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International Tango—

4 beats/measure; 26-34 meas/min

Tango originated in Argentina during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and of course this was the Argentine Tango, a Latin rhythm. Argentine musicians brought the tango to Paris in 1909, rumors of the tango reached England in 1910, and the dance quickly became popular in England and in America prior to World War I. Interestingly, it was not Argentine dancers who popularized the tango in the USA. It was Vernon and Irene Castle during the 1910s, Rudolph Valentino in the '20s, Arthur Murray and Xavier Cugat in the '30s, and even Julio Iglesias in the '90s.

Tango, Paris, 1920Originally, the Argentine Tango was an earthy dance and many were offended. By the 1930s the tango had undergone more changes than any other ballroom dance in order to refine it enough to be able to bring it into "proper" ballrooms. Walking steps were introduced to make it progress around the room. The music was speeded up, made more aggressive, more march-like. Movements became sharper, more stylized, more snappy or jerky. A lot of the flirtation, temptation, and passion was taken out. Chris & Terri Cantrell have suggested that, "The American Tango is like the beginning of a love affair, when you are both very romantic and on your best behavior. The Argentine Tango is the next stage when you are in the heat of passion and all kinds of emotions consume you. The International Tango is like the end of the marriage, when you are staying together for the sake of the children."

Eddie and Audrey PalmquistEddie Palmquist simply said that in Argentine Tango the lady is saying "yes"; in American Tango she is playfully saying "maybe"; and in International Tango it is a definite "no."

International, or English, Tango is so changed from its origins that it is considered a Smooth or Standard rhythm, rather than Latin. It is a flat dance with no regular rise and fall and normally down into the knees. It is appropriate to lower a little into a hinge, lunge, or other picture figure, and then you will rise a little coming out of that picture, but this "rise and fall" is slight and occasional—most of the time, tango is flat.

Tango is also characterized by a staccato emphasis on each beat, alternating rests and actions, and a lengthened stride. Take the step sharply and hold it, step and hold. One teacher asked us to imagine two cars approaching a red light. One driver hurries up to the light, stops abruptly, and waits. The second driver takes his foot off the gas and slows. The light turns green as he approaches, whereupon he gently accelerates again. The first car is tango. The second is foxtrot, slowly arriving and continuing on without ever coming to a stop.

International Tango emphasizes the use of quick steps and uses slow counts for contrast (American Tango uses more slow steps and uses the quicks for contrast).

In addition to making the steps sharp, there is no foot swivel. Even during a "swivel," (e.g., outside swivel -- see below) put the foot where it should be, and then turn the body on that foot. Don't rotate the foot on the floor. The foot should hit the floor and stick. Tango is jerky but in a dramatic and even haughty way. Don't smile. Don't even look at your partner except maybe down your nose during a Right Lunge or at the end of a Spanish Drag.

The hold is closer than in waltz and the man perhaps more in control. Wayne and Barbara Blackford describe a technique for getting yourselves into good tango closed position. First assume your usual closed or waltz position. Then swivel a little left face, soften the knees, fit your four knees together like puzzle pieces, and shift the toes of your right foot to the instep of the left. Your steps will be a little pigeon-toed. A tap, for instance, will be on the inside of the lead big toe. (If you'd like to get this lesson directly rather than by way of my imperfect summary, see their DVDs; the link is under Videos on my links page.)

He places his right arm farther around the lady, and he brings his left hand closer, bending the left elbow a bit more. She places her left hand farther around, under his right shoulder blade, palm down and fingers and thumb together. She must put herself well into his right arm -- she is farther to his right and has stronger left sway than in other smooth rhythms. You are very close with her right hip bone tucked firmly into the pocket of his right hip. Glue yourselves together and dance as one, your trail feet stepping well between those of your partner, but let left sway separate your toplines. Keep your torsos up and proud. Again, don't look at her. Tango is maybe the best rhythm in which to practice your lead and follow.

Since you have rotated a little left face, you will walk with a little right-side lead. Step forward on the outside of the left foot and roll to the inside edge, on the inside of the right foot and roll to the outside edge. The steps are a little bit crab-wise and curved a little to the left. The right-side lead does this. Walk heel to toe, skimming the floor. Wayne says to walk "sticky." Place each foot and then stop; step and stop. Judy Moore says to step as though you are negotiating lily pads -- step, be still, step, be still . . . Brent Moore says that there is much "stillness" in tango. There is no flow, no flight, no swiveling on the balls of the feet.

In the other smooth rhythms, the body is always in motion, in smooth and graceful arcs. In tango, the body doesn't move past the foot. The foot and the body move together. When the foot stops the body stops.

Round dancing mixes the three tango styles, so in this list especially, you will find some American and perhaps some Argentine figures, in addition to the International figures.


Figure Name, Roundalab Phase Level, & Timing

q=quick, 1 beat
s=slow, 2 beats
&=1/2 beat; a=1/4 beat

Steps and Actions That Make Up the Figure

Each description focuses on the man, with the woman's footwork in parenthesis. If a woman's step is not given, it is the natural opposite or follow of the man's. Help: basic dance positions and steps, actions, directions, and abbreviations. Non-standard punctuation: a comma separates two beats of music, a semi-colon marks the end of a measure, and a slash (/) indicates a split beat, two things occurring in a single beat.

Here are some sequences to help you visualize the figure in context.

Walk Two

phase III

ss;

In closed position, step forward L (woman bk R) curving slightly to the left, -, fwd R, -;
In the Childers' Just A Tango, part A begins with walk two; link and closed promenade;; to a fwd & right lunge;
Run Three

qqs;

fwd, fwd, fwd, -;

To make any forward step sharper, dance each "quick" as a q/& with the quick the step and the & bringing the free knee forward so you're more ready to take the next step — step/knee, step/knee — sharp.

You could walk two; run three to semi-closed position; criss cross;;
Maneuver

s

In semi-closed position, trail feet free, step fwd, man turns RF 1/2 to closed position facing reverse, -,
Pickup

s

In SCP, step fwd on the trail feet and the woman turns LF 1/2 to closed position facing line, -,

Notice that there is no suggestion in this description that the woman should step across in front of the man as she turns. The "pickup" step is a straight step down whatever line of progression you are traveling and a turn to face. This puts her neatly on his right side in good closed position.
In Spanish Shawl by the Bonds, part A begins with a criss cross;; whisk; pickup; to 2 left turns;;
Pivot Four

phase IV

ss; ss;

In closed position, reverse line of dance, soften knees, step back L (woman forward R), turn 1/2 on ball of foot. Stay in tight closed position. On the second slow, the man steps forward R and turns 1/2. Repeat for a total of two full turns. It helps if the one stepping forward R does so with some power and that he or she makes sure to drive down line well under his or her partner. If you don't drive and turn as one, you will fall behind and not make the full turn. If you do focus on taking each step down line, you can pivot over and over, with smooth progress.
Tango Draw

phase III

qqs;

In closed step fwd L, sd R, draw L to R no wt, -; In closed position, line of dance, walk 2; tango draw; walk to center, maneuver; back tango draw; corte, recover; for semi, PU; tango draw;
Basic

ss; qqs;

In closed position facing line of dance, step fwd L, -, fwd R, -; fwd L, fwd & sd R, draw L to R no wt, -; This is a walk two; tango draw; If you blend to semi on the draw, you can then do a criss cross;; whisk; pickup tango draw.
Corte

phase III

s

In closed position, step back & side (woman fwd & sd) on lead foot lowering, -, In the Chicos' Besame Tango, there is a forward to a right lunge; recover, tap, side, tap; corte, -, recover, -; walk 2; tango draw;
Side Corte

phase III

s

In closed position, lead feet free, step to the side, flex the supporting knee, and turn RF (woman LF) to reverse semi-closed position. Leave trail leg extended, toe pointing to the floor.
Advance Corte

phase IV

qqs;

In closed position, step back and side L (woman R) and lower into the lead leg. On the second beat, draw the trail foot to the lead and turn to semi-closed position. On the slow, step thru with the trail foot.
Back Corte

phase V

sqq; s

The naming of these various cortes is confusing. Is a corte just one step? The advanced corte is two steps, but that's okay—it's "advanced." Now we have a four-step corte.

