“Complicated” is in the eye of the onlooker   Leave a comment

“Complicated” is in the eye of the onlooker

Here is an example of taking an “easy” movement and making it look “complicated” by decorating or embellishing it with minor changes in foot placement and body alignment. The use of quote marks on easy and complicated is to emphasize the subjective approach many take when talking about tango dancing.

We’ll see that it is possible to teach and to learn tango using clear and objective concepts that can empower dancers to express  their personality, talent and creativity within the frame of a simply but powerful structure. A dancer can be extremely technical but devoid of any feelings, utterly passionate but short on technique, or anything in between.

The core structure of the tango is best exemplified by what is known as the Eight Count Giro, a turning sequence to the right or to the left where the man displaces the woman as they go around each other twice, first using the parallel system and then the cross feet system. The name comes from the fact that it takes eight foot movements that involve the entire sole of the foot receiving the entire weight of the body. In “simple” terms, eight steps with weight change.  (Reference: GOTTA TANGO book and DVD)

First we make a surprising and unexpected move during a salida cruzada to enter into the 6-7-8 steps of the Eight Count Giro to the left. Then we show a mirror image of the previous figure but entering into the 6-7-8 steps of the Eight Count Giro to the right. Finally we go downtown by linking the first combination that uses a decorated 6-7-8 to the left with the combination that uses a decorated 6-7-8 to the right.

The set up for the 6-7-8 is the woman’s outside cross or back step. Let’s look first at the decoration involving the 6-7-8 to the left. In this case, the point of entry is the second step of the salida for the woman. She takes a back step with her outside leg (right) to the left of the man (0:08″). The man steps and stops with his left outside her right foot instead of inside as in the standard 6-7-8 sequence. As the man stops, he creates an impulse for the woman who “falls” off her back step, opening diagonally into the left side of the man. That’s the modified, decorated “6-and” of the Eight Count Giro. After that,  it continues normally with the woman stepping forward with her left and the man opening forward with his right on “7.” Next the man changes the woman’s direction and she steps forward with her right while the man turns a half turn in place on “8.” The 6-7-8 of the Eight count giro to the left resolves with a back step of the man (step 5 of the Base) so we end the sequence by having the man bring his right foot together (0:12″), changing the woman’s direction to his left, and ending with a resolution.

To use the same idea with a 6-7-8 to the right, we change the woman’s direction after she takes the second step of the salida (0:16″) so she takes a back step with her right to the man’s right. The man steps and stops with his right outside her left foot instead of inside as in the standard 6-7-8 sequence. That is the modified, decorated “6-and” of the Eight Count Giro. We continue then with the woman stepping forward with her right and the man opening forward with his left on “7.” Next the man changes the woman’s direction and she steps forward with her left while the man brings his feet together on “8” (0:18″). The 6-7-8 of the Eight count giro to the right resolves with a forward step of the man to a resolution.

Finally, to transition from one sequence to the next skipping the resolution, we pick up the end of the 6-7-8 to the left (2:01″) when the man brings his feet together and the woman steps forward with her left leg.  The man turns to his left and provokes a lateral opening of the woman’s left leg. This is the beginning of the second sequence.

Enjoy the experience, and don’t discount the tremendous benefits of reading Gotta Tango to increase your understanding of the language of the structure of the tango.

Advertisements

Posted January 26, 2012 by Alberto & Valorie in Gotta Tango

Tagged with , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: