Tango Argentino > About walking...

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by flyingwind66, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. flyingwind66

    flyingwind66 New Member

    I have been told a lot of contradicting things about the walk or standing or perhaps I get told what I'd supposed to do but it's seems mechanically impossible.

    A member had shown this video as a breakdown of the back walk. At 2:08 it says to bend the standing leg to make the movement smoother.

    It looks like she is bending her standing leg then stepping backwards to straight knees again.

    I'm confused now, every tango teacher has always said that your torso should not 'go up and down' and that the knees should be straight when standing... ok, so... clearly in the video she is 'bobbing up and down' because it is impossible to bend your standing leg to step and then stand feet together on straight knees without a little bit of the up and down movement.

    Are you supposed to always keep a slight bend in both knees while standing? Is it one of those things where they tell you that you want to eliminate the bobbing but it's more of a "keep in the back of your mind as a feeling" rather than something you ACTUALLY do?
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Are you supposed to always keep a slight bend in both knees while standing?

    It's the difference between a knee that is "locked" and one that is "flexed" or "soft." It seems that the weighted knee will be less flexed than the unweighted one.
    I notice that she reaches back with what looks like the tip of her toe rather than the big toe/ball being in contact with the floor. She also has that performance oriented lift the toe from the floor as you step thing going on.

    Is it one of those things where they tell you that you want to eliminate the bobbing but it's more of a "keep in the back of your mind as a feeling" rather than something you ACTUALLY do?

    Good way to think of it. Or is it something you DON'T do? Six of one...

    Fortunately for us social dancers, no one will be judging us so severely that if there is SOME up and down movement in our "walk" it will make much of a difference. If your partner(s) notice(s), though, maybe it's too much.
    But, yes, you don't wan't to look like a kangeroo bouncing up and down.
    Mladenac likes this.
  3. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    Instead of diagnosing the video, I give you my suggestion.

    Pull your hips back to come onto the balls of your feet. Bend BOTH knees and put your weight on one foot. Reach back with the free foot until it's fully extended. Collect your weight and wait for the lead for the next step.

    There won't be any rise and fall as long as you keep BOTH knees bent. You want to keep your center of gravity as low as possible.

    You'll have better balance if you fully extend your legs because you can get your weight completely onto the standing foot. If you stand completely vertical, you won't be able extend your foot very much.

    I didn't even get into a discussion of frame. Bad frame can destroy a person's dancing.
  4. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    The toe tip movement backwards she uses is unnecessary dangerous. The heel tip comes up 5-10 cm and when she is landing the heel gets in to another shoe easily. I have experienced it several times - a sharp follower shoe peeling a bloody line on my heel inside my shoe is not a nice experience.

    There is a maximum length for a normal step with a soft knee on the standing leg. If a longer step is needed you need to bend the knee on the standing leg. Test to produce different lengths for a step! What is needed?

    I think there is nearly always slightly rolling movement when you walk and that is not disturbing, it is ok. Think of ordinary walk. But sometimes dancers add a more bouncing kind of up/down movement, an extra movement, which is not part of a basic walk and which the teachers are working on.

    This is about leaders but it can maybe help to understand the mechanism. Physics and Harmony -part. http://www.tangoandchaos.org/chapt_6school/11walking2.htm
  5. koinzell

    koinzell Active Member

    You push off the supporting leg when you take a step so the knee of the supporting leg has to be bent. (like doing a broad jump)

    Look up videos of Osvaldo Zotto and Lorena Ermocida.
  6. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    invalid post
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  7. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    If she hadn't bent the knee she would have fallen into the next step.
    By bending her knee she can easilly push herself from the floor and leave
    some weight at the partners side, so she can bounce back or give the leader a feedback.

    Since I put the video I can comment and other stuff relating this technique.
    You are not always at the same level. You change level up and down in a reasonable amount.
    What's reasonable? Well, it depends what leader leads you. He will tell you how much you are going down or up.
    And the music will dictate your position a lot. You cannot follow the same when you dance melodic vs rhythmical tango, or vas vs milonga.
    This walking is suitable for slow melodic tango and quite acceptable for vals. :)
    Personally I don't like her level 2 walking. It's too mechanical and she falls a bit into step.
    Bending her standing knee and pushing from standing leg at 2:20 she is smooth and can feel partner the best.
    All her tehnique upt to 2:20 is dangerous as Ladyleader said from his experience.
    Although later technique looks the same from the outside, it's not from the inside.
    She is more focused on here standing leg, and if she accindentally steps on the person it won't have a dagger effect.
    I was hit by the lady who had proper technique and was quite sensitive so I didn't suffer any damage. ;)
  8. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    She's taking single steps back, then bringing herself up to full height as if for a stop. So yes, she's leaving a bent leg and arriving on a straight leg, and if you did that for every step you'd bob up and down. In reality, you'd bend your reaching leg as you arrived on it and keep the same height as you walked (assuming the steps were the same size). Then for your last step before you stopped, you might arrive on a straight leg to get tall, collect, and pause.
    DrewDL likes this.
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I'm with Lady on this one. I strongly recommend that you do NOT point your foot behind you as this video shows. (In fact I was corrected on this habit by a fairly well known teacher for whom I have utmost respect)

    There are several reasons, one of which LL mentioned. It is far safer for the heel of the shoe to be always pointing down at the floor while you are dancing. The higher (and usually therefore, smaller) the heels, the more important it is to keep them from jabbing anyone. I imagine most of us have seen blood at the milonga at least once or twice from stilettos as weaponry.

