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The Crossing Sacada Turn

The Crossing Sacada Turn. Tango vocabulary consists of many, many different ideas that are sometimes beautiful and sometimes not. Sometimes the simplest things are really the most elegant things to watch and to experience. And sometimes, very infrequently so, when you put two ideas together something else happens that is almost magical in it’s execution, dynamic in it’s experience, and seemingly otherworldly just watching it happen within the context of the music and the dance. Today’s Tango Topic explores this idea known as “The Crossing Sacada Turn”.

What is a Crossing Sacada Turn ? In its simplest form it’s nothing more than a series of Simple Sacadas that are chained together that just so happen to utilize the Follower’s Molinete or ‘Turn’, which employs the Argentine Cross as it’s basis for entry. While the turn can be done without this entry point, it loses it’s ‘elegance’ by without using the Argentine Cross.

To be clear, a ‘Sacada’ is one of 4 types of Tango Displacements (Boleos, Gancho, Wrap/Enganche, and Sacadas), meaning that either the dancer’s leg will displace or their entire body will be displaced or take the place of their partner. A Sacada can be done from open or close embrace, it can be done by either role to the other, and has lots and lots and lots of options (about 501, at last count – not kidding).

A turn, as defined by Tango Topics, can be but is not limited to these ideas in order of precedence: 1.) The Follower’s Molinete to the Lead’s Giro (the Common ‘Turn’). 2.) A Milonguero Turn. 3.) The Ocho Cortado. 4.) The Argentine Rock Step/Turn. 5.) The Calecita. 6.) A Walking Turn.  7.) The Media Luna. and 8.) A Single Axis Turn.

A ‘Crossing’ Sacada Turn ? Is exactly what it sounds like, a turn that has a bunch of Sacadas as part of it. In this particular case, this Sacada Turn uses the Follower’s Molinete, and a very important structure that Tango Topics completely eschews repeatedly, and says that you should never, ever do. This is the ONE time when you do want to do that, however with all things, there’s always a caveat to the caveat. That said, let’s talk about The Crossing Sacada Turn.

Difficulty Rating:  (3 / 5)

Following Perspective. Sacadas have a few things for you to focus on. 1.) Your Underlying Technique. 2) The Displacement of Your Legs. 3.) Coming to Collection. Turns on the other hand, in this particular instance is using the Follower’s Molinete as the basis for this turn.

1.) Your Underlying Technique in this case is all about your three steps (forward, side, and back). Isn’t it always ? Not necessarily so in every instance. Sometimes we just want to focus on your backstops, or your side steps. In this case, it’s all three, and how you execute all three, and in specific how you should not ‘drag’ your feet, or let them dangle, or create gargantuan steps that are wholly unstable for you. Instead comfortably sized steps, and clean execution of how you place your foot on the floor.

2.) The Displacement of Your Legs is really about NOT letting your leg fly out and away from your Lead. Remember that you’re in 3in heels, and those things can be lethal weapons especially if the heel is allowed to impale someone. 🙁 So ideally we want the displacement your leg in a Sacada to be as short and as controlled as is humanly possible, and then some. Ideally we’re looking for ‘fastidious’ execution of the displacement. Meaning ? To be quick about it. There are times when we actually want a complete displacement, but in those cases those are shaped displacements as in the case of a ’Needle Turn’ at the end of an Ocho.

3.) Coming To Collection. While this is normally your default behavior, there are times when that is not desirable. In this instance, we do want to come to and ‘pass thru’ collection but doing so in a fastidious and elegant way that makes us and our partner very desirable.

All that being said…now we get down to the

The Following Fine Print. The reality is that this, The Sacada Turn, is nothing more than your Follower’s Molinete. That’s it, that’s all. You’ve done them 10,000 times, and here’s 10,00 and 1. It won’t be the first or last time that you do one. The Follower’s Molinete is the backbone of modern Tango. However, there’s one aspect here that is a little different coming out of the turn that happens as a result of that last chained Sacada. The Follower’s Self Gancho! As a result of the Lead stepping into your space (that’s the displacement by the way), you have no other option EXCEPT to displace and in this case Self Gancho! The Self Gancho is entirely up to you, or more importantly the execution of it is entirely up to you. You’re going to do one whether you wanted to or not. It’s going to happen. Period. So you might as well learn to execute one rather nicely instead of haphazardly. While this video does not show that technique, and the necessary exercises that you must drill yourself in doing in order to correct for issues, it does show (below) what it should look like. The Follower’s Self Gancho is detailed in a separate Gancho video in the Tango Topics Library. The reason we talk about the Follower’s Self Gancho here is because most leads will not create the necessary time for you to execute this Gancho as a result of their Sacada. They’ll rush through and you’ve got maybe a second, if that, to Gancho in and out, and it’s not going to be pretty. The fact is that if they don’t create space for the resolution of the Gancho to happen, then well…nasty things are going to happen. However, you can get away with something far simpler, and it’s more of a haphazard crossing of the legs than a full Self Gancho. That’s your only possibly solution to The Lead That Rushes in this instance.

Leading Perspective. There are 3 successive and chained Sacadas, one that builds on top of the other. This isn’t rocket science, but it is Tango and therefore there are a few ‘gotchas’.

