[Tango-L] Beginners and milongas

Carol Shepherd arborlaw at comcast.net
Mon Feb 18 08:10:34 EST 2008

I agree there is a lot of confusion between "counts" and "positions" in 
the 8CB and that is partially what makes it so awful.  For non-musically 
trained and trained alike, it is very hard to dislodge the idea that the 
"8" represents 8 beats of music.  I have often thought (coming from 
ballet experience) that if they were called "first (position)," "second 
(position)," etc it might make the distinction clearer -- particularly 
so for the many who have had ballet training as a child (which will be a 
lot of your follows).  Or even clearer, call them A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H.

I have always understood the 8CB as analogous to a "kata" in martial 
arts, ie, a floor exercise which artificially strings vocabulary 
together to allow major positions and scenarios to be remembered and 
practiced and entrained into muscle memory.  (Except, of course, for the 
obvious difference that a single person performs a kata.)  For those who 
do not know much about martial arts, here is a definition of kata:

"What is kata? ... a prescribed sequence of steps, strikes, and blocks 
combined in such a manner as to allow us to practise them with a view to 
achieving all of balance, speed, power, precision, and grace of execution."

and here is an example of a kata: 


PS I have an inspiration!  How about ... Dasher Dancer Prancer Vixen 
Comet Cupid Donner and Blitzen? ;)  Or the seven dwarves...of course 
there are only seven, but I am sure we all agree the back step should be 
dropped anyway ;)

Keith wrote:
> If step-counting is widespread, it must be a European and/or American phenomena 
> because I've rarely come across it in BsAs. However, some teachers do use count 
> numbers in the 8CB to identify certain positions, such as the 2 and the 5. Gavito for 
> example always did this and would teach how to go directly from the 2 to the 5, for 
> example.


Carol Ruth Shepherd
Arborlaw PLC
Ann Arbor MI USA
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