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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.

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 / 5)

From a Following Perspective, this is one of the very few times in Argentine Tango where the Follower has oodles of control over what’s being done to and with them, but not when it’s done to and with them. 🙁

The Upside of this stuff. Every single extension, every single  transfer phase, every single perihelion phase you have control. You have control over the execution of the extension itself, how it looks, how it responds, what the shape of your leg looks like, and to a certain degree you have control over where the leg goes, but not when it starts. You have control over where your foot lands (to a certain degree), and what part of your foot you’re going to use. But again, you have absolutely zero control over when something is initiated, and/or when it stops. But you do have a limited amount of control over the duration of the extension, foot placement, and the resulting body position and placement (under certain conditions) assuming that the Lead isn’t squeezing the living daylights out of you, or the Lead isn’t placing you in their Armpit (see: The Armpit Dancer). Assuming all of that, you have more control than you believe you do.

The Downside of this stuff. There’s always a downside with these things. Always. 9 times out of 10, the Lead … you remember the Lead you said “Yes” to their cabeceo ? That one! 9 times out of 10, they’re rushing through X, to get to Y, to arrive at Z. And you have about as much time as it takes to blink as you do to take your sweet time to do X, or for that matter Y, while not even aware that Z is going to happen. Time is a factor you don’t necessarily control here in this stuff. Sadly. However, if you invoke certain aspects of being an Active Follower you can slow down the Lead, deliberately, and thereby give yourself enough time to execute what you desire. There are Seven (7) places where that can happen by the way, which are quite considerable by the way: 1.) The Argentine Cross/All Crosses. 2.) All 3 steps of the Follower’s Molinete & the Lead’s Giro/The Lead’s Molinete/Follower’s Giro, and all 8 Turns including and especially the Follower’s Calisita! 3.) Any of the 8 types of Ochos [a.) Linear Ochos. b.) Milonguero Ochos. c.) Traveling Ochos. d.) Circular Ochos. e.) Over-Rotated Ochos. f.) Anti-Ochos. g.) Milonga Ochos. h.) Time Ochos.]  4.) Paradas. 5.) Barridas. 6.) The Linear Ocho Cortado/The Circular Ocho Cortado. 7.) Any and all Vocabulary Transition (going from one idea to the next).

Mind you this is just a singular step that we’re talking about, and how you can execute it. But that single extension is everywhere, so anywhere you engage is a good thing. Unfortunately some Leads take any level of initiative of their Follower as absolute heresy, and they lose their damned minds. So it’s a good idea to pick your Leads carefully that can handle this stuff otherwise you’ll be labeled a ‘Willful’ Follower and you want no part of that, unless of course you do. 😉 Your call.

The Gotcha. Assuming you want to invoke being an ‘Active Follower’ there are some rules to this stuff. One of which is having mastered your foundation, first and foremost. Which means, no hanging, no pulling, no pushing, no resistance, tension, or force. Ever. It also means stability. No using your hands or arms to stabilize yourself against your Lead in 3in heels. Got it ? Secondly it means understanding the vocabulary mentioned above. It means no longer being ignorant of what you’re being led to, but rather being keenly aware that X is happening and then attempting to inject an idea if there’s space for it. Thirdly it means being musically cognisant of the beat, the musical pauses, and the musical phrases (not phrasing, you have no control over that one). And lastly, it means having a plan. It’s the last one that we’re most interested in because while the first three are absolute requirements, the last 1 has a slight bend to it. Meaning ? That if you’re going to play Ms. Active Follower, then you had damned well better have an exit plan. That if you plan to interject an idea you need to have planned out ahead of time what you could possibly do, and then fit it in, and then here’s the kicker…it must match what is happening in the music. Period. If it’s not in the music, then it’s not on the floor. Got it ?

From a Leading Perspective, playing with Extensions is loads of fun. It’s the game changer that adds nuance to your dance. You’ve been thinking that only vocabulary can save or turn your dance around. Most Leads make this mistake, and they overlook the one thing that have going for them here: Playing with the Follower’s Extension. And truth be told, a whole bunch of other things which we’ll touch on below.

