Tango Argentino > Walking to the Cross (Cruzada)

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by UKDancer, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I was thinking yesterday about the track of the feet when walking to a cruzada, and would welcome others' views.

    I'm in a sports hall, using a white line (part of a badminton court) that runs the length of the room - a very convenient 'line of dance'. We're walking along it, in parallel, and I want to lead a straightforward cruzada.

    My understanding is that I introduce rotation of the embrace to the R, so that I am walking one or more steps with my L side leading. Through dissociation, my chest remains opposite the follower's, and while we continue to walk straight down the LOD, our feet are no longer sharing two tracks, but have made four. I lead the cross, by straightening the embrace, so that the separate tracks merge again.

    This is my question: when we separated tracks, how should the new ones have related to that white line? Should we each have moved slightly either side of it, so that it is between us, or should one of us (her, probably) have stayed on it, while I shifted to the left? When the tracks merged, did we come together, again, on that line, or on a parallel line slightly to its left? Or, alternatively, should I have stayed on it throughout, and moved the follower to the R, before bringing her back to where we both started?

    I don't intend anyone to think that I would want to dance in this way: but I am trying to develop my understanding of the relative movements of the couple in this common action, and fully accept that 'for real' a good deal of flexibility and fluidity is appropriate. I am thinking more in terms of a complete beginner's 'first attempt', and the underlying principle.
  2. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    If this is how you lead the cross, forget about subtleties like which part of the line will the four feet be.

    Your right foot and her right foot on the line. Your left foot on the left. Her left foot on the right.

    All in all, I am not sure that this is the good kind of questions you have to try and solve when wanting to dance tango.
  3. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Rigid mechanistic thinking in the OP is far from Tango.
    OK, if I must! Both right feet on the line only if you're walking
    in cross basic, otherwise you'll be in a mess because they aren't moving
    together. Each side of the line is better, as in it it will actually work!

  4. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm afraid that it is. It's not the whole lead, of course, but it is what Christine Denniston describes (The Meaning of Tango p144-145 "The cross happens when the leader turns the follower during the transfer of a step back with the follower's right foot.") and also David Turner (Passion for Tango, 2nd Ed, p19 "... Step 5 [of 8CB] for the leader is simply to bring the RF to join the L. Before he does this he must return his torso to the front by rotating it slightly anticlockwise").

    They may be completely wrong, for all I know, but the principle has also been taught to me by several local teachers, all of whom seem to be in agreement about it.

    I don't think being concerned with where I put my feet is a subtlety, but something rather fundamental, hence my question.

    If we were walking in cross system I would readily agree, and three tracks would be the normal result, but I'm not walking in cross system, and if our RF share a track, I'm going to kick her every time I move my RF fwd against her weight bearing standing leg, aren't I?
  5. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Not for a beginning dancer, trying to understand a concept it isn't. Perhaps you could say that to your beginners, at the start of their first ever class, then go home, and leave them to it. After all, it's an improvisatory dance, isn't it?
  6. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Either. Both. It depends.


    The way I look at it is that I step "out of line" at the start, then I bring my follower "into my line" for the cross. But that's just my take on it. I guess, fundamentally, you have to take a diagonal step to actually cross, but that's the only constant part of it; everything else is mutable. But it seems neater to only have one person going off-line at one time.
  7. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    First of all, I'm not teaching. I'd be more than happy to see more actual
    teachers on here. Perhaps they are concerned to keep their knowledge
    to themselves and protect their earning power.

    And your suggestion is obviously a ridiculous one. See the comments
    on the teaching patterns thread. As you've brought in Christine Denniston's
    book see Page 37, The Attitude of the Men to their Own Feet.

    To me you are still in the ballroom mindset, believe me I've been there.
    Thinking about positioning your feet in relation to white lines is something else!
    Over analysis comes to mind. Where you end up in relation to the white line
    depends on how you lead the lady and your movement
    in changing to walking outside her.

    There have been plenty of threads about leading the cross and there are
    plenty of ways to lead it. Some teachers I had taught three different variations
    in three consecutive beginner series so they couldn't make their mind up.
    In fact I was stopped using a method I evolved to lead a specific partner,
    who was complaining I didn't lead it early enough in one session,
    only to find that in the next series that was exactly what they taught.

