A Tutorial About Argentine Tango Dancing
TANGO, OUR DANCE
Chapter 25: The Great Equalizer
|Last updated, 11/27/01|
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|The Great Equalizer
A compulsive fixation on
ďthe steps,Ē holds the development of many a Tango dancer as much as bumping
into trees numbs the senses for the awareness of the beauty and purpose
of a forest. Inasmuch as lip service is paid to the benefits of concepts
and techniques, a desire to show off and an opportunity to strut a newly
discovered personality, brings the strangest of bedfellows to an
In places where the opportunities to learn and dance Tango are as diverse as the culinary kaleidoscope offered by cities like New Orleans, for example, the quality and personality of dancers are evident in their blend of styles, personal appreciation of the music, and above all for their contribution to good taste and sociable behavior. In the words of a wise engineer turned Tango dancer, the milonga is the great equalizer. Aspiring good dancers follow good teachers, good music and good partners.
Becoming a "good dancer" is as subjective as trying to define a good meal, or describe a good partner. One of the few things which have not been imported from the Buenos Aires tales of Tango lore, is a time honored system of grading dancers, applied not just to the average Joe Salami, but to the veteran anonymous milongueros, and the most famous and not so famous stars of the stage and the silver screen. It is based on calling bread, bread and wine, wine. It is definitely against the political correctness that protect the rights of people to make fools of themselves and cajole others to follow suit, providing an umbrella of resounding denial under which it is cool to insult and offend the intelligence of those who cherish the traditions and cultural values, intrinsic in the Argentine Tango, under a circus tent in which, the unseemly and disingenuous use of words like "unity" are an excuse to hide desperate attempts to keep others isolated inside closed doors and with the lights out.
So, it is hoped that wherever
you are, there is an abundance of choices to dine out on any night of the
week, and there are as many places to go out Tango dancing as well. Odds
are that no matter how you choose to get where you are going, finding your
way to your destination, will be guided by safety, common sense, and a
respect for accepted codes of public conduct. Safety, common
A Tango dancer tends to approache
every dance with a variety of objectives. Partner safety, the safety of
others around the dance floor, making it around the dance floor at least
once, and being able to sort out and take advantage of the unexpected creation
The ability to create on
the spot as we dance, is the signature of improvisation for a Tango dancer.
Balance, clear changes of axis, and solid points of created by the support
leg, and that the free leg follows the direction of the body as it rotates
on the axis provided
Legs offer support and allow
the movement of the body from one stable position of balance to the next
one. As the weight transfers from axis to axis, the direction of movement
will be a function of where the weight transfers to. Legs move one at the
time, when the
Time spent learning and constantly practicing how to stay balanced on either axis, and how to move the body from axis to axis, being able to change directions at will, and keeping time with the music, is the most valuable time an aspiring tango dancer can dedicate.
When one approaches the dance
from a tridimensional point of view, it is possible to visualize any pattern
as a combinations of relative movements between the partners that result
in an infinite number of combinations being available to the creative dancer.
The sequence begins as a
simple with the dancers in a closed feet position, weight on the
man's right, woman's left. (Frame 1). In the next frame (2), the man marks
a displacement of the woman to his left with an opening in that direction.
Next, he prepares for a change of direction to his right, by holding her
on her right axis, and changing his axis to his right. This move can be
done at single or double time, preferably according to the music (Frame
3). In the following frame (4), notice the change in his body attitude
as he begins to align his body in preparation for passing onto the woman's
left side, using the crossed feet system.
In the next frame (5) the
man advances onto the left side of the woman marking an opening of her
left step to her left, rather than a crossing behind to her right (like
in the regular salida simple when the man is on her right). The invitation
to throw a right hand turn (giro) is hard to resist. So,
he enters the right hand turn with a sacada, marking a crossing
of her right leg behind (5th movement of the Eight Count Giro),
holding her on her left axis and turning on his left axis to mirror the
back step of the giro himself (Frame 6).
Next, he decides to make
another change of direction, so he stops turning by holding his right axis
momentarily and using a double time to shift his weight back to his left
axis. (Frame 9). This marks the ending of her motion into the right side
of the man, and creates an axis for her right hand pivot to change direction
to return to the man's left with a forward crossing of her left leg (Forward
Notice in Frame 10 how he backs his right leg into his right to make space
for her to finish her return to his left side using counter body motion.
After receiving her forward ocho into his left side, he makes
her open one more time into his left using her right leg (Frame 11). Since
he had held his axis on his right, he can now advance forward with his
left returning to the parallel system, and changing direction one last
time as he moves onto her left side. (Frame 12).