A Few Rules before we get to the fun part:

Rule #1: Do Not repeat yourself. Meaning ? No repetitions. Or try to keep it to an absolute minimum.

Rule #2: Do Not overuse this stuff. Meaning ? While you can interject these ideas as accent or ‘spice’ material, do not make the whole of your dance. The example above shows you one idea but it’s not the only way to do this.

Rule #3: Do Not copy what you see above. Ok, that’s not entirely clear. So let’s make it clear. Copy what you see above, but don’t outright steal it. Use this as a jumping off point to create some ideas of your own.

Rule #4: Do Not Squeeze, Pull, Push, Use your Arms or Hands to direct, and/or tilt your head into or away from your Follower.

Rule #5: Always. Posture. Posture. Posture.

The Fun Part. Below are 5 of the more important hotspots in this idea video. And that’s exactly what this is. It’s a way for you to expand your ideas to add nuance to your dance.

1.) First and foremost, this is really extending the Golden Nugget of Tango. It is augmenting it. Changing it. Modifying with the simplest of things, Leg Extensions,  Weight Transfers, and Incremental Steps!

2.) All Extension Steps are available to you as options to ‘play with’. Side, Back, and Forward. In that order of operations. Arguably the easiest of these things to play with is the Side Extension. Next is the Follower’s Backstep, and finally the Follower’s Forward step. That last one is very uncommon but it’s still doable.

3.) All steps can be Incrementals Steps. All are available to you as options to play with. So if there’s an extension you can add an incremental as an option to add variations.

4.) All Traveling Ochos, Linear Ochos, Ochos Reversals, and Incremental Ochos are available to you as options to engage. Musically of course!

5.) All Crosses can be reversed, slowed down, sped up, or made incremental.

Quite honestly there are so many options here to augment your dance, these are just the high points. Seriously there’s a reason why this video was shot and this is it: Because there are so many options that you can play with, and these items mentioned above are just the hot spots. There are more in the video.

The Gotcha. The entire Golden Nugget Extension relies on one thing: Your ability to hear the beat and execute anything and everything you desire on the beat. And secondarily, and probably most importantly, your ability to respect the Musical Pauses. If you can’t hear them, or you don’t know what they are, then this entire topic is a complete and utter waste of your time. You must, must, must, must have mastered keeping musical time, hearing the beat, executing on the beat, and respecting the pauses. Otherwise this stuff looks out of place. This entire topic relies heavily on your ability to hear the pulse or beat of the music. It is strongly not advised to try this stuff with ‘Melodic Dancing’ ideas of Fresedo or Late Di Sarli. Meaning to play with the long-stringy notes. This stuff works ideally with Canaro, Donato, D’Arienzo, OTV, Lomuto, Biagi, Laurenz, Varela, De Caro, Demare, early Pugliese, and early Di Sarli. De Angelis, late Troilo, Late Pugliese (anything from the late 50s and beyond), Piazzolla, Caló, and Fresedo will NOT work. Which is to say, if you haven’t studied your orchestras, if you don’t know your music cold, then playing with the Golden Nugget Extensions is good practice but it’s musical application is absolutely crucial to your success!

The Fundamental Truth. The fact is that this is walking. Nothing more than that. Don’t get confused. Don’t get lost. Don’t focus on anything else but that. You are playing with the extension phase of the walk. If that walk for either role is unstable, unclear, not visually clean, then you’re going to have problems like nobody’s business. If you haven’t mastered your foundation, then playing with this stuff is like building a rickety house, on a shoddy foundation. It will look sloppy, and will feel even worse. That’s the fundamental truth. So it behooves (15 cent word) you to get the into some private lessons and clean up your walk. This topic is a wonderful toy! It’s musical. It has great potential of adding serious nuance that borders on going down the proverbial rabbit hole to what you otherwise would think of as “boring vocabulary” becomes anything but.

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 are reading this topic in the hopes that it may get you to question and to dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, this topic only scratches the surface. Because you’re only seeing half of the information. You really do need to see all of it. If you had registered or ponied up the kingly sum of $7.95 for your first week, then you’d either see a free tip here, or if you’re a paying subscriber you’d see some detailed notes about the video that were either left out of the video or were an afterthought to the video after it was shot! However, because you haven’t gone and registered at least, you’re missing some helpful information that could give you a tip to making your dance a better experience for you and your partners!

