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Eight Follower Ganchos

Eight Follower Ganchos.  There are loads of types of Ganchos (or ‘Leg Hooks’), typically you start off with the 4 Common Ganchos that you see on a social dance floor quite frequently. As you grow into mastery over these there are Self Ganchos – Where the dancer (Lead or Follow) can Gancho themselves; There are Lead Ganchos, which don’t get a whole lot of play – Where the Lead self leads a Gancho onto and into the Follower’s open or free space between their steps; There are rotating Ganchos, as well as Volcada Ganchos, and lastly there are Gooey Ganchos, so named for their seemingly slow motion Gancho action. However one other class of Ganchos that is either misunderstood (for a good reason which we’ll get to in a moment) or just misused is a series of Follower Ganchos that for all intent and purposes look and feel like the 4 Common Ganchos mentioned above. However there is a very stark difference between those Ganchos, and what Tango Topics refers to as the Eight Follower Ganchos.

What is a Gancho ? In it’s simplest form, in the modern vernacular of Tango, it is a hooking of the free leg around your partner’s leg or thigh. More the thigh more than anything else. Secondarily, it is an interruption of the extension phase of the step, which can (not always) result in the lifting of the respondent’s leg either as a result of, or by deliberate intention to generate a “Gancho”.

What are the Eight Follower Ganchos ? The Eight Follower Ganchos are Ganchos that look very similar to the 4 Common Ganchos with one major difference: These Ganchos have NO invasion to them. In the 4 Common Ganchos the Lead is creating a Gancho (hook) by invading the Follower’s free space between their steps/legs, and as they do, the Lead continues their torso rotation while articulating their receiving Gancho leg. That receiving leg is the leg that is invading the Follower’s space. In the Eight Follower Ganchos, there is no invasion of the Follower’s free space. None. Further, and quite possibly, more importantly, this series of Ganchos is built off the Follower’s Over-Rotated Ocho which could be the beginnings of the Follower’s Back Sacada but is interrupted instead, and we end up with a Gancho and not a Sacada! It should be noted that in the 4 Common Ganchos we build the Gancho off the Follower’s Circular Back Ocho. In this case, we are extending that to the Over-Rotated Ochos. So instead of 90 degree rotations in Ochos, we’re looking at 180 rotations Ochos. Hence the reason they’re called Over-Rotated Ochos!

Difficulty Rating:   (3.5 / 5)

From A Following Perspective Ganchos are a serious pain for you for a variety of reasons, most notably because of the fact that the 4 Common Ganchos are invasive. Further still the 4 Common Ganchos are, frequently, over led (meaning they’re produced erroneously via brute force…tsk, tsk, tsk). And they’re also poorly generated in terms of how the Lead sets up their own response meaning how the lead sets up your steps prior to the Gancho occurring. As is such, you in the position of the Follower, are asked to perform Body contortion or Tango Twister-like moves that seem super human. Most Followers absolutely HATE Ganchos because in addition to all of the above, they’re also the most repetitive moves in Tango. Once a Lead learns (erroneously) how to lead a Gancho, it’s Gancho! Gancho! Gancho! Everywhere! For 9 minutes (the length of a tanda), they Gancho every possible place, and then some.

Just so that we’re clear on this, Tango Topics does not advocate this way of dancing. We advocate a more judicious usage of the Gancho as accent or spice vocabulary. However there is a time and a place to learn it, to practice it, and then to place it on a social dance floor. However, most Leads don’t recognize that it’s place is as accent or spice, and then use it everywhere as one of their ‘cool’ moves.

This series of Ganchos is a lot less invasive for you. They are however the same amount of physiological work for you. You still have to properly engage the Ocho. You still have to engage your leg extensions. And you still have to properly engage Gancho technique – the ‘hooking’ of the Lead’s leg with yours. All of that is exactly the same. The only real difference is the fact that the Lead isn’t invading your space to do it. That’s all. However the basic Follower technique still applies!

The ‘Gotcha’. Probably the biggest ‘gotcha’ in terms of this series of Ganchos and unlike the 4 Common ones is the Over-Rotations! Mastery over Disassociation and Applied Disassociation is absolutely crucial to making this series of Ganchos plausible. Without it, and without you having that skill in you, then you’re going to be pushed and pulled into your Over-Rotations, which is not desirable. To be fair and not to disparage anyone at all, but frequently because most people rely heavily on resistance based dancing to accomplish their goals, they don’t realize that they’re being pushed and pulled until they have it pointed out to them. 90% of the Tango world exists in this space of dancing and don’t realize that they’re doing it, or needing it (which they don’t). That number, by the way, isn’t an exaggeration. It’s demonstrable fact borne out of almost a decade of personal Tango research. There are 2 ways to generate Over-Rotation. One is the common ‘Wall’ method. Using and employing resistance which means Lots of pushing and pulling and someone’s arm being pulled out of their socket…seemingly. The second is by employing Intention, Control, Disassociation, and Applied Disassociation. However almost no one teaches the latter concept and it’s application except for Tango Topics!

The Flying Leg Syndrome. The fact is that when being led to an Over-Rotation because you more than likely have been taught to extend your leg in the Ocho as the Ocho is occuring instead of completeing the Ocho BEFORE you extend your leg into the next step, this is going to create a problem that we call “The Flying Leg Syndrome”.

Laslty, being pushed and pulled into the Over-Rotation, will more than likely mean that you’ll miss the Gancho entirely. 🙁 Which given the fact that most Followers hate them, may not be such a bad thing. If it weren’t for the fact that if you miss the Gancho, a good portion of Leads will repeat the same piece of vocabulary over and over again not knowing or caring that being repetitive is not desirable.

Given the circumstances, it’s very easy to see why every Follower hate them. However it should be noted that there is an almost otherworldly aspect to them, an ineffable quality that makes them feel insanely satisfying, when executed well.

From a Leading Perspective, this is a series of non-invasive Ganchos that are led of the Follower’s Over-Rotations. In this series of Ganchos there’s a lot of deft or subtle leading that goes on in several places. While you could quite easily man-handle your way through this and roughly, very roughly, lead the Follower to X, Y, and Z. The fact is that we don’t want to do that. We actually want to under-lead or start to generate the skill of less-is-more.

Now as to how that applies in this series of Ganchos first and foremost it occurs in the Incremental Sidesteps that we’re generating. Typically those sidesteps are with the Follower. However what we’re actually doing is making them smaller and smaller and smaller, this is done as set up, which is shown above in the video. That ‘set-up’ is subtle, not overt! It’s done gradually, incrementally.

Still another place where things are subtle is the Over-Rotated Ocho. The fact is that you only have so much head-room for an Over-Rotated Lead Disassociation. Typically most leads only have about 40 degrees of Torso Rotation, and that’s because they don’t practice and moreover, they haven’t invested the time in studying how an Ocho occurs from the Follower’s perspective (learning how to Follow!). If they learned how to Follow, then they would realize just how much more rotation they need in their disassociation to generate the message of the Over-Rotation. However, and this where things go right off the rails, you still have to have head-room for the incremental backstep that you will be leading. And that means not a full 90-degree Torso rotation, but more like 70 degrees. Subtle. This stuff is subtle!

These are just some of the places where you in the role of the lead must act with a deft hand. So here are some things to keep an eye on:

1.) Leading the incremental side steps onto the Follower. 2.) Leading the Over-Rotations without pushing, pulling, or resistance in your arms, hands, elbows, shoulders, or fingers…but rather through ‘intent’! 3.) Leading the incremental back step without pressure, compression, or physiological force! Incremental back step ? Yup. There’s an incremental back step in there, most certainly in the first 4 of the 8 Ganchos, and the definitely the last two. 4.) Remembering to Articulate your leg to receive the Gancho from the Follower. Most Leads forget this one. Without that Articulation, there’s nothing for the Follower to Gancho! These are just a few of the things we have to keep a watchful eye on. Hmmm, it should be noted what ‘keep an eye on’ actually means here. ‘Keeping an eye’ on something means in this case that you are aware of something, and to keep checking to see if everything is being executed properly. Balance, Stability, Tango Haptics, Torso Rotations, etc. It’s a near constant systems check that needs to happen. And the reason it needs to happen is that when we’re dealing with specialty vocabulary that doesn’t get used all that often (hence the reason it’s spice or accent vocabulary) we can not just assume that everything is going happen. That is a mistake that every Lead makes. You do actually have to check and re-check before, during, and after the execution of any specialty vocabulary.

So how do you check for this stuff ? One way that we can check to see that all is well is the strain that we’re exerting. If we are straining to Articulate our Leg to receive the Gancho, if we are stretching to engage the Torso rotation that must occur in the Over-Rotations, then we know that something isn’t right. Usually, this implies muscled force being applied. It is also a sign of lack of balance and lack of control.

Probably the biggest thing that we need to keep an eye on is your own posture. In this series of Ganchos, it is all too easy for us to compromise our posture to engage the Gancho. How ? In any number of ways, most notably un-leveling your shoulders to ‘lead’ the rotation that engages the Gancho.

Follower Back Sacadas. In many ways, this series of Ganchos can be seen as a variation of the Follower Back Sacada, with one major difference: There’s no Sacada! In this instance, while we lead the Follower to incremental back step, that back step is the back sacada that we were leading before in a Follower Back Sacada. In this instance, we shorten the step, hence the incremental part. So, as a result, it’s a good idea to study the Follower Back Sacada series of videos to get a good warm up to what you’ll do with this series of Ganchos!

(this is a video clip from The Golden Sacada – Article/Download)

Toppling The Follower (tsk, tsk, tsk). Truthfully and this has to be mentioned nearly every single time that Tango Topics raises the idea of Ganchos, and one reason why most Followers HATE (yes, “HATE”) them, is due to the fact that they’re frequently over-led! What does THAT mean ? It means that Gancho is forced using the arms to push and pull the Follower into place so that they ‘kick’, instead of using body position and placement and they’re naturally and organically led into the Gancho position so that the Gancho happens by default! That almost NEVER happens. One aspect that doesn’t get enough play in this discussion, and while this particular video doesn’t go into technique and what can happen when you misapply technique (See the 4 Common Ganchos for those details), is the fact that MOST Leads (the person, not the action, that’s the lowercase ‘l’) topple their Followers because they’re in the wrong position for the Gancho to occur, or they’re (again) pushing and pulling, or more than likely they’re too close to the Follower so that the Gancho can not happen. One way to prevent this from occurring is learning the best possible position for a Gancho to occur learning where the ‘sweet spot’ that is present in all Ganchos, Sacadas, etc. Again that is not discussed in this video but in the 4 Common Ganchos

The Confusing Part. There is a slightly confusing part about this series of Ganchos the relies heavily on the Lead’s ability to initiate a weight change in the middle of the movement itself. Just after the Follower completes their Over-Rotation in their Ocho, and before the Follower takes an incremental backstep into the Lead’s open sidestep, there is a choice to have the Follower Gancho with their natural Free leg or the opposite. The natural free one is the one that is closest to the Lead’s body meridian. That choice is where a weight change has to occur. If the lead chooses to have the Gancho with the outside leg, then that means there’s a weight change. And that weight change can be a bit confusing to the Follower and more often than not is man-handled by the Lead to initiate it. Obviously, if we’re describing it this way, we do not want to man-handle the Follower. Typically there are 2 types of weight changes. 1.) ‘With’ Weight Changes, which are very common. This means that the Lead is going with the Follower into the Weight Change. and 2.) Oppositional Weight Changes, which means that the Lead is initiating a Weight Change onto the Follower without changing their own weight, without using their arms to do it. This is done by Opposition or a very slight Torso rotation. In this case, the torso rotation is done in the reverse, and that’s the confusing part right there. Everything is backward here. Everything. Why ? Because in this instance after the Follower has completed their Over-Rotation, the Follower isn’t facing their Lead anymore. They’re facing away from them! Let that sink in for a moment. So everything that you want to lead is done in the reverse! Hence the confusion!

From a Dancing & Musical Perspective, the Eight Follower Ganchos are what Tango Topics calls ‘Spice’ or Accent Vocabulary. Meaning it’s executed in order to add nuance to one’s dance. Not as a continued staple of one’s dancing abilities or to show off. Any Gancho regardless of what type of Gancho it is should be performed as an accent in the music. To highlight the accent note or to accent a particular note at the end of a sequence of notes.

However, that’s not what typically happens. They’re overused and poorly executed. So what you’ll generally see is sloppy executions and Follower’s being unhappy with being manhandled as they’re pushed and pulled through Ganchos. Even though this particular variety of Gancho is far less invasive than the 4 Common Ganchos, you’re still looking at unhappy Followers.

To be fair, this is not a common Gancho you’ll see all that often. It’s outside the norm. However just because it’s not used all that often or that you don’t see it all that often doesn’t mean that it should be used now and again on a social dance floor as …. say it with me, ‘Accent Vocabulary‘!

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

About The Video. This video is 14m:09s in length in 7 sections. Both lead and follower vocabulary is combined and integrated into the video. There is virtually no technique instruction in this video. Please see 4 Common Ganchos for Technique instruction.

Introduction – 00:00:37
Setting Up The Follower – 00:02:50
The Other Follower Gancho – 00:01:05
The Weight Change Follower Gancho – 00:03:03
The Lead’s Forward Step Gancho – 00:01:41
The Awkward Follower Gancho – 00:03:07
Closure – 00:01:18

Related Videos Mentioned In This Article: 

The Six Ways of WalkingDownload
Disassociation – Definition/Download
Applied Disassociation – Definition/Download
Over-Rotated Ochos – Download
Follower Back Sacadas – Article/Download
4 Common Ganchos – Article/Download

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

thoughts about tango ?

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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