Tango Argentino > Media Luna (Half Moon)

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Clive, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. Clive

    Clive New Member

    I'm a relative beginner, and trying to sort out in my mind the difference between the follower's action in the 'Media Luna', and the normal pattern typically known as the Giro or Molinette. They seem to be essentially the same. Am I missing something?
  2. Nope, you're right.
  3. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Yes, try not to obsess about names and patterns.

    The follower's action should always be a consequence of your lead (you move her),
    and your next lead is a consequence of her action (she moves) and your reaction (then you move).

    To satisfy your curiosity and hoping not to get stuck on names, a Giro is really
    any turn but tango people tend to assign it to a specific pattern (there we go again)
    resulting in a 360 degree turn. You both execute the Giro but she does a
    molinette or grapevine. As far as I know a Media Luna is semi-circle by
    the woman around the man so essentially half a giro in a clockwise direction.
    But I have never been taught it with that name.
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Typically speaking, in its most simple and typical form, a giro/molinete is a pattern where the lady's footwork is forward/side/back/side around the man. (A grapevine pattern, done in a circle.) She can technically start at any point in that footwork, but some points are more common than others. For example, it's much more common to start a molinete with a forward step than it is a back step.

    A media luna, generally speaking, is essentially the same as a molinete, but it doesn't include the backwards step.

    There are nuances, but as a beginner definition for a beginner learner, that should get you by.
  5. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    sometimes the terms media luna (1/2 moon) and media vuelta (1/2 turn) are interchanged

    is this what you mean by media luna ?
    see :20 - :30
  6. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    And the timing is most often different, too: no doubling.
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think this varies by locality. Here it's much more common to start with the back ocho (if you don't count the side step)
  8. Clive

    Clive New Member

    Yes, that's the action I mean, although I don't find the Paz/Hart way of describing anything very helpful.

    The IDTA's relatively new AT technique has the 'Half Moon' which the follower executes 'back, side, forward', timed QQS. On the facing page it has a similar figure 'Cross Basic with Displacement' which has the lady executing essentially the same pattern, but 'forward, side, back, also timed QQS. One is described as 'Media Luna', and the other 'Giro'.
  9. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    What's an "IDTA?"

    ... and to confuse the issue a bit more (I'm sorry), the are some really good professionals out there who would consider a giro, molinette, enrosque, all the same. Spiral motions, varied only by the way it is led and followed, with no formal terminology behind it all.
  10. Clive

    Clive New Member

    The International Dance Teachers Association.

    Surely an Enrosque is something quite different? It shares much with a 'Latin' spiral action, and is characterised by the absence of steps, not the pattern of them?
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Hello Clive. Welcome to DF.
    So, can we take from this that you are located on that island off of Europe?
  12. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Oh dear.

    This ... should be fun. :raisebro:
  13. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    IDTA aside, that's pretty much the way I think of the media luna / media giro / whatever. That step.


    If it's the other half of a giro / molinete movement, that definitely doesn't work in QQS, as it's more correctly a "forward, pivot, side, pivot, back" movement.

    But if it's the first part of the Basic 8, then yes, you could do that in QQS. Except that no-one, ever, should do that in social dancing, it's insanely dangerous. And as someone who's about to go to Negracha's tonight, I know insanely dangerous when I see it.

    To be honest, I'd strongly recommend ignoring the terminology, it'll just confuse you.
  14. Clive

    Clive New Member

    No, I don't think you can, not from anything I have said. Surely the IDTA is a teaching society with International reach, and the overwhelming majority of its members are not from the UK, if that's where you mean. I'm just looking at its 2009 syllabus (although I'm not much of a fan, so far). It was (and I quote from the inside front cover)

    "Commissioned as a technique for IDTA's Argentine Tango Teaching Diploma and suitable syllabus figures for IDTA Bronze, Silver & Gold Medal Examinations."
  15. Clive

    Clive New Member

    Well not at my expense, thank you very much.
  16. mshedgehog

    mshedgehog New Member

    I shouldn't think so.

    To summarise, you are right. They are the same. The names are just for convenient reference. Once you can lead the movements individually (a forward step, a side step, a back step, a bit of pivot in various directions) whenever you want, you can combine them in absolutely any way (and with any timing) that turns out to make sense with the music and the floor. That's how AT works. It's kind of scary but also has a lot of potential.

    It does happen that people make a list of 'steps' or 'patterns' that they want to teach or learn, and this can be quite effective for some techniques, and spectacularly bad for some other things. For instance, because they are taught out of the context of social dancing they can cause people to think it's OK, and even expected, to take a giant step backwards against the line of dance, which imagination (or indeed experiment) will quickly tell you is a baaaaad thing to get into the habit of. (Hint: just make it smaller, a tiny weight change, if you are puzzled how else to start - and angling yourself a little will make the side step less of a dangerous weave into someone else's lane).