Why should you subscribe for access ?  Several reasons. 1.) 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. 2.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 3.) And 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 voabulary there, or how to make things fit. These 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 Perpective 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 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 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. 

– 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 subscriber today.

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The Second Step Problem

The Second Step Problem

As Leads, there are many issues that we need to address and then redress, and then revisit several million times over and the reason is that while we may believe (operative word in the sentence) that we’re leading X, Y, or Z, the reality is far from that. Usually. It’s only when someone shows us video of what we’re doing that we actually begin to believe it. Watching ourselves in a mirror, or getting verbal feedback from a Follower that is keenly aware of these things, assuming that we’re open for feedback in the first place that we even begin to suspect that there may be an issue. In Today’s Tango Topic we visit one of those issues.

Today’s issue deals with a near constant malady for Leads. It’s one that in typical leading fashion they may not realize that they’re generating at all. This problem comes up regardless of whether or not the Lead is an intention based dancer, or a resistance based dancer. Either one, in either way of Leading will generate the problem.

Assuming for the moment that the Lead has placed their Follower on their left foot to start the dance. The typical opening first step, known as a Salida step, and then engaged in Forward Intention which in turn asks the Follower to extend their free right leg backward. This is, by the by, a huge assumption, and the problem child, because this is where the problem stated above (assuming that we’re doing X) begins. What happens on the next step is The 2nd Step Problem!

What Is The Second Step Problem ? In it’s simplest form, as a Lead gets to the end of their first forward step, they’ll tend towards standing upright, or becoming vertical. And then thinking or believing that the Follower is following them, they’ll continue forwards without engaging Forward Intention on the next step. So in effect, they’re moving forward without sending the signal for the Follower to extend their leg. As a result, they’ll slide their foot (really their leg) ‘under‘ and into their Follower’s free space on the second step.

The problem is two-fold, not just one. First and foremost, there’s a lack of Forward Intention going on. Secondly the Follower is giving the Lead a walking extension without actually being led to do so!

In it’s complex form, this problem can come up anywhere. In the video above it’s show just from a walking step. In reality it can and will come up nearly anywhere at all. This problem/issue/concern is far more widespread than you think it is. The belief is that it’s just beginner dancers that exhibit this assumption. The reality is closer to almost anyone, almost 90% of dancers generate this issue.

From a Following Perspective, you are so indoctrinated to ‘following‘ that you don’t even realize that you’re co-creating part of the problem. You know that you’re supposed to go backwards, and so from the moment the Lead steps into your space you instinctively step backwards, without really listening if there was in fact a ‘lead‘ present. Further still, your leg extension is a mixed bag response, typically with a bent knee going backwards as you pick your foot up off the floor all the while moving backwards and trying to transfer your weight going backwards. So by the time the 2nd step comes around you ‘give’ you Lead (the person, not the action) the desired response by default and keep doing it from that point forward. To be fair this is partly your issue for not being an honest Follower, and partly your dance partner’s fault, for not being clear with you. Now some of you will hear this as ‘wait for your Lead‘, which is an erroneous phrase that we hear so much of as Followers from our teachers that it becomes 2nd nature to us. As a result of this message being communicated to us repeatedly we end up becoming slow, lethargic, and non-responsive. This is not about ‘waiting‘, but is in fact about ‘listening’, and there is a radical difference between the two. At the same time if you’re thinking that this is simple word replacement you would be wrong. It’s not. It’s a mind shift from a passive form of dancing (waiting) to a very active form of dancing (listening). Listening is an active choice, because it requires mental engagement on your part. Every time that you give the Lead exactly they want, you are in fact encouraging them to continue to do X, Y, and Z which you know (from dancing with better Leads) is less-than-desirable, you’re sending the message that what that is doing is spot and should actually continue to do it. This is an error. If you want to send the right message, follow exactly what was led (for now) and nothing more. If you don’t feel it, you don’t go there. Don’t assume, listen.  At the same time, don’t believe that because I’m picking on the Follower right here, that this is a Follower problem, it’s not. It’s a co-contributed issue!

