step/Half-Step. (see video) This method can only be used while in motion walking down the line of dance.
b.) Weight-Change/Step. (see video) This method can only be used from a standing position and is ideally used or invoked from one of the 5 Musical Pause types.
c.) Cross Behind Method. (see video) This method is used as the ‘flashy’ version and can be used from a  standing position or while in motion.

2 Different Exits from Cross System:

a.) Step/Half-Step. (see video) In this method, the half-step is on the same side that you entered on with step/half-step.
b.) Inverse Half-Step Method. (see video) In this method, the half-step is on the opposite side of the foot that you entered on with step/half-step.

3.) ‘Lazy’ Ochos. This walking tool comes in 2 flavors, the common Follower’s version, and the less common Lead version. This walking tool is where the Follower (or Lead, self-lead’s themselves) is led to stepping across their natural body meridian with each step.

Example: If the Lead steps with their Right, the Follower is led to step with their Right diagonally across their body meridian at a 45-degree pathway angle, while keeping the foot in alignment with the floorboards and not allowing the hips to rotate in any way, shape, or form.

All 3 types of entry points and both exit types can be used with ‘Lazy’ Ochos. It should be noted that Lazy (sometimes referred as to Milonguero  Ochos) are both a Walking System and an Ocho in their own right.

Type 3a – “Lazy” Follower Ochos.
Type 3b – “Lazy” Lead Ochos.

Surely that’s not all the walking systems, right ? You’re right. It’s not. This is just a taste. 😉 An informed tease. Nothing has been left out of this first 22 minutes of video, including footwork. However, the thing we did leave out was the other ELEVEN walking systems! If you want to read about the other walking ideas, and see examples of them, especially the Type 6 Walking System, which in our opinion is the Bee’s Knees, then you’ll need to register as a Freemium User which costs nothing and you get to read about the other eleven Walking Systems for 2019! If you want to go one step further, no pun intended, and actually Subscribe to Tango Topics, meaning to spend a few dollars/euros/rubles/pesos…then you can see the entire 1hr and 22-minute video on Walking Systems as Tango Topics sees it! Plus you get access to over 400 videos on a wide range of topics and techniques. What have you got to lose ?

Oh and one more thing, a further incentive for you register, is the Follower’s Perspective on Walking Systems, and the Lead’s Perspective on a wide range of “Gotcha’s” and things you need to be aware of with Walking Systems! If you become a Freemium User today at no cost to you, you get access to this valuable resource immediately. 🙂

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Have you seen our post on the Seven Basic Moves of Tango ? Quite possibly one of the more educational pieces of our yappage that really breaks down what the vocabulary is all about. The reason we stay that understanding what the dance is comprised of will give you a greater ability to change it to what you want it to be.
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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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8 Types of Ochos

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If you were logged in, you’d see the full free version of this Article which includes the Follower’s, Lead’s, & Dancing Perspectives! Just sayin’… 🙂

Notation: The video above is only a 22-minute sampler of the full 38-minute video. Only paying subscribers can see the full 38-minute video with the footwork. However, the real toy is in the Tango Topics archive of videos on Ochos. This video is only a taster of what’s actually there.

 

The Eight Ochos of Argentine Tango

Argentine Tango consists of many ways to interpret it’s musical component through movement. One of those movements is called an “Ocho” which when you translate it from the original Spanish into English means “Eight”. The “Eight”, in this case, refers not a number but to a shape that is created by the Dancer’s feet (typically by the Follower, but as you will soon see it can be done by the Lead as well) on the floor when they’re led to do so.

The Ocho is one of the 7 Basic Moves of Tango Vocabulary (see link) that is used in nearly every dance by every dancer at every Milonga in the world. It is almost as ubiquitous as the Argentine Cross in this respect. So much so that one may lead or follow an Ocho and not even be aware that they’re doing it. The movement is taught as one of the very first things we learn aside from walking. While one’s walk is insanely important, the application of the Ocho is almost, if not as, equally important for both roles. From a Leading perspective, it’s one of the ways that we can create a navigational structure & generate navigational options. We can use the Ocho to interpret the music and to generate musical structure from it. And it also has the obvious ability that allows to use it as filler content until we’re ready to do something else that may lead up to something else. From a Following perspective, it is one of the very first things we are taught to master and must become facile with because our very tango lives depend on it for a whole host of reasons which will become obvious later on down the line.

That said, let’s take a deep dive into the 8 Types of Ochos for Argentine Tango.

