A Tutorial About Argentine Tango Dancing 


Chapter 12: Sacadas are body displacements

Last updated, 5/14/00

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Front Sacada
Side Sacada
Back Sacada
The dynamics of Tango dancing come into play when the couple moves to the sound of the music. The space occupied varies according to the alignment of the bodies with respect to each other and the trajectory of every particular movement. Thus, a couple "walking" a Tango will move in unison with their bodies traveling in the embrace while their legs open and close to facilitate their motion.

When the dancers decide to execute a figure that involves turning in a giro, for example, the structure of the embrace changes, the alignment of the bodies change, and various displacements of the bodies take place. That is, as one dancer moves creating space, the other moves to occupy that space. The displacement of one dancer by the motion of the other dancer is commonly known as a sacada, and it is one of the most difficult moves to teach, to learn and to understand.

Almost every female dancer that ever uttered the disclaimer "I'm just a beginner," has had their legs kicked by the foot, leg or knee of a careless partner infatuated with a sacada. Since a sacada involves leg action, it is not without sadness that we report that the cumbersome attempts of "leg dancers" to execute sacadas, cause more damage to the legs of their partners and their dance floor neighbors, and to the image of the Tango as a dance of connection and finesse.

A sacada is a body displacement across the path of your partner to provoke a change of direction.

A Front Sacada

A typical front sacada can take place on her forward motion entering in parallel or crossed legs fashion, that is he may enter with either his right or left leg.

In the illustration, the position of the legs follows the alignment of the upper torsos in Body Position 6, that is, her right breast is lined up with the center of his chest so the shoulders are at an approximate 45 degree angle to each other.

As he marks a forward step, he receives her motion with his right foot reaching past the front of her left shoe, touching the floor mostly with the inner edge of his shoe. Her weight is evenly distributed between both legs so she is in the middle. His weight is also evenly distributed so he is also in the middle.

To execute the displacement, he transfers his weight forward to his right foot, bringing his body forward as he begins to rotate his torso to his right. The resulting effect is that the motion of his body forward and the rotation of his torso, provokes a transfer of her weight to her front leg, a rotation of her torso to the right over her right leg, and a displacement of her left leg as his right leg occupies the space that her left leg was occupying.

Side Sacada

A typical side sacada opportunity occurs when the bodies are aligned in Body Position 8, both shoulders in line facing in the same direction.

The man receives the forward step of the lady with the opposite leg. That is, if she is moving forward with her left, he creates the displacement with his right.

Back Sacada

To execute a back sacada, he needs to position himself in such a way that he steps back into the direction in which she is traveling.

This will require a double step action so his support leg will travel with her opening leg and as she sets foot on the ground, he backs into her path with his free leg.

Once that his metatarsus sets firmly on the ground, he elongates his calf to allow his heel to settle down on the floor bringing his body over and producing contact with her leg and displacing her body.

When she receives a sacada, she should be already on both legs with her body in the middle. As his body crosses her path and displaces her body, she needs to stay vertical and balanced on her support leg because a sacada will always provoke a rotation of her body over her support leg. Please, refrain from swinging the displaced leg like a scythe.

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