Tango

The music has 4 beats to the bar and about 30 bars per minute. Half a bar is one slow (S) or two quicks (QQ). Step groups or figures are not always a whole number of bars long - making it impractical to count actual beats. It is possible to work in half bars (counting 1, 2 for each half) but easier to use slows and quicks.

The couple should remain in close hold throughout. However, the offset to the right side of partner is more noticeable than in other ballroom dances. Steps may be inline, in promenade position or outside partner (usually to the right).

In general slow forwards steps are on the heel first. Backwards steps are on the toe first. Walks tend to curve to the left. When stepping back on the right foot, step slightly across the body and tuck the toe in because of the partner offset and curving motion. Although the walking motions are smooth, the turns to promenade and back tend to be abrupt (transmitted from the feet up to a flick of the head).

Walks and Promenade Walks

Walks are slow steps forwards or backwards - named by what the man is doing of course. Promenade Walks are forwards for both man and lady. Steps backwards in Promenade Position are called Fallaway Promenade.

Walks (FP, CH) Back Walks (FP, CH)
Beat S S S S
Man LF RF LB RB
Lady RB LB RF LF

Prom. Walks (PP, CH) Fallaway (PP, CH)
Beat S S S S
Man LdF RxF LxB RdB
Lady RdF LxF RxB LdB

Links to and from Promenade

Progressive Link (FP-PP, CH)
Beat Q Q
Man LF RdB
Lady RB+1 LSB+1

Four Step (FP-ORP-PP, CH)
Beat Q Q Q Q
Man LF RSB-1 LB RC
Lady RB LSF-1 RF LC+2

Promenade Link (PP-FP, CH)
Beat S Q Q
Man LdF RxF LC+1 br
Lady RdF LxF RC-1 br

Closed Promenade (PP-FP, CH)
Beat S Q Q S
Man LdF RxF LdF RC
Lady RdF LxF RFSB-2 LC

Open Promenade (PP-ORP, CH)
Beat S Q Q S
Man LdF RxF LdF RxF
Lady RdF LxF RFSB-2 LxB

Rock Turn and Back Corté

The Rock Turn is a turn to the right while rocking from one foot to the other. It is completed with a simple back-side-close turn to the left. The last 4 steps are the Back Corté. As with Foxtrot there may be some disagreement as to where figures begin and end. To begin the Rock Turn on the left foot, simply add a forwards walk.

Walk (FP, CH) ... Rock Turn ... (FP, CH) Back Corté (FP, CH)
Beat S S Q Q S Q Q S
Man LF RF LSB+1 RF+1 LB RB-1 LS-1 RC
Lady RB LB RSF+1 LB+1 RF LF-1 RS-1 LC

Natural Turns

The Natural Promenade Turn is the archetypical tango (pivot) turn. It can be used to turn a corner. The rhythm may be all slows (ignoring the brush). The last forwards step and brush may become the first step of the Rock Turn instead.

Natural Promenade Turn (PP-FP-PP, CH)
Beat S Q Q S and
Man LdF RFX+1 LFSB+3 RSF+2 LC br
Lady RdF LXF+1 RFX+1 LSB+2 RC+2 br

Natural Twist Turn (PP-FP-ORP-PP, CH)
Beat S Q Q S Q Q
Man LdF RxF LFS+2 RkB+1 untwist on L heel and R toe
Lady RdF LxF RFX+1 LXF+1 RFX+2 LC+4

Reverse Turns

Closed Reverse Turns (FP, CH)
Beat Q Q S Q Q S
Man LFX-1 RFSB-2 LkF RBX-1 LBSF-2 RC
Lady RBX-1 LBSF-2 RC LFX-1 RFSB-2 LC

Open Reverse Turns (FP-ORP-FP-ORP, CH)
Beat Q Q S Q Q S
Man LFX-1 RFSB-2 LB RBX-1 LBSF-2 RF
Lady RBX-1 LBSF-2 RF LFX-1 RFSB-2 LB

Outside Swivel

The man steps backwards, leading the lady outside him on his right and into a swivel. The man's lock brush is optional. The figure is usually preceded by an Open Promenade and followed by a Promenade Link. It can also start with the man facing LOD and turn slightly left to end facing diag. to centre.

Outside Swivel (ORP-PP, CH) Prom. Link (PP-FP, CH)
Beat S and Q Q
Man LB RkF br RxF LC br
Lady RF LC+2 br LxF RC-2 br

Brush Tap

This follows a Promenade Link and can be used to trip up another couple trying to pass ;-)

Brush Tap (FP, CH)
Beat Q Q and S
Man LF RS-1 LC br LS pt
Lady RB LS-1 RC br RS pt


© Susan Foord (sf@pedag.org) 2010-06-28
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