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Have you seen the Walking Systems video ? This video series showcases the Six Ways of expanding your walk in Tango using: Parallel System Walking, Cross System Walking, Three Track Walking, ‘Lazy’ Ochos, The Snake Walks, & Alternate Walking.

Learn > The Six Ways of Walking

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What is an Ocho ? In it’s simplest form and right up to its most complex form The Argentine Ocho is a learned, and generated motion. Meaning ? That the Ocho is not a natural construct. It is something must be learned and then mastered by both roles, not just by one.

The Ocho is powered by 1 of 3 types of “Engines of Motion”:

1.) Crossing Meridian Technique.
2.) Disassociation/Applied Disassociation Technique. Or
3.) A Body ‘Pivot’ Technique.

Each one of these techniques can generate no bodily rotation motion, some bodily rotation motion, or an enormous amount of bodily rotation motion at the point of Social Collection. Where, depending on the type of desired Ocho, that no body rotation or some body rotation will be done at very specific angles (0, 45, 90, or 180 or more degrees) where the dancers’ feet will rotate and body either with or against their dancing partner’s motion. In all but one type of Ocho the dancer (Lead or Follower) will step forwards or backward thereby setting up the next Ocho movement. However, and there’s always a however to these things, there is one type of Ocho where the dancer does not step forward or back but instead changes their weight from one foot to the other and then employs one of the 3 techniques above and does this repeatedly in time to the music.

It should be noted that the Argentine Ocho in all 8 varieties listed below all invoke Cross-System walking using either Step Half-Step or a Weight-Change Step, or a Cross Behind (not shown in the video) to get into and out of them. If you’re not familiar with this terminology please see their respective links to dive deeper into getting into Cross-System.

Put simpler: The Ocho is where the dancer (lead or follower) steps into Social Collection with their feet, and then assuming one of the 3 techniques above is used to generate bodily rotation that seemingly starts at the feet, and goes all the way up the body. Seemingly. 😉  The reason the Ocho is called an Ocho as was mentioned before, that the dancer will create a pattern on the floor with their feet, that resembles the number 8. However, over the last few decades, the floor pattern isn’t really adhered to, but instead it’s more a straight, curved line or an arc, with a point on either end of the arc. That point on either end, is where a body rotation can occur, or a point of transition occurs using one of the 3 techniques described above.

This is an Argentine Ocho

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What are the Different Types of Ochos ?

Type 1The “Milonguero” Style or “Lazy”  (starts at: 00:03:14) Ocho. In this Ocho, the Follower (usually), is led to stepping in a diagonal 45-degree angle across their natural body meridian thereby engaging in the 1st Engine of Motion. The Follower does not rotate their hips in any way, shape, or form, nor do they need to do so either. Their legs will cross over their natural body meridian in a walking step to do perform the “Lazy” Ocho. The Lead can also self-lead themselves to do this same motion going backward down the line of dance. This Ocho is ideal for small space dancing and it is ideal for the Encuentro environment. The reason it is called a Milonguero or Lazy Ocho is because in this instance the Follower is emulating minimal body movement of the Milonguero style of dance that emulates a Walk. It’s just that this walk crosses over the body’s natural meridian. Of the 8 types of Ochos, it is by far the easiest to do and the most effortless to dance.

Type 2The “Linear” Ocho. (starts at: 00:10:07) In this Ocho, the dancer is led (the Follower) or self-led (the Lead) to using the 2nd Engine of Motion: Disassociation and then Applied Disassociation to self-rotate, due to torsion build up and release. As a result of this type of engine, the dancer rotates to a 90-degree angle perpendicular to their partner, which then can result in either a forward or backward walking linear step on two separate but equal walking tracks. This position is also where the Ocho gets its name from because the Dancer is literally transitioning in front of their dancing partner over a line or a linear space directly perpendicular to their partner. It should be noted that the dancer can employ the 3rd Engine of Motion: A Pivot but it is not desirable to do so. The Linear Ocho can be done from Open or Close Embrace, however it’s typically done from Open Embrace or a Fluid Embrace, as the Close Embrace version of the Linear Ocho can be stressful or uncomfortable due to the fact of some people may want to use arm tension, hand/forearm pressure, compression, and/or resistance in the embrace to generate it. None of that is required. The build-up of Bodily Rotation Torsion via Disassociation, and then the release of that Torsion as Applied Disassociation is what generates the bodily rotation. Primarily the Linear Ocho is used as a teaching tool for both roles to instruct, and then practice, dancer Disassociation and Applied Disassociation. Once learned, Linear Ochos can be employed as a ‘Filler’, or as a navigational tool, or it can be used as an intro that leads into either a series of Sacadas or the opening step to a whole host of vocabulary. “Filler” in the sense that it can be used as some vocabulary to lead into something else or when you’re stuck from a leading perspective. It should be noted that while it’s only hinted at in the video above, the Disassociation and Applied Disassociation element is insanely important. 😉 It is what ‘powers’ all the ochos in this series with the exception of Type 1 and Type 7.

