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Salida Cruzada with Lean and Planeo   Leave a comment

Salida Cruzada with Lean and Planeo

The use of visual effects when dancing seem to have the added attraction of focusing the audience’s attention to otherwise routine movements. Take for example the salida to cruzada, a staple of tango dancing universally recognized and a point of convergence for total strangers engaged in a dance for the first time. Side, back, back, cross for her, side, forward, forward, close for him, and there they go. Not necessarily an eye popper, but the dancing is on.

Have the man, double step after his side step, and he now moves forward matching the same foot she uses to go back. When she takes first back step with her left, he advances with his left; when she takes her back diagonal with her right, he advanced with his right. Suddenly there is something that may catch somebody’s eye. The harmony of parallel walking has been shaken by a motion of the legs that doesn’t look familiar to the brain. It is called crossed feet walking and the salida now receives the name of salida cruzada, or crossed feet salida.

On September 9, 2005, during the course of a semi private lesson, we added some visual elements to the salida cruzada in order to create a more dramatic look. As with all the elements of tango dancing, there is an element of illusion that is created by the interaction of the bodies. What people see is not what the dancers are creating. That is, if the dancers learn how to create the illusion instead of attempting to replicate it without understanding the technique behind it.

We started with a dramatic lean or tilt of the woman, taking her off her vertical axis after the opening side step. This is accomplished after both dancers have completed their first step of the salida. The man indicates to the woman that a lean will follow by gently tightening the embrace so she feels secure against his chest. The lean is produced by the man dropping quickly, first into his right foot crossing it behind to his left, and then to this right foot crossing it behind to his right, and then taking a side step with his right to stabilize their bodies now giving the look of leaning into each other.

The next two steps of the salida are taken keeping the illusion of a tilt. The woman keeps her weight on the leg closer to the man, so in order to move this leg, she must flex it to extend the other leg down and back, and allow the man, as he changes weight forward to lift her body to come up vertical on the back leg. Immediately she flexes the standing leg that now becomes the forward leg for the next step, and the process repeats.

The whole idea of this illusion is for the man to be his weight on his back leg so the woman keeps her weight on her forward leg. Although it appears that she is heavily leaning into him, if they were to drop their arms and moved slightly away from each other, they would both remain solidly balanced. Their leg extensions are the ones that create the illusion of a lean as the eye integrates motion and tricks the audience’s brain. When the man brings his weight forward, he literally picks her forward foot off the ground as he brings her up on her back leg. After the woman’s second back step, the motion of the man as he changes weight brings her left leg in front of her right. Coming completely vertical on his right axis, the man brings her down to cross her left foot and transfer her weight to the crossed foot.

Immediately he drops down crossing his leg leg behind and walking two steps around her. This invites her to let her right leg open laterally and glide on the ground without changing weight until the man steps to his right side. Her leg then is pushed into crossing over the left leg, they both complete a second salida simple taking two steps to her cruzada, and finally they recover their vertical as they end the sequence with a resolution.

In the following video clip, you’ll see a practical demonstration with additional tips to add more pizazz to your tango dancing, and look like you know what you’re doing. Your feedback and commentaries are always welcomed.

Video of the Salida cruzada with lean and planeo at the cruzada

Posted August 11, 2010 by Alberto & Valorie in Gotta Tango

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