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Golden Nugget Extensions

Golden Nugget Extensions

The Tango Walk is the hallmark of Argentine Tango. It is what sets Tango apart as a social dance, and a performance element. For some people when they talk about the Tango walk, they don’t pay a whole lot of attention to it, it’s just there. For some they hear the words that the walk is important but for one reason or another they just don’t get it. For others, they see that the walk is absolutely everything. It’s the bee’s knees. Anything and everything is possible once you have mastered the walk. Some people only see the walk as what one does in between the vocabulary (the steps, patterns, and figures). However you view the walk, the walk consists of four phases, not a singular element. The 1st of those 4 phases is what we call The Explosion Phase. This is where all the energy for the step is generated. It only happens for a moment. After that the energy dissipates in a controlled fashion throughout the rest of the step. The 2nd phase is The Extension Phase. This is where the leg actually, and fully extends, to a point. The 3rd phase is what we call The Perihelion Phase. In this phase we ‘pop’ the knee, meaning to fully elongate the entire knee area thereby creating a longer and cleaner extension of the leg. This phase is important because it is the mid-point of the step. And finally the 4th phase, The Transfer Phase. In this phase we do four things in sequence. 1.) We begin a sliding action along the floor with the free foot, shaping it, and engaging in supination. 2.) We begin to transfer our weight from one foot to the other, in this case the sliding foot. 3.) We allow the energy of the Explosion Phase to dissipate in a controlled way. And finally 4.) We allow the knee to flex back to the point of compression that we started out with.

Why are we talking about this stuff ? Because Today’s Tango Topic relies heavily on three of these 4 phases to begin playing with what we call Golden Nugget Extensions.

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Have you seen the Golden Nugget of Tango ? The Golden Nugget is one of the few patterns that’s great for learning the foundation, as well as actually using on the dance floor immediately! It’s not just for beginners, but advancing dancers too!

The Golden Nugget of Tango

a milonga madness subscription. need we say more

What are Golden Nugget Extensions ? We need to back up a bit and explain The Golden Nugget of Tango (TGNoT). TGN is where Today’s Topic gets the basis of it’s name from. TGN is not just another piece of Tango Vocabulary. It makes the idea of Tango very accessible and removes a lot of doubt of what’s going to happen next. It is one of the very few patterns that Tango Topics actually endorses, and teaches, with some frequency. TGN can be very useful in interpreting the music, meaning that it works really well in all 3 styles of Tango Music (tango, vals, and milonga). It is also exceptionally extensible, meaning that you while you have the basic pattern of it, you can change it, modify it, and add to it, adorn it, edit it to fit what you’re doing from a Leading perspective as well as from a Following perspective. There are loads of places in TGN where the Follower has oooodles of control over what’s happening. But that’s a topic for another day to be filed under – The Role of the Active Follower.

And now we get to the other half of today’s explanation. The title (Golden Nugget Extensions) is a both a double-entendre as well as a deliberate explanation of what it is. First and foremost, it is taking TGN and adding an expansion pack to it. Things you probably hadn’t thought of when playing with TGN assuming that you have watched the video and learned something from it. Secondly, it’s also applying an element of Tango that doesn’t get a whole lot of usage except maybe in Milonga: The Incremental Step (Traspie) & The Check Step. Golden Nugget Extensions fuses these two important elements into one core concept that you want to apply to your dance. This is the Golden Nugget Extensions principle.

Difficulty Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 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 ? 🙂

you can do better, all it takes is practice and time.

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.

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

About The Video. This video is 11m:27s in length in 7 sections. Both lead and follower technique are combined and integrated into the video.

Sacada Introduction – 00:03:26
Sacada Review – 00:02:37
Follower Technique – Part 1 – 00:01:15
Lead Technique – Part 1 – 00:00:50
Lead Technique – Part 2 – 00:01:05
Follower Technique – Part 2 – 00:00:55
Quick Examples – 00:01:20

Related Videos Mentioned In This Article: 

The Six Ways of WalkingDownload
Close Embrace SacadasArticle/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.

