Tango Foundations course, Week 6 class notes

22nd February 2010

Week 1 Notes | Week 2 Notes |Week 3 Notes | Week 4 Notes | Week 5 Notes | Week 6 Notes


Dancing based on last week was crossing, and cross steps - so we played a track for us to dance to, focussing on doing these steps.


We covered a few of the common problems people had encountered.

  • Topic 1: Balance
    We talked about balancing exercises - mainly focussing on how the follower can improve her balance. We went over some balancing exercises also. As a general point, often if we lose our balance it's because we didn't step correctly in the first place; if you step correctly you don't usually need to worry so much about balance.
  • Topic 2: Dissociation
    Dissociation is used all the time when walking, but it's most used with pivot-based steps such as ochos and giros. Dissociation increases as you step further from your partner.
  • Topic 3: Ochos
    And talking about pivot-based steps... we revisited ochos, practicing with these for a while. The key concept to remember is that an ocho is a pivot, then a step; one follows the other. Don't try to pivot and step in the same motion.
  • Topic 4: Giros
    Finally, we looked at giros - getting into them, out of them, and of course doing them! A few tips with this:
    • Followers, don't "overtake the chest" - you always follow the chest movement, don't anticipate it.
    • Followers, the back-step part of a giro sequence is quite tricky; you'll need to put a bit more effort into the pivot part of that, to ensure you don't start walking away from your partner.
    • Leaders, when stopping the giro, make sure it's a "sure stop" - don't slow down and "run out of steam", as this gives confusing signals to your follower.

Barridas - the "sweep"

We briefly did a barrida as part of a giro movement, sweeping the sidestep after the backstep of a giro.

Key points:

  • Leaders, don't force the move - no pushing of feet please. The feet simply happen to be in contact when you lead a step - as normal - with the body.
  • Followers, similarly, move your feet as normal when led to do so - ignore the fact that the feet are touching; don't react differently based on this.

Note: barridas are not essential parts of Tango dancing, so don't panic if you don't get the hang of them immediately. Also, this step is simply an example of a class of steps; it's not something vital to memorize.


Social dancing

A very brief overview of "Dos and don'ts" list for social dancing:

Advice for leaders:

  • Obey the line of dance.
  • Don't overtake, it's not a race.
  • Ask for dances courteously.
  • Above all else, protect your partner.

Advice for followers:

  • Be careful with your heels, they can be dangerous weapons.
  • Accept or reject dances courteously.

Advice for all:

  • Milongas are not practice sessions - if you want to practice, get out of the way or attend a practica.
  • Remember the "3-dance" rule - "tandas" are groups of dances separated by interlude music ("Cortinas").
  • "Thank you" means "Goodbye".
  • Respect the other dancers on the floor.
  • Use common sense - ganchos and big steps on a crowded dance floor are Silly Things To Do.
  • If you make a mistake, tell them you learnt somewhere else...

Note: I will review and expand on the social dancing aspect in the upcoming "Tango Extensions" course.


Overall Course Summary

Quickly reviewing the topics in this course:

  • Week 1: Connection, walking, side/front/backsteps, rocksteps
  • Week 2: Open / Close embrace, and introduction to ochos
  • Week 3: Ochos
  • Week 4: Giros
  • Week 5: Crossing and the Cross step
  • Week 6: Barridas, workshop and social dancing

James Bond will return...

March "Tango Extensions" course

I'll run a "Tango Extensions" course in March - April, on Sundays 14th / 21st / 28th, April 4th, 18th and 25th (note break in April for Easter).

This course will introduce a new series of steps, and will expand on areas such as social dancing and technique for basic movements.

If you're interested, please contact me and let me know.

For more information

- David Bailey, 22nd February 2010