Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance

Single Axis Turns

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 for now that there are eight.

Just in case you were curious, the Eight Common Turns are, in order of precedence and commonality: 1.) The Follower’s Molinete/Lead’s Giro. 2.) Milonguero Turn. 3.) Rock Step. 4.) Ocho Cortado. 5.) Calesitas. 6.) Media Luna Turns. 7.) Colgada Turns. 8.) Anti-Molinete.

Today’s Tango Topic deals with one of those common eight turns. This particular turn is an unusual one even though it’s part of the eight. It’s unusual because it’s a variation of a class of turns called “Colgada Turns”, and furthermore it’s also not used all that much, and for good reason. Why ? Because it’s a difficult turn to pull off at first. This one is not for the faint of heart, but once you master it, your coolness factor goes right through the roof. Not to mention you will have also mastered one of Tango’s more difficult aspects that hasn’t been around all that long in the dance: Off-Axis Movements. Tango has traditionally been a couple in Close Embrace type of dance that almost never opens once the Embrace begins. Nor does that Embrace change other than to get closer and closer and closer, and more refined. This type of turn, while done in Close Embrace, creates a version of Close Embrace that from the outside looking in, doesn’t look all that different, but from the inside (the couple’s perspective) feels very different. Today we’re going to explore both sides of the embrace, for both roles, so without further yapping, Tango Topics presents: The Single Axis Turn!

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Have you seen the Social Colgada video ? The Social Colgada is a variation of a Colgada, it’s a small Colgada that works within the line of dance, and takes up no more space than a walking step would!

See > Social Colgadas

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What Is A Single Axis Turn ? It is tango specific language to describe a type of rotation that occurs between Lead and Follow where the word ‘axis’ refers to not the Follower’s Longitudinal Axis (which is the typical axial line that is referenced with the use of the word ‘axis’) nor is it the Lead’s, but rather a shared Longitudinal Axis between the couple. Truth be told, that axial line is always present. It’s generally the point of contact between the couple. However that longitudinal axis almost never gets used in Social Tango. Almost never. Except, and there is always an exception to these things, when the couple or partnership engages in what’s called ‘Apilado‘ (please follow the link for more information if you need a clear definition of this word). When Apilado is engaged, then the couple is dancing, depending on how it’s done, in either a supported way (shared) or unsupported way (forced). In the latter case, the Follower is being forced to fall on top of the Lead or to place all of their weight on the Lead. While there are times when that is desirable, in the case of the Single Axis Turn, that’s not desirable.

Another way of looking at the Single Axis Turn is by understanding that this is a Colgada variation. However, unlike most Colgadas though which tend to be executed in Open Embrace, this variation on a theme is done primarily in Close Embrace! So while it can be done in Open Embrace, and doing so will generate more of a ‘whoosh’ factor (see below) than you would normally like to have in a Single Axis Turn, this is generally a Close Embrace movement that is small, social and fits within the line and lane of dance that you’re in. At no point in time, should a Single Axis Turn exit that line or lane of dance at all. The Single Axis Turn is Floorcraft safe, when done properly.

Another piece of Tango vocabulary that uses very similar methodology and uses the same principle of ‘Apilado’ is the Argentine Volcada. It is also a shared axis movement. The Single Axis Turn is exactly the same in that respect. However, where as in the case of the Volcada, where the couple goes towards each other thereby creating more dependence on each other, in this case, in the case of the Single Axis Turn they go away from each other!

Put simply the Single Axis Turn is a rotation around a shared longitudinal axial line where the couple seemingly in close or open embrace, rotates around this axial line, thereby creating a ‘turn’.

Difficulty Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 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 13m:49s in length in 9 sections. Both lead and follower technique are combined and integrated into the video.

Introduction – 00:00:34
Forward Steps – 00:03:09
Follower Technique for Forward Steps – 00:01:26
Further Rotation – 00:00:32
Close Embrace Side Steps  – 00:01:47
Follower Technique for Side Steps – 00:00:53
Multiple Single Axis Turns – 00:01:47
The ‘Whoooosh’ Factor – 00:00:42
The Hurrican Turn/End – 00:02:09

Related Videos Mentioned In This Article: 

The Six Ways of WalkingDownload
Social Colgada Turns – Article/Download

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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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