Tango Argentino > "secrets" to mastering advanced movements?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by larrynla, May 19, 2009.

  1. larrynla

    larrynla Member

    Oscar Casas on YouTube has a way of making hard subjects easier. After watching several of his videos I think I have learned a few of the "secrets" of how he does it. Do you have some more?

    ONE - The woman's part is the heart of any figure. Men tend to focus on their part before working on the woman's. But if you focus on the woman first it will often become clear what you should do. (It can also help you to come up with better, or at least different, ways to do your part.)

    TWO - Foot action is only the "downstairs" part of any movement (which is why I say movement rather than figure). You have not mastered it until you have also mastered the "midstairs" and "upstairs" part - how you use your torso and your shoulders to lead the movement. (Or when following the movement read the leader's mid- and up-stairs actions.)

    THREE - All advanced movements (figures) are variations of basic movements. Once you've mastered the basic you are most of the way to mastering the advanced.

    If you are having trouble often it means you have NOT mastered the basic. Perhaps because you were too eager to go on to learn neat stuff to impress people.

    For instance, the ocho is behind boleos, ochos cortados, colgadas, and volcadas.
    To lead a boleo begin leading an ocho but reverse the action halfway through. The woman's free leg will swing up and to the side before reversing - even if she has never done a boleo before.

    If she takes a lesson in doing boleos she will be taught to judge the crowd around her and to keep the boleo low and close to her body to keep from hurting anyone when the floor is tight. And taught to keep her knees together so that the free leg wraps around her standing leg.
    An ocho is made up of two 180-degree turns, one in one direction and the second in the opposite. In an ocho cortado she begins the first 180-degree turn but is cut off at 90 degrees.

    Cortados are usually taught as a single six-step pattern. A better way is to break it down into three parts - the preparation (usually a forward rock step along the line of dance), the cortado (two steps), and the finish (two more steps). This makes it easier to understand during and after class. It also lets people focus on each pair of steps in isolation.

    Here is Casa's video on Ochos Cortados and a variation of them which uses a foot-check to lead the cut.

    Colgada - From Spanish colgar for hanging, begins with the first half of an ocho but stretches the pivot beyond 180 degrees, perhaps far beyond it.

    The version most often taught today encourages women to lean back (the hang) very far, and to stretch her free leg far back. However, colgadas can be modest so that they fit into a tight floor. Which is what Casas discusses in the following video: Colgadas Milongueras.

    Volcada - Spanish for an extreme lean - a lean that puts the woman's center of gravity in front of the ball of her foot, so that she will "tip over" (volcar) if not propped up by her partner.

    The lead for the volcada is to begin an ocho but stop when the woman's free foot is behind her supporting foot, or even a little beyond. Then when the man steps back, if he does it slowly and with a firm embrace, the woman knows he wants her to lean - even if she's never taken a volcada lesson. Otherwise she is likely panic and scramble to catch herself by unlocking her free foot and hastily stepping forward onto it.

    Very extreme-lean volcadas can cause partners pain and back injury. It's more sensible to begin with ones that are modest, which might be called Volcadas Milongueras, before trying very extreme leans.

    Laer Carroll
  2. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    Oscar analyzes tango to death as you tend to do. That's why you are impressed. Throw in the word "advanced" and it gets attention.

    Don't worry about practicing volcadas. Women your age in Buenos Aires aren't interested in them. They would rather make a connection than make an impression.
  3. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Not to be egotistical, yet if you read either of my posts, you will see that I am incessantly adamant, almost verbatim, of all that you (larry) have written down to the parts about the ochos, voleos, etc. I do not agree completely with some of it, but do not disagree either, as I have known many who teach some of this.

    I would not title this necessarily "secrets to advanced movements" as much as "secrets to understanding good movement".
  4. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Not necessarily. It depends on whether her technique (in terms of letting her leg go free) is good enough. If she "dampens" or over-controls her "free" leg, then you can't lead a boleo.