Have you seen the Milonga Madness video series ? Over 2.5 hrs of pure Milonga Instruction GOLD with one of the best Social Milonga Teaching couples alive: Detlef Engel & Melina Sedó! It covers everything you need to know to get you up and running today with Milonga. Don’t delay, subscribe today!

Milonga Madness with Detlef Engel & Melina Sedo

explore your dance with a subscription! 😉

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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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, and if you’re lucky two people that are teaching. Those people are teaching what they know and most of the time it is rudimentary Tango ideas and concepts, but you don’t know that. Sometimes those one or two people are absolutely fabulous social dancers, they’re teaching not because they want to teach, but because they have to teach to train people for them to dance with so that they don’t die in the Tango Wilderness where they live. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to live in a city like New York, Berlin, Moscow (etc), and as such you are blessed with a plethora of teachers. So you can quite honestly be picky. You can get other people’s opinions as to what ‘X’ is like as a teacher, and then try out their weekly classes to see if you’d like to study with them further.

As a beginner the question of who to study with 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. More often than not, sadly, most people are impressed by the dancing of the couple, and not their ability to convey an idea. They’re impressed by the performance of a couple, and it is assumed that if they dance like that, then they must be good teachers. People immediately equate one skill (dancing) with another (teaching). This is erroneous thinking. However, that’s where we start in today’s quest of Picking Your Teacher.

The Reasons Why. We have to back up a bit and look at the reasons why you are looking for a teacher in the first place.

From a Leading perspective, 1.) Your spouse or partner is interested in Tango, and they’re dragging you along because it’s a way to do something together. 2.) You need to get out more and someone you know suggested trying Tango. You’ve heard it’s hard but you like a challenge. 3.) You’ve been dancing a while now, and have seen the benefits of taking classes and regular study. You want more steps. 4.) You really want to dive in and take apart your dance. You’ve seen what X can do, and you really like how they dance. They’re impressive. Their steps, patterns, & figures. You’re turned on by the ‘moves’, and not necessarily ‘how’ they’re executed. This, you believe, will help you to pick a ‘good’ teacher and ultimately to become a better dancer.  Usually you’ll pick a man for these things because men lead, and women follow and that is the order of things. (clearing the throat….the proverbial ‘ahem’ sound: NOT!).

From a Following perspective, 1.) Tango doesn’t scare you. You’ve been wanting to do this for a while and you want your (enter intimate name of your partner here). 2.) You need to get out more, Tango looks sexy and there’s all that touching. It will make you feel sexy. (ahem). 3.) You’ve got a friend that suggested to you that you try Tango and you’re interested…maybe just one class. 4.) You’ve been dancing a little while and classes seem to be going well. You’re getting dances and meeting people and having a bit of fun. 5.) You’ve seen this really amazing girl do some really cool things, and while she doesn’t teach, you try to emulate her. You asked her who she studies with and pointed you at ‘Y’. 6.) You know you need the work. You want better dances. It’s that simple. You’re ready for the work. Guys tell you all these things and you feel like an idiot most of the time. You don’t know if any of it is true and classes aren’t really working at this point…so private lessons are your thing. 7.) You’re impressed by the local follower/teacher that you are exposed to, how they extend their legs, how they embrace, and you want to emulate this because they’re getting dances and they never sit unless they want to. They’re always dancing. They have beautiful feet.

Judging A Teacher.  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 the ideas of Tango.

Pay close attention to 4 parts of their 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!

Have you seen the Milonga Madness video series ? Over 2.5 hrs of pure Milonga Instruction GOLD with one of the best Social Milonga Teaching couples alive: Detlef Engel & Melina Sedó! It covers everything you need to know to get you up and running today with Milonga. Don’t delay, subscribe today!

Milonga Madness with Detlef Engel & Melina Sedo

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 that do fall into this category. So how do you separate the ones that just started, from the one’s that know what they’re talking about ? Take a hard, but long 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’, or ‘bad’ Tango. And the notions of that language of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ will, believe it or not, get in your way and your ability to pick teachers. You must be educated about what real technique is, and why it’s important to build a desirable foundation. And more importantly what a desirable foundation is and is not. A teacher that understands these things will explain this to you and reinforce it in every single session! 

