Tango Argentino > Molinete speed variations?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Dave Bailey, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I did a class on Friday, and one of the topics covered as an aside was the timinig of the molinete (giro). The teacher was quite adamant that the non-pivoting steps in the sequence (forward and sidestep) are done at double-time, whereas the pivoting parts are done at single-time.

    So you'd have a sequence for a clockwise pattern of:
    1. Forward step on right (quick)
    2. Pivot and sidestep on left (slow)
    3. Pivot and backstep on right (slow)
    4. Sidestep on left (quick)
    Previously when I've learnt that pattern, each step in the sequence has been at the same speed. But I can see the logic behind her argument, and it may also feel more natural - what's the Approved Way?
  2. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    An exercise in employing the Giro at different rhythmical riffs. One or more steps double-time the others in slow. So I wouldn't say there was an "approved way" as such. Just a finer interpretation/execution perhaps.
  3. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Personally, I prefer slow and slow and.
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    The approved way is however the leader leads it. Or, for a non-smart-alec response, I don't think there is an Approved Way.

    I've never heard of what your teacher said. Not to say it's wrong--perhaps it was in context at the time. But, personally, seems like a bunch of b.s. The timing can be whatever the leader wants it to be. And I've never been told to practice it at varying speeds like that--every teacher I've run across, and they've all mentioned the same exercise (giro around something on the floor...endlessly), has stressed making all the steps the same "speed" for the sake of practicing.

    Then there's the issue of doing a back step in the giro without a separated pivot, but instead swinging the leg around. I wonder what the teacher would say about that little variation.
  5. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    If I understood her correctly, she seemed to say that this timing was the natural and "standard" timing for the sequence. I did express some surprise to her at this and mentioned that I'd always been taught even-speed sequences, but she seemed pretty certain, and her argument made sense.

    It was Jennifer Olson, by the way (I wouldn't want to be accused of hiding teacher identities :) ) - she was the visiting teacher at Negracha last week.

    Me too. Until now, which is why I'm a little confused...
  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Meh. I wouldn't worry about it. She's one teacher with one opinion. For the sake of the class and the exercise, do it her way...then do it however it makes you happy.

    Like so many other things in tango, there is no definitive right or wrong...except when you're in that teacher's class!
  7. jhpark

    jhpark Member

    I've actually heard this before, so I wouldn't discount it totally -- I mean, there are at least two people spreading this idea. ;)

    I haven't actually paid attention to which steps have the quick rhythm, but if a molinete is 4 steps, I do know that two of them often are done quickly... And thinking over the molinete where my teacher told me this, I think it was on sidestep & forward step, so that fits in with what she was saying. Although, i'll add that this particular molinete has the sidestep and forward step consecutively, instead of the forward step at first and sidestep last (it's just a matter of which step you start it with), so the two quick steps are done together.

    however, having said all that -- it really comes down to what the leader leads. but i was told this is the 'default'. it's sort of like how leaders tend to exit ochos by taking an extra step with the left foot (ETA- i think i mean right, actually) (if not done via the cross, which is invariably how i prefer to exit ochos nowadays), tend to start the dance with their left foot, tend to -- well, there are all sorts of tendencies which it helps to break, so as to make sure your follower is paying attention. :) err, i mean, to make the dance more interesting! i'd never test my follows... *cough*

    i often do molinetes that are all quick or all slow, and it's really been a while since i've paid attention to whether i'm leading two quick steps, much less which steps she's on (for the quicks)... so i wouldn't be too rabid about it.
  8. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

  9. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member


    Sounds a bit like Ballroom Tango timing to me...
  10. Me

    Me New Member

    Sorry for all the edits... haven't had my coffee this morning...

    I think you should stick with what you already know. Changing the speed of your steps in molinete will play havoc with the lead. We're turning him, after all.
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    hmm I think the answer is simpler than this: its damn difficult for a follwer to do an back ocho and step in a single beat; so she takes as long as she wants then catches up on the next two steps to bring herself back on the beat.

    slow... ..............quick quick
    ocho/backstep....side, forward
  12. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    The approved way is that the back step is quick. That's because it's the uncomfortable step so you want to get rid of it.
    Side step slow
    back step quick
    side step quick
    forward step slow

    Now I've heard the same teacher explaining one day that there is no approved sequence and the follower has to follow whatever the leader leads, be it quick-quick-quick-quick or slow-slow-slow-slow, and another day that the standard sequence is the above (quick back step).
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Because of the complexity of the giro, it is taught (initially) as a set pattern of steps with a set "timing".