    In this case I'm talking about an in line cross, you are concentrating on
    leading a cross from walking outside the lady. The 8CB is misleading as
    it has an automatic cross, one of its major criticisms.

    I've just seen DB's post in which the only additional point I'd make is that
    while a diagonal lead into the cross is one way, leading with a gentle
    anti-clockwise rotation while the ladies left leg closes has a nicer feel.
    A smaller clockwise rotation on the previous step is helpful preparation
    for an in line cross.
  8. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Are we talking about how to lead a cross? :confused:

    I don't think UKDancer's main point is rubbish - he's simply trying to work out where to put the diagonals in, for a walking cross. My view is that it's nicest if the man steps diagonally to go from 2-track to 4-track, and then the woman (obviously) has to step diagonally to get into the cross to bring her back to 2-track.

    If so, I also know many ways to lead it - lifting, twisting, dissociation etc. I have no idea what's the best way. Frankly, I don't lead it that much, and when I do, it's more of an ocho-cortado side cross to get around corners, so it doesn't really apply.

    But that's simply my opinion. As the saying goes, I'm not just guessing, but I could be wrong.
  9. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    You'd probably be suprised to know that my BR colleagues believe that I have sold out to this dance, and abandoned all that I should cherish dear!

    But for all that we obviously think completely differently about movement, there is nothing redundant, for me, in sorting out exactly what it is I'm trying to do. If I were an advanced AT dancer, I'd just get on with it, but I'm not.

    I did say, quite expressly, in my original post, that I wouldn't want to dance like this. My question was regarding who goes to the side to make 4 tracks, and on crossing, who comes to whom. It's a simple enough concept, and Dave Bailey provided a helpful answer that confirms my own instinct to be correct. There is no white line, where I practise, it's a rhetorical line, and when I dance I move generally along the LOD, just like everyone else. I'm a dancer, not a robot.

    As a defined figure, it contains a cross. In use, my follower will only cross if I lead her to. If I happen to lead those eight steps, as standardised, then there is a cross, but I could walk straight through, but I might leave the follower wondering why I stepped to the side in the first place.

    There is an in-between: the cross can come either directly in-line, or from an 8CB-like side step, but I can also walk to an outside partner position, and that was what I had in mind in my original question. Sorting out my own foot placement is just for me. I'm perfectly well aware that my partner couldn't care less where I've put them, but it still matters to me. I can only be concerned with foot tracks and their relative position, by being concerned with the feet. My followers feet go where I put them (where shall I put them?), and mine go where I put them (where shall I put them?). If the question is of no interest or concern to you, or to anyone else, so be it.
  10. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I don't think I claimed that his main point was rubbish, but that his
    approach is too mechanistic.

    The woman doesn't (obviously) have to step diagonally to come back in
    line. It can be (is?) a two stage process. First stage is rotationally
    (or diagonally I suppose) leading her body so her free left foot lands
    in a cross on the "wrong" side of her standing right foot.
    The next movement of the now free right foot completes the re-alignment.
    There, now I've analysed it to death.

    Hey, don't take it personally!
  11. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    You obviously have a very limited tolerance for analysis, then... ;)
  12. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    You must be doing something right then! Only joking!
    Probably. Tango changed my mindset about movement, for the better
    in my view, making me think about how we move and how to move.
    There are lots of occasions where you move rather than move the lady
    even if to an audience it doesn't look like that. Stepping outside is one.

    It was the white line business that affected my approach to your post.
    It's not about white lines and foot placement, it's about your partner.

    She shouldn't be wondering, she should be walking.

    Your followers feet follow her body which you are leading,
    your feet follow your body which you are in control of.
  13. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I am thinking about my own movement too.

    Yes, that's why I am thinking about where I put them. If they acquire a mind of their own, I'm not in control.
  14. ant

    ant Member

    I have copied some notes that were provided at a recent weekender they may be helpful.