From a Leading Perspective, you have issues my friend. First and foremost, your issue is a lack of kinesthetic awareness. Secondly, you are trusting or believing that the Follower is going to give you what you want by moving backward on their own. Thirdly, your level of proprioception is way off from where it should be. That said, your primary issue, aside from the above, is that are unaware that you want to keep the forward intention going…well…forward. There is always, always, always that tiny amount of it. Every time that you back off on the forward intention it sends a message to the Follower that we’re stopping. As a result, we should stop as a couple, but we don’t. the Follower is confused a bit, and you just blindly move forward expecting that the Follower will go with you. And there’s your problem right there! The expectation that the Follower will just go with you. That’s problem number 1. Problem number 2 comes in the form, of the today’s topic – The Second Step Problem.

Let’s assume that you’re leading from intention and not resistance and that you employ a little lean forward. That lean forward is your forward intention, it’s just enough to ask the Follower to extend their leg, hence the intention part. This is not apilado though. Apilado would be the balancing of full on lean against each partner, a shared weight between the partnership. Something akin to what Carlos Gavito would have done. Similar but not the same. As we complete the first step, we become vertical again, taking out the ‘lean’ forward (or forward intention), and now on the 2nd step we rear back a bit, and then slide our leg under the Followers trying to continue forward. This is less than desirable for a variety of reasons, most notably that we have not actually sent a message to the Follower that they should continue backward. We just assume that it’s going to happen. Secondly, is that we become vertical and thereby pulling back on the reigns as it were (thereby stopping the Follower, if they were being honest, which they’re not). And Thirdly we attempt to cheat the second step by sliding it into the Follower’s free space, and then bob-and-weave the next few steps trying to work things together. The embrace becomes unwieldy, the partnership of the couple becomes unstable, we have ‘bumper car tango‘ basically. Not a pleasant experience.

spicy dancing ideas

The Dancing Reality is that this issue happens so often and so frequently that no one bothers to understand why it’s happening or more importantly how the hell to fix it. Or even to recognize that it’s an issue. However, the better Lead in the room knows what the problem is, and the better Follower may not be able to describe the issue but they do know that there’s an issue and it’s having them work harder than they want to, which is reason number 9843 (on a list of reasons) why a particular better Follower will say “NO” to a particular Lead’s cabeceo!

Fixing it ? The solution to this problem is actually not as simple as you might imagine, and it has everything to do with ingrained habits for both roles not just the Lead. The common thinking is that if the Lead just leads and the follow just Follows that everything should, hahahahaha, just work out. Not true. There’s a lot of assumptions going on here and there in lay the root of the problem first and foremost. Secondly there’s a lot of giving things that haven’t necessarily been asked for. So in order to solve this issue, the Lead has to be trained to feel that they’re not actually generating forward intention at all. And the Follower must be trained to stop giving Leads what they haven’t asked for. However, doing that will take longer than you might imagine due to the fact that these are ingrained habits that you’re completely unaware of. And watching a 5 minute video on the subject is only opening the doorway just a crack.

To be clear there are several solutions that this site offers to address this issue. However those solutions are not on this page. They’re actually hidden behind a paywall, sadly. They’re not free. You do actually have to subscribe to see them.

Why should you subscribe for access ?  Several reasons. 1.) 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. 2.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 3.) And 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 voabulary there, or how to make things fit. These 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 Perpective 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 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 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. 

– 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 subscriber today.

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Intention Based Dancing

Intention Based Dancing

Resistance, give me resistance! I can’t feel you!“. Followers hear this so often that it begs the question if Leads learn this as part of their technique classes on “How to be annoying in 10 seconds or less!” or “10 things to say to your Follower that will piss them off!”. Piss them off ? Yup. Why ? From a Leading perspective you’re screaming to your Followers that you need to control them, and that’s all you know and or can hear. From a Following perspective, it screams…”I am unstable” and “I need to hang on you!”. Tango is all about nuance, and that means asking your dance partners to move in a way that does not use ‘force’ on any level. While you think or believe that you would never, ever, force your dancing partners to do X, the fact is that you do it constantly with every partner. Until you are properly trained to hear this aspect of dancing, you will continue to do it. Today’s Tango Topic deals with the first step in this process of changing how we dance for the better. This topic is only a stepping stone. While the article and video, and really this website are those first stepping stones, the reality is that this is all about learning the kinesthetics of the situation, and that means studying with an Intention Based Teacher. But first we have to define, Intention Based Dancing.

