Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance

If you were logged in, you’d see the premium version of this Tango Topic! Just sayin’… 🙂

Close Embrace Sacadas

When we’re first starting out with Tango, both roles see the idea of a sacada as cool, flashy, or impressive. And they are until you realize one simple, but immutable, fact: They’re illusions…of walking technique. The Sacada happens due to an intersection of the Follower’s walk into the Lead’s or vice versa. At the same time, the Sacada is usually relegated to something that is done in open embrace and/or thought of as ’nuevo tangovocabulary. You can thank Gustavo Naivera, Fabian Salas, and later on “Chicho” for that one. The Sacada was around long before those three came onto the scene. It just so happens that they made it very popular. One aspect of the Sacada is while they are typically done in open embrace because of the space needed for them and certain variations of them. There is a version of them that is purely for Close Embrace, hence today’s topic: The Close Embrace Sacada!

What is a Close Embrace Sacada ? It is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a Sacada that’s done from Close Embrace. It’s a controlled displacement where either the Lead or the Follower’s leg will be displaced in a very controlled and refined way. Typically the Close Embrace Sacada is done from the Lead onto the Follower, typically.

Pre-Requisites: 1.) You must have mastered your walk first and foremost to the point where you are not using your partner (either lead or follow) for stabilization. 2.) You must be familiar with the principles of the Sacada itself. 

Difficulty Rating:  (3 / 5)

From A Following Perspective, this is one of those places where you don’t have a whole lot of control over when a Sacada is initiated, but you do have an inordinate amount of control over what happens after one is initiated. How you exit the Sacada regardless of whether or not it’s close or open embrace can literally define where, and in some cases, what the couple does next. Add rotation, and you’re quite literally forcing the Lead into any one of 8 Kinds of Turns. Don’t add rotation and come to collection, and you open options on top of options on top of options for yourself and the Lead. For instance, you could, just before you collect, engage an amague and then collect or cross! Mind you this borders on the role of the ‘Active’ Follower, because in this instance without the music playing for us right now, this suggestion is purely a ‘Willful’ Follower and not an ‘Active’ one. The difference ? The music is master to both roles, not just the L/lead (the action and the person).  Meaning that without the music playing right now you’ll hear this suggestion as being ‘willful’ and taking over control of the dance. While that’s not the case at all IF there were music playing! The music should be interpreted by both roles, not just the Lead. However, realistically a good portion of your Leads (the person and not the action), get all frakkin’ persnickety when you try to do that. So pick your battles carefully, and your Leads!

One more thing that you need to be aware of is that you are more than likely in 3in heels with a rather pointy tip. In case you were unaware of this fact, those things are like lethal weapons on your feet. So it’s important to keep this thought in the back of your mind as you let that ‘free leg’ be ‘free’…e.g. ‘swinging’. Try to keep that foot on the ground, specifically the heel, lest you injure someone in the radial arc of your leg going god knows where!

Most of this advice is coming from the assumption that the Lead engages a Sacada on the Follower’s free leg from their Side Step. However, what happens in the case where the Follower Sacadas the Lead on a Back Step, or even a Forward Step ? In this instance, one piece of advice reigns: Step Into Your Lead! Specifically, the trailing foot, and very close to it. Regardless of either your being led to a Forward Step or a Back Step through your Lead, it doesn’t matter, you have to step through and quite literally beyond the lead’s (the action, not the person) step. About 6 inches worth actually. A good portion of the time, especially at the beginning, you do have a desire not to hit anyone or to step on anyone. However, the Sacada by its very nature, overrides this desire by having you step into your lead quite deliberately. Seemingly to step on their feet. Your innate desire is to step away from them to avoid hitting or stepping on them. And that’s the last thing you that you want to do. You actually want to step into them, and right straight through them! And because we’re talking about close embrace here, even more so! In other words, don’t be dainty, polite, shy, or timid. You must, must, must, step into your lead!

From a Leading Perspective, we have talked about Sacadas before. So there’s nothing new here from a Leading perspective except maybe a few pieces of advice to serve as reminders. Let’s get to it shall we ? 1.) Remember that when you engage in a Sacada, that it’s as an accent to what’s happening in the music. Yes it’s flashy vocabulary, but like all flashy vocabulary what makes it flashy is that it isn’t used every 5 steps. Ideally we want to use this stuff sparingly, and even that’s too much. 2.) Safety first. Meaning that if you’re dancing with a beginner follower, we do not engage Sacadas, Volcadas, Colgadas, or anything of the like. Walk, Turn, Ocho, Cross. Got it ? Trust me that’s enough. Yes it may be ‘fun’ but you can hurt someone if you’re not too careful. And you can never be too careful. 3.) Not to mention a good portion of the time you’re going to make the Follower feel as though they’ve missed something when they don’t ‘get it’, and thereby inadequate. 4.) Sacadas, while you are doing them to the Follower, fall into the same category of flashy or difficult vocabulary for the beginner Follower because you can not anticipate just how the inexperienced Follower will react to them. 