Dancing Is Not Teaching. 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!

There are certain areas of teaching that you want to focus on with regards to picking a teacher, these are some critical things to think about:

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 (what it feels like – the kinesthetics involved), 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 their feedback critical or effusive ? Do know if they’re telling you the truth ? 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 then to say to you in no uncertain terms, “And this is how you fix it…”. And then goes on to show you the most important part of why you’re there: 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 ‘D’.  

A teacher is not there to blow smoke up your ass. Nor are they there to collect the cash. They are there to educate you about Tango. 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 ? Several reasons. First and foremost because believe it or not class is about making mistakes. John Dewey, a famous 18th centure educator, said “We learn best by doing”. He was right. And that doing takes time. It’s not about doing it right, it’s about the learning to do it right. So that you know and understand what it is that you are doing and why! Secondly, and some people will radically disagree with this reason: Because like it or not the Tango world can be very judgmental. You’ll go to a Milonga or a Practica, and there will be people watching you and judging your abilities. Yes, they’ll smile and talk you up one side 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. 

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256 Argentine Cross Variations

If you were logged in, you’d see this video. Just sayin’…

256 Variations of the Argentine Cross

Of the Seven Basic “Moves” for the Follower, the Argentine Cross is probably the most overused and, at the same time, least understood and quite honestly, least explored by the modern Tango dancer. It’s just accepted that it happens.

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 Variations of the Argentine Cross, and yet…you only know one of them ?

Yup. You read that rightly…TWO HUNDRED & FIFTY-SIX different combinations.

Have you seen the Argentine Cross video ? You may want to go look at that, as it’s the foundation of this video. Without it, these are just interesting ideas but they have no context. The Argentine Cross video is what makes this entire video possible. It’s also FREE if you register. Just scroll to the bottom of this page, and register! And then follow the link below. You’re welcome. 🙂

The Argentine Cross

What is a ‘Variation’ of the Argentine Cross ? It is an alteration, a deviation from the ‘Normal’ Argentine Cross, and while the steps themselves don’t change, the direction and options for the Cross do change. This is a ‘variation’. The way that we get to Two-Hundred & Fifty-six is first we accept the direction of the cross. Meaning that it generally goes to the Lead’s left/Follower’s right and walks in Parallel system. The Lead generally steps ‘outside partner’ to the Follower’s right (Lead left) and the Follower crosses their feet (Left over Right). This is a ‘Normal’ Cross. However if we instead step not outside partner Right, but outside partner LEFT (the Lead’s Right this time), and complete the cross that way (Follower crosses Right over Left). This would be a Mirror Image or a Mirror Cross in Parallel System! There are two other parallel crosses sitting here, and it requires us to visualize that if there is a Normal Cross, and a Mirror Cross, then there must be an Inverted Cross and an Inverted Mirror Cross, where in both cases the Follower would cross behind not in front. These are the Four Parallel System Crosses: Normal, Mirror, Inverted Normal, Inverted Mirror (N, M, IN, IM). Aside from Parallel system we have Cross System walking which we can apply to these Crosses, so instead of 4 Crosses, we just doubled to 8 because we’re doing these same crosses, only not in Parallel System, but Cross System! These are the common variations. There are 5 more types of variations, which each time that you add another variation type, it doubles the number of available Crosses. Thereby taking it from 4 to 256 variations!