In closed position, perhaps facing line and wall, step back L with left shoulder lead and a little lowering (woman fwd R with right shoulder lead), -, bk R (woman fwd L) turning LF, continue turning and step side and fwd L (woman sd & bk R); close R to L to end in closed position facing line and center, -,

Let me comment that the "corte" step that we are used to is a step, whether to the side or back, and then subsequent lowering and shaping. It is a sort-of "dip." So in this back corte, the first step is really the corte, and the rest of the figure is a closed finish or a box finish — "corte to a closed finish."

If you look at another figure, the rock turn, you see that it looks to be a rock back recover to this four-step back corte. Some choreographers blur the line between the "rock turn" part of this figure and the back corte part by calling for a "rock turn (qqs) to a back corte (qqs)," In this formulation, the last step of the one measure rock turn (qqs) (unphased; not standard) is really the first step of the back corte (sqqs). I believe that this sort of crossing measures and using a single step as the last step of one figure and also the first step of another is not uncommon, although it feels uncomfortable to round dancers, who like to have clean definitions to each of their figures.

In Libertango by Lamberty, part B starts with a walk (ss); to a rock turn (qqs;) back rocks (qqs); quick back corte (qqqq); to a forward, side, to an outside swivel to SCP (qqs);

In Noche de Amor by the Gosses, part A starts with a link to an open promenade;; rock 3; back corte (qqs); to an open reverse turn and closed finish;;

In this Goss dance, the last step of the rock 3 is also the first step of our standard back corte.

Recover

s

Replace weight on unweighted foot, -,
Side stairs 10

qqqq; qqqq; qq,

In closed position, step side, close, forward (woman back), cl; sd, cl, fwd, cl; sd, cl, In Tango d'Amor by the Cunninghams, there is a tango draw; five step, promenade link to DLC, gaucho 6 to DLW;;;; side stairs 10, five step;;;; and promenade link to DLC;

Or do a side stairs 4 to DLW; gaucho 4 to DLC; and viennese turns;

Progressive Side Step

phase V

qq

In closed position, step forward L (woman bk R), small side and back R on the inside edge of the foot,

May include a small turn to the left.


Jete Point

phase V

&s

In semi-closed position and on the "&" of the previous beat, step forward L (woman fwd R picking up to closed) onto ball of foot lower to the flat of the foot with a springing action/extend free foot to side with inside edge of foot on floor swaying and looking in direction of extended foot, -,

This is essentially a step, lower, and point, all in 1/2 beat. During the slow count, you stretch and extend. May be done with either foot; timing may vary; may be done from other positions.

Closed promenade to a progressive link;; thru to a jete point;
Criss Cross

phase III

ss; qqs;

In semi line step sd & fwd, -, thru turning in, -; swivel to reverse step thru to rev, sd to closed wall, draw lead to trail no wt, -; In the Molitoris' Eskimo Tango, they have a walk 2; tango draw to semi-closed facing center; criss cross;; gaucho turn 4 to face reverse;
Gaucho Turn Four

phase III

qqqq;

In closed position, rock fwd turning 1/8 LF, bk trn, fwd trn, bk trn; gaucho 8 would make a full turn
Outside Swivel & Tap

phase V

sqq;

In contra banjo, step back L and turn a little RF (woman fwd R swiveling RF and drawing L to R no weight), -, thru R (woman thru L), tap L side & fwd ending in semi-closed position lead feet free;

Remember, in tango, we don't smoothly swivel on the floor. Instead, the lady toes out to place her R foot into its final position and then turns her body to its tap position. If she is facing RLOD at the beginning of the figure, she will step fwd R, her right toes pointing somewhere close to COH. Then she turns her body on that foot.  In essence, most of the "swivel" happens between the leg and the foot, not between the foot and the floor.

Outside Swivel Link

phase V

sqq;

In contra banjo, step back L and turn a little RF (woman fwd R swiveling RF to semi-closed and drawing L to R no weight), -, thru R turning LF (woman thru L beginning to pick up), touch L (woman turn LF and touch R) ending in closed position lead feet free;
Inside Swivel

ss;
In CP, step back L, bringing R side strongly back, taking R hip out of the lady's way. She steps forward R between his feet and swivels to a tight SCP.In Tango D'Amore by Lamberty, we dance an outside swivel maneuver; inside swivel pick up;
Outside Swivel Twice

phase IV

ss;

In banjo position facing LOD, step bk L (woman fwd R) swvl RF to semi-closed, -, thru R (woman thru L) swvl to bjo, -; In Head Over Heels by the Rotscheids, there is a quick open reverse turn; side thru to promenade sway; change sway rise close /tap to an open promenade;;; outside swivel twice; back whisk; thru/tap to a head flick;
Traveling Swivel

phase VI

qqqq; s

In closed position facing DLC, step forward L (woman bk R) turning LF, sd R swiveling LF, bk L in BJO facing DRW, swivel LF leaving R leg extended fwd; thru R (woman thru L) to SCP facing DLW, touch lead toe side & fwd,

The third step might even be a cross-L-behind-R. One teacher suggested that we "throw our butt toward COH." This is the key "swivel" for the man and changes his focus toward LOD.

