Monday, March 21, 2011

Tango - Natural Twist Turn

Starting from Promenade Position, this step is a good one for playing around with the dynamics of Tango as the man's rhythm is slightly different to the lady's - but both still work together to complete the step.

Leaders'/Men's Footwork

In Promenade Position, with your weight on your Right foot and your Left foot extended to the side (knees bent, knees, hips, and bellybuttons still to your partner, only your Left shoulder opened slightly to the LOD), take your first step with your Left foot moving along the LOD. Continue moving along LOD as you bring your Right foot forward and across in Promenade Position and CBMP. (You should be really twisted up at this point!) (Slow, Quick)

Untwist to step side onto your Left foot, getting as far around your partner as possible and blocking her forward movement. Your body will likely be backing Diagonal Centre at this point. As you cross your Right foot behind your left (toe only) you should continue the turn and be Backing LOD. (Quick, Slow)

With your weight on your Right foot primarily, untwist until your legs are side by side and then continue the turn on your Right leg but carry your Left with it so that you end up in Promenade Position where you started! Obviously you dont actually have any steps here, but the followers do... so the count in which you should complete this is Quick, Quick. (I know it looks messy... but you try drawing a movement that the foot stays in place but turns!)

Followers'/Ladies' Footwork

Starting in Promenade position, you have your weight on your Left foot with your Right foot lightly resting on the ground to the side whilst your knees, hips, and belly button  are facing your partner, you open your Right shoulder slightly down the line of dance and turn your head to the right. Step off on your Right foot and then take another step down LOD with your Left foot which will put you in CBMP and promenade position at the same time - prepare to twist! On the next step, your partner will take a step which puts his body blocking you but it is important that your step still goes straight forward - which should mean that you step directly between his legs. (Slow, Quick, Quick)

Then it is as if you are walking around him. Keep your upper body turned towards him and use him as the centre of your circle as you take two steps (Left, Right) forward and around him. (Slow, Quick) The third step (Left foot) is to the side to end up back where you started, in Promenade position - be sure to transfer your weight AND change your body direction into PP on this last step... and all on a Quick count!

Notes for both the Leader and the Follower:

- Guys, your turn and bringing the Left leg around without weight, whilst keeping your balance and centre strength.... will take practice. Try to get this movement as smooth as possible. Ladies, you are still moving while the guys turn... try not to walk too far away from them or you may pull them off balance.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tango - Progressive Side Step Reverse Turn

As the Progressive Side Step Reverse Turn starts facing Diagonal Centre for the man, I have added two walks on to the beginning of the figure to allow you to curve yourself into the appropriate starting angle. These are not technically part of this step, however, we haven't really looked at any steps which would naturally have you end DC.

Remember that in Tango, all steps should be done with flexed knees and that there is a natural curve to the Left in most figures. 

Leaders'/Men's Footwork

Starting Diagonal Wall with the two walks forward on your Left then Right feet, you should curve these walks more than you are used to in order to end up facing Diagonal Centre. Continue to curve as you take a third step forward - on your Left foot in CBMP. (Slow, Slow) Your next step is the one that gives this step its name as you step side and slightly back with your Right foot. (In the diagram, this looks like side and slightly forward, however, remember you have transferred your weight onto the Left foot during the third step - so the right foot has already been tracking underneath you and moves side and slightly back compared to where the Left foot currently is. It is not in relation to where the Right foot WAS.) Continue turning during this side step as well so that as you step forward again with your Left foot, you are almost facing Against the LOD. (Quick, Quick, Slow)

You have one more step forward (still curving) on your Right foot before rocking back onto your Left foot, forward onto your Right, and back onto your Left again.(Slow, Quick, Quick)

To finish, you have four steps which are essentially a Back Corte. Take a smallish step back onto your Left foot (pulling your left side back at the same time) and then another step back on your Right foot - leaving your shoulders where they were so that you are in CBMP (this step begins to turn you back towards facing Diagonal Wall - which means that the step itself is Diagonal Centre). Next, take a side step with your Left foot (your toes should be pointing Diagonal Wall but your body isnt there yet) and close your Right foot to your Left to finish facing Diagonal Wall. (Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow)

