[Tango-L] 8-count (ho-hum) basic

Crrtango@aol.com Crrtango at aol.com
Wed Feb 13 12:01:34 EST 2008

The argument about the value of the 8-count basic step is pretty amusing and 
comes up perennially on the list, but I think many (especially relative 
beginners) are missing the point. Tango is an improvisational dance which uses 
certain basic steps as a foundation. Most of the time it is the 8-count basic 
because that figure uses most of the steps you will need to dance, but the whole 
point is that you adapt to the situation on the dance floor. There is nothing 
dreaded nor rigid about it. It is only a starting point. You can stop it and 
start it at any point, and should.   I disagree totally that it can not be danced 
socially because I dance it all the time, sometimes just like I learned it 
years ago, but I also turn while doing it, I often break it in the middle, I 
don't always start from the same foot, I don't always go to the cross, etc, etc. 
The problem is that people get stuck on repeating it unchanged and can't 
figure out why it doesn't work, therefore they blame the step, or the teachers, or 
the crowded floor, or something besides themselves. Tango is about 
improvising, not about doing all the stuff you learned in the latest workshop or blindly 
following the 8-count. 
If you can not get out of the 8-count rut, you should practice trying to 
break it up (instead of the ganchos or volcadas or whatever other 
step-of-the-month has distracted you), like not always going to the resolution, for example. 
Didn't your teachers ever teach you how to lead a follower to not cross? They 
should have and that is one way to break it up, among many. What about rock 
steps? You can stop it and start it anytime or anywhere as long as you do it on 
the beat. Most of the time, dancing is no more than avoiding collisions on the 
dance floor, but if it is done smoothly and rhythmically, then you are 


The year's hottest artists on the red carpet at the Grammy 
Awards. Go to AOL Music.

More information about the Tango-L mailing list