Twisted Body Dance Theory of Argentine Tango

by Igor Polk, June 5, 2016 - May 19, 2014

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Book:  Dance Theory of Argentine Tango
$24.99, 102 pages, 152 drawings, 8.5x11, $4 mailing
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Closer Look at Steps Algebra and Performance

Now we are ready to look at three types of steps closer. Assume that a number of steps are done sequentially. It means passing the neutral position. So, one should come to and leave the neutral position. Of course, it is not required when a pose is a goal. It is possible to walk without neutral position in the middle, see Zig-Zag Walk chapter before.

Toe-First Step Forward Formula is

Y==  -1B->  Y(Parada)  -2X->  ~Y== , where Y is Left or Right leg, ~Y an opposite leg.

Explanation:

Formula Explanation Remark
Y== From the neutral pose on the Y leg  
-1B-> Barrida transition to Since the initial pose was neutral, this barrida consists only of one out-saw.
Y(Parada)  Parada on Y leg. It means forward.
-2X-> Moving on another leg changing body Change of body twist from charged to neutral !
~Y== A neutral pose on another leg  

Toe-First Step Backward formula is

Z==  -1B->  Z(Liberty)  -2X->  ~Z

If a couple performing the step facing each other, the woman's leg W is opposite of man's leg M, i.e. W=~M

Body-First Step Forward Formula is

Y==  -2X->  ~Y(Liberty)  -1B->  ~Y==

Explanation:

Formula Explanation Remark
Y== From the neutral pose on the Y leg  
-2X-> Immediate transition (step) to Since the initial pose was neutral, this transition is an Body First Step with Hip-Push.
~Y(Liberty) Arriving on another leg into Liberty  
-1B-> Barrida transition to Since the final pose is neutral, this Barrida is a "in-saw", pulling, "dragging the free leg to neutral
~Y== A neutral pose on another leg  

Body-First Step Backward formula is

Z==  -2X->  ~Z(Parada)  -1B->  ~Z==

Toe-First Long Step Formula is

Y==  -1B->  Y(Parada)  -2XH->  ~Y(Liberty)  -1B->  ~Y==

Formula Explanation Remark
Y== From the neutral pose on the Y leg  
-1B-> Barrida transition to Since the initial pose was neutral, this barrida consists only of one out-saw forward. Charging.
Y(Parada)  Parada on Y leg. It means forward. Really charged !
-2XH-> Moving on another leg with significant Hip-Push Moving like in Cunita to Liberty. This provokes generation of a lot of energy. Parada accumulates a lot of energy for initial movement. All that together with Hip-Push produces a longer step. The front leg may stretch even more forward proportional to energy and partner's position.
~Y(Liberty) Arriving to Liberty This is a dynamic arriving! Since initially the free leg is extended forward, it sticks into the floor a way ahead of the body. Body line from the torso center to the landed foot is inclined backward. The next transition is getting the body out of this inclination. That is why to is not visible that the body arrives in Liberty. But it does. At the moment of contact, the center is moved forward beyond the neutral postition just like going to Liberty.
-1B-> Barrida transition to This transition happens when the gravity stops the body from the powerful previous movement. Inclination disappears ( if the dance style is not Apilado ). This is a period of relaxation, hovering in the air.
~Y== A neutral pose on another leg Arrived.

Toe-First Long Step Backward formula is

Z==  -1B->  Z(Liberty)  -2XH->  ~Z(Parada)  -1B->  ~Z==

Assuming that a follower makes the back step, (a leader also can do it), the explanation is similar with an important clarification. Extension of the leg back does not happen to the full extent when a leader is still preparing his Parada. The extension has to be as less as possible with more emphasis on charging of the body, torso and pelvis. Extension of the leg back goes during the actual step. It must be aligned with the length of the partners step. It is a common mistake, when a student extends her leg too far, more than the man can go. She is not able to keep up with him, she separates going away backward. It is a leader's job to step as long as possible to catch up with the follower. But it is a compensation, adaptation. Ideally, the leader defines the length of the steps and the follower alignes to them perfectly.

Last half of the Toe-First Long Step backward is shown on the drawing (Liberty position is alreay obtained, the step is started, the back leg is extended as much as needed): 1) the moment of arriving of the foot into the floor; 1)-2) going into Parada; 2) Parada Pose in dynamic, on the move; 2)-3) Exit from the Parada pose with "Barrida Transition". At this phase the gravity stops the dancer or a push from the back leg; 3) The Neutral pose after arrival.


The idea that steps are composite explains the fact that experienced dancers can make any boleo or gancho or other elements in any direction on any step. For example, leading and performing back boleo on a forward step for a woman. It is difficult to say what step is more important. All three, and the third one is a composition of the first two, are used in appropriate places.

Here are simple graphical abbreviations for step sequences: 1) Toe-First steps, both types, since they have the same rhythm, 2) Body-First Steps.

Body-First steps are faster. They arrive to a pose, which is represented by a dark dot. A dancer posesses more time posing. The Toe-First steps arrive into Neutral position. They are starting from a pose. They are slower. Fancy elements like Boleo, happen on the initial phase of the Toe-First steps and on the final stage of the Body-First steps.