[Tango-L] Shared Pivots - Prerequisites

Jay Rabe jayrabe at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 22 14:20:27 EST 2008


Assuming "shared pivots" means the steps that I have heard called "single-axis turns", and noting that this category includes both close-embrace turns and open-embrace colgatas...

then for the close-embrace versions I recommend a starting point being rock-step 1/4 turns.

In parallel, leader steps left fwd, checks and rocks back to his right, opening/turning torso CCW as he rocks back, then closes with his left (heel to heel but left toe pointing to the left) leading follower to take a right side step around him, resulting in a 1/4 turn.

To convert that to a single-axis turn, immediately (like within a quarter beat) after follower places her right foot, the leader must place his right foot beside (maybe 6-8" away from) the followers right, creating the "single-axis." And he must do so without moving her off her axis so she will keep all her weight on her right and not feel the need to take a step.

I recommend starting with a slow turn, in which the leader does not transfer his weight completely, but keeps his weight distributed between his right and left feet, which gives him lots of control on the speed of the turn and less reliance on needing to know/feel exactly where her axis is. He then keeps her on her axis as he rotates around her, and pivots her CCW in the process of course. This step can be used especially musically in a lot of valses that have passages of suspension.

If conversely the leader transfers his weight completely when he steps beside her with his right, then you get a fast and snappy turn that can be thrilling but also more difficult and dangerous.


P.S. My apologies to Astrid and others with whom I agree that it is almost absurd to think of learning tango from a written instruction. Nevertheless, everybody learns in their own way, and a lot of people do make initial progress in learning dance steps by studying and visualizing them based on a written description. I learned a lot this way. I'd go to a class or see a performance and try and take notes to describe the step. It often happened that I wasn't able to reconstruct the step from my notes. I learned that taking complete notes includes not just the Arthur Murray step pictures on the floor, but also the details of what you're doing with your torso and frame. When you put all the details together, it can be a help to people who learn this way.

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