We might hear this sequence cued in more detail, almost step-cued, as open reverse turn w/ reverse swivel thru tap (see entry below). The open rev trn takes us to BJO DRW. We would modify that by taking step 3 not back but more under the body. The "rev swivel" is the man's swivel at that point. The lady is already in her final position; she might swivel a little RF to end SCP DLW. Then we both step thru and tap the lead foot.
In Poema by Nobles there is a prom link; walk 2; traveling swivel ; ,, chase , ;; cl fin ;
Open Reverse Turn w/ Reverse Swivel

qqs;
In closed position facing DLC, step forward L (woman bk R) turning LF, sd R trng, bk L under the body (W fwd R outsd ptnr) in BJO facing DRW, swivel LF (W small swivel RF) to SCP DLW tr ft free;
In The Phantom by Worlock there is a closed finish LOD; open rev trn w/ rev swivel; cl prom end to wall; span drag;
Promenade Sway

phase IV

ss;

Step side and forward L (woman R) turning to semi-closed position and looking over your joined lead hands, -, lower just a bit more, -;
Oversway

phase IV

s

In closed position, step side L (woman R), relax the L knee, stretch the left side, leave the R leg extended, and turn slightly LF. You are in closed position, and she is looking strongly left.
Throwaway Oversway

phase VI

s

In semi-closed position, step side & forward L (woman sd & fwd R). The man points his left toe where he wants her to "throw" her left foot. He might step L and turn his foot to point diagonal line and wall or a little farther toward line. The man changes to right sway and rotates the hips and torso CCW to move the woman's left leg back, and then quickly begins to lower by flexing the left knee so that she won't take weight on that foot but will continue to move it back behind her, exposing the sole of the foot to passers by.
Same Foot Lunge

phase VI

s

Begin in closed position with trail feet free. Since this is a "same foot" figure, we have to do a transition. Often, the cue is "prep for a same foot lunge." The "prep" is a slight rise and right face rotation causing the woman to rise to her toes and change weight to her left foot. She has rotated a little RF but not as far as to semi-closed position—you are still closed. Her right knee is tucked just behind her left knee. Her left hipbone needs to settle into the hollow of his right hipbone (inside his right hip). Both now have right feet free. Now we can do the figure.

Lower in the left leg, push, and step side and forward R with right-side stretch and looking right. Give her your right side—that will close her head (woman steps back R turning LF and looking well left—very like a contra check step for the woman). Dance this step sharply in tango. The man's left leg will be extended to the side, straight and strong. The woman's left leg will be crossed in front of her right and extended on the same diagonal as the man's. Keep your hips well in to your partner. Again, you are in closed position (not an L-position).

This position that you have assumed as a result of a same foot lunge is called a Same Foot Lunge Line. One "steps" into a same foot lunge, and one simply "lowers" into a same foot lunge line. More specifically, a prep to a same foot lunge involves one weight change for the man and two for the woman. Lowering into a same foot lunge line involves no step for the man. He is on his R foot already, and he simply lowers into position. The woman transitions by closing her R to L (one weight change), and then she lowers into position. One bit of freedom that you have is to close the woman's head (give her your right hip) or to open her head (give her your left hip). At the end of a same foot lunge, her head must be closed.


Serpiente

phase III

qqs; qqqq;

In loose closed position facing the wall, step sd L, behind R (woman behind L), fan L counter-clockwise no wt (woman fan R CW), -; bhd L, sd R, thru L, fan R CCW (W fan L CW) no wt;

Actually, the serpiente is used with a variety of thru, side, behind, rondes. Another pattern is sd L, XRIB, flare L CCW (woman mirror image), XLIB of R; sd R, XLIF, flare R CCW, thru R; Notice that this sequence leaves the lead feet free.

Yet another pattern that is used is a sd L, tap R, sd R to RLOD, flare LIB of R; behind L, sd R, thru L, flare R CCW;

In the Woodruffs' Seargent Preston, there is a Sd L, XRIB (W XIB), pt L to sd, flick LIB; XLIB (W XIB), sd R, thru L, flare R CCW; and follows this serpiente with a thru, side, behind, -; and roll 3;

Doble Cruz

phase IV

sqq; qqqq;

In CP wall step fwd L to SCP LOD (woman fwd R), -, thru R, sd L turning RF to closed position facing wall; XRIB of L (woman XLIB of R), ronde L CCW no weight (W ronde R CW), XLIB of R beginning to turn LF, bk R turning LF to BJO DLW;

May begin in SCP. May be done in other facing orientations.

In My Heart Belongs To Daddy by the DeChennes, there is a tango draw; contra check, recover, tap to semi-closed position facing LOD; doble cruz;; and back to left whisk;
Whisk

phase III

qqs;

In closed position facing wall, step fwd, fwd & sd, XIB to semi line; In the Woodruffs' Seargeant Preston, part B begins with a walk 2; open reverse turn; closed finish; whisk; thru face close;
Right Lunge

phase IV

s

In closed position with trail feet free, lower into the left knee and step side and forward onto the right, keeping the left side in toward your partner and your body upright. Don't lean over your partner. As you take weight on the right, lower into the right knee and turn slightly LF to close her head (she should look strongly left). Look at her.

In Tango, more than in other Smooth rhythms, our object is to put the woman sharply into the man's right arm. He can do that by stepping between her feet and actually pushing on the inside of her thigh with his right knee. The LF rotation serves to throw her out there, and he should relax his right elbow, allowing her to extend into his right hand. But he must not go with her, as he might in Waltz. He remains upright and so creates a body line in opposition to hers.

In Doi's El Choclo, there is a reverse turn; back contra rocks;; closed finish; forward righ lunge; rock turn;; corte and recover;
Leg Crawl

phase IV

ss;

From the right lunge position, step back L keeping R leg extended to side (she steps fwd R & lifts left leg up his outer thigh, her L toe pointed down). On the second slow, take a small back step to closed position. forward, rt lunge; leg crawl; tango draw; open reverse turn; closed finish;
Spanish Drag

phase IV

s

From right lunge position recover L with soft knee and R leg extended, rise drawing right foot in and stretch right side to change sway, (one wt change)

The man is changing from a right lunge position to a left lunge position. During the movement, she is well out to his right, and he is out to his left, looking away, in strong opposition. There should be a good bit of tension and conflict. In another style, the man will look at her and use a little back-and-forth hip rotation to cause a shimmy in the woman's upper body, as though he is having to work to dislodge her from her stubborn reluctance.

The spanish drag can be done over a whole measure, even a measure and a half. She looks down her nose and a little askance at him, distainful, "no you don't, buddy." Then at the end of the drag she might relent a little and look directly at him -- "well, maybe."

Needless to say, whatever drama I might describe is entirely fanciful and you are free to tell any story that comes to you.

fwd, rt lunge; Spanish drag, back; tango draw; Viennese turns; tango draw;
Rock 3

qqs;

In closed position, rock back L (W fwd R), rec R, bk L, -;

The initial step can be on either foot and can be taken back, side, or forward, depending on the previous figure and natural body flow.
In Diosa Marina by the Schmidts, the dance begins with a rock 3; closed finish to face LOD; walk 2; progressive side step & hold (qq hold the slow); walk 2; progressive side step & hold;
Left Foot Rock

qqs;
In CP or in BJO, step  small back L with left side lead (W fwd R with right side lead), rock forward R with right side lead, rock bk L a little bigger with left side lead, -;

Normally, there is no turn, but in BJO there can be a little RF turn. Note that with the slightly bigger third step, there is some progression in this figure.
In Serenantella by the Shibatas, there is a progressive link ,, open promenade ,;; left foot rock; back corte; reverse fallaway & slip;
Right Foot Rock

qqs;
In CP, step back R with left side lead [CBMP] (W fwd L), rec L, bk R, -;

Rock Turn

phase V

qqs; qqs;

In closed position DLW, step bk L turn RF, rec R trn RF, bk L, -; bk R trng LF, sd L, cl R to DLW, -;

Note that, while the rock 3, the left foot rock, and the right foot rock do not turn, the rock turn (as its name tells us) does turn -- RF during the first measure and then LF during the second.

