Tango Foundations course, Week 5 class notes

15th February 2010

Week 1 Notes | Week 2 Notes | Week 3 Notes | Week 4 Notes | Week 5 Notes


Revision: a couple of dances using the steps and techniques learnt previously:

Firstly, in close embrace, a dance with:

  • Forwards / Backwards Steps
  • Sidesteps
  • Changes of weight
  • Rocksteps

Secondly, in open embrace, a dance with:

  • Forwards / Backwards Steps
  • Ochos
  • Giros

Sidewalking - 2-track, 3-track, 4-track.

You don't always have to walk "mirrorred" (in parallel). There are several variations you can use.

Exercise: 2-track to 4-track and back

Leaders: walk the follower in a straight line backwards, but move from one side to the other whilst doing so.

Note that when you walk "alongside" the follower, your feet are following a "4 track" path - instead of the standard "2 track".

The idea here is to get the leaders used to the concept of walking to one side, whilst still keeping the followers walking backwards in a straight line.

Exercise: getting cross(ed) - 3-track walking

The technique here is for the leaders to transfer weight, but without leading a transfer for the follower.

We also briefly covered changes in tempo - either the leader changing feet by himself (so going into "3 track" or "crossed" walking), or the leader changing tempo (the "slow-slow-quick-quick-slow" stuff).

Key points

  • Leaders, keep the chest oriented toward the followers, not to the side. But keep your feet facing forwards; so dissociation again.
  • Also, keep a steady sure lead - don't jump about and vary the pace, just because you're moving your feet in a different way.
  • Followers, follow the lead from the chest, don't pay too much attention to what the leader does with his feet.

Crossing your legs

Followers, you can occasionally be led into a cross-step; it's like a collection, but intead of one foot being next to the other, one foot is crossed over the other.

Exercise: getting out of a cross

  • Followers, start with crossed legs, and leaders, transfer weight onto crossed foot, then lead them out of it, into a backstep.
  • Do the same thing, but lead them into a sidestep.
  • And again, but don't transfer follower's weight onto the crossed foot - lead them into a forwards step (!) and a sidestep.

Key points

  • Followers, it's important that you don't transfer weight onto the crossed foot, until led to do so.
  • Leaders, if you transfer your follower's weight but not your own, then you have to "think in reverse".
  • Both - keep facing each other, chest to chest, as always.

Leading the cross step

If your free leg is relaxed, this should happen naturally when led - you shouldn't really need to think about it.

Leaders, to lead a cross step, you need to indicate to the follower what to do; typically, this means you need to:

  • Apply a slight pivot as part of the step as a lead
  • Open up some space between you, for her to put one leg in front of the other

A Sequence!

We did a standard entry to a cross step:
Leaders: sidestep left (to outside) > 2 forward steps > collect (and lead a cross step) > lead a weight change
Followers: sidestep right > two back steps > cross when led (left foot over right foot) > change weight to front (left) foot

Key points

  • To lead the sidestep left, lead your partner to take a normal-size step, then once she starts to move, take an outside step. Don't lead a large step from the start, or you'll both simply take large steps!
  • When leading the actual cross, don't pull your partner to the side, simply straighten out your body - "close your chest"
  • Followers: similarly, don't turn to the side, but keep facing your partner when you cross.
  • Leaders: start leading the cross from the second forward step - make this second step small, to give the follower space to cross.
  • Followers: don't anticipate a cross after 2 steps back. Wait for it to be led.


For more information

- David Bailey, 15th February 2010