[Tango-L] Breaking the 'paso basico.'

Alexis Cousein al at sgi.com
Wed Feb 13 18:23:19 EST 2008

Tango For Her wrote:
> Interesting side story ...
> As a beginner, I remember a teacher asking if any of
> the leaders could dance themselves into a cross.  That
> is, dance their own feet into a cross.
> I volunteered.  The only way that I could conceive of
> doing that was to lead the basic-8 as though my
> partner was the leader and I was the follower.
First three steps of the D8CB, then lead follower into back-cross,
forward-cross your own feet. Resolve by resuming forward with your
right leg (the one behind in your cross).

A bit more obvious than doing an entire mirror image D8CB.

On the subject of the D8CB: poor little sequence, what has it done to
you all to deserve such anger?

I don't think it's that bad - it's a wonderful starting point to
have something you can disassemble at will. And *even* if you
only do the 8CB, there are lots of things you can do with pauses,
elisions, tempo changes (even different ones for leader and follower),
lack of cross or resolution, etc. etc.

Let's face it, it's an excellent coat-hanger for lots of
interesting stuff. I don't think it appeared out of thin air just
to spite us, as a punishment of the Gods.

It's actually got a bit of everything and is easy to warp,
bend and rip apart, so I do think its success is rather natural.

The first thing to make it a bit less "D", of course, is to show
people how to skip the first step (or if necessary, to do an
*in-place* weight transfer, which is the limit case for the
vanishingly small back-step).

Consider it the "My tailor is rich" of tango. Bloody hard to place
into a conversation, but it's easier to get someone to learn
English using it than to insist on teaching him for six months how to
pronounce "my" properly in Representative Pronunciation.

But yes, teachers *should* be ripping it apart fairly fast, if only
to show that tango is an improvisational dance (that's what sets
apart really good teachers - they'll teach you simple things
that break the mold, are very surprising, and let the dance
"breathe" differently, rather than things
that require athletic prowess but are an "of course" continuation
of whatever you were doing).

The first things to break are probably the tempo, the back step
and the cross, I think (I think "teaching the follower not to cross"
is a phrase I find misleading; the reason why you're being
tought that is really to realise that the cross is led just as much
as it is not led in other circumstances).

Once you've done that, there really is nothing left but a few dismembered
bits and pieces anyway, on whose flesh some users of this list can then

Alexis Cousein                                  al at sgi.com
Senior Systems Engineer/Solutions Architect     SGI/Silicon Graphics
<If I have seen further, it is by standing on reference manuals>

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