In Serenantella by the Shibatas, the dance begins with a fwd & rt lunge; rock turn 3; bk chasse tap to SCP;
Reverse Turn

phase IV

qqs;

In closed position diag cntr step fwd L trng LF, sd & bk R cont trn to RLOD woman heel turn, bk L to closed, -; In the Worlocks' Blue Skies, there is a forward & right lunge; spanish drag; back corte; reverse turn; back rock 3 twice;; back corte; and walk 2 to line;
Open Reverse Turn

phase IV

qqs;

In closed position DLC step fwd L trng LF (W bk R trng), fwd R trng (W sd L), bk L (W fwd R) to BJO RLOD, -; A common sequence is an open reverse to either an open or closed finish (see below).
Reverse Fallaway

phase IV

sqq;

In closed position, line of dance, step forward L turning LF 1/8 to 1/4. Step side R, and then cross the L in back of R (woman R in back of L) to end in semi-closed position facing reverse. The "fallaway" is actually the last step; fallaway is stepping back in semi position.
Reverse Fallaway From Semi

phase IV

sqq;

Where the reverse fallaway from closed begins with the lead foot, the reverse fallaway from semi begins with the trail foot. The amount of turn is usually about 3/8 LF, so in SCP DLC, we would step thru R (W thru L) beginning to turn LF, -, fwd L turning LF (W bk R), recover back on trail feet to SCP RLOD;Where the reverse fallaway from closed begins with the lead foot, the reverse fallaway from semi begins with the trail foot. The amount of turn is usually about 3/8 LF, so in SCP DLC, we would step thru R (W thru L) beginning to turn LF, -, fwd L turning LF (W bk R), recover back on trail feet to SCP RLOD;Where the reverse fallaway from closed begins with the lead foot, the reverse fallaway from semi begins with the trail foot. The amount of turn is usually about 3/8 LF, so in SCP DLC, we would step thru R (W thru L) beginning to turn LF, -, fwd L turning LF (W bk R), recover back on trail feet to SCP RLOD;Where the reverse fallaway from closed begins with the lead foot, the reverse fallaway from semi begins with the trail foot. The amount of turn is usually about 3/8 LF, so in SCP DLC, we would step thru R (W thru L) beginning to turn LF, -, fwd L turning LF (W bk R), recover back on trail feet to SCP RLOD;
Reverse Fallaway and Slip

phase V

qqqq;

In closed position facing line and center, step forward L (woman bk R) turning LF 1/8 to 1/4. Step side R, and then cross the L in back of R (woman R in back of L) to end in semi-closed position facing RLOD. On the last "quick" turn LF and slip R past L small step on toe ending in closed position facing line and wall or LOD.

May be danced sq&q; or sqq&;

The "slip" is really a slip pivot, so the figure name is a bit of an abbreviation.


Ronde and Slip

phase VI

sqq;

In closed position facing wall, ronde the left leg counter clockwise and cross behind R with left sway and no weight change (woman ronde R CW and XRIB of L), -, back L and rise turning LF with no sway (woman bk R turning LF), slip back R (woman fwd L near man's R) to closed position;

Amount of turn may vary.


Rudolph Ronde

phase VI

s

In closed position, lower and step forward R between the woman's feet as if you are beginning a RF pivot, and she will step back L. But stop your rotation by flexing the R knee and keeping the L leg back. As a part of this step, you might tap the inside of her right knee with your right knee, leading her to lift her R leg from the hip and ronde it CW. Leave the left leg side and back and the right leg soft, but lift and rotate the upper body RF to suggest something about the height of her ronde. The lady's head should follow her foot and so move from closed position to strongly right.
Rudolph Ronde and Slip

phase VI

sqq;

In closed position, lower and step forward R between the woman's feet, and she will step back. Leave the left leg side and back, but lift and rotate the upper body RF to lead her to lift her R leg from the hip and ronde it CW. On the first quick, rise from your chair-like lunge and recover back on the left, and she steps back R beginning a LF pivot on the fall of the right foot. As she pivots, she keeps her thighs locked and her left leg extended. On the second quick, he steps back R rising, and she steps forward L in a slipping action, both rotating a bit LF (up to 3/8).
Develope

phase IV

sqq;

In sidecar postion, the man steps forward L, checking, and holds. The woman steps back R and stretches her body up, -, raises the L up the right leg to the outside of the right knee, and extends the left leg forward in a controlled kick as high as is comfortable. One weight change.

The develope action is the raising of the knee and the kick. It can be done in banjo, beginning with the trail feet. It is done from other positions, the woman swiveling into position before the develope. Sometimes both develope.


Closed Finish

phase IV

qqs;

In closed or banjo position facing RLOD, step bk R (woman fwd L) turning LF, sd & fwd L, close R to L ending in closed position DLW, -; A common pairing is the open reverse turn; closed finish;
Open Finish

phase IV

qqs;

In closed or banjo position facing RLOD, step bk R (woman fwd L) turning LF, sd & fwd L, fwd R ending in banjo position DLW, -;

Notice that the use of the terms closed and open in tango often refer to closing feet and passing feet, respectively. In the open finish (or the open promenade below), we are not ending in any kind of open position, but our feet are "open." The last step was a passing step.

Reverse turn; open finish;
Viennese Turns

phase IV

q,q/&, q,q/&;

In closed position facing LOD, step forward L beginning LF turn, side R continuing turn/cross L in front of R (woman close R to L), back R turning, side L turning/close R to L (woman XLIFR) to end in closed position facing LOD; One full turn.

One of the problems that arises in doing these turns on the cardinal directions (RLOD; LOD) is that we tend to separate a little from our partner in order to fit in that cross-in-front step. We stick our butts out and then hunch over our partner to compensate. Maybe worse than that, we don't quite make the full turn. The steps are fast. We need to get all the way around in only one measure, and we don't make it. What if there are two measures of Viennese Turns? We fall behind on the first set, further behind on the second, and we're way out of position for whatever comes next.

We can maintain dance position and get all the way around if we dance this figure in a linear, not round way, and if we think about diagonal body orientation and strong side lead. Do the first "turn" with two forward steps and then sharply turn to face reverse and center (woman line and wall) with strong right side lead (man's right shoulder back). Keep your left side in to your partner. In this strong contra-body position, the crossing step occurs easily and in a more flowing manner. If you have turned to face dead reverse, then the left foot crosses in front of the right with more of a clunk, and it interrupts your momentum.

Now do the second turn in a linear manner and sharply turn to face diagonal line and wall with the man's left shoulder leading and the woman's right shoulder strongly back. Again, keep your left side to your partner. Her crossing step will flow easily.

You can dance any number of full Viennese Turns and never fall behind if the man throws his right shoulder down the line, and then his left, right, left … Focus on progressing down line with both your step and your shoulder, and the turns will happen.


Telemark to Semi

phase IV

qqs;

In CP DLC, step fwd L (woman back R), and initiate LF body turn. Step fwd & side R continuing to turn to CP RLOD (W bk & sd L, toeing out). On the slow, step side and forward L (W sd & fwd R) to a tight semi-closed position, DLW, trail feet free.

