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Argentine Back Sacadas

Back Sacadas

Sacada. Meaning – ‘a-really-cool-move-that-you-think-is-really-complicated-but-is-an-illusion of techniques’.  For most people when they see a sacada for the first time, their reaction is one of surprise that a.) it looks really complicated (it’s not). and b.) that they can never see themselves doing one (you will). And these are usually forward sacadas for the Lead into the Follower’s side step. Usually. There are about 1024 sacadas, which drops to 512 when you rule out certain impossibilities. In reality there are about 10 different ‘flavors‘ of them that when you combine the different flavors of walking systems, that number jumps to insane number.  Things go right off the rails (as the saying goes) when we see a sacada that does not fit into this paradigm. Enter the “Back Sacada“.

From a Following Perspective. This is the quite possibly the scariest of all moves in Tango for the Follower. Why ? Most people have an innate desire NOT to hit or hurt anyone, and the Follower’s Back Sacada opens up that fear in very real ways. The Follower’s Back Sacada to the Lead’s side step or Forward Step is quite possibly one of those moves where the Follower has to do some serious acrobatics to make it work. Or so you would think. Not entirely true. Almost from the day that a Follower learns to dance. They’re expected to do 5 things right from the start: 1.) Walk backwards. 2.) Embrace nicely. 3.) Cross their feet. 4.) Turn. and 5.) Ocho. It’s the 5th one that we’re on about because your ‘Ocho’ as you understand it, with a tiny modification, and a little bit of technique work can become your default for all Ocho movements and thereby take the ‘scare’ factor out of any and all Back Sacadas for you. The fact is because the Follower is stepping backwards into their Lead they’re trusting (eeeek) that they’re not going to hurt the Lead! Talk about scare the shit out of you! “Please god, don’t let me screw this up!”. Usually that screw up comes in one of three ways. 1.) Missing it entirely (which is rightfully not the Follower’s fault, the move is poorly led most of the time). 2.) Stepping on their Lead’s foot (he led it, so why are you apologizing for it?). and 3.) Not placing their heel close to the floor. You see, the Follower is in 3in heels, and those things are lethal weapons, leaving the heel up, can cause…shall we say, ‘Issues’. 🙂 However, the solution to making a led Back Sacada work for you ? Is two fold … 1.) Learn to collect your feet. No. Seriously. Frequently you throw your leg out behind you like so…

And the 2nd solution ? Extend your leg only AFTER you have completed your applied disassociation!

From a Leading Perspective. The Back Sacada qualifies as the quint-essential ‘cool‘ move that quite honestly is on the radar screen (at the beginning) and is seemingly just out of reach for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the applied disassociation that’s in the equation. Applied Disassociation ? In order for MOST back sacadas to work, that means that you’re going to have to do some foundational work that you would think only belongs in the purview of the Follower: Study Your Ochos. And the foundation of the Ocho is ? Applied Disassociation. Most Leads, think kind of work is beneath them. They see women doing this work and think ‘Follower’ Technique. “I don’t have to study that stuff.” And they’d be wrong. Flat out wrong. If you want the cool toy, then that means you have to lose the attitude and go learn how to Follow and in specific learn how to Ocho without being pushed, or pulled in order to do it. That’s where the study of Applied Disassociation comes in. Correction: Intention Based Applied Disassociation! This isn’t pushing and pulling folks, this is work. And quite honestly, most people don’t want to do it. They’d rathe push and pull to do the job. It’s not necessary. How does this relate to the ‘Back Sacada’ ? Because the engine of the Lead Back Sacada is in fact their ability to FREELY APPLY DISASSOCIATION without the use of resistance from the Follower, tension in the arms, or needing to push off of, or compress the Follower in any way, shape, or form, not even in the slightest. And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg because this definition above assumes that we’re talking about a LEAD back sacada to the Follower’s side or forward steps! What about the reverse ? 

From a Dancing Perspective. The Back Sacada takes up an inordinate amount of space on a social dance floor, while it is the cool flashy move, it also like spice in a meal. Spice ? Use it too often or too much and you ruin the meal! Use it sparingly (very sparingly) and then it’s a nice surprise now and again (like once in an evening and then let it go). However, most of you, specifically the Leads, are not going to hear this and think that you’re being ‘cool’ because now you can set up and receive a Back Sacada or you can do them yourself. The fact is that there really is no space on a social dance floor for them, except in the middle of the room. And most certainly not on a crowded floor in the outer track. Not now. Not ever. But again, you’re not going to hear that because you’ve gone Sacada crazy, and you want to try out the cool new toy. Let me introduce you to the only place where you should use them – A ‘Practica’. Specifically the ‘North American’ version of one. Where it’s not a class, it really is about ‘practicing’. That’s about the only place where you really want to pull this thing out and play with it. So if it doesn’t belong on a social dance floor, then why teach it ? Answer, it’s not about the Sacada but rather the underlaying technique of how you generate one – the Applied Disassociation!



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About The Video. This is a combined video format, lead and follow technique is mixed together.

Sacada Foundation Review – 00:03:50
Lead Foot/Leg Technique Review – 00:00:52
Disassociation/Applied Disassociation Review – 00:03:20
Lead Disassociation – Engaging the Follower’s Side Step – 00:04:51
Engaging a Circular Side Step – 00:01:40
Follower’s Back Sacada – Using Linear Ochos – 00:01:25
Follower’s Back Sacada – Lead Details – 00:04:54
Follower’s Back Sacada – Follower Technique – 00:02:06
Back Sacada Review – 00:00:53
A Variation – Rotating Back Sacada – 00:02:31
A Variation – The Closed Side Back Sacada – 00:01:13
Multiples – “Chained” Back Sacadas – 00:02:49

The Missing Information.  There’s a free tip (for registered free users) that’s not here because you’re not logged in. If you were logged in, you’d see a free tip, but because you’re not, you’re not seeing it. So ? If you want the free tip, then go register as a free user and login. 🙂 However, if you want the toys, and to see the 31:38 HD quality video on how to properly lead and follow the Back Sacada and all the toys that go with it. Then you have 2 options. 1.) You can buy it. or 2.) You can subscribe!

You’re Not Logged In: If you were paid user of this site you could login to your account, you’d see a different video from the one above! You’d see the full Back Sacada video.

Watch It On Youtube ? Why should you pay for this video or subscribe to this website when stuff like this is available on Youtube ? Because what you’ll find on Youtube doesn’t explain and walk you through the how a Back Sacada works! That’s why!

So, please, go right ahead, go watch all the presentation videos on youtube all you want. Because that’s what they are ‘Presentation’ videos. The couple’s that you’re used to seeing are performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they’re not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about ‘Social Dancing’ and Social Dance Vocabulary and it’s execution. So please, go spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that 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.  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! (ahem) ME!  The goal of youtube videos is to entice you to go study with those teachers in person. The goal of these 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 be done with it. 😉

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.

In an hour long class, with the blind leading the blind through rotation of partners (uuuggggh!), you may glean a piece of the information you need and not get the whole thing, and you’ll miss important pieces that you’ll end up having to take a private lesson for to get the finer points. This way, you can watch over and over again, and get all the supplementary materials, and if you want you can still go take the class, only you’ll be better prepared to do so!

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 Gold, Gold Plus, or Diamond level subscriber today.

Picking Your Teacher

Picking Your Teacher

At different stages of your Tango life you’re going to be faced with the task (and it is a task) of picking the ‘Right’ Tango teacher. Sometimes because of where you live you may only have one or two people that are teaching. Sometimes if you live in a city like New York, Berlin, Moscow (etc), you are blessed with a plethora of teachers. As a beginner this is an easy question to answer because you don’t know any better, so you’re going to pick the first one that comes along that has any information. If you’ve been dancing for a while you’re seemingly going to be more selective by picking classes and topics that interest you, and more often than not, the personality of the teacher, believing that this is the right teacher for you. Neither of these methods will help you.

From a Leading perspective, you’re going to be impressed by flashy footwork, steps, patterns, & figures. You’ll be turned on by the moves, and not necessarily ‘how’ they’re done. This, you believe, will help you to pick a ‘good’ teacher and ultimately become a better dancer. Ummm…not.

