Tango Argentino > Allright then, ganchos....

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Madahlia, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    I find that the problem with ganchos isn't just the yanking back, but that it just isn't possible to perform the hooking action unless the leader's leg is in exactly the right place in relation to mine. So I get the (slightly farcical) situation of me knowing I've received the lead for a gancho but being unable (and most certainly unwilling, in those circumstances) to carry it out.

    Also, ganchos take time for a novice lead to set up, so by the time it's been accomplished the musical moment has passed, making them a particularly unmusical move, IMO.

    They seem to be a favourite move with guys who are keen to manage a move that looks flashy but who are rather insensitive to the music. Or am I just unlucky?
  2. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    cri de coeur

    in total agreement.

    and I hate them. hate hate hate them. and not because I've not been led them properly, I've danced with internationally respected dancers so I know how it is supposed to feel, I just hate them.

    technical issue aside from me hating them:
    loads of guys don't even actually complete the lead, they just expect you to do it because they've made a shape with their leg. sadly a sarcastic half-arsed movement of my foot isn't enough to give them the message that they haven't led me to step back or whatever direction they want it to come from.

    Hate ganchos so much that I avoid dancing with people who lead them.
  3. Temza

    Temza Member

    My understanding of the gancho is that the follower tries to step backwards *around* the leader. The back of her thigh hits the leader's thigh, so her knees bends. The leader, as I understand it, asks the follower to step backwards around him, by twisting or 'dissociating'.
  4. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    I'm all for leaving ganchos to the professionals on stage who dance to entertain an audience. They aren't for social dancing for all the reasons mentioned above.
  5. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    I dunno, that sounds more like the lead for a follower's back sacada to me. I thought the lead for the gancho is similar but a little bit "sharper" than the lead for a step back.
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Hi, Jan.
    Well, let's just say that it requires a lot of skill to lead a gancho, and even more to do it so that it fits in the line of dance, etc. If there is enough room, etc, I see no problem with them.
    That said, though, doing it well is very uncommon.

    Regarding technique, I only learned to lead them one way. That would be as a interruption of the woman's backstep as she moves around the man as in (but not limited to) the giro. While the man leads the woman to take that backstep with his torso, he extends his free leg so that (hopefully) his leg "catches" the woman's moving leg at the back of the knee. If the woman's leg is "free" it should continue to move backward, and the knee acts as a hinge.
    Another way of saying the same thing, I guess.
    Unless the woman is trained in this, the reaction sems to be to let the body fall backwards, rather than remaining upright and letting the momentum go into the free, moving leg.
    The woman must be very close, too, for this to work.

    I totally agree that the most common gancho seems to be performed by mutual agreement. "When I put my leg out you do this."

    Meanwhile, I seem to remember reading that the gancho was usually done by the man back in the day. (WAY back in the day)
  7. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Yes the one I learnt first - and the one that seems to be taught first - is the one coming out of a sandwich. The lady steps over, and then is led backwards into a gancho. It's so common that some ladies automatically expect it, and the guy then has the awkward decision of whether to "just let her get on with it" :rolleyes:

    Ganchoes can be led on the side step of a giro. But they are relatively uncommon.

    I think the most important thing to emphasise is that a gancho is a wrap, and not a kick. If the lady doesnt feel the man's thigh against the back of her thigh before she is led backwards, then she cant do the wrap. Instead it becomes a kick and the whole thing just looks wrong.

    Otherwise, I'd agree about the music. IMO the music needs to be choppy and staccato, not smooth. At their best they fit in with sharp accents to the music.
  8. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    There's a whole set of preconditions needed for actually doing a gancho. I've learnt a lot from having to teach the beggars.

    I've found that most followers will recognise the lead for a gancho no matter how poorly I lead it. And I have led it very poorly.

    All true.

    To be honest, I think they're one of those moves that everyone wants to learn, based on the feedback I've got. Personally, I do stress that these moves are non-essential, and I try not to dwell on them, but people love them.

    And to be fair, they do require a lot of technical things to carry them off - dissociation, positioning and pre-lead for example - so they're a worthwhile exercise.
  9. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Yes - well-put.

    That's what I was trying to explain, and you've done it much better. Thanks.

    We did a bit of work on this step at our last Practice Group meeting, and I think we confirmed that - whilst they can be led without dissociation, it's better to add the dissociation element in.
  10. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I learned to do them the way Steve Pastor described.

    When doing ones where the leaders foot is not already in place, that is, it's arriving in position at the same time the followers standing foot arrives, I try to place my arriving foot as close as possible to my partners foot, then move my knee as close as possible toward her standing knee. This brings my body close to hers and gives her a large opening to work with.

    Some followers who hate ganchos will do an amague instead.

    Actually, I haven't done or lead a gancho on the social dance floor for probably ten years.
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Reminds me of one of the fun partners I had for some time.
    No matter how hard I would try to get her to do the gancho as described - and this is when everything was cooking (that is working correctly as far as I could tell) - she would ALWAYS take that free leg and move it away from my "interupting" leg and cross it in front of her standing leg.
    One of the reasons I liked dancing with her is that would could both laugh about it.

    There was another gal who I see rarely, who was in the same Alex Krebs classes I had taken, with whom I could pull it off.

    The "step over, then backwards gancho", based on the amount of energy available without shoving your partner backwards, would probably be more in line with getting an amague, or it would require an assist from the woman who knows that is what she is supposed to do there.