    If you are a self-directed student then I'd say just don't worry about the names at all, they tend to be distracting and used in inconsistent ways. You will constantly find that things boil down to each other, as you've already noticed. One approach that has worked very well for some people I dance with is to make themselves some rules like just sticking to certain very simple elements, using only close embrace, picking good music and seeing what they can do with it: it can be very creative, and then when you change or depart from whatever set of rules you have chosen, or you discover a new possibility, you will know what you are doing.
  17. v22TTC

    v22TTC New Member

    Well, not that I'm attached to our particular terminology, but round our way the media luna does use the giro/molinete steps, but reverses direction - generally rotate the follower through 90 degress CCW (usually with a forward step to start), then through 180 degrees CW, then 90 degrees CCW back into the LoD.

    But we're encouraged to mix it up as much as we can, as an exercise in getting used to having to perform sudden rotation-reversals (and not thinking in terms of preset sequences).

    They tend to be very playful.:D
  18. Clive

    Clive New Member

    I have a bit of a hangup about all this 'don't step backwards' stuff. I'm an experienced dancer in several different styles (but a relative beginner in this one), and it wouldn't ever occur to me to step backwards against the line of dance if I was at the slightest risk of being an inconvenience, less still a danger to myself, my partner or another dancer. That's just basic floorcraft, and every social dancer should know that courtesy and safety on the dancefloor are a very high priority at all times.

    That said, there is a great deal of teaching going on that starts with the Basic Eight and all those back steps. It's not my fault: I'm the student, not the master. The IDTA syllabus is built around the figure, and it seems to me to be at least a reasonable way to introduce some fundamental actions, or ways of moving, in this style, and to build progressively from a simple foundation. I would only look upon the 'figures' provided as being illustrative of valid ways that particular movements or actions can be danced, rather than being prescriptive of the 'proper' (less still, only) way to dance them.

    I took a quick look through the material for the IDTA Syllabus, and came up with this list of fundamental actions or movements to be found in the first dozen illustrated 'figures':

    Cruzada, Ocho Atras, Ocho Adelante, Ronde, Giro, Sacada, Media Luna, Cunita, Parada, Passada, Sandwitchito & Barrida.

    There's a lot you can do with those, given the development of a technical ability to lead and follow (as required), and a basic understanding of the principles of walking and moving from one embelishment or action to another, surely?

    I don't know enough yet to judge whether the particular syllabus I am looking at is actually good, on its own terms, and of course, I am aware of the existence of a philosophy of learning this dance that would reject any sort of formal codification at all. However, adherents of that view are often the most vocal in saying that you shouldn't do this, or shouldn't (or can't) do that, and I would reply "Oh? Says who?"
  19. v22TTC

    v22TTC New Member

    Hi Clive,

    This is a subject that tends to come up quite a bit - pretty recently we had the 'How Useful is the DVIDA Syllabus?' thread (a few below this one on this page of the forum) which you might benefit from having a gander at (it goes into the 8CB specifically too).

    You'll find plenty of similar others further back - it really does lie at the heart of an ideological approach to TA, so it tends to be one of those subjects (which, I think, is what Dave Bailey was referring to).

    Without going into it here too much, if you, specifically, are the kind of person who can learn a sequence whilst simultaneously absolutely internalising the fact that it isn't an actual sequence (each tiny component is individually led and it may have to be gracefully morphed into something else at any time etc) then you shouldn't have too much of a problem (and hopefully all of your potential followers and fellow couples on the floor are equally mentally-agile and responsive).
  20. Clive

    Clive New Member

    I suppose it is because I dance in many styles that I tend to look upon anything new from the viewpoint of 'how does this relate to what I already know', but equally, 'what makes this different - what am I supposed to be doing, and how do I do it?'

    My greatest experience lies in Ballroom, which one of my AT friends dismissed as 'dancing by numbers' the other day (firmly tongue-in-cheek, BTW). She was right, and wrong. The styles (there are five, not one) are fully codified, and identifiable figures are strung together in highly organised ways, but its a poor dancer (there are a lot of those) who can only put together the figures in the order they were taught them, and would actually collide with another couple rather than change course; but this isn't good dancing. A good ballroom leader leads every single step, and a good follower need know nothing at all about the intentions of the leader, and yet follow with perfect ease. It is because they share the same vocabulary of basic fundamentals that they can speak in the same language with nothing more than their connection and the music. Connection isn't an expression you will often hear used in a ballroom, but it it what drives ballroom dancing at a high level. An intelligent leader 'reads' the room - the physical space at his disposal, makes an assessment of the capabilities of his partner, and then moves, in response to the music. Once he has started to move, the course of just a few steps at a time will be readily predictable to an experienced follower, but the possible ways of linking preceding and following figures, the degrees to which rhythm can be altered, and direction and turn adapted are almost infinite.

    Three minutes later, the leader is dancing another style, completely, and this continues all night. To dance a little AT, having assimilated something of its unique style and technical requirements, is not really so hard ...

    I find the hardest challenge, given a mixed dance programme, is to switch between Ballroom Tango and AT. They are both fantastically rewarding, and equally difficult to do really well. I love them both.

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