Note that the lady does not do a heel turn. There is no swiveling on the floor. On the first step, the man steps fwd L toeing out, and the lady steps bk R toeing in. He is momentarily duck-toed, and she is momentarily pigeon-toed. We are making our turns before we step. We are then "sticking" those steps, and turning our bodies on the foot. During the second step, he toes in (momentarily pigeon-toed) and she toes out (momentarily duck-toed). Again, we stick our steps (no swivel or heel turn on the floor), and we turn our bodies on still feet.
In Fiesta Tango by the Palmquists, there is a walk 2 in closed position to face DLC; telemark to semi; back open promenade ending to contra banjo DRW; turning five step to semi-closed LOD, and open promenade;;;
Drop Oversway

phase V

qqs; s

This cue is sometimes used to refer to the final action only. The complete figure is an Open Telemark to a Drop Oversway.

In closed position facing line and center, step fwd L (woman bk R), and begin to turn LF. Step side R continuing to turn to closed position facing reverse (woman heel turn). On the first slow count, step side and forward L (woman R) to a tight semi-closed position, body stretched upward, but flat, not onto toes, facing line and wall. On the second slow count, sharply flex the L knee (woman R), rotate a little LF, and sway to the right allowing the R foot (woman L) to slide out to point toward RLOD. Look at your partner. This last action is really the Drop Oversway—you are dropping sharply into a broken right sway and closed position.


Double Telemark

phase VI

sqq; &qqs;

This figure is two telemarks in a row, and the "&" count is simply a quick step used to pick her up and get the lead foot free for the second telemark turn. So, in closed position facing line and center, step forward L (woman back R) beginning to turn LF, -, side R turning and with right side stretch (woman bk L to R for a heel turn), sd & fwd L to semi-closed position facing LOD;

On the "&" count, step fwd R turning LF much as you would do in leading a wing (woman fwd L, then turning to closed position or picking up).

In the second measure, execute a "quick" telemark, by which I do not mean synchopated but beginning with a "quick" count rather than a "slow." Step fwd L turning, sd & fwd R (woman back L to R for a toe spin), sd & fwd L turning to semi-closed position facing line and wall, -;

The woman's toe spin occurs in the second Telemark, rather than a heel turn, because of the quicker turn (quick, quick; rather than slow, quick).


Telespin

phase VI

sqq; q&qs;

Start in closed position facing line and center. Step forward L turning LF (woman bk R), -, fwd & sd R turning (woman draw L to R for heel turn and change weight), sd & bk L with only partial weight keeping left side forward (woman fwd R); At the end of the first measure, you are in SCP DLW.

Begin a LF spin and take full weight L (W fwd L). On the &-count the man spins LF (woman fwd R turning). Side R turning (woman closes L at end of toe spin), back L (woman fwd R) to closed position RLOD, -; The figure turns 1 & 3/8 LF.

An alternative timing that feels good is SQQ&; QQS;  Here, from SCP, the man leads the LF spin and the lady's fwd L on the "&" and he takes weight L a little later, as the lady takes her fifth step, rather than when she takes her fourth step as above. In any case, note that the man takes a total of 5 steps and the lady takes 7.

The above description is a little "waltzy." In International Tango, there should be minimal foot swivel on the floor, so wherever there is turn, we should place the foot in its ending position and take weight rather than placing the foot and turning it to its ending position with foot swivel. So, the man's first two steps are fwd L DLC and then fwd & sd R with the toes pointing RLOD. For a moment, he is pigeon toed (toed in). Having made the second weight change, he is facing RLOD, but that turn has involved no smooth nor gradual nor flowing turn. Each step was deliberately placed. Steps are abrupt. Turn is sharp. Tango is a rough, deliberate dance.

Another example is the lady's heel turn. She steps bk R and then closes L to R with the heels touching and the L toes pointing LOD. For a moment she is duck toed (toed out). This is not a waltz heel turn where she brings her feet together, smoothly pivots on her R heel, and then changes weight to the L, feet still parallel and together. She has stepped deliberately back and then a duck-toed close. That is her heel turn -- no rise into a smooth heel swivel but deliberate steps making a turn in place.

Let me end with a very abrupt and deliberate version of the tango telespin taken from Tango 68 by Richard Lamberty. Timing is QQS; -QS; for the man and QQS&; QQS; for the lady. Here, we have even eliminated the partial weight of the man's third step and the delayed taking of that weight. Lamberty is being deliberate and forceful. We begin CP DLC and step fwd L comm LF body turn (W bk R), fwd & pigeon-toed sd R (W duck-toed heel close), sd & bk L w/ L-sd lead (W fwd R w/ R-sd lead and on the "&" fwd L past the man in SCAR DRW) ; man uses upper-body rotation to lead the lady's fwd L on the "&" count and her toed-in fwd R. On the final "QS" the man steps fwd R toeing in (W bk L toeing out), bk L toeing out (W fwd R toeing in);  Each step is turned before it is placed to minimize foot swivel on the floor.

In Tango 68 by Lamberty we dance an open reverse turn; open finish; turning brush tap DLC; telespin overturned;; to a throwaway oversway;
Promenade (to semi)

phase V

sqq; s

In semi-closed position step side and forward with lead feet, -, thru, sd & fwd ; close, -,
Closed Promenade

phase V

sqq; s

In semi-closed position, step side and forward with lead feet, -, thru, sd & fwd L (woman sd & bk R folding LF to closed position); close, -,

Make step 3 a little more of a side step than in a promenade to semi (above). The woman will have a little more freedom to fold to CP. She will feel the snap more cleanly.

Tango is properly done with quick steps. Step and hold. Even on a "quick," make it &/quick. Step and pause, if only briefly. And if you have a "slow," you can do even more. On the first step of this figure, don't step forward smoothly and draw the trail foot forward for the second step; but step, move the trail foot ahead smartly, and hold, all within the slow count. Now, your trail foot is forward and poised for a quick/hold, quick/hold, close/hold, hold (qqs).

Although the woman folds from SCP to CP—give her your right hip, men, and a little right sway, to lead this—there is no turn for the man. Hip rotation is not body turn. The man's feet are still pointed DLW at the end of the figure. So, although we sometimes talk about "picking the woman up" on step 3, it is not a waltz pickup to LOD. This shift from SCP to CP is sharp but subtle.

Above, I am describing the woman's "fold" as occurring on the second "quick." Another style has this turn occurring on the first quick. She steps forward R on the slow, thru L and fold to CP on the first quick, and then both step side, close, together, to end the figure. This approach, too, is clean, snappy, and very tango-like. Ladies, how do you know when to move from SCP to CP? Do it when your man gives you his lead, when you feel his right hip and his little bit of right sway.

It is possible to dance two closed promenades in a row (or otherwise to do any promenade from closed position). The man simply needs to step forward L with strong left-side lead, and the woman will turn RF, rolling from the front to the back of his right hip and step small forward R in SCP. The count for the first three steps might be &1234; where we turn to SCP on the &, we step on 1, hold 2, and then take steps 2 and 3 on beats 3 and 4 as normal.

