Vocabulary - Take 2 - Leaders - Basic
You could say that learning tango is like traveling the spirals of the Guggenheim Museum in New York or peeling an onion: that you travel once around and then are inevitably led to start the next spiral. We think that this is one of the great richnesses of tango.
First you learn the steps and then, if you are so inclined, you can delve deeper into the movement techniques which make the step beautiful. That's covered in our take 2 series. We plan to film a "take 3" later which will talk about the essence of the steps; what each step is really about. And we are drawn to the idea of filming a "take 4" which talks about how many techniques can be derived from just a few core concepts.
"I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short." Blaise Pascal
We encourage you to at least sample a little of each of these takes as they become available, so that you can have an idea what the study of tango means to us.
- Artist Name:
- Song Title:
- A La Gran Muñeca
- Album Title:
- It Takes Q To Tango
- Artist Website:
(From the website): Created in July, 2009 by Erskine Maytorena, a third generation tango musician and opera singer, QTANGO performs authentic Argentine tango arrangements as often as two to three times a week throughout the Southwest for tango dancers and listeners.
- So we’re going to do this new series of chapters about…
- ..take two on technique.
- And this is especially satisfying because
now we get to tell you...
- ..all the thing we wanted to tell you
at the beginning.
- We’re going to start with the basic.
- In this basic you’ll see, that on my first step,
for the leaders…
- ..I turn my right hip back. From another angle.
- And I pull this hip back so I can better face her.
- So for example if this - if you’re my partner
and you’re following me…
- ..and I step side, and then I go like this,
turning to my left…
- ..that takes me away from my follower.
- But if I pull my hip back, then I can use that
to come back to her…
- ..as we take, outstep her.
- But that pulling the hip back business
is really hard…
- ..because you have to be thinking about
- ..and at the same time, thinking about
your hip going back.
- So it’s really the only way to do it.
The only way I could get it was by practicing a lot.
- Second thing, after the side step, pulling the hip back…
- ..to create the cross, this is an unusual lead
and what I want you to be aware of…
- ..is this idea that because you’re the leader,
you have this luxury of...
- ..knowing what you’re going to do in advance,
so you can set it up.
- So if I’m the follower.
Yes, she goes - so I’m doing the girl’s part now.
- She goes side, back, back.
- And on that second back step,
you want her to cross behind her left shoulder…
- ..or from this angle, behind her left
shoulder a little bit.
- So if she steps out over that way,
then you really have to work to get her to cross.
- But, if she steps this way, the foot can just slide in.
- And so as a leader, what I do is I am conscious
of the fact that…
- ..on my second forward step,
I step a little bit into her space.
- I step a little bit to my - over my right shoulder.
- So if I do the leader’s part, I go side,
- Just a little bit crossing and that will
shift her right foot back.
- So that’s the first part.
The first part of the second thing.
- You can tell we really like technique.
- And then that will open her right leg,
so that now all she has to do is…
- ..shift her left leg, straight back in front of it.
- And that will make the cross much easier.
- Now after that, for the leaders, I want you to imagine
you have the follower in your arm.
- Imagine. You have the follower in your arms.
- And so as you do this, if I show with my chest
- I’m going to exaggerate…
- ..I’ll do it both facing the camera and away.
- Here she is to my side, here I shift her over.
Now look what happens.
- As I shift over my left foot,
I turn back to front.
- And it’s this turn in my chest, as I shift forward
which gets her to cross.
- So there’s a two part lead.
- Step a little to your right, just a hair
and then as you shift up…
- ..turn your chest back to front.
- So this seems like phenomenally difficult to do.
- And I practice it in the mirror over and over,
in my sleep to try to get -
- ..whoops, that position.
- She practices as the leader.
- As the leader,
I’m talking about leading.
- However the really cool thing about it is
that at this point because I have it…
- ..most of the time I can get followers to cross
even when they don’t know to cross.
- Because there is just so much power in the
combination of them stepping…
- ..into themselves and your straightening
your chest like that.
- Yes. Now the final thing, that I would like you to be
aware of, leaders, is that…
- ..often times when a follower crosses,
she doesn’t go all the way to the ball of the foot.
- And it’s a great shame and I want it to be
completely the follower’s responsibility.
- But at the same time, it’s also completely
the leader’s responsibility.
- So after she crosses here, I want you to think
where ever she puts her foot down,...
- ..you need to shift her body over the foot.
- So in this case I’m going to shift her body
a little bit this way…
- ..and then we’ll go on.
- And so being all the way over will let her
go on and finish that basic.