From a Following perspective, you’ll be impressed by Followers that you’re exposed to, how they extend their legs, how they embrace, and you’ll want to emulate that and find someone that can show you that. This rationale doesn’t go far enough, it’s missing a few things. 😉

The Dancing Reality is that dancing and teaching are NOT the same things. Choosing a teacher based on whether or not they dance well as the sole criteria for whether or not the can teach you to dance is not a good idea. These are two very different skills. Far too often people make the mistake (followers) of being impressed by this the skill to dance thinking that equates to the skill to teach. You see it’s not about steps, patterns, and figures (leads) regardless of role, its about the technique of moving well, and more importantly their ability to explain the underlaying principles of HOW X, Y, and Z is done, and in every use case of it failing, where it fails, how it fails, and how to correct for it as well as the variations on a theme or an idea.

Put another way – watching a teacher dance, or dancing with that teacher just shows you that they know how to do X, Y, and Z. What it doesn’t tell you is how they can communicate those ideas to you and more importantly to the way in which you learn! The reality is that people learn at different speeds, and in vastly different ways. One size does not fit all. And that’s exactly what group classes are, one size fits all – cookie cutter tango!

Look At Their Students!

It is assumed that once someone takes on the teaching mantle that they have rightfully assumed the role of grand maestro (maestra) and are king (or queen) of all they survey. Ummmm not. The fact is that a good portion of people that hang up their shingles as call themselves ‘teachers‘ realistically know a little more than you do. This is not true of all of them, so as not to disparage anyone, but there are a fair number of those folks out there. So how do you separate the ones that just started from the one’s that know what they’re talking about ? Look at their students! Look at the long line of their students. Not the line to get into their classes. No. The line of dancers that have studied with them. If you like what you see…then that may be a good place for you to start your investigation of whether or not this is a good teacher for you. However, understand that what you see, you may not understand, yet. A good portion of the time you really do have to be educated in what you’re seeing. Just like you had to be educated in watching a tango performance to see the nuances. The same is true here. Furthermore you have, by now, more than a few preconceived notions of what you think is ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘desirable’, ‘undesirable’ Tango. And that notion, believe it or not, will get in your way in your ability to pick teachers. You must be educated about what real technique is, and why it’s important to build a good foundation and what specifically a good foundation is and is not. A good teacher will explain this to you and reinforce it in every single session! 

What are you looking for ?

Taking a class with a particular teacher is a good way of trying out a teacher. It shows you a small slice of how that person understands and engages X, Y, and Z.

Pay close attention to 4 parts of a class:

1.) Beginning of classes.
2.) The Topic itself.
3.) How the information is disbursed and to whom ?
4.) The End of class.

These 4 things are the arbiters of ‘good’ or the ‘right’ teacher. How they manage their teaching experience for all to see and glean what they can from it. 

Beginning of class – What does this teacher start with ? Do they have you walking around behind them in a circle to a piece of music, stomping out the beat of the music ? Dancing with a partner through a ‘mock’ tanda to warm you up ? Do they start class with a technique exercise ? Or do they start with an exercise while they call out things to focus on, and demonstrate while you are doing it with them ? Hint: You want the last one

Introducing a topic – Are their topics based on what you’re hearing in the music ? Or is a topic born from the exercise that you started with ? Again, you want the latter of the two. 

Gender Roles – Do they split up the women and men ? Meaning the Men do one thing only, and women do one thing only and you’re supposed to do your part and nothing more. Or are you invited, and encouraged to swap roles and engage in a discovery of what and how X, Y, and Z functions ? Again, you want the latter of these processes. 🙂 

(Notation: Role swapping is a good thing because not only does it give you a well rounded perspective of the dance, it also creates empathy for the other side of the embrace, and furthermore (believe it or not) you actually develop much faster as a dancer and you understand the vocabulary in far greater depth and detail than if you had focused solely on your ‘gendered’ role.)

End of class – Do they end class with a demonstration of X, Y, and Z to a piece of music ? Or do they end class with a list of where all the ‘gotchas’ are at and their possible resolutions –> where things don’t work, why they fail, further and more importantly do they show you all the possible variations of an idea in parallel, cross, open or close embrace, and how it fits into tango, milonga, and vals ? Again, you want the latter!

Critical Feedback.  Teaching you to do something is one thing. Giving you prompt, clear, consistent feedback of how you do X, Y, and Z (assuming they give any), how you feel, how you look, your embrace, your walk, your disassociation, your collections is absolutely critical to your ability to progress beyond your current skillset. Put another way, when they give you feedback is it critical or effusive ? Do they tell you the truth ? Or do they blow smoke up your ass with effusive complimentary commentary that tells you absolutely nothing about what you’re doing. “Yes dear, you’re doing just fine, fabulous …. keep up the good work!”.  Ideally you want a teacher that says in clear, constructive language, sometimes harsh or hard to hear, “Look bub, you’re screwing up here, here, and here…oh and while we’re at it…here, here, here, here and here! And this is how you fix it…” then goes on to show you the how to! Critical feedback is hard to hear, but one of the most crucial parts to your development as a dancer. You can’t see your own errors, and you can’t see how to fix them. Hopefully your teacher can and does have a solution for them. “Hopefully” ? Truthfully just because said ‘teacher’ wears the teacher hat does not mean that they are the sole of all wisdom. 

Homework. Do they send you on your way with a pat on the back and/or a hug while they’re counting your money ? Or when you’re done with class/private lessons, do they provide you with a study plan of what you need to work on before you’re next meeting. Do they give you exercises to work on ? Do they have exercise videos for you to watch or to remind you of all the things you should be doing ? Do they give you a series of daily regimes that you must accomplish between now and your next session ?  Again, you want the latter. 

Progress. Do they acknowledge your presence outside of classes or instruction time with a kiss and a hug and that’s it ? OR do they a.) actively keep track of you when you’re out dancing at a practica or a milonga. b.) watching whether or not you’re doing what they’ve shown you to do. c.) comment on your dancing after a milonga or during your next private lesson and d.) engaging you outside of lesson time with reminders and support to get you to your next level of dancing ? Again, you want a – d. 😉  

A good teacher is not there to blow smoke up your ass. Nor are they there to collect the cash. They are there to educate you. You on the other hand are there to make mistakes, lots of them. It is only through those mistakes that you will learn, grow, and change. Further still you absolutely require their feedback, and that means that you must, must, must be willing to ask questions, engage, take control of your own education, invest in doing the necessary research about how you look, how you feel, and more importantly to hear that feedback from them, and be willing to ask for it.

If you think class is about getting it right, that’s a mistake. It’s better that you make the mistakes in class vs. out on a social dance floor. Why ? Because like it or not the Tango world can be very judgmental. So you would rather have a teacher that will tell you truth about how you feel and look, and then to show you the realities of your dance than blowing smoke up your ass for an hour and you leave with a happy smile on your face, and then at milongas sit all night long or not get the dances you desire. A good teacher, and really the ‘right’ teacher, does that for you. 

Look, the classroom is a crucible, in it we burn away all the irrelevancies that do not matter, and in it’s place we seek to inform, educate, illuminate, and ultimately get down to truth of how to do X, Y, and Z.

Which Teacher Do You Want to Have ? 

a.) The ‘show & copy‘ teacher. Meaning they show you, and you’re expected to copy what they’re doing exactly and when you don’t copy it exactly, they move on to the next ‘show & copy‘ to repeat the cycle.

b.) The ‘show, copy, add music‘ teacher. Meaning at the end they add a piece of music to make it all seemingly fit together.

c.) The ‘show, build, copy, and then add music‘ teacher. Meaning that yes they show you a piece at a time, building the elements that create X, Y, and Z and then add music at the end.

d.) The ‘explain, build, explain, build more, explain, discover, build, discover, explain, discover, build, test, try, build more, add music, build more, explore more, discover…oops, class is over‘ teacher.

You decide which of these teachers you want to have teaching you about what Tango is and is not. ©Tango Topics.

The 8 Count Basic

The 8 Count Basic

Most people start out learning, one of three things: 1.) A walk. 2.) An Ocho Cortado. or 3.) The 8 Count Basic which later turns into The Argentine Cross

From a Leading perspective the 8 Count Basic is about as useful as a small kitchen appliance unplugged. However we do end up using it’s core component religiously, steps 2 through 5 of the Basic 8 or The Argentine Cross

From a Following perspective, the 8 Count Basic almost never happens for you. You’ll almost never encounter it on a social dance floor. Once you’re done (hahahahahha) with your foundation classes, you’ll never run into it again.

Truthfully the 8 Count Basic, consists of nothing more than 2 side steps, 3 back steps, and a cross and that’s about it for the Follower. And 2 side steps, Forward steps, and a clear collection. This is simple tango vocabulary for both roles.

From a Dancing perspective you’ll almost never see this arcane piece of vocabulary, and if you do, you know you’re looking at a Beginner who quite factually started dancing last week. You’re also looking a brave. Because it takes balls to pull that out on a social dance floor in the midst of everything else that’s going on around them. 

Why teach this stuff if it’s not used socially ? Because it contains some very useful information for both roles:

For the Lead 1.) It gets them to walk forwards (forward steps) with someone in front of them. 2.) They learn about side steps (they’re going to spend a lot of time on this). 3.) They have an awareness of the use of their arms and hands (which they unfortunately will not discard any time soon in favor of feather light contact, and level 1 of tango haptics). 4.) They get exposure to a ‘Crossing Step’.

For the Follower they learn 1.) Side. 2.) Back. 3.) Cross…over and over and over again and unfortunately it gets drilled into them thereby becoming ‘default‘ behavior. 



256 Argentine Cross Variations

256 Argentine Cross Variations

Of the 7 major moves for the Follower, the Argentine Cross is probably the most over used and least understood and quite honestly, least explored by the modern Tango dancer.

Just imagine for a moment, that you’re dancing along as a Lead or a Follower and you’re dancing the same Argentine Cross again, and again, and again. After about 5th or 6th time, it would become so rote that you’d stop thinking about it and it would happen by default. No artistry, no distinction, nothing. That is precisely what has happened with the modern version of this idea. The cross has become so ubiquitous that we have stopped exploring it and mining it for its rather unique properties. Like for instance the mere fact that it is the only time in any couple social dance where the Follower willingly (a very important distinction) crosses their feet! Or the singular distinction that there are about 256 and variations of the Argentine Cross, and yet…you only know one of them ? 

Yup. You read that rightly…TWO HUNDRED and FIFTY SIX different combinations. Let that sink in for a moment.   

Now Imagine that same dance above…only this time instead of the same old cross, your partner were to lead a mirror cross, and inverted cross, or perhaps….oh wait, you’ve never heard of these things before because they just aren’t taught. Ooops! As far as you understood it there is ONLY the one cross and that’s it, no more. These variations are just gobbly-gook…right ? They serve absolutely NO purpose. Well if you believe that then keep doing what you’re doing instead of inviting something different or fun, or expanding your potential for opportunities that you didn’t see before or couldn’t because… well…again, this stuff isn’t taught as standard practice.

Go Download the video, see what you think. And if you don’t like it…you know you can always throw it out. 😉 But I’m willing to bet you won’t. Why ? Because not only is it cool, not only is really interesting and educational, but quite honestly…it’s LOADS OF FUN!!!! And isn’t that the whole reason you’re here in the first place…FUN!  

Pre-Requisites: There is only one – The Argentine Cross itself, Walking, The Embrace just to name a few. You really do need to understand HOW the cross works in order for you to study these variations. While this video is NOT a class or workshop, it’s here to show you the possible. The underlaying foundations of the video can be found in This Argentine Cross Primer. Do you want to play ??? 



Quite honestly we spend a good portion of our time walking and turning that we forget that that walk is really four phases, not a singular element. 4 phases ?

The 1st – The Explosion Phase.
The 2nd – The Extension Phase.
The 3rd – Perihelion Phase.
And the 4th – Transfer Phase.

From a Leading perspective, realistically modern tango turns A LOT, and because this is a defacto of the dance today, quite honestly we get a little tired of any of the 8 varieties of turns. There are only so many turns that one can do in the course of a dance. There are other options. Timing for one is an option, changing from normal time to half time, or double timing a turn (talk about wearing the Follower out), or going OFF Beat, or playing with just the singer…those are all perfectly valid options and do provide a fair amount of extensibility to the 8 turn options. Mathematically speaking, we’re looking at 5 possible options for each turn type or 40 different varieties of turns in time to the music.

From a Following Perspective, realistically about 2 turns in and we’re done. Seriously! You wanted to dance, not become part of a Whirling Dervish Display. Some Leads have absolutely zero clue that along about the 2nd molinete you’re done! You’ve had enough. Seemingly that turn is all they know…they don’t see the other 7 turn types as valid. They only see the ‘Sexy’ over rotated one! Because that’s the cool one. And you’re visiting the chiropractor the next morning because they squeezed the life blood out of your back! Ppphhhhht! ENOUGH!

