Tango Argentino > Walking to the Cross (Cruzada)

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

  1. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Steve, I used that term as a result of the original post. I've never heard
    it described like that although there are indeed four tracks when you
    step outside. Some milongueros/as lean and disassociate enough to reduce
    the tracks to two, someone here described it lyrically as
    "walking the tightrope". Try it with the right partner!

    I assume you mean two tracks being the path the feet of both partners
    take when walking in line. Track one being man's left, woman's right and
    track two being the one taken by the other feet.

    I don't think of tracks except when writing here. Oscar Casas often uses
    track terminology (three tracks) in videos/classes about cross system
    walking. It's best not to think of feet at all until much later if at all.
  2. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    This is my understanding of 4 tracks. It is not cross system, but is parallel. Typically the leader steps outside (without going into cross system), and the leader's forward step with his right foot is to the outside of the follower's right foot. (Steps 2 & 3 of the 8CB)

    Cross system (3 tracks) is a much more common way of walking to the cross IMO, but I sometimes use 4 tracks (mostly for the salida).

    Attached is a picture of what I'm trying to explain, taken from this video.

    Attached Files:

  3. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member


    This is a great example of the dilemma caused by the VU embrace
    (by the way, I hope you don't hug like that) on when to cross.
    Daniel walks outside one step, either the next two steps end in the cross
    or Daniel has himself removed Cristina's natural inclination to cross
    by himself returning in line. So no continual cross system walking occurs.

    They're skilful and impressive but social tango it is not.

    Interesting perspective but not borne out by my experience nor this video.
    Only once does Daniel lead a cross from cross system walking.

    The vast majority of dancers don't seem to cross system walk much,
    if at all. You of course may be an exception.
  4. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Really? What makes you say that?

    I would have thought it was a main ingredient of every leaders dance. In my mind, switching between cross and parallel is a defining quality of tango.
  5. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Personal observation. Some do, most don't.
    Agreed, providing there is such a thing as an ability to define the quality
    of tango beyond what it feels like to your partner. Cross system walking
    is part of the challenge for a man, I doubt if it is of anything like as much
    consequence to the lady.

    Ladies, please chime in and tell what you feel, is it worth our effort?
  6. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    By defining characteristic, I meant that no other social dance I know of, with the exception of Hungarian Czardas, includes dancing in either crossed or parallel systems. I think it's one of the things that makes tango both unique and difficult.
  7. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    Cross and parallel systems are terms applied by Gustavo Naveira only a few years ago. I would hardly say they DEFINE tango as a dance. The milongueros don't know or use these terms.

    It doesn't matter to me what my partner is doing with his feet while we dance. The only thing I care about is how he embraces me so we are ONE in the moment.

    This discussion can only focus on how tango looks as a dance; the more important issue is how it feels for both partners. That is a very personal thing for each dancer.

    Any man who believes he is going to impress a woman with his steps is going to be disappointed because he's dancing for himself in that regard. What a woman wants is an embrace in which to feel safe. Then, and only then, can she surrender and enjoy the dance he improvises for them.
  8. Nathan

    Nathan Member

    Then perhaps it would be better to say that not caring about anything but the embrace is a defining characteristic of the dance?
  9. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I probably didn't express myself well enough. What I was trying to say is that I see many more people doing the cross, from cross system, rather than from parallel (an example that I do quite a bit is, doing back ochos, walking out of the ochos in cross system, and immediately going to the cross).

    In this video, I counted 5 places where he led her to the cross from cross system (1:40, 2:22, 2:40, 3:15, 3:32). Usually it's only a couple steps (in cross system, not parallel) and then the cross is done. The sequence/pattern he does at 2:40 is a move I'll often do at milongas when in a corner, to pivot the follower 90 degrees (while getting into cross system), then walk to the cross. It's very similar to the Gavito salida (AKA salida cruzada), if you are familiar with that sequence.
  10. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    IMO, followers don't need to worry about cross system vs parallel system. It's the leaders who need to keep track (pun intended) of that stuff. Whether they use the same terminology/names is not important (I know of one teacher who uses the term same feet for cross system, and opposite feet for parallel). The names aren't important. What is important, is that he not step on her feet (or otherwise disrupt things) when he changes from one "system" to the other.
  11. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Janis, I was asking about the feel of cross system walking for exactly
    that reason.

