Tango Extensions course, Week 2 class notes

29th March 2010

Week 1 Notes | Week 2 Notes


  • Technique:Social dancing
  • Steps: Sandwich variations

Social dancing

Dancing in a social atmosphere requires additional skills, expecially for the leader. The best way to develop those skills is to attend milongas.


Exercise 1: navigate around obstacles

Placing a number of obstacles on the dance floor, we worked on navigating around them.

The aim of this exercise is to simulate the obstacles encountered normally when dancing, to work on the navigational skills needed to get around these obstacles.

Exercise 2: confined space navigation

We blocked off most of the dance floor, forcing the class to dance in a very small area

The aim of this exercise is to get the feeling of dancing very close to other couples, to work on the awareness of other dancers on the dance floor.

Key points:

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.
  • Respect the other dancers on the floor.
  • Use common sense - ganchos and big steps on a crowded dance floor are Silly Things To Do.


Sandwich variations

A "sandwich" refers to any situation in which one partner's foot is placed in between the other partner's feet. Sandwiches accompany blocks - blocks and sandwiches are complementary. A sandwich is an example of how you can use a block or "Parada" step.

Sequence description

For demonstration, we did a sandwich move within a sequence:

  • Leader sidesteps left, changes weight, then leads a back ocho (to the leader's left)
  • Leader leads another back ocho (to the leader's right). After the follower transfers weight, but before the follower collects:
    • The Leader's right hand moves down the follower's back to halt the follower collecting
    • The leader's right foot extends to the outside of the follower's left foot, blocking it.
  • The leader then steps towards the follower, bringing his left foot to the other side of the follower's left foot - "trapping" it between his two feet.
  • The leader then steps back on the right foot, opening up a space to the right.
  • The follower can then step forward to the leader's right
  • If the leader continues rotating to the right, this forward step turns into the first step of a clockwise giro sequence.

Key points:

  • Timing of the "trapping" is crucial.
  • Take each component, one bit at a time.


We then explored some variations from this sequence:

  • Reverse: start with a left-sided sandwich - trapping the follower's right foot with the leader's left (from the first back ocho), then rotating anti-clockwise.
  • Block-and-slide: from the block point, instead of sandwiching, sidestep around in the direction of the block, then lead a barrida (sweep) step in that direction.
  • Block-and-gancho: from the block point, stay in place, and lead the follower into a forward ocho, stepping over your foot - extend the foot forward then gancho the follower.

The point of these variations was to demonstrate the possibilities available from a block / sandwich move.


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- David Bailey, 29th March 2010