Difficulty Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Why Do You Need This ? Actually, you don’t. The reality is that while these variations can be danced, and used once in a while as spice or accent material, they’re not meant to be danced! Yup. You read that correctly. They’re not meant to be danced. So why are they here ? They’re there to expand your functional Tango Brain of what is possible with Argentine Tango. This video is all about something that Tango Topics talks about in nearly every post, and it’s never more present than in this one video that exemplifies what we talk about: Options & Opportunites. This video is the epitome of the ideal to expand your foundation, to work your foundation in a myriad of different ways. The video is meant as a way to spark the question “What if…” ?  To get you to start asking questions by showing you a venerable piece of Tango vocabulary that is used every day, and turning it on its proverbial ear. 🙂 Whether or not you ever dance this stuff, remember it’s not about the dancing part, it’s about the mind expansion part! To get you to think outside your proverbial Tango box!

the full video is available in our store today, and available to our subscribers

About The Video. This video comes in at 5m:05s in length in 7 Sections. This video contains has no Lead or Follower Technique. This is a process video for you to explore ideas. 

Section 1 – Normal Cross
Section 2 – Mirror Cross
Section 3 – Cross Type 3
Section 4 – Cross Type 4
Section 5 – Cross Type 5
Section 6 – Cross Type 6
Section 7 – Cross Type 7

Related Videos Mentioned.

The 6 Ways of WalkingDownload
Dancing FoundationDownload
Follower Technique – Download/Article
Leading Technique – Download/Article

the full video is available in our store today, and available to our subscribers

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.

Have you seen the Milonga Madness video series ? Over 2.5 hrs of pure Milonga Instruction GOLD with one of the best Social Milonga Teaching couples alive: Detlef Engel & Melina Sedó! It covers everything you need to know to get you up and running today with Milonga. Don’t delay, subscribe today!

Milonga Madness with Detlef Engel & Melina Sedo

explore your dance with a subscription! 😉

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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La Variación – Tango Topics

A Little 'La Variación'

Years ago when we were just itty bitty tango dancers and really just starting to understand the world Argentine Tango, the codigos, the seemingly endless hours of technique classes, the social dynamics. It was all very overwhelming. On one particular afternoon after months of doing our daily music exercise (picking a singular piece of music and deconstructing it into its 4 major parts, sometimes 5). We ran across something, an artifact that didn’t make a whole lot of sense at the time. We put it aside for ‘later’. ‘Later’, came about 5 YEARS later when watching a friend’s video on youtube and them raving about this thing called “La Variación“. What in the blueblazes was THAT ? Naturally this piqued our interest and off to the races we went. A few hours later when we came up for air, we discovered that we had already discovered this thing FIVE years earlier and made a note of it to go back and figure out what this thing was. Then something else happened after our re-discovery and we wondered why it wasn’t taught, if it all. Because when you stop and actually hear it, you realize this stuff is everywhere and then it’s like the flood gates open.

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What is “La Variación” in Tango Music ? It’s a variation of the musical theme. Each piece of Tango Music has a major theme, and that theme can be ‘varied’, hence the term. La Variacion happens in a very specific place within the music. Usually near the end of the piece about 30 seconds before the end of music. Not all compositions posses one but a good portion of them do. Sometimes this variation will run at double time, sometimes even faster than that. A good indicator that you’re hearing La Variación is to listen for when the musical instruments, and in specific the bandoneons, ‘go crazy’. They seemingly speed up to an ungodly fevered pitch and tempo.

What you may not realize is that, like most people, you dance right past this thing all the time without paying any attention to it’s signifigance. It’s in nearly every piece of tango music, by every major orchestra, in almost every age after a certain point. If you listen to the piece above by Pugliese, which you’ve probably heard 10,000 times, and you hear La Variación, is that there is clearly a beat under it that you can walk to. And so that we’re clear, there’s nothing wrong with walking to that beat. What you can’t do is just dance past it. There’s something you should be doing to it. Actually one of two things. One of those things is walking. The other … well … read on. If you want an example of walking to the beat of La Variación in one of the more popular Variación pieces (Pedro Laurenz – ‘No Me Extraña’, and yes this is in our library for all subscribed users), look at this example, the fun begins at 1:41.