What is Intention Based Dancing? In its simplest form ‘Intention’ is really about not using pressure, tension, or force, with one’s arms, or hands in any way, shape, or form to communicate an idea, a thought, or a movement. But rather the idea of ‘Intention’ is to intend to do something. To propose, to invite, to advice, to guide, to profer…these are all statements that we, as dancers, are asking our Partners to engage X. Where X can be, but is not limited to, a specific piece of tango vocabulary (Ocho, Cross, Molinete), a timing change, an embrace change, etc. Typically Intention is action of the Lead to the Follower, however the Follower can and should reciprocate this idea and practice as often as possible. We propose to our partners that we would like X to happen. That proposal is generally an extremely light physiological, and tactile contact, where the contact is not pressured at all. But rather the direction that we are going in is the intention of what X can be. This is the foundation of Intention Based Dancing. Because, as a rule, we use this technique throughout the entire lifecycle of a dance with our partners. 

Difficulty Rating:  (2.5 / 5)

From a Following perspective: Truth be told, you have been told so often, in nearly every class or workshop, by Female teachers (who rightfully should know better) and Male teachers that you must … ‘wait for your lead‘. As a result, that waiting turns into lag, or hesitation, in you. You get so used to ‘waiting’ and hesitation that you become reliant on that hesitation to do everything! That lag results in the Lead needing to push or force you to do X, Y, and Z which as a result turns into…resistance. In this instance, you want to move with the intent of what is being asked of you, quickly and decisively. As you feel the intent to move, GO! Don’t sit there and wait to be pushed to do something…GO! This is better known in the Tango Topics world as MYA (Move Your Ass). These statements can easily lead one to believe that we’re talking about an out of control Follower, or a willful Follower that is willy-nilly going wherever they feel the need to. That’s not the case. The intent in this case is very small, your goal is to read that ‘small’ part and then to interpret it as either forward, side, back, or incremental, and either linear or circular and then to go with it while at the same time following a basic principle: Staying ‘with‘ your Lead. 

From a Leading perspective: You believe erroneously that you must apply force, pressure, tension, and ask for resistance to get what you want out of your Followers. When the complete opposite is true. Yes, you can apply force to them to get them to do what you want. This methodology, however, says that you must control them. It also says to them that you don’t trust them and can’t rely on them to listen to what you’re leading, and then to execute it. Furthermore what it also says is that they will never, ever be able to hear the level of precision that you desire the most. Put simply if you don’t take the ‘guiding’ (ahem… and this is being kind when using that word…it’s more ‘steering‘ and rough steering at that) platform of your arms and hands away from them, then they’ll never be able to control that stuff themselves because you’re too busy being heavy-handed. As a result they’ll never learn how to manage their own stability, and their own bodily control. Further still, you’ll never learn to lead someone with nuance instead of Force! And beyond that, you’ll never be able to tell when you have a Follower in your arms that responds to effortless dancing because you’re too busy over-functioning, over-managing, over-controlling them! Further still is that there is no way to separate what’s your’s and what’s theirs if you’re constantly forcing your dance partner to do X, Y, and Z. There’s only one game here, and that’s you telling, or dictating to the Follower what they should do. The whole point is to suggest, invite, engage…not tell! No one, absolutely no one likes to be told what to do. So if you don’t like it, what on god’s green earth makes you believe the Follower is going to enjoy it ? 