Do a closed promenade, walk two, open reverse turn, open finish checking, corte;;;;; rec, -, side stairs 6;;

Open Promenade

phase V

sqq; s

In semi-closed position step side and forward with lead feet, -, thru with trail feet, sd & fwd woman sd & bk turning RF to closed; forward R (woman back L) to contra banjo, -,

What makes this figure "open" is the final passing step; the feet end open or apart from each other.


Back Open Promenade

phase V

sqq; s

In semi-closed position, step side and forward L (woman sd & fwd R), -, thru R beginning to turn 1/4 RF, turn and step sd & bk L (woman sd & fwd R) to closed position facing reverse and wall; check back R with left-side lead (woman fwd L with right-side lead) [contra], -,

The name of this figure can be misleading. You hear it and you want to make your first step a back step. But the name refers to the last step for the man: it is back and a passing step (like a back contra check).


Double Open Promenade

phase VI

sqq; qqs;

Like the open promenade, we begin in semi-closed and end in banjo position, but we take two extra steps and briefly turn to closed position in the middle of the figure.

In semi-closed position, usually facing LOD, step side and forward L (woman sd & fwd R), -, fwd R, sd & fwd L (woman turn LF to closed position and step sd & bk R); fwd R (woman turn RF to semi-closed position and step fwd L), sd & fwd L (woman turn LF to closed position again and step sd & bk R), fwd R outside partner to end in contra banjo position facing DLW, -;


Double Closed Promenade

phase VI

sqq; qqs;

Like the closed promenade, we begin in semi-closed and end in closed position, but we take two extra steps and briefly turn to closed position in the middle of the figure, too.

In semi-closed position, usually facing LOD, step side and forward L (woman sd & fwd R), -, thru R, sd & fwd L (woman turn LF to closed position and step sd & bk R); thru R (woman turn RF to semi-closed position and step thru L), sd & fwd L (woman turn LF to closed position again and step sd & bk R), close R to end in closed position DLW, -;

Step 3 needs to be danced more like a q/&. She folds to CP and steps side R and then quickly turns back to SCP for step 4, thru L. Of course, the man needs to dance that & too. He steps side L giving her his R hip and then takes his R hip away to turn her to SCP and then steps thru R. He has to turn her to CP a second time, so he is turning LF on step 3, quickly RF, and then LF again on step 5.

An interesting flourish that we can add to step 3 is a kind of traveling kick/ball change. In tango, a kick is not like kicking a football. It is more of a stab toward the floor or a sharp point of the foot, and the "change" is the thru of step 4. So it's more of a point/ball, thru. On the second quick, then, we need to do several things. On the quick itself, he gives her his right hip, she folds to CP, and we both point or kick toward LOD. On the &, we both close the lead foot (the "ball" of this sequence), and she turns to SCP. And then on the third quick we step thru with the trail foot. All of this simply ramps up the sharp busyness that is a part of tango.

In Ecstasy by the Reads, part A begins with a double closed promenade;; progressive link; big top; contra check and extend; recover and tap to semi-closed;

In Spider Of the Night by the Reads, we have a dramatic example of what can be done with a closed promenade. Part A begins with a double closed promenade with boleo and traveling kick/ball change to a left whisk;;;

The timing of this figure is sqq; qqqq&; qqs; A boleo and thru occurs on the third, fourth, and fifth quicks. The "point/ball, thru" (see description at left) uses the sixth and seventh quicks. And then the figure ends with a side step and hook behind into the left whisk ending.

This sequence continues with an unwind 4 to SCP DC; promenade link; a reverse fallaway slip; one viennese turn and a closed finish to SCP LOD;

Promenade Swivel

sqq;

Promenade Swivels

sqq; sqq;
In SCP step fwd on the lead foot, -, fwd with trail foot swiveling RF (W LF) to face partner, swivel to SCP and close L to R (W R to L); We end in SCP, trail foot free.

Promenade swivels is a two-measure figure. In SCP step fwd L (W fwd R), -, fwd R swiveling RF (W LF) to face partner, close L and swivel to SCP; point R LOD (W pt L), -, fwd R swiveling to face, close L to R (W R to L) swiveling to SCP; We end in SCP, trail foot free.

These are not standardized figures, but I see no reason why promenade swivels could not go on for 3 or more measures.
In Golden Tango by Read we step side and tap to SCP LOD (s&s); prom swivel; cl prom end;

In Munca Cita by Read we dance 4 stalking wlks;;;; prom swivels;; prom rocks 2X;;
Promenade Swivel Points

sqq; qqqq;
In SCP LOD step fwd L (W fwd R), -, fwd R rise & swivel RF (W LF) to face partner, cl ld ft; lower & swivel LF point R LOD (W RF pt L), fwd R rise & swivel RF (W LF) to face partner, cl L, lower & swivel LF point R LOD; We end in SCP, trail foot free and pointed.

May be done in other facing directions.

Again, prom swvls and prom swvl pts are not standardized figures. They are clearly closely related to each other.
In Phantom Tango by Read we dance a five step with head flick;; prom swivel pts;; stalking wlks;; prom wlk 2; check fwd recover close tap;
Promenade Wing Spin

sqq&; qq

In semi-closed position facing DLC, step forward L (W fwd R), -, fwd R (W fwd L), fwd L (W fwd R)/hold turning LF and leading W to wing (W fwd L); swivel LF on L (W fwd R to SCAR and swivel LF on R), sd & bk R to end in banjo facing RLOD with lead feet free, In Naughty Lady Tango by the DeChennes, there is a promenade to SCP - whirligig - promenade wing spin to banjo RLOD;;;;;; reverse swivel thru tap to SCP LOD; criss cross;;

In Cell Block Tango by Worlock, part E begins with a Quick Promenade Wing Spin & back (QQQ&QQQ) ; ,, bk lk bk , ; zig zag 4 ; bk whisk ;
Rumba Cross

phase VI

qqs; s

In closed position, facing line of dance, step forward L (woman back R). Knees are soft. Use strong left side lead and left side stretch. On the second "quick" cross right in back of left (woman left in front of right). Use a Latin Cross action with the heel leading, R toe to L heel, making a momentary "7" and turning RF on toes up to 1/2. This strong left side stretch will cause/allow the woman to cross in front. On the "slow", step back L (woman fwd R between partner's feet), pivoting RF. On the second "slow," step forward R between partner's feet to closed position. Standard amount of total turn is 1/2 to 3/4.
Promenade Tap

phase V

sqq;

In semi-closed position, step side and forward L (woman sd & fwd R), -, thru R, tap L sd & fwd ending in SCP lead ft free;

The Tap is often cued as an action by itself. We might be in closed position with lead feet free. A tap involves no weight change, only a sharp turn to SCP and a touch of the inside of the big toe to the floor (M's L & W's R). Be careful not to tap into the floor, with forward poise. Tango is characterized by back poise—hips forward and chest up.


Head Flick

phase V

&s

In semi-closed position, the man quickly rotates his hips right and then left to cause the woman to snap her head left and then right again. No weight change. The man's head turns little if at all.

It is always important for the woman to wait for the man's lead before dancing a figure. This is the difference between dancing with your partner and simply dancing in the vicinity of your partner. But here it is especially important to let the man "flick" the woman's head. If she passively allows herself to respond to his movement, it looks classy. If she flicks her own head, it only looks odd.