That said, adding Close Embrace Sacadas for the experienced Follower that we have to be very clear and careful about is our right arm…or more specifically the compression of your right forearm (and hand). Factually there is a desire that occurs, as the Sacada does, in close embrace, that we want to compress or pull the Follower into us. And that would be a major no-no. Why ? Because it stops their movement or possible rotation! You must allow for the Follower to move within the construct of the embrace. Failure to do that, and you’re going to end up with unintended consequences that create more problems than it’s worth.

Still another area that we have to think about is the initiation of the Sacada itself…specifically leading the Follower into you, and not the other way around. Again, this isn’t about pulling or compressing, but rather about body position and body placement. The whole reason the Follower steps into you is due to where you are placing your body. Take your body away from them, and they follow it, thereby stepping into you, viola! Sacada! Ok it’s a bit more tricky than that, there’s a desired weight transfer that must happen in certain variations of the Close Embrace Sacada. Again the desire is to pull them along with you and you can not under any circumstances do that! You must allow for them to freely move into and away from you.

From a Dancing Perspective, the Close Embrace Sacada looks intimate, intricate, and above all else, very hot. No doubt about it. Done right, it screams “WOW”. Done poorly, and well…not so much with that. And that’s exactly what happens most of the time. The intent is there but the execution is poor. So we end up missing the whole effect. Either the intersecting step (lead or follow) was too shallow, too deep, or missed entirely. All of which happen quite frequently. It is only with time and patience, and a lot of practice that we ‘learn’ through trial and error (more error than trial) to execute with precision the Close Embrace Sacada. To be clear, this variant of Sacadas require precision control, precise intent, and precision execution. To alleviate this problem of precision, you’ll see a lot of Leads (and some Followers) quite honestly watch the feet of themselves and their partners (I make this mistake myself from time to time especially on over-rotated back sacadas). This is a major no-no! It breaks the illusion! This is where we talk about one of my favorite topics that almost no teacher talks about – Proprioception from a Tango Perspective. What’s that ? It’s the ability to sense where your partner is in space and time WITHOUT looking! This is not something that you just learn and it happens. There is no class on this stuff. It is a skill that you build through time, with time, with lots and lots and lots of trial and error. Unfortunately that ‘error’ results in someone’s feet getting bruised sometimes. Trust me, you learn pretty damned quickly after that! Add in Close Embrace Sacadas and this skill is an absolutely necessity! Failure to build this skill and the Close Embrace Sacada is going to be the Close Embrace Bloody and Bruised Toe Extravaganza of Your Worst Nightmares! So how do we develop this skill ? Simple. Stop watching your partner’s feet. That’s the starting point.

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

About The Video. This video is 21:45 in length in 9 Sections. Both Lead and Follow technique is co-combined. 

Overview – 00:58
Lead Technique Review – 01:05
Follower Technique Review – 00:48
Sacadas For Close Embrace Technique – 05:01
Follower’s Close Embrace Sacada – 03:41
Follower Forward Step to Lead’s Forward Step – 01:08
The Other Follower’s Forward Step – 02:05
Footwork Details – 04:48
Examples and Review – 01:38

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

The Missing Information. Dearest Reader. TangoTopics is glad that you are reading this topic in the hopes that it may get you to question and to dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, this topic only scratches the surface. Because you’re only seeing half of the information. You really do need to see all of it. If you had registered or ponied up the kingly sum of $7.95 for your first week, then you’d either see a free tip here, or if you’re a paying subscriber you’d see some detailed notes about the video that were either left out of the video or were an afterthought to the video after it was shot! However, because you haven’t gone and registered at least, you’re missing some helpful information that could give you a tip to making your dance a better experience for you and your partners!

Why should you subscribe for access ?  Several reasons. 1.) 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. 2.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 3.) And 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 voabulary there, or how to make things fit. These 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 Perpective 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 is allow 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. 

– The Last Word –

Tango Topics is little reminders and snippets of information that your teachers would have told you about but didn’t have time to or didn’t care to remind you for the umpteenth millionth time. Do you need videos like these ? Yes. Why ? Simple…you need as many reminders as possible in as many forms as you can get. In today’s Tango world it does take a village to raise a dancer. And that means having as many voices, reminders, ideas, concepts, perspectives as possible. This video and the rest of the ones that are sitting behind the Tango Topics paywall are that. While what you’re seeing above is only the smallest hint of what’s contained in the actual video. It should be enough for you to make a reasoned and intelligent choice that perhaps there’s something of value in this site and the videos that are here. Considering becoming a subscriber today.


FREE REGISTRATION

Get More Great Content from Tango Topics

Scroll to top