From a Dancing perspective: Most of this topic has dealt with resistance and it’s deleterious effects on the dancing couple. However, what would happen if you removed all that ‘stuff’ above ? What would happen if you were to engage stability as a Follower, where you didn’t need to be so heavy handed as a Lead ? What would happen if you were be responsible for your own walk, your own embrace, your own individual component of the dance ? What would happen ? Freedom is what happens! Options and opportunities happen! At first there is a lack of precision that occurs, and then later on the more that you practice this way of dancing the more precise control you have over the tiniest of things. For one thing there’s less sweat! This was of dancing is almost unreal! The dancing couple that is engaging in Intention Based Dancing is lighter, appears and acts effortless, there’s less stress on the couple as a whole, and more over far more precision in technique as well as musically. Over time what ends up happening to those people that dance from intention, both parties enjoy the experience and can then access the whole reason that they’re there for in the first place: Tango Nirvana. Now comes the kicker – a good portion of the better dancers use this ‘way’ of dancing. They don’t require the things described here because they know that something else is possible! Not all of them but a good portion of them employ this way of dancing.

thoughts about tango ?

Think of This: Applying resistance, tension, force, compression: Each time that you apply any of these things in any level of measure, it’s like a jarring transition from sleep! Do you like it when your alarm clock goes off first thing in the morning ? Probably not. Guess what ? You’re doing the same thing here with all that stuff to your dancing partners!

How do you change ? First do you want to change ? Put another way, do you want to wake your partners as if you were an alarm clock ? Probably not. Guess what ? You’re doing just that in a myriad of ways from your walk to your embrace to the choice of vocabulary. From a ‘THUD‘ to ‘Compression’ and everything in between. So if the answer to that question is a “I’d like to do that but it sounds like too much work and too much effort…” then thank you very much for reading, and have a lovely day!  Otherwise if the answer to that question is an emphatic “Yes Miles!!!” then there are a few solutions for you.

1.) Register as a free user, and you can read the rest of this article in Entirety.
2.) Become a paying subscriber, and then you’ll have access to all the video content that is sitting behind the paywall. And more than a few of these videos discuss intention based dancing in detail.
3.) Try to work it out on your own. Good luck with that. 🙂

spicy dancing ideas

Why should you subscribe for access ?  Several reasons. 1.) 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. 2.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 3.) And 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 voabulary there, or how to make things fit. These 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 Perpective 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 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 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. 

– 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 subscriber today.

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Humble: Teacher vs. Maestro

Humble: Maestro vs. Teacher

The word ‘maestro‘ in spanish tends towards meaning a ‘master teacher‘. In english we tend towards removing the word ‘master‘ from that definition and end up with ‘teacher’. Nothing could be further from a bastardization than that.

Let’s back up a bit and get a bit personal. When my students call me ‘Maestro‘, I immediately correct them and refer to myself as a ‘teacher‘ and a barely competent one at that. I advise them that I have only been dancing for 10 years and teaching for 8 (9 if you count my first workshops in Boise, ID. And then private classes in San Francisco and then later on Portland, OR. while I was making up my mind), and in many eyes in the Tango world I am a baby that’s still wet behind the ears just learned how pee straight! They giggle at this, but it’s the truth. I am a baby. I admit this freely and openly. I am not a ‘Maestro’ by any stretch of the imagination. Nor do I respond to being one, ever. In 40 or 50 years, maybe.  Now ? Hahahahaha, NOT! At best I happen to have spent the better portion of the last 10 years devoted to the study, dance, application, and understanding how to educate you into being a better dancer. Does this make me a ‘Maestro‘ ? No. What it does do is give me a certain license to investigate, then describe, then discover, pull apart, put back together, investigate deeper, and then try to figure out how X, Y, and Z is accomplished within a given framework. Now comes the hard part…explaining that to you via 7 different modalities, and in any one of 11 different types of learning modes so that you get it and are able to replicate it, fully grok it, and then are able to pull it off with ease. Does that make me a ‘Maestro‘ ? No. Not by a long shot.

Yes this process gives me a greater perspective than you, I can turn an idea inside out, upside down, invert it, mirror it, revert it, and then apply it here and there on a whim… it is a freedom to play, and then to explore, and then to arrive at some layer of mastery over the form. But it does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that I am ‘Maestro‘ in the typical sense of the word the way that you mean it when you say it.

So what is a ‘Maestro‘ ?

In it’s simplest explanation, this is a person who has the ability to do all of the above plus – the ability to execute with perfect clarity every, single, time. This doesn’t happen over night but in fact over many, many, many years … decades in fact. Where you can turn this stuff on and off like a switch without thinking about it while at the same time adding perfectly executed nuance and subtly. While I can do those things as well…a ‘Maestro‘ executes it with far greater skill and a deftness of nuance that in my 10 years I can not hope to achieve. I bow to a greater power than myself.

