Level 1 Feb - Mar 2018

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 loose and down (this removes tension from your free leg)
  • Never lock your knees: You standing leg knee is softly flexed (not locked) - this gives you better contact with the floor.
  • 'Collection' - Thigh or ankle (as you prefer) connection as you walk
  • Push off the floor as you walk - to make your walk more dynamic.
  • Look forward as you walk (down diagonal is fine but don't look straight down at your feet as this distorts your posture.
Tango Music - for practicing 

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

I recommend the following album on Spotify: 'Serie de Oro' by Carlos di Sarli. This album has good songs for practicing. Avoid the last song 'Tu Palida Voz' as it's a vals. 

Link to 250 songs
The following link will download a fabulous 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:

This link goes to a zip file (little less than a 1 GB file). 

Week 7: Starting March 19
We reviewed, refined and linked all moves covered in the course:
  • C-Step
  • Parallel Cross with Resolution
  • Parallel Cross with Ochos
  • Backward and Forward Ochos from Side Step
Here is a display of Level 1 moves and a preview of Level 2 moves:

Week 6: Starting March 12
In Week 6 the focus was on improvising with Ochos and the Parallel Cross.  Instead of  leading two Forward Ochos and then two Backward Ochos (the combination you have learnt in previous weeks) you could change the number of Ochos, to be unpredictable. This ensures that true leading and following occurs, rather than move memorisation.

We advised that leaders should finish the Ocho and enter the Resolution from their Left side not Right side as this provides easier entry into the first forward step of Resolution. 

We also improvised with Parallel Cross straight to Resolution or with Ochos.

Leaders: The key message is that you need to start leading the next step half a step before, to enable the follower time to prepare for the change of dynamic (e.g a pivot or change of speed). It's the same when you're driving, and about to turn into another road - you need to indicate before you reach the intersection of the two roads, to give time for other drivers to react to your turn.

Followers: The key message is to wait for the lead - to only move to the next step / pivot when you feel the lead to such.

Here's a preview of the move we are introducing in Week 7: Backward Ocho from Salida (Salida = first side step):

This was shown at our Bondi class in Week 6 but not at other venues.

1) Review the C-Step, Parallel Cross and Ocho combinations from Weeks 1 - 6. Check out the Week 7 move - Backward Ocho from Salida.
2) Practice the Lapiz Walk and the Pivoting Walk on a regular basis. 

Week 5: Starting March 5

The move of Backward Ocho was introduced and linked to the Forward Ocho and Parallel Cross:

Home work
1) Review the C-Step, Parallel Cross and Ocho combinations from Weeks 1 - 5...
2) Practice the Lapiz Walk and the Pivoting Walk on a regular basis. Here's the video for the latter:

3) For some inspiration read this post with videos of beautiful tango walking. Tango is known as the 'walking dance' - having a good tango walk is the foundation to being a good tango dancer.

Week 4: starting February 26
The move of Foward Ocho was introduced and linked to the Parallel Cross. 

The Forward Ocho flows nicely from the Parallel Cross due to the torso turn to the left at the Cross (Step 4)

Leaders, this involves extending the turn of your torso to the left to position follower ready for Forward Ocho.

Here's some improvisations using the moves covered to date:

Week 3: starting February 19
New move introduced was the Parallel Cross with Resolution. 

Concepts expired 
- 'Inside / Outside' lines (steps 2 and 3) 
-  'Behind / In Front' lines (step 4)

The Cross happens after two 'outside' steps by the leader. 
The 'Cross' is the point where follower crosses her left leg over right to arrive in front of leader. (step 4)

Followers, the Cross should be compact - your feet are close together and pointing towards leader's centre on completion. 

Leaders, step 4  can be treated as an 'adjustment step' - you step with your right leg to be right in front of where the follower has arrived. This means stepping right next to your left leg or slightly to the right of the left left, depending on where the follower is.

This Cross is  called 'Parallel' because leader and follower are keeping their weight on the same side of their bodies for each step - just like normal forward and back walking.

The 'Resolution' is leader's forward and side step after the Cross.

Week 2: starting February 12
The focus was on all technique covered in Week 1plus dissociation.
A second version of the C-Step was introduced using dissociation in the first side step:

We worked on musicality, walking to single time and pausing. We used the count 1-2-3-4 walking on the strong beats of 1 and 3. Counting can also be 'I and 1 and...' 1 here is for the strong beats of 1 and 3 while 'and' is for the soft beats of 2 and 4.

We also introduced the 'Lapiz Walk' ('lapiz' means pencil in Spanish):

This is a great exercise to practice between classes to help strengthen your balance, walk and musicality. 

Recommended to be done to the song 'Cara Sucia' by Carlos Di Sarli. The Lapiz is also used as an ornament to the walk in social tango dancing by both leaders and followers.

Here is an end of class improvised display Pablito and I did at the end of the 6pm 'Intro to Tango' workshop on the same night. This gives some of our students who started in Week 2 (and missed our display last week) an idea of what social tango looks like.

End of class display:

Week 1: starting February 5
The focus was on:
  • Synchronising with a partner
  • Walking technique (back and forward)
  • Leading from the torso
  • Practice Hold and open embrace
The move introduced was the 'C Step':

Here's an end of class display Pablito and Sophia at Glebe (6.2.18):