    I have done the occasional gancho of the woman, too, but there I am very reluctant to go unless I know for sure she isn't going anywhere. There it is a "kick" backwards between her separated legs. The "forward kick" under her steps (entrada) as she does the steps of the giro are way easier.
  12. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Ganchos are like spices in cooking. You don't use them all the time. You use them only when appropriate to a specific situation, and only with the right follower.
  13. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I think that a back saccada and a gancho should have exactly the same lead - the difference is if the leader yields to the follower, and gets out of the way, or if the leader stays in place, and the follower's attempt to walk into the leader leads her to wrap around the leader.
    As a leader i think one needs to be aware that basic mechanic of a gancho is the close to the in-line boleo and the enganche - the follower tries to move somewhere, and an obstruction/counter impulse makes the relaxed leg continue the original motion while the rest of the body stops. The follower does not "kick", and nothing is signalled by "offering the space", and if a follower does not do a gancho it is exactly the same as when she does not do a high boleo - it is her choice. And waiting for her to "do the gancho" not only invalidates her choice, but is not possible. She can do a adornment that looks vaguely like a gancho, but it will have completely different underlying mechanics, and will make it more difficult for both the leader and the follower to do ganchos in the future.

  14. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

  15. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

  16. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    No, no! Seize the initiative! Take control! Surprise her, shock her slightly even. Some followers will thank you for it.
  17. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    tango retrospective

    Hi Madahlia, your post reminds me of this early tango period of mine. This type of back-gancho was one of the very first figures I learned. But, really, I forgot about it, cause I dont use it any more. There are so many kinds of rather smooth ganchos.

    But, I think it is important for a leader to have learned this one, too, bc.

    - its one of the first moments in one´s personal TA curriculum, that a leader learnes not to bend or cave in to the right side.
    - the second most important is the circular (not linear) movement back. To lead it properly requires a lot of exercise for the student.
    - the third thing for a leader is, to keep the follower upright. A lot of beginners tend to twist, when directed backwards.

    THANK you Madahlia ;) To place the leaders leg in the right position is part of this figure, and you really should not perform the hook unless you feel his leg. otherwise skip it. Always: Tango is an offer!

    Think it´s a question of followers: Is dancing with beginners still enjoyable , too.

    w.r. OD
  18. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Were you cursing me in your previous posts lol ? :p

    I usually shock the lady by not leading the gancho hehe ..

    As OD says, there are so many nicer ganchos that one can lead.
  19. mshedgehog

    mshedgehog New Member

    I quite agree. However: I know it is possible to lead them that way, so they are basically the same thing as a high boleo, more or less involuntary if the leg is relaxed. But I don't actually dance with anyone at all who does lead them so that it's really like that. It just doesn't happen in reality. People who can actually do that, aren't social dancers who are going to dance with me, or if they are, they're not going to do that in social dancing. Also, I'm a social dancer not a pro, so it's unlikely my free-leg technique is ever really going to be where that stuff really works in the way it's supposed to work, even in the very unlikely event that I dance with someone who both can and does lead it like that (and doesn't choose to dance to my level by leaving it out).

    When I do one, it is because I can feel his leg there and I have enough momentum that I don't have to wait, and it more or less makes sense in a representational kind of way, and I know I'm not going to kick anybody. It's not quite how it's supposed to be, but it's as close as people ever get in reality. I'd say it's a mixture of the real thing and the adornment. The real part is pretty feeble. Overall, it's a learned thing, one that it's hard to switch off, as you also say.

    Yes, I agree, it does. That's no great loss in itself. It's not like they are my life's ambition: I have no plans to be on the stage, and they don't have any value to me, in themselves. So if I want to continue dancing with the guy and I think he may grow out of this stuff, and it's good enough that I have at least some momentum to work with, then I'll do just enough to keep him happy, softly so I don't kick anyone. However, I do rather resent the fact that it does my free-leg technique no good at all. In theory, learning them would improve your free-leg technique, but in reality I think it does the opposite.

    I'm not crazy about them either. As Ampster says, definitely over-used.
  20. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I stopped teaching them, becuase people were doing them so badly;
    either the wrong music; all Pablo Veron's ganchos in the Tango Lesson happen to dramatic music; or so poorly executed; only my peers in Cambridge, thanks to a very thorough teacher, were able to dance them well. The nuevo wraps I favour more if space on the dance floor allows;
    A recipe for the perfect gancho would be;
    Correct position of the foot; the follower, as in a pasada needs to know there's an obstacle there;
    Correct positioning of the leg; knee pointing away from the followers incoming leg; and bent and close to her standing leg;
    Speed; you have to get your leg in (with no weight on it!) between her steps
    Timing; know what beat the foots highest position is going to hit;
    Lead; give sufficient energy to the follower ( as for a boleo) but arrest her movement so her axis is dead over her supporting foot.
    stayed centred mentally and physically; thinking about your foot moves your focus away from the leader; and her balance must be perfect;
    DO NOT: arch your back; or anticipate the lead
    relaxed leg; both at knee and hip; as if the leg was casually swinging so as said above in swings and wraps around the mans thigh; if I cant rebound your leg out you're too stiff.

    Of course there is always the surprise gancho where you lead an ocho cortado and the cross becomes a gancho

    and the man's lazy gancho in the giro on the ladys back ocho but she keeps walking and your leg gets flipped out of the way. But this requires five years of Tai Chi or Qi Gong training to totally empty the free leg.

Share This Page