The Fact of the Matter.

There are lots and lots and lots of Tango Teachers in the world. Some of them are desirable. Some of them are…ummm…hacks at best, doling out barely understood information and oft repeated phrases that they think are helping their students but truly isn’t.

However, there are very few ‘Maestros‘ in the world.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean.

Comparing me (as a teacher) is one thing to someone like Chicho. But putting me on a stage next to Chicho is very obvious. He’ll wipe the floor with me. 😉 That’s a ‘Maestro‘. Going a little deeper with Chicho for just one second, here’s a guy that repeatedly (in nearly every performance) will go off-beat because he can, and executes it with deft clarity that a.) you see it. and b.) you’re amazed by its execution! and here’s the kicker, you actually have to stop and say…’holy frak! that was off-beat!’. Whereas I ? I understand off-beat, I can execute off-beat, and I can dance off-beat if I want to, however…to throw it in there as an off-the-cuff execution ? Hahahahhahahahahaha!

Still another is that Horacio Godoy will regularly play with Tango Sincopa in a very tradition sense of the word, and then what is called ‘pitter-patter’ to emphasize the Sincopa that’s happening in the music. Me ? I can hear the sincopa. I can hit the sincopa when I want to. I can hit patter any time I want. I can even plan it out because I know the song. Horacio ? Good christ! He’ll do all that AND then add a double time and then a half-time on top of it because he can without even thinking about it in Milonga. That my friends is a ‘Maestro’. I am a teacher. Those are ‘Maestros’. Never confuse the two. ©Tango Topics.

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Sacada Triangle Methodology

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Sacada Triangle Methodology

The Sacada is probably one of Tango’s more interesting pieces of Tango vocabulary. Mostly because it looks really cool and complicated. And yet it’s complexity can be explained in one simple sentence – It’s an illusion! The illusion is an intersection of walking techniques. The Lead’s walk intersecting the Follower’s. It’s walking, nothing more than that. It’s just never explained that way. And yet, that’s exactly what it is. However, there’s a cute little trick that happens for every sacada, every single sacada no matter how complex, no matter how difficult it may appear. It’s an observation that I don’t own, but rather compsve fro a very reliable argentine source. So what’s the cute little trick ? The Triangle Methodology!

What is a Sacada ? First, a Sacada consists of a walking step that just so happens to intersect with your partner’s walking step at the same time that they’re stepping forward, side, or back. Secondly and this part you have to keep in the back of your mind: It’s an illusion. An illusion of walking, an illusion of technique, and an illusion of execution. To put it simply the Sacada is really just a walking illusion that intersects with someone else’s walk. And that’s the part that most people are confused by. What they see is the illusion, and try to re-create the illusion instead of focusing on the part that will actually help them to get to the root of the Sacada, the walking part! Which is to say that people focus on the flash and not the substance! It’s just a step forward and side (and sometimes back, but not in Today’s Tango Topic), which is going cut through, and step very close to someone else’s step which results in a displacement of someone’s leg. The hard part for most people is the timing of that displacement, not to mention where that displacement goes. Speaking of ‘displacements’ the Sacada is in the family of Tango vocabulary that are called ‘displacements‘, and that’s because of two factors that occur: 1.) Because whoever is initiating the Sacada will take the place of the one who is receiving the Sacada. You are displacing, and sometimes being displaced. And 2.) The one who is receiving the Sacada will displace their free leg as a result of the intersection of the walk. Further down the rabbit hole, the Sacada is one of the 4 common Displacements that Tango Topics talks about which are: 1.) The Sacada. 2.) Ganchos. 3.) Boleos. 4.) Enganches or what is commonly known as an Argentine Wrap!

