There are pieces of Tango Vocabulary (steps/patterns/figures) that are very complex. The moment you see them you can’t even begin to imagine or even see yourself doing them. And then there are some that are the polar opposite – insanely simple, which for one reason or another require (seemingly so) no explanation! And then there are some pieces that somewhere in between. Today’s Tango Topic falls into the insanely simple category. However this stuff does actually require video, it does actually require an explanation of what not to do, and it does most certainly require an exploration of what’s possible. But let’s not get away from the fact that it’s a step. Nothing more than that. It looks cool, when executed properly, but it’s insanely simple. Like most things that are insanely simple, the devil is in the details. And those details are where you actually have to execute these ideas. In Today’s Tango Topic we’ll explore this from both sides of the embrace, as usual, and discuss the merits and detractions of playing with this stuff. So without further preamble….let’s look at the Check Steps & Incremental Steps.
What is a Check Step ? A Check Step is a bit of a misnomer. First and foremost it is a form of movement that we can and do invoke inside of specific moments like the Ocho Cortado for example. Secondly it is its own type of Tango Vocabulary.
In the first option, the movement itself is a leg extension done by either Lead or Follower (usually the Follower is led to this), where the leg extends through Perihelion phase of the step, but does not progress to the Transfer phase of the step (basically no weight transfer). This form of movement is especially useful in Traspie, and rightfully could be called Traspie but isn’t. Why ? Because, again, there is no weight transfer. In Traspie, there are greater and greater increments of weight transfers.
What is an Incremental Step ? An Incremental Step is a step that does include a slight weight transfer, however, it only goes a piece or a part of the way. Think of it as a step that only goes about an inch or two, and then with the next increment, the step goes a little further, and then the next increment goes a little further
Why are these things important ? These pieces are important for a few reasons. First and foremost, variety. They create the option and/or opportunity for variation to occur. Massive variation in any number of areas. Secondly, because these these are steps, basically, they can be initiated anywhere, under any conditions, with all styles of music. Thirdly, because they’re so simple to do, it means that nearly anyone can do them. So with just a little training (this video), and lot of practice, you can implement this stuff in your dance with very little fanfare. 😉
Related Topics. When you’re done with this article, you want to go look at two other videos. 1.) Cross Body Incrementals, where you can apply these things in Close Embrace. 2.) The Golden Nugget Extensions video. Where you have oodles of options beyond your wildest dreams! 😉
Difficulty Rating: (1.5 / 5)
There’s a lot more to this Article! There’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 ? 🙂
you can do better, all it takes is practice and time.
The Case For WHY You Need This ? Actually, you don’t need it. Huh? Hmmm…that’s no way to sell videos or subscriptions. You’re right. It’s not. That’s because we’re not in the business of teaching you useless vocabulary that you probably don’t need. Stay with us on this one, it’s not going where you think it is. From a very specific point of view, this is cool vocab. No doubt about it. However, from another point of view, the social dancer who’s been dancing a while, a long while, this is nothing more than vocabulary that doesn’t further the cause of Social Dancing. Now here’s the kicker – Both, yes, BOTH points of view are valid. Here’s why:
From the Social Dancer’s point of view, you’re never going to use this stuff. Maybe once in a blue moon, but in reality the better that you get, the less you use this stuff. From their point of view, it’s four pieces of vocabulary that you need: The 6 Ways of Walking, Traveling Ochos/Milonguero Ochos, The Follower’s Molinete/The Milonguero Turn, and lastly – The Argentine Cross. That’s it. That’s all you need. From the Dancer’s point of view that’s hasn’t mastered this stuff yet, this is cool and you want to play with it, and to be able to master it. To find it’s in’s, out’s, how’s, and why’s, and mostly to have fun with it. Both points have their merits.
And now to the one twist in our point that you probably weren’t expecting. This stuff actually has validity, maybe not from a social dancing perspective, immediately, but more from a movement, and musical perspective. The fact is that this is all about one thing and one thing only: Skillz!
There’s a reason you study vocabulary like this, and it’s not because it’s cool (it can be), or that’s it’s musical (it is), or that it’s fun (it is that), or that it adds a little spice and variety now again (the once in a blue moon methodology). It’s because it’s all about your Foundation. Or put another way, because this vocabulary works your foundation in a really good way, by breaking down the movements to their component elements, so then you can become a much more fluid dancer so that you can use it, or not. It’s about availability, accessibility. Not about using it. Using it is entirely up you. But working the instrument, that’s what this vocabulary does. It works your instrument, … ahem…that’s you in case you weren’t paying attention.
No one wants to admit that they need help. That their dance isn’t stellar. Furthermore, you really don’t know that your dancing skills aren’t absolutely amazing until you see a room full of people all dancing way better than you are. And then you see it and feel like the poor cousin at the kiddie table during a holiday meal. There’s a reason those people have achieved ‘better’. It’s doing work like what you see in the video above. Being able to turn this stuff on and off as if it were a switch. A good portion of the time when we’re dancing we only think about the ‘cool’ toys in our dancing and we neglect the one thing that makes those cool toys possible: Our Foundation. That is, in case you’re not paying attention, this video series and others like it.
Introduction/Technique – 00:07:00
The Weight Transfer Illusion – 00:00:56
Usage – 00:00:48
Incremental Sice Steps – 00:01:25
The Example w/Metronome – 00:01:51
Close Ups of Footwork – 00:02:12
The Last Word/End – 00:01:45
Related Videos Mentioned In This Article:
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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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