The Linear Boleo
There are many types of Boleoes such as the Circular Boleo and its variations (high, medium, and low), the Social Boleo and its variations, as well as the Contra and With variations on these ideas. Typically most people when they hear the word Boleo they only conceive of the Contra High Boleo that is done in performances. Why ? Because it’s the flashy, sexy one that ‘kicks’ high in the air! That’s why. It’s pretty simple, Boleo = “kick” in their minds. “I want to kick like that…”, as has been said by many of Followers that see these things. What many don’t realize is that a.) Both the Circular and the Social Boleos are built off of the Follower’s ability to have already mastered their disassociation skills and then to apply that disassociation, and really the Follower’s ability to employ clean, clear, consistent Linear Ochos or Traveling Ochos without using their Leads for stabilization or to push off of in any way, shape, or form, and how much work that goes into it, but none of that matters. The only thing that matters is the “Kicking” part! It looks fun and cool. Sigh.
There is, however, another variety of Boleo that almost never, ever gets talked about, which is not built off the Follower’s ability to disassociate, or applied disassociation, or Linear or Traveling Ochos! In fact, this Boleo is built off the one thing that every Follower is already doing, and continually working on: Their Walk! This Boleo requires an understanding of the Follower’s Backstep in all of its myriad of complexities. And if you’re thinking that there is no complexity to the Follower’s backstep, then you, my friend, are living in a fantasy land and have never ever done the work that a good portion of Followers have already done. The role of the Follower’s work in their walk is a lifetime pursuit of diligence and attention to detail to make it cleaner, sharper, crisper, easier….etc. As such this Boleo is built on that work and requires a few things in order to function properly. So let’s get into what is called a “Linear Boleo“.
A little backstory: The word Boleo comes the root Spanish word “Bolear” which roughly translates into English as “To Throw”. Boleo is the first person singular, meaning “I throw”. From a Tango perspective, the Boleo is one of Tango’s four displacements: 1.) Ganchos. 2.) Wraps or Enganches. 3.) Sacadas. and 4.) Boleos. The Boleo barely classifies as a displacement here because typically the displacement is when the Lead generates a displacement they tend to take the place of where the Follower was in the displacement.
What is a Linear Boleo ? Firstly there are many varieties of Boleos. Tango Topics is only talking about 3 very common ones: Social, Circular, and today’s topic: The Linear Boleo. To be clear there are low linear, midrange linear, and then there are the high Linear Boleo. So what is it ? This is a lifting of the leg (Lead or Follow, typically though it’s the Follower’s leg) that tends to be sent straight back and up. This is why they’re called “Linear” Boleos because they’re in a LINE with the walking step. In this version of the Linear Boleo, we’re exploring a Mid-Range Linear Boleo or what Tango Topics refers to as a Mid-Height Linear Boleo.
What’s the difference between a High Boleo and a Mid-Range ? The difference is in its application within the Line of Dance. In a High Boleo the Follower is reaching for the stars, as it were, trying to get their leg as high as possible in response to what’s being led. Typically there’s a tiny little problem with this idea. a.) They tend to be rather painful if you haven’t done the necessary exercises to help with extending one’s leg that high into the air. b.) They tend to disrupt the line and lane of dance because they’re misled in the wrong place (tsk, tsk, tsk). The Follower and the Lead in question quite literally forget for an instance that the Follower is in 3 in. heels for just an instant. And that instant is all it takes for there to be blood on the floor, and someone’s heel impaled into someone’s body parts! So the Linear Boleo that we’re talking about today is a mid-height boleo and doesn’t or shouldn’t really be too energetic or too high. It’s just above waist hight and a little beyond.
Difficulty Rating: (3.5 / 5)
Hey!!!!! Isn’t there more to this post ???? Where’s the Lead’s Perspective, the Follower’s Perspective, and the Dancing Perspective parts of the Post … ??? These very helpful, extremely descriptive, and FREE parts are still here, and you can see them too, just scroll to the bottom of the page, and register. Registration is a hassle! We know. But it is also free, and who doesn’t like free stuff!!! You get a whole bunch of other stuff that can help you with your dance, and the rest of this post. So go register, then login to your Tango Topics Library page and then select Articles, and you’ll see this article with all that good stuff in there. Just scroll, register, and then read! Easy. No ? 🙂
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 one of 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.
About The Video. This video is 2hrs:26m:20s in length in 11 sections. Both lead and follower vocabulary is combined and integrated in the video. There are two sections devoted specifically to the Technique that is required for both roles for nearly all Boleo types.
Exercise – 00:14:43
The Free Leg Exercise
The Controlled Leg Exercise
7 Common Errors – 00:18:37 (above)
5 Common Follower Errors
2 Common Lead Errors
Follower Technique – 00:24:46
The Walking Steps Reminders
Follower Linear Ochos
The Follower’s Appreciation Step
Basic Boleo Technique
Striking The Match (above)
Social Boleo Technique
Circular Boleo Technique
The Follower’s Rebote
Follower Leg Control
Lead Technique – 00:28:34
The Lead’s ‘Lead’
The Timing Issue
Setting Up The Contra
Setting Up The With
Linear Boleo Technique
Frozen Boleo Technique
The Rebote Principle – 00:05:15
Deeper Contra/With Boleos – 00:16:28
With Boleo Clarity
Deeper Rebote Principles
Contra & With Boleos Together At Last
Embrace & Posture Reminders
Linear Boleos – 00:18:52 (see library)
Sending The Free Leg
The Contra Linear Boleo
The Frozen Boleo Idea
The Embrace Question
More Frozen Ideas
Linear Boleo Advice
Boleo Examples – 00:10:57
Related Videos Mentioned In This Article:
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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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