Followers'/Lady's Footwork

Because of our added two steps at the beginning of this figure, you begin backing Diagonal Wall. The first two steps are taken, Right and then Left, stepping backwards and curving in towards the centre of the room. Take one more step back on your Right - this will be in CBMP. The next step is to the side and slightly forward on your Left foot, before taking another step backwards on your Right to face Against LOD. (Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow)

Take one more step backwards - on your Left foot - then rock forward onto your Right and back again onto the Left. These rocks should be done along the LOD. (Slow, Quick, Quick)

Then finish the step with what is essentially a Back Corte. Step forward on your Right foot with your Right side leading, forwards again on your Left in CBMP, side with your Right foot to Back Diagonal Wall and then close your Left foot to your Right. (Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow)

Notes for both the Leader and the Follower:

- The angles here are the ones given in the technique book. While you are first learning this, do not worry too much about where you are facing in the middle of the step as long as you start and finish at the right alignments. Once you have the feel of the step, then you can go back and try to get the angles more precise.

- Gents, remember that your lady needs to get around you on steps 11 and 12, so help her out by not taking a huge side step!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Slow Foxtrot - Natural Turn

To finish the short sequence of steps that we have been explaining in the last few posts, the next step often learned in Slow Foxtrot is a Natural Turn.

Again, Ladies, the heel turn comes into play here! Remember, this movement takes practice and a lot of repetition before it starts to feel 'natural' so stick with it and don't cheat by turning it into a normal step.

Leaders'/Men's Footwork

After your Three Step, you are now facing Diagonal Wall. (You can also do a Natural Turn if you are facing LOD.)Your Three Step has brought you back in line with your partner so your first step onto your Right foot should still be in line with her.  As your partner goes into her heel turn, you step with your Left foot to the side, swinging yourself as much around your partner as possible, then continue a little bit of turn as you step back on your Right. (Slow, Quick, Quick). Getting around your partner is important as your partner will be pulled/pushed off of her heel turn if you don't get around her on your own.

You have one more step backwards with your Left foot before stepping a small step to the side and pulling your Left foot along with it (this is called a heel pull). The final step is taken forward on your Left foot - at which point you are now facing Diagonal Centre. The rhythm here changes; it is now Slow, Slow,Slow.

Followers'/Lady's Footwork

As you finished the Three Step Backing Diagonal Wall, that is where you are going to begin this step. (It can also be done starting Backing LOD.) Step back on your Left foot then bring your Right foot together with your Left as you turn (Heel Turn) to face the LOD. Bring the weight onto the balls of your feet (without rising) and step forward onto your Left foot continuing the turn slightly. (Slow, Quick, Quick) The step coming forward out of your heel turn should once again go between your partner's legs - do not try to step outside of him at this stage.

You then have one step forward on your Right foot, a step to the side on your Left foot, and a step back with your Right foot - having tracked the foot underneath you before stepping back. The rhythm for this section changes and becomes Slow, Slow, Slow.

Notes for both the Leader and the Follower:

 - The first step that the Lady takes after her heel turn should come straight forward between the Gent's legs. This is only possible if she has completed the turn - not overturned - and feels that her partner is far enough around her that she wont step on him! Gents, if you do not get far enough around your partner on the Side step (your second step), she will not be able to do this properly.... get around her and help her out, please!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Slow Foxtrot - Three Step

Following your Reverse Turn, the most likely thing that you will do, is a Three Step. Much like its name, it is comprised of three steps and is similar to the Feather Step in that regard. Unlike the Feather Step, the Three Step does not go outside partner.

We begin this step facing/backing Diagonal Wall (where we finished the Reverse Turn).

Leaders'/Men's Footwork

Starting with your Right foot, you have three steps, (R,L,R) forward and in line with your partner. There is a sway in the upper body lifting the right side forward and up which helps you get back in front of her after the end of the Reverse Turn. (Slow, Quick, Quick)

Followers'/Lady's Footwork

This, like the Feather Step, for the Lady is a fairly simple step. You have three steps backwards (Left, Right, Left) with no foot rise. You partner is in line with you and you have sway which pulls your left side back and up. (Slow, Quick, Quick)

Notes for both the Leader and the Follower:

- Don't forget that this is Ballroom. Gents, take forward steps with heels first, and Ladies, release the toes of your front foot as you transfer weight back onto the step you have just taken.