Type 3The “Traveling” Ocho. (starts at: 00:12:55) This Ocho is called a “Traveling” Ocho because it Travels down the line of dance. It is the Ocho that everyone thinks of when they hear the word “Ocho”. Typically this Ocho is done by the Follower, however, a Lead can self-lead themselves to engage in a Traveling Ocho as well (going backward down the line of dance). These can be done in Open Embrace, or Close Embrace, however, predominantly see them done in Close Embrace. Ideally, the Traveling Ocho employs the 2nd Engine of Motion thereby resulting in a 45-degree body rotation to create the desired ‘Traveling’ Ocho. Traveling Ochos can be done with Forward steps or Back Steps, and while the Forward Traveling Ocho requires the Lead to walk backward down the line of dance to do engage in it, the Forward Traveling Ocho is a lot of fun and add a lot of variety to the dance. Not to mention it also opens up lots of other options and opportunities to do other things that you wouldn’t ordinarily see. Traveling Ochos have a few built-flaws to them from a Leading Perspective that are discussed below in the Leading Perspective section. The Traveling Ocho is typically the ‘goto’ Ocho in all environments for a wide variety of reasons, mostly because the other 7 Ochos on this list aren’t taught all that often! Sadly. It should be noted that the dancer could employ the 3rd Engine of Motion: A Pivot but it is not desirable to do so.

Type 4The “Circular” Ocho. (starts at: 00:17:35) The name for this Ocho is a bit of a misnomer because we’re not actually generating a circle but more of an arc around the dancing partner. So rightfully it should be titled, the “Arced Ocho”, but that’s awkward, so we’re sticking with Circular. 😉 The Circular Ocho can be done from Open and Close Embrace, and typically employs the 2nd Engine of Motion, where the dancing partner will rotate 180 degrees on either end point of the walking Arc. Typically this Ocho is done from a standing position. And more often than not it is used primarily as the opening step to the Follower’s Molinete to the Lead’s Giro. The Ocho itself is not really used as a dancing element over and over again, but rather as a singular element to do something else like engaging the Follower’s Molinete, or any one of 12 types of Ganchos, or a series of Paradas, or changes of direction. It is generally not used as a navigational element either primarily because of its awkward embrace nature (see Linear Ochos). Circular Ochos also have a built-in flaw that is discussed below in the Leading perspective section. Notation: The dancer could use the 3rd Engine of Motion but it is not desirable to do so!

So where are the other 4 Ochos and what are they ? Register, it’s free, and find out. Just scroll down below.

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 Reality of WHY You Need This: There are many moves, steps, patterns, and figures to Argentine Tango that are really cool. What you may not realize is that most of that stuff is ‘fluff’, they’re nice to have, they’re nice to know, but honestly, you’re not going to use them that often! Mind you this is one side of the argument. This ain’t that! This piece is one of the more venerable selections of Argentine Tango that you will use frequently like Walking, Milonguero Ochos/Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete/Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross. Tango Topics take this stuff very seriously, and we say that because we use this stuff ALL – THE – TIME! Our case is that you need this stuff because > This is all about foundation, or one of the Seven Foundation Steps that we use all the time to create the dance that we know as Argentine Tango. That’s why! 🙂 That said, you do actually need to watch this stuff. You can learn what you need from this video and then apply it. No lie. No gimmick. As always YMMV and to remember that the video itself is only a stepping stone! You will need some private lessons to go along with it to get the ‘feel’ of things. That is the reality of WHY you need this stuff. So subscribing for a few months to TangoTopics to get what we’re on about wouldn’t kill you. Further, it would probably help to hear another person saying what your current tango teacher has been saying all along. Think of this stuff as one more reminder that you absolutely need to hear.

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Have you seen our Ocho Transition Series ? This important four-part series covers the four important transitions between the two common type of Ochos (Traveling & Milonguero), and the 2 common types of turns (Molinete/Giro, and Milonguero). Each one is a challenge on its own. And each one can seriously up your dancing abilities.

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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!

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explore your dance with a subscription! 😉

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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