    5. The Woman´s Cross
    In parallel system (see section 5):
    The man can lead the woman to a forward cross (left leg crosses in front of right leg). This happens if he walks
    parallel to her on the left (seen from his point of view) while turning his torso towards her. If he turns his upper body
    a bit more to the right at the moment she begins her right step backwards (the instant her right leg is free of
    weight), her back step will become a kind of diagonal sidestep, leading her back to his “lane“. During the next step
    (his right leg, her left) the man turns his torso back to neutral (forward) position. This causes the woman´s left leg
    (which can now swing feely, like a pendulum ) to automatically cross in front of her supporting leg. Now the man
    places her weight on her left foot while simultaneously changing his own weight to his right foot. Thus the cross
    serves to bring the follower back to the leader´s lane of walking. After the cross both can continue walking forward
    or to the side. (In our classes we explore a multitude of exits from the cross.)
    It is important for the woman´s preparation step (her right step back) to be placed far enough away from the man
    for her to have enough space to cross. (Reminder: it is her job to always remain at the same distance from the

    man.) The woman should also allow her pelvis to be turned during the preparation phase, and to be turned back while the cross is being finished
  15. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    ukdancer- I don't think it's a bad question or something you shouldn't contemplate. If understanding the mechanics of something will help you get past the mechanics (and I do know plenty of people who think this way) then there's nothing wrong with pondering it.

    For the type of lead you describe of the cross, I'd agree with Dave Bailey and say it's probably kinder for the leader to step out of the line and invite the follower back over to his new line. There are definitely different ways of leading a cross though, so don't' get overly hooked on one. And if you end up dancing close embrace a lot, cross system crusada feels a lot better than parallel system.

    Maybe when some more of the Americans are awake they'll chime in too.
  16. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I'm awake. I just disagree that this type of analysis is useful.

    I've know that lots of guys feel comfortable with the analysis of steps. I guess once they have the step fully analyzed they feel more confident about getting down to the actual kinetic learning of the step, which they could have done from the beginning. I've seen many leaders waste lots of time working on this hurdle, and once they get over it they realize that they could have just walked around it. I think definition and analysis is way over-rated as a way to learn to dance.
  17. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    As far as I know, there are two different opinions about the cross. One is that it should always be led, another is that the follower should automatically do it under the condition...(I omit the description since I am sure everybody knows).

    It would be silly for me to ask every leader what is his principle on the cross. So I would have to make a decision. Most times I do it automatically. The cross can be made as long as there is room between my right leg and the leader's forward leg and there is time enough for me to cross, change weight and pull my right leg out before the leader take my space. When the leader pauses, or collect feet, then I can complete the cross more comfortable and knowing that a cross is expected from him. After the first automatic cross, I can usually sense if the leader expect an automatic cross or would rather lead the cross.

    Personally, I prefer to be lead into a cross. It doesn't take much: a slight turn of torso toward me, which seems would give room for my right leg to cross over at the same time, and a pause from forward motion, so that I can leisurely complete the weight shifting and release my right leg.
  18. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    They fit my understanding of the movement, perfectly, so thank you.​

    How would Newbie do it?

  19. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Head and wall come to mind here, but I realise you're not trying
    to generate that reaction.

    In its purest form the lady's free leg is placed wherever her body, senses,
    balance tell her she needs to place it to create the next axis - new place
    of balance. All sorts of information is subliminally processed to arrive
    at that position, music tempo, body displacement amount, direction and
    speed in relation to the rhythm and the next beat, etc.

    If you stop thinking about your feet and placement first and attempt to let
    them do the same - follow your own body and create an axis just the same
    - eventually you too might have that eureka moment where you realise
    that things are sometimes happening that you wouldn't have contemplated
    and definitely didn't think about.

    In fact there are other things to concentrate on rather than actual precise
    foot placement. Some similar in fact as the ladies. Collecting always, legs
    passing closely, slowing the free leg mid-step, balance & stability, walking
    with intent etc etc.
  20. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    My Bold but pardon me for correcting "teacher".

    If you turn the lady to the right while she does a backstep with her right
    she turns away not towards being in line. It works as a preparation for
    the cross but it doesn't help re-alignment so that rightwards rotation
    should be slight. If you have a partner who doesn't pass her feet/knees
    closely then you might find you have to increase both rotations.

    Nor is "Teacher" helping when he/she writes about walking parallel to her
    on the left, I guess it means walking outside her on the left or open side
    of the embrace.

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