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The Vocabulary That You See Constantly!

There are Eight Turns in Argentine Tango that Tango Topics has identified as Commonly used or Social Turns. There are a few others that are outside of the common eight but for the most part, accept in this moment that there are eight.

Just in case you were curious, the Eight Common Turns are in no particular order: 1.) The Follower’s Molinete/Lead’s Giro. 2.) Milonguero Turn. 3.) Rock Step. 4.) Ocho Cortado (Linear & Circular). 5.) Calesitas. 6.) Media Luna Turns.  7.) Colgada Turns. 8.) Anti-Molinete.

Today’s Tango Topic deals with two of those common eight turns and combines them into one movement so that they actually turn down the line of dance. This is an unusual vocabulary for Tango Topics to display because it is one of the very few figures that we teach/show to our Intensive Level Students (in Level 2 & 3) in the combined version that you’re seeing it here. We typically teach these as separate elements and leave it to the student, later on in their level 2 development of solving Tango Problems, to put them together as a possible solution set.

Some things to keep in mind:

In order for a Rock Step, by itself, to function as a turning element a.) there must be multiples of them, and b.) they must ‘curve’ OR there must be a resolution of some sort from one to the next element. 

In order for a Linear Ocho Cortado to be used as a turning element, the step prior to the crossing element must be rotated by the Lead, and/or the Follower’s side step must be curved or rotated slightly.

In either case, these pieces of venerable tango vocabulary are at best ‘quarter turn’ vocabulary. Meaning that they’ll only turn about 90 to 120 degrees under optimal conditions. However, combining these two turns increases the rotational from 90 to about 150 to a potential 180 degrees, under optimal conditions.

If all of that seems very technical for you, think of it this way: By themselves, they’re smaller, individual turns or rotationals. Together they have a bigger and better turning radius. Further still, it’s a kind of cool combined turn to do.

Today we’re going to explore this combination, so without further yapping, Tango Topics presents: The Rock Step & Linear Ocho Cortado!

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What Is A Rock Step & Linear Ocho Cortado ? First we have to be very clear, if it wasn’t clear above that these are two very different pieces of vocabulary. Very different. And they’re frequently commingled due to the fact that the opening step of the Linear Ocho Cortado (not the Circular Ocho Cortado) looks very similar to a Parallel System Rock Step without the Resolution. Secondly, we need to be clear about the difference between a Rock Step and that opening step of the Linear Ocho Cortado, which is called a ‘Check Step’.

A Rock Step, put simply, is a step where the Follower is led to stepping backwards, engaging a weight change, and then led to a rebote (rebound) into a forward step that may, as an option, resolve into another step. Usually a side or forward step. These steps can be done in Parallel System (meaning opposite feet – lead left to follower right, and lead right to follower left) or Cross System (meaning same feet – lead left to follower left, and lead right to follower right). The most common of the Rock Steps is a Parallel System Rock Step that starts with the Lead left/Follower Right and does not engage a Resolution, but rather curves a bit, about 45 degrees. Further, and lastly, it should be very clearly noted that while the language above is quite ‘passive’ as to what the Follower is being ‘led’ to do, the Follower is by no means a rag doll here or what Tango Topics calls a ‘dead fish’ in the Lead’s arms. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Nor should they be. They can, and should, when engaging in any of the 8 possible Rock Steps, own them completely and step into them with gusto!

A Linear Ocho Cortado, is an North American construct, at best. Why this idea is more prevalent in the United States and Canada is beyond Tango Topics but it is. In this version of the Ocho Cortado, the Follower is led to a Check Step, then a forward step across their Lead’s body, then a side step, and then led back to a crossing step (more on this later). It should be noted that the Follower does have some level of choice in this particular piece of vocabulary. Not just in where they step, but how the cross is executed, more on this particular element in a bit.

Ok, so now that we’ve defined what these things are, we need to combine them, and in doing so, we create a much more dynamic, and not to mention but we will anyway, a far more useful social turn than the turns are by themselves! This is the Rock Step & Linear Ocho Cortado vocabulary.

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

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 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.

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About The Video. This video is 16m:44s in length in 9 sections. Both lead and follower technique are combined and integrated into the video.

Introduction – 00:04:48 (this is the video above)
  – Linear Ocho Cortado – 00:00:54
  – A Check Step – 00:00:13
  – A Rock Step – 00:00:23
  – Parallel System Rock Step with Resolution – 00:00:22
  – The Explanation – 00:00:53
  – The Creepy Lead Lunge No-No – 00:01:17
  – The Socially Acceptable Idea for the Rock Step – 00:00:45
The Follower’s Replacement Step – 00:01:32
The Rock Step/Linear Ocho Cortado – 00:00:54
The Cross System Version  – 00:01:54
The Open Side Version – 00:04:19

The Curving Version – 00:01:20
The Closing Ideas – 00:01:24

Related Videos Mentioned In This Article: 

The Six Ways of WalkingDownload
Close Embrace Sacadas – Article/Download
The Ocho Cortado Options – Article/Download
The Circular Ocho Cortado – Article
The Argentine Rock Step – Article/Download

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

The Missing Information. Dearest Reader. TangoTopics is glad that you want to read this Topic, so that you can dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, you’re missing three important parts to this Article: The Follower’s Perspective, The Lead’s Perspective, and The Dancing Perspective. Which can change your thinking by informing of some important pieces of information that you may not necessarily be aware of. Watching a 5 minute video will not help you to change. Change is a concerted effort and requires a little thinking on your part: Becoming a Freeium User! As the name implies, it’s FREE. Register. You get to see everything above, and a whole lot more! 😉 Have a nice day.

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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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