Social Boleos (with Social Contra Boleos)
The word Boleo comes the root Spanish word “Bolear” which roughly translates into English as “To Shine” or “To Throw”. The word ‘Boleo‘ is pronounced: “Boh-Lay-Oh” with the emphasis on the 2nd syllable. Boleo is the first person singular, meaning “I throw” or”I shine”. That’s about where the English and the Spanish meanings stop and take in a completely different meaning from a Tango perspective. From a Tango perspective we view this as a very specific piece of Tango Vocabulary which is nothing short of gob-stopping when executed properly, and in time to the music. Typically for most people when they hear the word Boleo they can only conceive of one type of Boleo, and that’s the flashy, but respectable, High Circular Boleo variety. To be clear, a Boleo, in its simplest definition, is one the four Tango Displacements, (Gancho, Wrap or Enganche, and Sacada being the other 3) that Tango Topics talks about. In the case of the Boleo, the Follower is led to “Throw” their leg behind them in any number of ways. However, that descriptive is a little misleading because the “throw” that is implied isn’t a ‘throw’, it’s a very controlled and contained action that shouldn’t be trifled with. Secondly, there’s a very specific reason why the Boleo occurs, which almost never get’s talked about or shown. There are lots and lots and lots of Boleo videos on YouTube for you to go watch. However, not one of them, not a single one, explains HOW you safely generate one, why a Boleo occurs, and more importantly the necessary skillsets that are required before you can or should attempt to even in engage in one. This video series does. Today’s Tango Topic looks at that set of circumstances and creates a very specific type of Boleo that could easily be called a “Low” Boleo but it is more apt to be called a Social Boleo. So without further adieu or yapping, Tango Topics presents The Social Boleo and Social Contra Boleo.
What is a Social Boleo ? We must make clear the first part of the Term “Social” of “Social Boleo”. Social in this context that Tango Topics typically defines that word as: 1.) The Ronda of the dance floor, pertaining to the line, lane, and Tango Floorcraft of the couple. 2.) The Milonga experience. Meaning how you enter the room, who you speak to, where you sit, how you sit, what you dance to, who you dance with, how you invite or deny a dance. 3.) Fitting any and all vocabulary choices, regardless of which role is initiating it, within the physical width of the “lane” of dance, and the physical distance of one singular step that goes with the line of dance.
The definition for a Boleo is as above, but in this context it would be where the Follower (or the Lead) is led (or self-led in the case of the Lead) to extend and then to lift their leg (that’s the throw part from above) behind them in a very controlled and contained fashion that can in certain cases be linear (in or on a line), or circular. Low (sometimes referred to as a ‘Social Boleo’), mid-range, or high (the common one). Quick, languid, and/or frozen. Which are either done “With” the Follower’s motion, or against the Follower’s motion (which would make it a ‘Contra’ Boleo).
Therefore a Social Boleo is a type of low (emphasis on the ‘low‘ part), circular, ‘With’ type Boleo that can be done quickly or languidly and can also have a frozen component. In this highly specific type of Boleo, the dancer’s foot would never, ever, leave the floor. Typically in High Boleos, the dancer’s foot would come off the floor. In this instance, because these are Social Boleos, the dancer’s foot stays on the floor, and extends in a circular fashion!
Typically the Social Boleo is ideal for Dancing In A Small Space, the Encuentro Environment, Dancing in confined spaces, and/or certain Milongas in Buenos Aires, like Salon Canning, El Beso, or Cachirulo, and most certainly the quiet, but well attended, Barrio Milongas. The Social Boleo is an easeful, and really, the easiest of Boleos to learn, and then to start dancing, from a Leading and Following perspective. And that’s because, for the most part, you’re already doing them without realizing that you’re doing them!
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 37m:34s in length in 15 sections. Both lead and follower vocabulary are combined and integrated into the video.
Introduction – 00:01:22
How to Start The Social Boleo – 00:01:05
The Follower’s Ocho – 00:03:09
Follower’s Specifics for Back Steps – 00:00:49
The Follower Stepping Away – 00:00:47
Leading & Following The Social Boleo – 00:01:54
The Engine of the Social Boleo – 00:04:33
Creating The Size of the Boleo – 00:01:24
The Open Embrace Version – 00:01:19
— in Slow Motion – 00:01:13
The Close Embrace Version (and in slow motion) – 00:04:30
The ‘Rebote’ Idea – 00:01:39
The Social Contra Boleo – 00:03:09
A Social Boleo with A Social Contra Boleo – 00:02:56
Final Thoughts/Closure Items – 00:06:32
Related Videos Mentioned In This Article:
Follower Technique Series – Definition/Download
The Six Ways of Walking – Download
Disassociation – Definition/Download
Applied Disassociation – Definition/Download
Lazy Ochos – Definition/Download
Traveling Ochos – Definition/Download
The Missing Information. Dearest Reader. TangoTopics is glad that you want to read this Topic, so that you can dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, you’re missing three important parts to this Article: The Follower’s Perspective, The Lead’s Perspective, and The Dancing Perspective. Which can change your thinking by informing of some important pieces of information that you may not necessarily be aware of. Watching a 5 minute video will not help you to change. Change is a concerted effort and requires a little thinking on your part: Becoming a Freeium User! As the name implies, it’s FREE. Register. You get to see everything above, and a whole lot more! 😉 Have a nice day.
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Why should you subscribe instead ? Several reasons. 1.) Probably the biggest reason is to save a boatload of money. Buying these things outright isn’t cheap. Besides when you buy you only have access to the one video. Subscribing, on the other hand, gives you access to everything else so you can see the foundational material that goes with this stuff. 2.) Even if you’re a Free User, you’ll get access to free tips that aren’t available to anyone just reading the post like this one. 3.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 4.) Because the Dancing Perspectives (Lead, Follow, and Dancing) are hidden to the open user. And that’s where all the information is at, unless you actually subscribe. Until you do, those very important textual descriptions of what’s going on for both Lead and Follow you want to read. 5.) And the real reason you should subscribe ? If you’re used to YouTube videos where you’ll see a performance, those Youtube videos don’t explain or walk you through how these ideas work! That is why! What you’re seeing is a presentation, a performance. Not how things work! And what you really need to see is how things work, and more importantly why they work! This website shows you that and more!
Remember that what you’re seeing is a couple that is performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they’re not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about ‘Social Dancing’ or how to make things function on a social dance floor. Social Dance floor ? Your local milonga! They’re showing flashy moves as a presentation! But not stopping and talking about how this works, why you’d want to put that piece of vocabulary there, or how to make things fit. This website is all about those things and more!
You could watch those videos and thereby spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that particular situation. Bend your body this way or that, twist and force this position or that. Place your foot here or there and figure it out. This is known as Tango Twister. Which can be a lot of fun, but more than likely it won’t help you, because you’re missing something: The explanation from an experienced teacher showing you how to properly excute this stuff from a Leading Perspective as well as from a Following Perspective!
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