It is said that this figure arose out of the bad smell of those original Argentine gauchos. She catches just a whiff and sharply turns away. An accompanying look of disgust might have been appropriate originally, but I think it would detract in today's stylized version.


Foot Flick

&s

In SCP, the man does a tiny brush/tap. In the process, he pushes with his L knee on the outside of her R knee, and she flicks her R foot back and replace to tap position. No weight change.

For this action to work, you must be in tight SCP with hips together and lead legs in contact. This is a good tango SCP, and you mustn't get sloppy here. If you're in more of a half-open position and he bangs his knee into her leg from a distance, it won't feel good. The lead is the slightest nudge from a knee already touching.

Notice that the man does not flick his foot. There is no lead for the woman if he does.

It's interesting to compare the head flick (above) and the foot flick. For a head flick, he nudges her with his L hip; for a foot flick, he nudges her with his L knee. Do both, and I suppose she would flick both.


Quarter Beats

phase V

q&q&s;

In semi-closed position, take a small step behind L (woman behind R)/sd & bk R, side L closing hips and even looking at partner/cl R, tap L sd & fwd ending in SCP, -;

Sometimes this figure is likened to a sailor shuffle, close/tap, but don't make it look like that — loose and swingy. Keep the topline steady—no progression either way—with the legs moving in a controlled way below. Settle a bit at the end of the figure.

One might wonder about the name of this figure. I'm not enough of a musician to fully appreciate this matter, but it seems that International Tango is written in 2/4 time, with a "slow" being one beat and a "quick" being 1/2 beat (exactly equivalent, it seems to me, to thinking in terms of 4/4 time and a "slow" equal to 2 beats). But if a "quick" is 1/2 beat, then the steps in this figure are indeed taken on the "quarter beat."


Promenade Quarter Beats

phase V

sqq&; s

In semi-closed position, step side and forward L (woman R), -, thru R, sd & fwd L on ball of foot/close R to L on ball; sharply lower R heel compressing knee and tap L sd & fwd ending in SCP, -;
Stalking Walks

phase V

ss; ss;

In semi-closed position, step sd & fwd L, -, draw R face ptnr and point toe thru, -; thru R in semi, -, draw L and pt, -;

There are two different views on styling. Some picture a jungle cat moving down a tangled path, stepping over fallen branches as each free foot comes forward. Others picture him gliding down a more open path with that free foot just skimming the surface. But make it cat-like.

In Sombras by the Blackfords, there is a turning four by five step - promenade to SCP;;;; stalking walks;;;; rock 3; closed finish;
Contra Check

phase V

s or q

In closed position, the man lowers on his right foot and steps forward on his left or actually slides his left forward and the woman steps back on her right to contra banjo. Turn the toes of the left foot out a little for stability. The word "contra" means that as you step forward with one foot (the left here), you turn your body so that the opposite side is leading or going forward (here the right side). That is what contra is: the left foot goes forward, but the right side of the torso goes forward. A contra action twists the body a little so that the legs are not side by side, but the thighs are crossed. Keep your body upright; don't lean over your lady. By the way, the word "check" means that you will stop your forward movement and get ready for the next step, which will be back or recover. "Check" means to stop and get ready to move the other way.
Contra Check and Slip

phase V

sqq;

Lower, rotate a little LF, and step forward L into a contra check, as described above. On the two quicks, recover R (woman recover L), and slip the left past the right turning a little LF to closed position.
Contra Check and Switch

phase V

sqq;

Lower, rotate a little LF, and step forward L into a contra check, as described above. On the two quicks, recover R (woman recover L) beginning to turn RF and leaving left foot in place, and step back L with soft knees throughout. End in closed position; amount of turn varies.
Brush Tap

phase V

qq&s;

In closed position, step forward L turning about 1/8 LF, take a small side step and brush the left to the right (woman right to left), and then tap the left to the side with the inside of the big toe on the floor and the left knee turned inward.

The "tap" itself is the sharp placement of the lead, big toe on the floor without taking weight, knees flexed. The toes are turned in and the heel is out in a "pigeon-toed" sort of stance. The tap is used in other ways than in a Brush Tap. You might be cued to "close/tap" or "recover/tap" Such "taps" often turn you to semi-closed position, rather than closed position.


Back Twinkle

phase V

qqs;

In semi-closed position, step back L (woman bk R), close R to L at instep of L foot, tap L side & fwd, -;
Promenade Link

phase V

sqq;

A "link" is a figure that is designed to accomplish a change—to shift you from one dance position to another, from one foot to the other, from turning one way to turning the other. Probably most dance figures do that, but links have such a change as their primary purpose. (So, in Viennese Waltz, the purpose of a closed change is not so much to carry you a little farther down the floor but to free up the trail feet and allow you to do some natural turns after having danced a string of reverse turns. The closed change is an example of a link.)

The promenade link begins in promenade or semi-closed position facing LOD. The man steps side and forward L (woman R), -, thru R with just a little LF upper-body rotation (woman thru L turning LF to closed position), tap L to side of R ending in closed position lead feet free facing DLW or LOD;

It is the first two steps of a promenade, and the man folds her to CP. We have "linked" from semi-closed to closed position.

Sometimes, this figure is taught as a "forward, pickup, tap." These are terms that round dancers know well, but they are a little misleading in that they suggest much more rotation than we should have in a promenade link. The man uses just a little rotation to close the woman up, but if we begin in SCP facing LOD, he should still be facing DLW at the end of the figure, and the woman only folds to face the man in a tango closed position, well into his right arm. She should not step and then swivel 1/2 to face RLOD (as in a true pickup).


Progressive Link

phase V

qq

In closed position facing diagonal line and wall, step forward L a bit wide toward her R elbow and with a little contra action, giving her your right side (woman back R), then close R to L taking the right side away again. This will place her in semi-closed position. Her pelvis will roll RF from the front of his right hip to a little behind his right hip. Don't straighten the right leg and so pop up. Tango stays down with back poise.

This figure has some of the feel of a contra check: little contra check winding her LF, close to SCP taking her RF.

In Dancing - - The Tango by the Sechrists, there is a walk 2; progressive link and side/close; natural pivot to a chair;; recover slip & corte;
Four Step

phase V

qqqq;

In closed position facing LOD, step forward L (woman bk R), sd & bk R, bk L under body (woman fwd R outside partner) to contra banjo, small sd & bk R taking R hip farther away from W (W sm sd & bk L turning RF) to semi-closed position;

The last step of this figure is much like the last step of a progressive link. It takes the man's right side away from the woman and so turns her to semi.


Four Step Change

qqqq;

This is a tango "change of direction," and it has a little of the feel of a four step. You might begin in closed position facing DLW and end in CP facing DLC. Step side and forward L (W sd & bk R) turning LF 1/4, sd R, cl L, bk R with contra action [M's L side back];

Notice that the woman does not step outside the man, and there is no close/tap to SCP (so I guess it's not very much like a true four step). But it does have a marked left-face turn like a change of direction.

This figure is also danced with a timing of qq&s, an alternative timing that has some of the same feel as the alternative timing for the five step, mentioned below (qqs&s).

