Tango Foundations course, Week 4 class notes

8th February 2010

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


Revision of first 3 weeks

We briefly reviewed the topics we'd covered in the first 3 weeks of the course:

Exercise: grapevine

We did a grapevine exercise - walking in a straight line, for both leaders and followers:
Forward -> pivot -> Side -> pivot -> Back -> pivot -> Forward -> etc.

Key points:

  • Step then pivot - as with ochos, these are two distinct movements. Don't try to do both at the same time.
  • Dissociation - keep shoulders facing the same direction. Mirrors help!
  • Collect at each step - always collect at the end of every step

Introducing "Giros" (Turns)

A "Giro" (pronounced "Hero") is a turn. Typically, the leader stands in place, and the follower is led to walk in a circular path around the leader (either clockwise or anticlockwise).

Follower exercise: "walk around chair"

We grabbed some weights, and used the "walk around a chair" exercise, to practice doing the grapevine movements in a circular pattern.
Forward -> pivot (90 degrees) -> Side -> pivot (270 degrees) -> Back -> Side -> Forward -> etc.

Key points:

  • Dissociation - keep facing the centre of the point you're walking around.
  • Again, collect your legs in between every step.

Leader exercise: Be The Ball...

Leaders, holding a gym ball in front of you, slowly rotate your upper body around a 360-degree turn, letting your feet "catch up" with your chest. Ensure that the upper body is always ahead of the feet in turning.

Key points

  • The rotation is a smooth and continuous motion, not a step-stop-step-stop movement.
  • There's no mandatory footwork - feel free to simply shuffle around - but don't move your feet too much, as you want to try to keep a single rotation point for your follower to walk around.
  • To lead the rotation, open up the shoulders whilst rotating - keep the chest moving ahead of the feet.
  • Keep upright - balls of the feet.

Using Giros

We then partnered-up and worked on the giro in couples.

The lead is to start rotating around. This can be done from any point, in either direction.

Key points:

  • Followers, don't overtake leaders - take your time on the walks
  • Leaders, wait for the pivot to be done, before leading the step. Don't try to lead both at the same time.
  • Followers, as always, follow each step as it is led. Don't try to anticipate the next step.

Mix and Match: ochos and giros together

We briefly discussed using giros in combination with other steps, mixing and matching.

Key points:

  • Giros can be done in either direction - simply by rotating in that direction. Typically, clockwise might feel more difficult than anti-clockwise because of the nature of the embrace.
  • Giros don't have to be full 360-degree, 4-step patterns - it's perfectly OK to just lead a few steps.
  • You can reverse a giro from a pivot step - turning that pivot into an ocho movement, then reversing the rotation direction.
  • Followers, please don't anticipate that the next step will be part of the giro pattern - it may not be.


For more information

- David Bailey, 8th February 2010