Tango Improvisation – Part 2   Leave a comment

Tango Improvisation – Part 2

Learning to improvise is learning how to think about axis, embrace and body positions.
Tango improvisation allows for the couple to move their bodies at unison while their legs follow in synch, out of synch, or not at all. The woman dances around the man while secure in the man’s embrace. The man dances around the room carrying the woman’s upper body in his embrace.
Avoid thinking of tango as a foot dance and don’t attempt to memorize feet motions.
The Six Fundamentals Steps of the Tango
As you dance, your body always has a front, a back and lateral space to move to and from.
There are three root feet motions available for each leg.

  • Forward
  • Side
  • Back

Stepping Forward

  • Imagine the dance floor as a series of one step ladders.
  • The first forward step is always with the right leg.
  • Keep your weight on your support leg slightly flexing the knee
  • Lean your upper body slightly back
  • Extend the other leg until touching the floor with the little toe
  • Push forward with your support leg and flex the forward knee
  • Transfer your weight to the forward leg and elongate to stay vertically balanced on the new axis
  • Repeat for the other leg for a second forward step

Stepping Backwards

  • Imagine the dance floor as a series of one step ladders.
  • The first back step is always with the left leg.
  • Keep your weight on your support leg slightly flexing the knee
  • Lean your upper body slightly forward
  • Extend the other leg until touching the floor with the base of the big toe
  • Push back with your support leg and flex the back knee
  • Transfer your weight to the back leg and elongate to stay vertically balanced on the new axis
  • Repeat for the other leg for a second back step

How to mark lateral openings (Side steps)

  • To mark an opening, the man moves the woman in the direction of her free leg.
  • The man rotates his upper body slightly in the direction of her free leg, opening his shoulder.
  • The man puts pressure with his right elbow crease (the inner arm) on the woman’s left side for an opening to his left.
  • The man pulls her right side with his right hand, for an opening to his right.
  • Note: The man can take small side steps while changing axis to increase the amount of control of the woman’s opening.

How to mark inside crosses (Forward steps)

  • To mark an inside forward cross, the man moves the woman in the direction of her support leg.
  • For a forward step to the man’s right, the woman must be on her left axis.
  • The man steps back with his left leg, and turns his upper body in the direction of her body.
  • The man opens his right shoulder and brings the woman’s body forward to his right side with his right arm.
  • Let’s make sure that her right leg crosses inside, between the man and her support leg.
  • For a forward step to the man’s left, the woman must be on her right axis.
  • The man steps back with his right leg, and turns his upper body in the direction of her body.
  • The man opens his left shoulder and brings the woman’s body forward to his left side with his right arm.
  • Let’s make sure that her left leg crosses inside, between the man and her support leg.

How to mark outside crosses (Back steps)

  • To mark an outside cross, the man moves the woman in the direction of her support leg.
  • For a back step to the man’s left, the woman must be on her right axis.
  • The man holds the woman on her right axis, and changes his axis back to his right leg.
  • The man steps forward diagonally with his left leg.
  • The man presses against the left side of the woman with his right elbow crease (the inner arm)
  • The man pulls gently with his left arm to make the woman fall back to his left with her left leg.
  • The woman stops her fall extending her left leg and pressing on the floor with the base of her big toe.
  • Let’s make sure that her left leg crosses outside of her support leg.
  • For a back step to the man’s right, the woman must be on her left axis.
  • The man holds the woman on her left axis, and changes his axis back to his left leg.
  • The man steps forward diagonally with his right leg.
  • The man pulls the right side of the woman with his right arm.
  • The man turns his body slightly to his right to make the woman fall back to his right with her right leg.
  • The woman stops her fall extending her right leg and pressing on the floor with the base of her big toe.
  • Let’s make sure that her right leg crosses outside of her support leg.

Here is a visual aid to help you review and practice, in preparation for your third lesson.

Please, commit concepts to mind, do not memorize feet movements, and be ready to demonstrate that you have acquired the understanding of the topics covered in this lesson.

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