1.) The Sacada Entry Point. The fact is that you must ‘hit’ (stepping just inside of) the Trailing Foot of the Follower for it to be a Sacada. This site has multiple videos on Sacadas, in specific you want to see the videos on a.) Simple Sacadas. and more importantly, b.) Close Embrace Sacadas. Both videos show the foundation technique involved as well as what has to happen in Close Embrace Sacadas when dealing with Forward and Side Steps! Moving along, ‘hitting’ (stepping) anywhere else is not a Sacada. Not even close. Far too many Leads step into the middle of the Follower’s step, thinking that they’ve Sacada’d their Followers. And that’s not the case. This is not a Sacada, it is being sloppy! There are many ways to be sloppy, this is only one of them.

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2.) Leading The Follower’s Molinete. Don’t assume that the Follower is going to generate a Molinete on their own. You may be dealing with a Milonguero Turn trained follower, and in that instance, you’ve got a problem on your hand. The problem is not the Follower, but you. The problem is that you assumed that they’d do X, when their default behavior is Y. Never assume. How do you not assume in this case ? That means to actually lead the disassociation that is absolutely required for a Follower’s Molinete to actually be understood as such. So many Leads do not do this, and they just infer the turn, and mostly employ a Lazy Man’s Turn and we end up with problems instead of actually being clear in what we’re intending to do. At the same time, so that we’re clear about this, to ‘be clear’ with the idea of disassociation does not mean to use your arms and to push, pull, and twist your Follower with your arms to indicate clarity. NO! You can and should employ proper disassociation without the use or force of your arms to indicate that you’re looking to initiate a Follower’s Molinete! 

3) Creating Space & Resolutions. All Sacadas have resolutions. Typically where most Lead’s fail is in allowing their Follower to properly (and sometimes improperly) resolve out of what they were led to do back into a default movement (collection, walking, turning, crossing, etc). In this particular instance that failure comes at the end of the last chained Sacada, or more importantly the Follower’s Self Gancho. You must allow them the space and time to resolve out gracefully, and if that means that you end up dropping a beat, then that’s what needs to happen. Remember, that the Follower is in 3 in heels and those things are somewhat dangerous. Rushing the Follower (tsk, tsk, tsk) to come to collection is one of those places where we typically make a mistake and can be rather painful for the Follower, when they scrape their heel across the top of their foot. Talk about an OUCH!!!!

The Leading Fine Print. There is something very important about The Sacada Turn, an extremely important aspect. This aspect allows the Sacada Turn to work. Without the aspect in place, will create problems and OODLES of frustration for both Leads and Followers. That aspect is contained in the video. It would be a grave mistake to watch the video above and to assume that you can understand all that’s going on. Not. And this isn’t sales boast trying to get you to subscribe. This is fact. Truthfully the first time that the Sacada Turn was performed everyone in class made the same mistake that you’re going to make and wondered why the Follower was rotating away from their Lead !?!??!?!? However watching the example above, that does not happen. So you’d be right to wonder what that ‘something’ was. That’s another reason why the video exists, that without that technique being employed the Follower will never Self Gancho and they’ll be out of position to walk down the line of dance into the next movement.

That solution can only be found in the video itself. So this is one reason, among many to subscribe and to see this video in it’s entirety. Oddly enough there’s another version of this same video that was shot 2 years early with another partner, that goes over the same material however there are different aspects to this information. So as a bonus to your subscription you’ll get access to BOTH videos to help you with this stuff. 😉

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The Fundamental Stepping Stones! An aspect that is wholly overlooked here in this article, until now, and really the video itself is the employment of the Argentine Cross. This is such a ubiquitous piece of Tango vocabulary that people hardly think of it as anything more than thing you do every 2 or 3 steps!

However, we do actually want to learn to lead and follow this wonderful structure that makes Argentine Tango so unique in the dance world. No other social dance has anything close to it. So it’s important that we as dancers learn to properly execute it, and to avoid the 5 Common Errors of the Argentine Cross, and to go one step further, and to see and understand The Engine of the Argentine Cross.

The only way this stuff works is really understanding the Follower’s Molinete, and it’s execution. For this reason and many others when looking at complex vocabulary like this that on one level looks to be simple when it fact it’s actually not, it’s far more complex than it’s component elements. It helps to have a clear understanding of the structure, dynamics, and proper execution of BOTH elements, Simple Sacadas as well as the Follower’s Molinete from a Leading and Following perspective. Tango Topics has all of those resources present which are available in your subscription and archived library. Just go look!

About The Video. This video comes in at 34m:02s in length in 13 Sections. This video contains no Follower and/or and very little Lead Technique.

Section 1 – Introduction – 00:00:52
Section 2 – Argentine Cross – The Starting Point – 00:01:32
Section 3 – The Lead’s Cross Behind – 00:02:35
Section 4 – The First Sacada – 00:01:09
Section 5 – The Follower’s Flailing Foot Error – 00:02:17
Section 6 – The Second Sacada – 00:01:32
Section 7 – The Third Sacada – 00:03:10
Section 8 – The First Complete Sacada Turn – 00:01:32
Section 9 – The Turning Brake – 00:04:08 (technique)
Section 10 – Removing The 3rd Sacada – 00:00:58
Section 11 – A Variation On A Theme – 00:03:47
Section 12 – The Close Embrace Version – 00:01:34

Section 13 – With A Metronome/Closure – 00:02:34

Related Videos Mentioned In This Article: 

The Six Ways of WalkingDownload
Simple Sacadas – Download

Close Embrace Sacadas – Article/Download
The Argentine Cross – Article/Download
The Follower’s Molinete – Download
The Self Gancho Exercise/The Self Gancho for Both Roles – Download

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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.


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