There is another option: Extension, Disassociation, or Weight Change play. In simple terms it’s using the Follower’s Extensions as musical Elements! Or Disassocations, or Weight Changes. Or for that matter the Lead’s! Adding in this option turns that 40 variations into 200 available options! And that’s without adding the Incremental Step, or Tango Patter (Circular or Linear) into the equation.

Playing with these options can, as you can see (mathematically speaking), change things from a Leading perspective from a the same ol’ same ol’ to something a bit more dynamic. The attached video only shows a small portion of this applied to the Golden Nugget of Tango. However, the same ideas and concepts can be translated across your dance! Check out Golden Nugget Extensions, and while you’re at it, check out the Golden Nugget. You might learn something in the process. ©Tango Topics.

La Variación #5

La Variación #5

About 6 years ago after I had made a rather revolutionary discovery about the Music and wondered why it wasn’t taught it all. I came across a rather important, and sometimes beautiful, but VERY arcane concept known as “La Variación“. What you may not realize is that you, like most people, dance right past this thing most of the time. It’s in nearly every piece of tango music, by every major orchestral lead, in almost every age after a certain point. The thing is, you can’t actually dance past it. There’s something you SHOULD BE doing to it.

Rightfully in today’s Tango world, with the state of Modern Tango being what it is (it turns a LOT), that it’s sometimes impossible to engage La Variación due to a few factors – space being chief among them. However, the mere fact that you know that it’s there and more importantly that you’re aware of it is half the battle! Mistakenly you may be tempted to think that this is just a ‘Lead’ thing. Nope. It’s a DANCER thing. The Follower has a role here as well and it’s NOT to just FOLLOW what’s being led!

This should be an awakening to the trained ACTIVE Follower in all of us that hear La Variación and want to dance to it! As an aside, very few teachers teach this idea of this concept of the dance. For several reasons, most notably it’s fallen out of fashion. Furthermore it can sometimes be rather destructive to the line of dance IF engaged inappropriately.

You may wish to register for ‘Interpreting The Music‘ seminar series. And if you register today, get $50.00 off the purchase price.

The Accent Note

The Accent Note

The Accent Note is rife in Tango, Milonga, and Vals. It’s everywhere, and in the most unexpected places! They are there for a one reason to draw attention to the passage of music that we’re listening to, highlighting the passage as if it were bolded, italicized, or underlined text. Because of the accent notes creating this emphasis, it gives us something really cool to play with!

From a Leading perspective: Most of the time that we hear this stuff we just keep going, never realizing that dancing to the Accent Note can separate us as Leads! Quite honestly hitting the accent note is a little like an unexpected, but fun, “What was THAT ?” experience for the Follower. Truthfully we don’t want to do this constantly, but enough times so that there is logic to our dancing experience. You’ll note in this example that there are 4 of these accent notes, meaning that it’s not a random number. There’s purpose in that. Stuff like this always come in pairs or even numbers, never an odd number of things. This same idea plays itself out on a much larger scale than you imagine. wink emoticon

From a Following perspective: The active Follower perspective (meaning: that you’re not hanging, pulling, pushing, squeezing, compressing the living daylights out of your Leads and can walk unassisted in a pair of 3 inch heels, as well as turn, ocho, and boleo without help…at minimum and have moved on to actually redirecting your leads, and interpreting the music…), where you can interject an embellishment to the accent notes.

From a musical perspective: Given the recent notations on this page about Tango Sincopa, it is quite possible that you may hear this and think that this is a Sincopa! That would be a mistake. Now the question is WHY isn’t this a Sincopa ? To discover what the difference is (as well as a host of other things musically), you may wish to register for ‘Interpreting The Music‘ seminar series. And if you register today, get $50.00 off the purchase price.

Tango Music

Tango Music

When I started out, someone said to me “You must learn the music!“. I looked at my music library and I just wilted! The mere thought of actually studying that thing was seemingly vast (6000 songs)…mind boggling! 10 songs in, and an hour later, Zzzzzz, snore, zzzz. What was I supposed to ‘study’ ? Memorize note for note ? The titles ? Oye!!!