    There's another reason though too, and it actually affects you more when your shoe heels are shorter, or you are in flats... if you reach back with a pointed toe and your heel way off the floor, most likely you will plant only your toe when you feel the signal to begin weighting that leg, and you will plant it further back than you would be able to if your heel was lowered and your ankle flexed.

    That also means you've now planted it further back than you will be able to transfer to, based on the step distance of the lead you were given.

    Now, depending on the height of your shoe heels, if your heel was raised, you will have to pull away from the leader slightly to get your heel down and get solidly onto your new standing leg. Once you have positioned your toe, it's pretty hard to shorten up the stride.

    If the leader continues walking, it might work out ok although your timing together will be a little off, but if the leader stops and expects you to collect and not take another back step, it's going to be awkward to maintain the forward connection to him (or her) when you need to move your body further back to get your weight all the way onto the rest of your foot. Wherever you "plant" your foot to begin weighting it, you need to be able to get your WHOLE foot down. The leader is moving your body, not your feet. Leads trust that you will put your feet where they need to be for your body to end up where s/he intended.

    (try it.. you'll see immediately what I mean. How much shorter is your stride if you have to have your heel down when you reach? How much more does your body need to move horizontally to complete the weight transfer if you placed weight on your toe with your heel raised vs placing your whole foot at the start of the weight transfer?)

    The longer your feet and shorter your shoe heels, the more you'll have to move backwards to put your heel down if it's raised when you place your toe. It's simple geometry.
  10. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    You have received much contradictory advice here too which I am going to add to
    since I disagree with most of the posts except for Steve Pastor and Zoopsia.
    I especially disagree with Tangomaniac's advice to pull back the hips.

    The video is as useless as the one linked to by LadyLeader on TangoAndChaos.
    Both try to demonstrate on their own how they walk presumably with a partner.
    No matter what style you dance, walking with a partner changes everything
    to some extent, and the closer the embrace the bigger the change.

    You have not stated how you want to dance, I can only imply from your video
    that you want to dance a non-social long-striding and rather flashy show dance.
    Do tell us if I am wrong.

    Subject to my comment above, read Zoopsia.
    I would only add in clarification that if you want to dance at milongas then the shorter
    heel-down step that Zoopsia accurately implies is much more sociably considerate
    than the the rather self-absorbed, selfishly strutting, heel jabbing walk of the video.

    But the decision is yours - this is tango, the only rule (and there are no real rules)
    is what works for you or what you want to make work.
  11. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that this is explanation for medium to long stride.
    She is positioning herself automatically for longer step.
    This is not suitable for social tango.
    You should always follow your partner first, and depending on his intention position your foot behind you.
    Try to synchronize your free leg with your partners free leg.
    The free leg has inertia and it can pull you backwards if you put it to early.

    There are many tiny details how to walk backwards, especially with close embrace,
    because every move counts. Video could give some guidance but the teachers should have final word.
  12. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    And in this video she is doing a step by step.
    If you dance that way you will bobbing up and down.

    If you do continuous walk you don't go up after step.
    The easiest thing is to follow you partner,
    he should give you step length with energy of a step and with the height of the movement.
  13. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I think this is an important thing to think about - we never walk alone, and what we try to practice when walking alone is how to walk with a partner. A good walk is a walk that allows both dancers to move freely and comfortable (whatever that means in the context of their dance). To some extent "not bobbing up and down" and "be straight when moving through the collection point" is in relation to a partner.
    E.g. there is a lot of bobbing and bent legs going on here:

    We run into problems when we move differently than our partner - it is not just uncomfortable, but increases the noise in the embrace and makes communication more difficult.
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    But Gssh, as you not doubt know, they are dancing a subset of of AT called....
    As you also know, it's all about the music.
    I love these guys and this song. Great way to start my morning!

    As I've written many times, my most influential teacher NEVER had us walk by ourselves.
    And who walks backwards, anyhow? (Actually, there is a woman I see walking backwards with her dog pretty often on my way to work. It's not a dance type walking backwards I can assure you.)
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I was told by a teacher once to just walk (backward) "naturally".

  16. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Like Michael Jackson? :p
  17. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    You can see here walking technique and variations of step dictated by the leader.

    hint: The more you are focused on standing leg you will be more sensitive and in control on your free leg
    UKDancer and LadyLeader like this.
  18. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I was once told by a teacher to just walk naturally. Then after watching me, he said, "That's not natural".

  19. DrewDL

    DrewDL New Member

    I agree 100%.

    You'd only do this if you were only taking 1 back step and then stopping and changing direction. If you were to keep moving "through" then you would stay the same height.
  20. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    What do you think about her way to create a tango step?

    The explanations are in German but she is quite clear with the gestures. This is the first time I came across an explanation how to create a long leg starting from the rib cage, das tangobein. There is a visible difference between the relaxed hip position and the one needed during a tango step. This way seems to create a heel down position in a long step and that is a goood thing on a dance floor!


Share This Page