Tango Improvisation – Part 1   1 comment

Tango Improvisation – Part 1
The two main requirements for tango improvisation are the embrace and a clear, solid axis.

  • The man embraces the woman surrounding her upper body.
  • He forms a wedge with his right arm making contact with the elbow crease (the inner arm) on the woman’s left side
  • His forearm, the lower part of the upper limb rests firmly on her back.
  • His right hand, with fingers closed rests on the right side of her back.
  • The woman must always be on one axis, that is standing with her weight clearly on one foot.
  • Her body moves within the embrace in any direction the man upper body moves.
  • Her free leg extends and follows her body in the direction is moving in the embrace
  • Her free leg receives her body when the body stops moving, with a weight change to establish a new axis.
  • The woman step is an extension of the free leg to prevent the body from falling off axis when it is moved inside the embrace.

Creating Motion

  • The man marks a backward motion for the woman by advancing and pushing with his right elbow crease (the inner arm) on the woman’s left side.
  • The man marks a side step right to left of him by turning his upper body to his left and pushing with his right elbow crease (the inner arm) on the woman’s left side.
  • The man marks a forward step right to left of him by turning his upper body to his left and pushing with the heel of his right hand on the left side of the woman’s back.
  • The man marks a forward step left ot right of him by turning his upper body to his right and pulling with the tips of his fingers on the left side of the right side of the woman’s back.

Home position

  • This is the initial body alignment assumed at the start of the dance.
  • It is also the ending position of many patterns.
  • In many cases it acts as a period at the end of a sentence.
  • Dancers stand facing each other and embrace.
  • The man establishes his axis on his right leg and invites the woman to change her weight and set her axis on her left leg by pulling her gently with his right arm against the right side of his body.
  • The woman should feel a gentle pull on her back, inviting her to set her axis on her left leg. She brings the left side of her body into the right side of his body.
  • Her left arm should rest on the man’s right arm to establish a clear point of contact
  • Don’t leave any space between man and woman’s arms.
  • The woman needs to be aware that Home is on the right side of the man’s body.
  • The woman should expect to leave Home going into the direction of the man’s left shoulder.
  • She should also be aware that to move to the other shoulder from Home, she would use her free leg (her right).
  • The step will be an opening as her right leg separates from the left leg, reaching in the direction of the man’s left shoulder.
  • The woman will move when she is gently but firmly brought down from her left axis.
  • The man indicates his partner’s movement with a slight left rotation of his upper body.
  • His right arm applies pressure with his right elbow crease (the inner arm) on the woman’s left side to bring her to another axis.

Salida position

  • This position normally follows the Home position.
  • This position is assumed when the dancers move laterally toward the left side of the man from the Home position.
  • The man opens laterally with a slight turn of his upper body to his left, gently pushing with his right elbow crease (the inner arm) on the woman’s left side to bring her down from her axis.
  • The woman extends her right leg toward the man’s left shoulder to receive the weight of her body as it falls off the Home position axis.
  • The woman flexes her right leg and drops her right heel to establish the new axis.
  • The man transfers his weight to his left leg and elongates his upper body.
  • The woman elongates with the man’s embrace presenting her right axis to the man, and wrapping her left foot behind her right foot.

Outside right position

  • This position occurs when either dancer advances with the right leg on the right side of the other.
  • For example, from the Salida position the man walks forward with his right leg on the right side of the woman.
  • The woman extends her left leg with the weight evenly distributed between both legs.
  • The man turns his upper body to his right to face his partner, executing what we is called an inside cross, since his right leg seems to be crossed inside the couple from the woman’s perspective.
  • From the Home position, the man steps back with his left leg and brings the woman to his right side.
  • The woman steps forward with her right leg, executing an inside cross of her right leg, and keeping her body turned in to him

Here is a visual aid to help you review and practice, in preparation for your second 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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One response to “Tango Improvisation – Part 1

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  1. You take us from nuts to soup, and what a delicious soup! I am going to let me friends in New Orleans know about you. They see my hijinks from afar, immersing myself in the Tango in Sacramento, at venues like my own studio, Spotlight, and others, like Tango by the River. You provide me with another important destination when I make it back to my hometown.

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