    Here is an important point, however. You step and collect with each step, rather than do a simple grapevine, which involves no collecting between steps.

    I've been trying for the past hour to come up with a simple, all encompassing paragraph on the "correct timing" deal, and it always ends up getting too analytical.

    Let's leave it at "the steps should be in time with the music, rather than at some random intervals".

    In the real world, most women do default molinetes, and most men just let 'em rip through it. I do this myself most of the time. When it feels like the woman has good enough techinque, I'll start mixing it up to see if she can follow the variations. Women who do not collect after each step cannot follow these variations.

    Ideally, instructors instill good technique in their students at any level so that they will be able to progress without having to relearn things.

    BTW you should know that it is only the lower body that should pivot as you take and complete each of these steps. This again has to do with being able to follow variations in the "standard pattern". Hopefully, that was at least mentioned.

    Often, so much is thrown out in a lesson, that it is near impossible to take it all in.

    As Peaches wrote, there is no "Approved Way", when it comes to the timing.
    If we were talking Technique regarding collecting and keeping the upper body towards the pivot point at all times, however...
  14. Me

    Me New Member

    I'm sorry but I just can't stand any of this slow and quick stuff anymore, LOL. People use it all the time in ballroom, and all it seems to cause around here is for people to clip their steps in Foxtrot.

    Since clipped steps are a common problem I see in molinete, I now wonder if this is because the women are being taught to think "quick quick."

    I believe that none of the steps in molinete should be treated as faster or slower. All steps are full steps taken, not chasses. There is an ocho at the beginning of two of the steps and this does occupy some time, but keep in mind this ocho is also at the end of other steps. We should be spending the time at the end of that step to use our inner thighs to pull together for that ocho, and the beginning of the next step to resolve the ocho. Therefore, (for me) this makes little difference in speed of the steps that follow the ocho or precede it.

    I use the ochos to drive the momentum of the molinete. The speed from the ocho (not the step) helps me do this.
  15. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    This is one of the things I have heard, that the back and subsequent side steps should be quick. So if you did a back - side - front, it would be quick quick slow. Another person claimed that the first two steps should both be quick, regardless of where you start.

    Sometimes, it seems like everyone has different ideas for how you are supposed to do it.

  16. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    Ideally I would like the timing to be whatever I feel like, mostly driven by the size of the impulse that starts it. If I lead a big build-up, it's going to be fast all the way, until I lessen the power of the turn. Out of respect for my follower's flying legs and balance, I only do surges of up to three steps, or keep the overall momentum quite steady for a sustainable rotation.

    Yes, you can lead (and follow) controlled length individual steps, at whatever pace you like that fits the music. For practice purposes, I prefer the terminology of "normal", "slow" and "really slow", as I feel followers are generally in too much of a hurry to satisfy the lead.
  17. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Why does there have to be a "how you are supposed to do it"? A moulinette is just a variantion on the walk. And like walking/ochos/whatever i think you can do it in any way that you want to do it (as long as it relates to the music).
    What i like about moulinettes is that they are a great opportunity for the follower to show off. If i feel that she is setting up some single/double time to the music i try to get out of her way and enjoy getting some insight in how she hears the music.

  18. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Couldn't have said it better myself (and didn't)!
  19. MaggieB

    MaggieB New Member

  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Lol. Well put!

    That said... There are times, with certain leaders, when I'm in a particular mood, and when I know and am really into the music...I'll do the molinete how I want to. What can I say? Sometimes I really just want to be able to time my steps a certain way! Yeah, sure, that kinda runs afoul of the robo-giro-ing, and not letting each step be led...but sometimes I get a bit...headstrong. Sometimes, a girl just wants to drag out that first step a bit and hold it until the absolute last moment, and then let fly and catch a fun syncopation in the music. It happens.

    But then I go back to following.

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