Like most people I just wanted to know how to dance the correct steps, and make my partners happy. Music ? Just arcane goobly-gook! The only thing that mattered ? Do this, that, and then I was dancing! Then one day I saw video of myself dancing. Everyone else looked amazing! Me ? Just…awful!

Careful study & conversation revealed that I was not ‘Interpreting The Music‘. I was doing what most dancers do: Cabeceo/mirada, embrace, do this, that, more of this, less of that, try not to run into anyone, song ends, smile, repeat to the end of the tanda. Repeat until to the end of Milonga. If there’s no blood and everyone is still speaking to you, you had a good night! 🙂 Dancing right ?

That didn’t satisfy. I started a daily process of orchestral study, the lead (Di Sarli, Canaro, etc), the singer, reading, listening, and trying to figure it out. Did this educate me about the music ? To a degree but it did NOT change my dance.

I discovered ‘Musicality‘ workshops. I went to about 20 or so. Over time I saw the same method being repeated. 30 minutes of a being taught a step, a few partner rotations, trying to apply it to a very specific part of a song. Step here, there, pause, start again! The problem ? What was I supposed to do with the rest of the song ? The tanda ? The milonga ? Arrrrgh!!!! Talk about frustration!!!!

I was no closer to learning what I needed to know and I felt lost. Fast forward to today and let’s just say that I can interpret any orchestra, any style, any song WITHOUT knowing it, WITHOUT counting beats, and most of all WITHOUT ever having heard it before!

What changed ?

Purely by chance I made a discovery, ran head long into it actually. I wondered why no one else had mentioned it or taught it before. This was something so amazingly awesome that it quite literally slapped me in the face…hard! It took about a month of trial an error but my dance changed, radically! I then set about expanding the idea, testing it, playing with it, challenging myself to make it fail! It didn’t. 5000 songs later, 8 different musical styles, 18+ orchestral leads, and about 5 years of students who have tried the method, and I can safely say….it works!’

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Sacada Foundations

Sacada Foundations

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Tango Sacada is a very amazing piece of tango vocabulary. The first time I saw one, I did what most people do — “Wow!! That’s really cool!!!“. And then I went about trying to learn them. “Trying” being the operative word.

For most Leads, the Sacada represents a graduation in a sense of “cool”, yes, but also that next level, the next chapter of their tango development. One accomplishment on a road to a series of accomplishments, this is the first of this class of accomplishments that says, “Cool”.

For most Followers, oddly enough, it’s the polar opposite of “Cool”. It’s “Did I get it right ?“. Their only concern is not the coolness factor but rather did they miss anything ? Did they ‘hear’ (feel) the lead properly ? Was their foot in the right place ? Their leg ? Are they hanging on their Lead ? Was their leg supposed to do that ? “Oops I’m sorry” an oft repeated apology for doing what they were led to do (see Truism #893. Vol. 3). All hoping that it was right and that they didn’t hurt anyone, and in the end hoping that their Lead will still want to dance with them…in the beginning. Later on, as they improve, hoping that said Lead WON’T dance with them! But that is a topic for another time.

There are two immutable facts about every single Sacada known to man: 1.) The Sacada is an illusion! 2.) They’re in the the family of displacements. It’s the 2nd one that we’re interested in the most because this part usually fails in the Lead’s understanding and execution of exactly what it is that they’re trying to do. I failed at this constantly, in the beginning, failing to see this most intrinsic element that not one of my 98 teachers told me about. Not one.

When learning to Follow, I realized that the Sacada is, was nothing more than my body wanting to take the place of the Lead’s body. It just so happened that my leg would naturally want to go away from my lead because of their invasion – hence the displacement part. Proper Tango Technique taught me to do something else with that leg than just let it fly away, potentially hurting someone with my 3 inch heels!

Good thing you have access to a video that discusses all of these things in lurid detail in Sacada Foundations for both Lead and Follow, especially the proper Follower Technique part. In 7 minutes and 8 seconds you’ll learn everything you need to know about the foundation of every sacada known to man and beast. 🙂 All in HD quality with good clear sound and close ups of every aspect of importance. Plus a free preview of Back Sacada technique for both Lead and Follow. Buy it here.

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