Rightfully in today’s Tango world, with the state of Modern Tango being what it is (because it turns a LOT). It is seemingly sometimes impossible to engage La Variación due to a few factors – space being chief among them. Skill being another. Still one more is awareness (musical, partner, and space). However, the mere fact that you know that it’s there and more importantly that you’re aware of La Variación is half the battle! Mistakenly you may be tempted to think that this is just a ‘Lead’ thing. Nope. The Follower has a role here as well and it’s NOT to just FOLLOW what’s being led! This is in our opinion a very misunderstood role here. The Follower can and should dance La Variación when led to do so. This should be an awakening to the trained ACTIVE Follower in all of us that hear La Variación and want to dance to it!

Very few teachers teach this idea of the music and 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. Still another and this is it’s Achilles Heel: It requires you to up your game skillwise. You can not simply just dance La Variación without upping the execution of your technique. Otherwise, and this is what we alluded to earlier, you look sloppy. This is the primary reason why it’s not mentioned, taught, or discussed. Typically and historically speaking, the La Variación was used in the Milongas throughout the 40’s and 50’s and much later on as Tango resurged in the 80’s as a way to ‘test’ the Lead, and really the dancing couple, to see if they had their collective sh*t together. If you danced it, and were witnessed doing so, and doing it well, you got the ‘nod’. If you danced it poorly…well…ummm…no ‘nod’. Which is to say that the other dancers in the room thought well of you, or they didn’t. You were good, but if you danced La Variación, you were …. one of the cool kids! This was a way for the dancers to test each other. To see if they could one-up each other.

In today’s Tango world, that still happens, just less frequently, and on an informal basis between friends and dancers. In the last 2 years there has been a formalization of La Variación into a sort of competition that shows off the skills and the stamina of the dancers. Which is sort of what it was before. Bragging rights if you will. Today it’s being elevated to a whole other layer of bragging rights, a competition. If you search for it online, we’re certain you’ll run across it.

Mind you, in the example above with Biagi, this is a slow version of La Variación, there are loads and loads of these things out there, all you have to do is listen for it. This is one more reason why you want to pay attention to the structure of Tango Music. Still one more layer to the onion that you think you’ve heard 10,000 times, but 10,00 and 1, now you hear something entirely different that changes your perspective and bam, you see that the mountain you thought you had conquered is even bigger and badder than you thought!

Variation in Variación. In our definition of what La Variación above we stated that La Variación usually happens about 30 seconds before the song ends. There are many instances where that’s not true. It happens much sooner in a piece. The funny thing is that you hear this stuff all the time, and don’t pay any attention to it. Below is an example of what we’re on about. What we have here is an example where La Variación occurs at 1:48 into the piece! Clearly not at the end. And in such a recognizable piece. This is Juan D’Arienzo’s 1971 version of “La Cumparsita”. If you go and listen to the more popular version that you hear all the time (the 1951 or 1963 versions which are slightly different from each other in clarity and in terms what he did with the piece), you’ll hear a very clear and different idea that occurs at 1:48. The example below starts at 1:06 of the piece and goes through to lead up to the La Variación so that you hear the progression.

That said, it wouldn’t kill you to start your Tango Music studies with Tango Topics. We have a range of courses to help you hear the structure of Tango Music itself, as well as what to do with it using our Musical Interpretation Series.

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Have you seen the Musical Interpretation Series ? It covers Walking, Traveling Ochos, Milonguero Ochos, The Argentine Cross, and the Follower’s Molinete and how to use them to interpret the Music in a structured but highly creative and inventive way: Using the 5 Musical Pauses!

See > All Our Musical Interpretation Videos

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Have you seen the Milonga Madness video series ? Over 2.5 hrs of pure Milonga Instruction GOLD with one of the best Social Milonga Teaching couples alive: Detlef Engel & Melina Sedó! It covers everything you need to know to get you up and running today with Milonga. Don’t delay, subscribe today!

Milonga Madness with Detlef Engel & Melina Sedo

explore your dance with a subscription! 😉

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. 

REGISTRATION COSTS YOU NOTHING

register and get more great, and detailed content from tango topics!

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The Accent Note

The Accent Note

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

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 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. 😉

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 figure this stuff out takes time, that’s why it’s important to have a good resource to study this stuff. Register for Tango Topics and get access to materials like this today. 😉 

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 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.

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