    Of course, yes, that reinforces the point that technique is essential rather than moves.
  5. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    I've no idea who Oscar Casas is and don't much care but that didn't get in the way of me finding Larrynla's post useful and informative.

    I don't know how old Larrynla is or what interests women of his age in BsAs. However, I do know that volcadas are often led on me and I appreciate any advice in learning how to respond to them. Perhaps, in many years time, when I am an experienced and sophisticated tanguera I will have learnt to despise them. I hope I have a long way to go before then.
  6. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member


    I quite like volcadas, actually, they look good and there's a lovely "whooshing" feeling you get when they go well. Not that I can do them well, but occasionally I get lucky.

    But I doubt they'd be used in traditional milongas, they're more for nuevo dancing. So probably not really used in BsAs, which is Jantango's viewpoint.

    I don't like colgadas though - dunno why, they just feel weird to me...
  7. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Actually volcadas fit nicely into social dancing - they dont have to be big whooshing movements. Colgadas similarly.

    Of course you need to lead them on a diagonal or towards the side : we wouldnt want to hit the people behind us would we?! ;)
  8. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Yep! :)
  9. Temza

    Temza Member

    Does it have to be either/or? Can't we have a connection plus occasional volcada thrown in?
    "Women your age in Buenos Aires" - but we are not in BA, and followers come in all forms, shapes and ages. (With respect :) )
  10. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Well, to be fair, the flashy moves do make connection harder, at least for me.

    And genders for that matter :)
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    the secret of doing anything well is practice.
  12. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    If you dance in an apilado close embrace, you find that the volcada-like movements can be done without too much difficulty, and they can be done small, or even tiny.
    (Making sure they don't disrupt others is an art in itself and a lack of that ability is one reason to NOT do thes movments in a milonga.)

    First a story, and then a suggestion for the women who like volcadas.
    I am still sort of excited about something that happened a few weeks ago, and I think it has a lot in common with volcada like movements.
    We were just dancing tango, ya know, I had nothing particular in mind, when I took one or two steps diagonal to my partner and I was almost around her when I realized we had done a calasita. From my perspective "it just happened" and I wasn't even conscious of it.
    It happened because she stayed on her weighted foot. In that respect "she asked for it".
    I think if you "stay rooted" just a little bit longer than you normally would, and present your partner with a clear, stable axis that is neverheless moving along with your partner's center (ie tipping), you may find more volcada like things coming your way. And it wouldn't hurt at all if you knew the music well enough that you could do so when the music does something "volcada-like".
    Just read last night in "The Art History of Tango" that barridas were inititally done to arrastres in the music. Yeah, like that.
  13. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    was going to post this. Thanks.
  14. ant

    ant Member

    Hi DB :cheers:

    Personally I find that a Volcada only works if you have a good connection and as has already been said they can be done small and doesn't need to be flash.
  15. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Ant! You do exist! :)

    Sure, but the actual move itself involves a certain loss of communication - at least for me. For example, I can't inject musicality as part of a volcada - the most I could do would be to fit the volcada to a musical phrase.
  16. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Isnt that musicality? :)
  17. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Yeah, but I couldn't really use musicality within the movement. Which I could do with a step, for example.

    It's quite reasonable to argue that volcadas are not true lead-and-follow moves, in that - past a certain point - the follower can't follow. David Barker made that argument regarding Swing airsteps a while back, and it seems that this principle can be extended to volcadas.

    So, once the woman's off-axis, there's no real interaction possible, so the connection (to that extent) is lost.
  18. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I dont that need necesserarily be the case. If you have the connection you can still lead her free leg to different places. You just have to be good at it -both of you.
  19. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I agree completely, but would add: Once you've mastered the basics, you don't need the "advanced" steps. For me, doing advanced stuff is a distraction from the heart-felt and expressive dancing that women seem to enjoy.
  20. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Yeah, fair enough. There's not "no connection", but there is "reduced connection" - in that the follower can only move her free leg once off-axis.

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