L4 Sep - Nov 2020

Week 8: November 3
Here is an improvisation using all the moves we covered in this term:

YouTube Video

The song we are dancing to is 'Buenos Aires Te Canto' by Carlos di Sarli. You will find it in the SoTango Spotify List Tango (Trad).

Week 7: October 27

Here's what we covered:

1. Drill - “Milonguero” (no pivot) Back Ochos - both sides

2. Introduced Milonguero Back Ochos to Cross System Cross to Resolution:

3. Introduced Milonguero Back Ochos to Castigada:

We then built on the Milonguero Back Ochos / Castigada combination with the following variations...

3.1. Milonguero Back Ochos Castigada - Giro to Right - A Favor Back Boleo to Right- Contra Front Boleo to Left - Castigada: (adding Giro to Right and Boleos to Milonguero Ocho / Castigada combination)

YouTube Video

3.2. Milonguero Back Ochos - Castigada - Sanguchito to Right - Giro to Right - A Favor Back Boleo to Right / Contra Front Boleo to Left - Sanguchito to Right - to close: (adding Sanguchito to Milonguero Ochos / Castigada combinatinon).

Home Play
1. Practice all combinations from Weeks 1 - 7
2. Practice Ocho Milongueros

Week 6: October 20

Here's what we covered:

1. Drill - “Milonguero” (no pivot) Back Ochos - to both sides
2. Reviewed Week 5 combination.
3.  Introduced new combinations:
-  "Milonguero" Back Ochos → Giro to Right → Ending with Sanguchito to Right:

-  "Milonguero" Back Ochos → Giro to Right → Ending with Back Calesita to Left → Cross System Cross / Parada:

The song we danced to is 'Nuestra Noche' by Di Sarli. You can find it in our Tango (Trad)  Spotify list  or here on Youtube:

Home Play

1. Practice 'Ochos Milongueros' and the Week 6 combinations to 'Nuestra Noche' and moves from Weeks 1 - 5.

2. Practice previous moves and combinations from Weeks 1 - 5.

Week 5: October 13

Here's what we covered...

1. Contra Boleo Technique - from Back Ochos.
2. Introduced new combination: Add Boleo to Giro to Left (Week 1 move) entered from Side into Back Step.
- To turn 360 degrees Leader steps back with Left leg to lead Follower Forward Cross Step to resolve.
- Alternate ending is Back Calesita to Left:

3. Reviewed Week 4 moves: Calesitas to Right / Left / Back / Forward / Americana etc

4. Musicality 
Calesitas fit best at the beginning of musical phrases or well before the end of a phrase. It's best not to continue a Calesitas between the end of a phrase and the start of a new one. 

What type of music?
Calesitas suit best flourishing, lyrical music not something staccato like e.g., "SOS" by Canaro.

It's also difficult to fit Calesitas into a 'Variación' . We danced a Calesita to the Variación in D’Arienzo's  "Paciencia" and found that it was too frenetic and difficult to fit it well. We then danced a number of Calesitas to "Fumando Espero" by Di Sarli, and this worked well.

“La Variación” 

It’s a variation of the musical theme. Each piece of Tango Music has a major theme, and that theme can be ‘varied’, hence the term. La Variación happens in a very specific place within the music. Usually near the end of the piece about 30 seconds before the end of music. Not all compositions posses one but a good portion of them do. Sometimes this variation will run at double time, sometimes even faster than that. A good indicator that you’re hearing La Variación is to listen for when the musical instruments, and in specific the bandoneons, ‘go crazy’. They seemingly speed up to an ungodly fevered pitch and tempo. (source: https://tangotopics.com/la-variacion)

Home Play

1. Dance the moves you have learnt so far, especially Calesitas, to "Fumando Espero":

Listen to "Paciencia" and notice the Variacións:

Week 4: October 6

In Week 4 we focused on Boleos - specifically the Contra Back Boleo to the Left

1. Technique Drill: Cross step Left or Right exercise (entry for Boleo)

2. Added Contra Boleo to Backward Calesita to Left (Week 3 combination).

3. We then ended the above combination with Forward Calesita to Right (Week 2 combination)

Whenever there is an Ocho (Cross Step) a Boleo can be created - a Boleo is essentially an interrupted Ocho. Notice in the videos the points in these combinations where Boleos are possible. The Boleos used in Week 4 were grounded Boleos which are good for social dancing as opposed to high Boleos which are more dramatic.

4. Music Drill: Practice pausing with the combinations covered so far - the time to pause is when the flow of a move has ended not while it’s still going eg, after a Boleo, not before.

Week 3: September 29

In Week 3 we covered Back & Forward Calesita Combinations with Americana / Parada and Giro to left

1. Back Calesita to the Left ending with Cross System Cross / Parada - Giro to Left with Sacada
Entry is from Back Ochos to Americana.

2. Giro to Left with Sacada - Americana → Back Calesita to Left → Forward Calesita to Right (from Cross System 4th Position)

Week 2: September 22

Introduced Forward Calesita to Right from Cross System 4th Position.
Ending with Cross System Cross / Parada:

Week 1: September 15

Giro to Left from 3rd Position combinations:
  • With Sacada or Entrada
  • Continuing to Giro to Right
  • Ending with Cross System Cross & Parada

Here's some notes and resources from previous terms that you may find useful as a refresher...

Tango Music - for practising 
Check out Sophia's Spotify lists:
Tango (Trad) Best for practicing musicality - walking to single, double and half time.
Tango (Neo) contemporary songs (good for practicing technique)

Link to 250 songs
The following link will download a collection of 250 of the most popular songs (tango, vals and milonga) played in milongas around the world! Focus for now only on the tangos. Also focus on instrumental songs as opposed to vocals as these are easier to find the beat. Di Sarli is one of the better orchestras to start with: 250 songs download
This link goes to a zip file (little less than a 1 GB file). 

Here's a link to help you better understand tango music for dancing

Good habits for tango dancers
  • 'Steel vs spaghetti': Your standing leg is like steel - dynamic, strong and grounded, your free leg is like spaghetti: light and loose without tension.
  • Your free leg hip is stable yet loose and lower than your base leg hip (this removes tension from your free leg)
  • 'Collection' - Thigh or ankle (as you prefer) connection as you walk
  • Push off the floor as you walk - to make your walk more dynamic. 
  • Never lock your knees: You standing leg knee is softly flexed (not locked) - this gives you better contact with the floor.
  • Always find your axis - 'it's your beauty and your power'
  • Walk in the line of your hips - Imagine your hips are at the centre of 2 crossing lines: one going forward / back and the other - left /right. The first line is the guide for forward and back steps, the second line guides side steps.