The Media Vuelta   Leave a comment

The media vuelta

During the learning process, certain patterns and figures become so internalized by sheer repetition, that body memory inhibits the ability of dancers to improvise with creativity out of many situations created by the presence of other dancers and their own trajectories around the dance floor.What should be used as a base from where to build a variety of movements becomes “the basic” and it limits the possibilities of flowing around the dance floor in a seemingly continuous pattern that includes the three fundamental body displacements (forward, backwards and laterally) connected with rotations of the bodies over the support axis.

A working understanding of floor navigation and the dynamic interplay of the body positioning, create plenty of opportunities to enjoy a tango, any tango, with any given partner, and with floor conditions in effect at the time that you step on to the dance floor. Remembering that the intention of the woman is to always want to dance going around the man, while the man dances around the floor.

We have learned before that as soon as the man stops, the woman begins to dance on a circular trajectory around him. She does so applying another fundamental rule of the structure of the tango, the code of the tango.

The code is a sequence designed to allow the woman to surround the man while dancing. There are instances in which the man will make use of elements of the code to complement the motion of the woman and to create complex patterns. But for the purpose of defining roles, the code is primarily a mantra for the woman that ensures a predictable way to dance to the right or left side of the man. All dancers, regardless of gender, must understand the code, be proficient in its execution, and use it according to their roles.

In typical fashion, the man will indicate the trajectory of the woman and mark the inside and outside crosses as he sends her around him. The woman will walk around the man, observing the progressive sequence of her legs to execute the code. The code is activated as soon as the woman moves a second step in the same direction (that is, either to the right or to the left of the man). The resulting trajectory looks different depending on whether the man is stationary in one position or moving forward or backward.

The definition of the code, however, is the same in all cases: Alternate inside front and outside back crosses linked by openings. In short hand, forward, side , back.

The opening leg is always the one favoring or leading into the direction of the movement. The crossing leg is the one opposite the direction of the movement. Simply put, when the woman moves into the left side of the man (her right), she opens with her right leg and crosses with her left leg. When the woman moves into the right side of the man (her left), she opens with her left leg and crosses with her right leg.

The term media vuelta is commonly used to describe a 180 degrees body turn north to south for example, if we call north the direction in which the body is facing before the execution of a media vuelta. Visually, a media vuelta is a body rotation over open legs, that is, after the legs open in a forward direction for example, the body turns in the opposite direction of the leading leg.

The classic media vuelta for the man is to his left, and it begins at the second step of the salida (15″). The man extends his right leg without weight change marking the a back step for the woman. This sometimes is called a fake step or an amague that provokes an impulse for the woman who passes to his left side on her second (diagonal) back step. The man begins transferring his weight forward as he begins to rotate left on the ball of his feet. This marks a forward step for the woman. The left foot remains on the ground, firmly pushing down with the metatarsus. At this point, the body is supported by both legs. The upper torso continues to rotate left as both legs elongate to keep the heels off the ground. Most of the man’s weight is now on the right metatarsus. That serves as the initial rotating axis. The woman brings her eight to her left leg and turns on axis to face the man. At the end of the turn, their bodies are facing opposite to where they started.

At the end of the media vuelta the man takes a back step with his left marking the woman a forward step with her right on his right. The video clip shows various ways to return to the line of dance, and some improvisation using the media vuelta as a theme.

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Posted September 12, 2011 by Alberto & Valorie in Gotta Tango

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