And just for your further edification because some people ask the question “How many types of Sacadas are there ?”. Answer: There are 22 Types of Sacadas, and a total of 501 variations of those 22 Types. And yes we have done the math, and it comes out to 501. The types, just in case you hadn’t thought about it, but we have, are as follows:

1.) Forward Sacadas (from Linear, Circular, or Over-Rotated Ochos) in Parallel & Cross System.
2.) Side Sacadas (from a Curved Side Step) in Parallel & Cross System.
3.) Back Sacadas (from Back step, or Circular or Over-Rotated Ochos) in Parallel & Cross System.
4.) Linear Sacadas (from a Linear Side Step, or Linear Forward Step) in Parallel & Cross System.
5.) Chained Sacadas (Think: Cadenas) In Parallel & Cross System.
6.) Walking Displacement Sacadas in Parallel & Cross System.
7.) Multiple Forward/Side/Back Sacadas in Parallel & Cross System.
8.) Multiple Alternate A (same foot) Sacadas (You’ll see an example of this in the Forward Sacadas section).
9.) Molinete Sacadas (from the Follower’s MolineteThe Lead’s Molinete, and/or the Anti-Molinete).
10.) Orientation Change Sacadas (See the Anti-Molinete, and/or the American Embrace).
11.) Two Footed Sacadas (jump into the sacada).

That’s 11 Types of Sacadas, and each role can perform these, so we end up with 22 Types of Sacadas. Now there are even further variations on a theme of these ideas where you can theoretically mix and match any one of these ideas with another on the list and create a hybrid of the two. However, it was late and we’d already gone through 1002 possibilities and then someone mentioned the concept of Tango Topology and that just blew everything out of the water by halving everything and so we stopped counting there … so 501, and 22 types is enough for one lifetime. 🙂

Difficulty Rating:  (2 / 5)

From a Following perspective, quite honestly you have no idea if you’re being led to a Sacada, because for you this is all about forward, side, or back. It just so happens that your step may intersect the lead’s or their’s yours. However once you start to see that the Lead is leading you to a Sacada. You’ll start to see triangles everywhere, that means that you should start to see that the intersection of your extending leg into the Lead’s trailing foot which should form a 90º angle. And as a result you’re going to extend your leg along that 90º line into the Lead.

From a Leading perspective, this toy is all about Triangles. Every time you lead a Sacada (and it doesn’t matter which one it is of the 504 available ones, and yes there are 504 of them. I counted.) each one will consist of a very simple Triangular pattern on the floor. A little clarity – your feet, and the Follower’s feet form a very tidy little Triangle on the floor. There are two supporting points (each supporting point of the Triangle is a free leg of either the Lead or the Follower), and then there is one shared axial point between the couple. If you’re leading a Sacada then you want to make certain that this ‘Triangle’ is spot on. Just as a side note, the more ‘shallow‘ the Triangle, the easier it can be to execute the Sacada.

From a Dancing perspective, who’d have thought that actual geometry would help you out here. The fact is that a good portion of Tango is all about the geometry. Get it right and cool things happen. Get it wrong…and well… you’re going to have issues! This trick is all about that geometry thing. Honestly, this is just a trick of how to remember, from a leading as well as from a following perspective ,that when engaging in Sacadas, you’re going for creating Triangles on the floor. That’s it, that’s all. Typically however, we don’t remember this little tiny factoid and the Sacada fails mostly because the Triangle is either too shallow, too oblique, incomplete (yes, that happens – more so than you can imagine), or where the apex of the Triangle isn’t in the right place. Mostly people forget this stuff and try out a Sacada and it usually fails because this stuff hasn’t been drilled into them! And it needs to be. 

thoughts about tango ?

The Missing Information. Dearest Reader. TangoTopics is glad that you are reading this topic in the hopes that it may get you to question and to dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, this topic only scratches the surface. Because you’re only seeing half of the information. You really do need to see all of it. If you had registered or ponied up the kingly sum of $7.95 for your first week, then you’d either see a free tip here, or if you’re a paying subscriber you’d see some detailed notes about the video that were either left out of the video or were an afterthought to the video after it was shot! However, because you haven’t gone and registered at least, you’re missing some helpful information that could give you a tip to making your dance a better experience for you and your partners!

Why should you subscribe for access ?  Several reasons. 1.) 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. 2.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 3.) And 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 voabulary there, or how to make things fit. These 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 Perpective 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 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 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. 

– 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 subscriber today.

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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 ??? 

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.

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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. 😉 

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