    You like dancing with Ismael and video of him I've seen shows his
    forward walk almost always in cross system. His dance looks simple
    but it isn't because his forward walks are short, often towards the tables,
    and change then to a sidestep or walking back at another angle for which
    he has to traspie back to parallel. So there's a lot of traspieing (is that a
    word I improvised?) but it is done very naturally and very calmly.

    Is all that worth it?
  12. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I was using terms tango dancers understand. I'm sure Hungarians don't use those terms, but they still dance that way.

    Are you saying followers don't feel the difference between 2 and 3 tracks when they are merely walking? If they do, then being able to do one or the other contributes to the dance.

    I agree that a good embrace is important, as is being-as-one in the moment, but without walking there is no dance, and we were discussing ways to walk.

    And no, neither am I talking about trying to be impressive with footwork. I'm not into that.
  13. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    :confused: You walk and move in apilado in tracks as well !
  14. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Jan,

    a) right, it does not define tango, but it simplifies the didactics,
    b) some milongueros (may be so called, or self-styled) would do well to use some didactical concepts when teaching.
  15. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Yes. Have I missed your point?
  16. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    May be I have? (language)
  17. salthepal

    salthepal New Member

    I went and watched the video with my analytical hat on, and counted only one cross from a parallel system walk (right at the beginning), but six crosses from a cross system walk (at 1:40, 2:00-where you can't see the feet but it's clear that he pivots her into an ocho and walks cross system into a cross, 2:24, 2:42, 3:15 and 3:33)

    I guess I'm slightly confused by what you mean by "cross system walk". Do you mean stretches of straight-on walking in cross system? If so, then yes, I'll will have to agree that most dancers don't do that. A lot of them will walk in cross system on the closed side of the embrace for a few steps before changing direction, though, or walk a couple of steps on the open side of the embrace and lead a cross.

    But it seems that when a lot of people talk about cross system, they're just thinking of changing from parallel to cross and back. When it's done to the music, it can have a very pleasant effect. I agree with you all the way that thinking too much about the exact placement of the feet can be confusing; when all that needs to be done in that regard is walk with a certain amount of grace to produce a pleasant feeling of connection with your partner.

    One last point, regarding the Oscar Casas track/lane/highway system. My impression of those was they described the space relationship between the leader and follower, i.e. Left lane=the man walking on the open side of the embrace, middle lane= man walking straight in front of woman, right lane=man walking on closed side of the embrace. But that what I remember hearing from him; he could have talked about tracks in the way you are describing too.
  18. ant

    ant Member

    I have always thought walking in parrallel or cross system was something only leaders bothered with. A follower starts walking and will keep to a constant striding pattern, unless there is a weight change led (don't know why though?) and whatever leg we as leaders are walking on really doesn't matter to them.

    The only minor exception to that I feel is if it appears we are changing system to initiate a change in the current movement then it maybe it gives a clue something different is being led but they would still carry on with their constant striding pattern until something different is lead.
  19. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    It's new to me to think of tracks as left, right and center of ones partner. I always thought of them more or less as tracks two skiers would leave in the snow. 2 tracks would be center; 3 tracks would be one foot following and the other not, to either L or R side. 4 tracks would be completely to the outside, either to L or R, leaving 4 tracks.
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Maybe this is a geographic thing? My partner does both and switches it up easily. I haven't noticed a preference in other leaders, but I'll pay attention to that and see. I really don't pay that much attention to which foot my leader is on.

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