Level 1 May - Jul 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 

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 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). 

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

Week 7: starting July 9
In Week 7 we...
1. Tied all the moves together - showing leaders how knowledge of entry and exit point for each move enables improvisation
2. Increased focus on the embrace - with reference to the 4 connection points (one on the open side of embrace, and three on the closed side. It was stressed that we need to be active and engaged and present in our embrace, actively connecting at each of the four points.
3. At North Sydney and Glebe  we also increased focus on dancing to the music (single, double and half time and pausing). 

Practice Lapiz Walk (ideally to 'Cara Sucia' - see Spotify Tango Traditional list) and Pivoting walk (see videos for both)
Review Lesson Review videos from previous weeks.

Level 2 starts next week at same venues and same times.

Week 6: starting July 2
'Tango Vocabulary'
We continued reviewing  all moves covered to date, i.e.:
  • Walking
  • C-Step
  • Parallel Cross
  • Resolution
  • Front and Back Ochos
'Tango Grammar'
  1. We linked the above moves through improvisation. Leaders, this requires knowing the entry and exit point for each move.
  2. We reviewed again the difference between Inside and Outside lines - relevant to C-Step and Parallel Cross
  3. We reviewed the difference between Parallel and Cross System - and what constitutes a Cross Forward or Cross Back Step - required for Front and Back Ochos.
  • Walking, C-Step, Parallel Cross and Resolution have all been in Parallel System
  • Ochos are in Cross System
We included more emphasis on musicality - improvising the above moves to the different tempo of:
  • Half time 1xxx1xxx1...
  • Single time 1x3x1x3x1x3...
  • Double time 12341234... or 123x or 1x34
(x = not stepping)
1 and 3 are down or strong beats
2 and 4 are up or soft beats

Practice Lapiz Walk (ideally to 'Cara Sucia' - see Spotify Tango Traditional list) and Pivoting walk (see videos for both)
Review Lesson Review videos from previous weeks.

Week 5: starting June 25
  • Alternating between front and back Ochos
  • Linking to Parallel Cross

Cross - Front and Back Ochos - Resolution

Improvising with Parallel Cross and Ochos

Week 4: starting June 18
  • Review of C-Step and Parallel Cross with Resolution
  • Introduction of Forward Ocho
  • Linking of Forward Ocho to Parallel Cross (see video below)

Parallel Cross to Forward Ocho

Week 3: starting June 11
  • Review of C-Step
  • Introduction of Parallel Cross with Resolution.
Leaders: the Parallel Cross and C-Step introduce the concept of 'Inside and Outside lines'.

Parallel Cross with Resolution

Practice Lapiz Walk and Pivoting walk (see videos for both)
Review Parallel Cross & C Step videos noting the first two steps are the same for both. 

Week 2: starting June 4
The focus was on:
  • Walking technique
  • Review of C-Step
  • Improvisation and navigation pasting C-Step on to Forward walk
Introduced pivoting walk - Forward - Side - Back
Remember treat the wall as your partner. Forward step is with leg closest to wall. Back step is with leg furthest from wall.

Practice Lapiz Walk and Pivoting walk (see videos for both)

Week 1: starting May 28
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':

We also 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 (see Sophia' Spotify list). The Lapiz is also used as an ornament to the walk in social tango dancing by both leaders and followers.

Here's some end of class displays from previous Level 1 term at Glebe: