The Follower's Shortened Side Step
The Shortened Side Step. The Follower’s Molinete in one respect it has become the staple of the dance due to the fact that the dance is no longer a walking dance but rather a turning dance. This, aspect, is due in part to the fact that the Ronda (the line of dance) no longer moves, it hesitates, it hovers. As such is the case, we have become students not of the walk, but of the Follower’s Molinete and the Lead’s Giro in Open and Close Embrace. More the Close Embrace variety more than anything else. And so that we hit all the hot spots here, that idea of Close Embrace is in an Open Vee, Closed Vee, Pseudo, Berlin, and/or Square Embrace format. In any and/or all of these varieties of the Embrace the Follower’s Molinete and the Lead’s Giro is the staple or go to turn. Even though there are 7 other types (Milonguero Turn, Ocho Cortado – Circular or Linear, Single Axis, Colgada Turns, Rock Steps, Walking Turns, and Calesitas.) that we want to use to create a little bit of variety with our dance on multiple levels. Not just from a vocabulary standing but from a musical interpretation position. But that’s a horse of a different color for another day. As it stands with the Follower’s Molinete there is a huge or monster issue that happens in that turn that is created by 4 separate issues that create a less than desirable experience for both Lead AND for the Follower. Before we get to those 4 issues. So without further yappage, the Follower’s Shortened Side Step.
What is the Follower’s Shortened Side Step ? It’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s a side step that is much, much smaller. By default when we’re performing the Follower’s Molinete (as Followers) you may have been told early on by various and sundry teachers that we want to create evenly sized steps. The reason for this is really simple: Predictability! That predictability is, so we are told, a way for the Lead to be able to rely on the consistency of your steps as a Follower. They require it. They need it. They can’t possibly dance any other way. That’s not true by the way. There is another way which Tango Topics teaches and promotes, and that’s Intention Based Dancing. Part of the goal of Intention Based Dancing is to create a hyper-awareness in the dancer so that they can and should be able to ‘feel’ via their nervous system the small and seemingly imperceptible changes that can occur in someone’s posture, body position, body placement, weight position, foot position, foot placement. And in ‘listening’ to those cues we can surmise where someone’s body is in space and time and then enact Newton’s 3rd Law of Thermodynamics in real time! So the Follower’s Shortened Side Step is really a side step that allows for a Lead to have not only predictability but also gives control back to the Follower. Control ? You see in this entire discussion of the Follower’s Side Step of their Molinete, they’ve lost control over their choices. They’ve been told this is how things are supposed to be done, when in fact they have oodles of choices. Lots really. This idea of the Shortened Side Step is just one of them.
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The Reality of WHY You Need This: There are many moves, steps, patterns, and figures to Argentine Tango that are really cool. What you may not realize is that most of that stuff is ‘fluff’, they’re nice to have, they’re nice to know, but honestly, you’re not going to use them that often! Mind you this is one side of the argument. This ain’t that! This piece is one of the more venerable selections of Argentine Tango that you will use frequently like Walking, Milonguero Ochos/Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete/Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross. Tango Topics take this stuff very seriously, and we say that because we use this stuff ALL – THE – TIME! Our case is that you need this stuff because > This is all about foundation, or one of the Seven Foundation Steps that we use all the time to create the dance that we know as Argentine Tango. That’s why! 🙂 That said, you do actually need to watch this stuff. You can learn what you need from this video and then apply it. No lie. No gimmick. As always YMMV and to remember that the video itself is only a stepping stone! You will need some private lessons to go along with it to get the ‘feel’ of things. That is the reality of WHY you need this stuff. So subscribing for a few months to TangoTopics to get what we’re on about wouldn’t kill you. Further, it would probably help to hear another person saying what your current tango teacher has been saying all along. Think of this stuff as one more reminder that you absolutely need to hear.
About The Video. This video is 10m:51s in length in 2 sections. Lead causes and then Follower Technique is shown in the video only. There is virtually no Lead Instruction in this video.
Section 1 – What happens! – 00:09:09
Section 2 – Follower Detailed Technique – 00:01:41
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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!
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