In Tango Recuerdo by the Imamuras, part C ends with a double closed promenade;; and the dance then ends with a four step change (qq&s); reverse fallaway & slip; contra check recover slip; twist turn to face LOD; x-line, -,
Five Step

phase V

qqqq; s

In closed position facing LOD, step forward L (woman bk R), sd & bk R, bk L under body (woman fwd R outside partner) to contra banjo, small sd & bk R to closed position; sharply turn to semi-closed position with no weight change, -,

Often, we like to dance this figure with a timing of qqs; &s. In other words, we hold the third step in banjo position, and then in a "change/point"–like way, we step and turn to semi & tap.

In Stier Tango by the Worlocks, there is a reverse fallaway slip; brush tap to face DLW; side close & five step;; to a double promenade with swivel closes;;

The last figure above is like a double closed promenade, but the timing is modified to fit this particular music (sqq; qqqq; with swivels on beats 4 & 8).

Turning Five Step

qqqq; s

In closed position, step forward L (woman bk R) turning 1/4 LF, sd & bk R turning, bk L (woman fwd R outside partner) to contra banjo, small sd & bk R to closed position completing 1/2 turn; sharply turn to semi-closed position with no weight change and lead feet tapped, -,

If you begin in CP LOD, you will end in SCP RLOD.


Four By Five Step

phase VI

qqqq; qqqq; s

In closed position facing DLW, step forward L (woman bk R), turning LF sd & bk R, bk L to banjo, swivel RF to sidecar and close R to L (woman sd & bk L); fwd L, turning LF to banjo sd & bk R, bk L in BJO, small bk R to CP; turn sharply to SCP and tap, -,

May begin in other facing directions. Total turn is 1/4 -3/4 LF. Timing may vary; in the second measure, we particularly like QQS&S (see five step above).

Turning Four By Five Step

phase VI

qqqq; qqqq; s

You might be in CP DRW. Step forward L (woman bk R) turning LF, sd & bk R turning, bk L to banjo DLW, heel pull closing R to L and turning RF to sidecar DRW (woman small bk L); fwd L outside W (W bk R) turning LF, sd & bk R turning LF to banjo DLW, bk L in BJO, small bk R to CP; turn sharply to SCP and tap, -,

This figure is a turning four step, but on the last step, we turn it back to the right, then a turning five step. It feels a little like a zigzag, but step 4 (the heel pull) is sharper and with less progression than in a zigzag. Use contra action at each step outside partner. Keep heads left—the hips go through a zigzag pattern, but the shoulders should move much less.

In Tango Recuerdo by the Imamuras, part C begins with a walk 2; progressive link to back open promenade;; turning four by five step & foot flick;;; to a double closed promenade;;
Reverse Pivot

phase VI

s or q or &

In closed position facing RLOD, step back R (woman fwd L) and spin 1/2 to the left on the ball of the right foot. Stay low—no rise or fall and no sway. Amount of turn may vary.
Natural Pivot Turn

phase VI

sqq; s

In semi-closed position facing LOD, step side & fwd L (woman sd & fwd R) down line, -, fwd R turning RF to closed position facing RLOD, side and back L pivoting RF to closed facing LOD; fwd and side R with a slight lunge to end in closed position, -,

This figure begins in semi, turns 3/4 to 7/8 RF, and ends in closed.


Natural Promenade Turn

phase VI

sqq; s

In semi-closed position facing LOD, step side & fwd L (woman sd & fwd R) down line, -, fwd R turning RF to closed position facing RLOD, side and back L pivoting RF to closed facing LOD; fwd R to semi-closed position, -,

This figure begins in semi, turns 3/4 to 7/8 RF, and ends in semi.


Natural Twist Turn

phase VI

sqq; sqq;

This one has about the same result as the Natural Promenade Turn, but it is accomplished with a twist turn rather than a pivot.

In semi-closed position LOD, step sd & fwd L (woman sd & fwd R), -, fwd R blending to CBMP, turning RF sd L across woman's line of dance (she steps fwd R between man's feet); XRIB of L without taking full weight (woman fwd L with left shoulder lead), -, twist RF to semi-closed position facing DLC (woman fwd R to banjo position turning RF), shift weight to R in tap position (woman sd and bk L);

Sometimes, we approach a twist turn as though the woman is "unwinding" the man, but properly, he is powering this. But do not lead the woman's last two steps with your arms only. Men, as you cross behind, make it a rather loose crossing step, not a tight hook, and press into your R toe and your L heel. This combined pressure will turn you quite sharply. Your hips, torso, and shoulders all turn as a unit, leading the woman's last two steps. End with shoulders parallel, in closed position, and at the last moment make the slight turn to SCP.

In the classic, Tango Capriccioso, by the Wards, part A starts with a natural twist turn;; closed promenade and progressive side step;; walk two;
Natural Fallaway Twist Turn

sqq; qqs;

This figure is like the Natural Twist Turn, but the woman stays in fallaway position rather than blending to banjo on the second step. She is also in fallaway position at the beginning of measure two. On the other hand, we end in banjo rather than semi.

In semi-closed position LOD, step sd & fwd L (woman sd & fwd R), -, fwd R still in semi beginning to turn RF, sd & fwd L to momentary closed position facing diagonal reverse and wall (woman fwd R between man's feet); XRIB of L without taking full weight (woman turn RF and step side & back L into tight fallaway or semi-closed position facing reverse), unwind RF (woman step back R or XRIB of L), take weight on R (woman sd & fwd L) to banjo position man facing LOD, -;

In Tango Capriccioso, part B starts with a fallaway twist turn;; outside swivel forward tap; promenade to semi and forward;; pickup tap four step and promenade to semi;;;

In the DeChennes' 007 Tango, part B begins with a double open promenade;; outside swivel thru tap; natural fallaway twist turn;; back and prep to a same foot lunge;,,

Whirligig

sqq; qqqq; qqqq;

This is two twist turns, first the man twists and then the woman.

In semi-closed position facing LOD step fwd L (W fwd R), -, fwd & across R, trng RF step sd L to fc DRW (W fwd R between man's feet); XRIB of L to fc DRC (W bk L in SCP), twist on both feet 1⁄2 RF with feet flat to end with feet almost together wgt on L to end M fcing DLW (W keep head to L and walk backwards around man unwinding him R, L, R); staying close to W walk around her fwd R (W XLIF of R), fwd L, fwd R unwinding woman to end approximately fcing DLC (W turn on balls of both feet, to end with wgt on L), sharply swvl RF on R/and tap L (W tap R) fwd to SCP LOD;

The Quick Whirligig is a variation that has the timing qqqq; qqqq; qqs; The steps are the same, but we start with a "quick" and end doing our tap on a slow count.

In Naughty Lady Tango by the DeChennes, there is a promenade to SCP - whirligig - promenade wing spin to banjo RLOD;;;;;; reverse swivel thru tap to SCP LOD;

In Cell Block Tango by the Worlocks, there is a progressive link to SCP LOD; quick whisk and tap; quick whirligig;;; quick promenade with side close to CP wall; side drag close tap to SCP;

Chase

phase VI

sqq; qq

In semi-closed position, step side and forward L (woman sd & fwd R), -, fwd R turning RF (woman fwd L), sd L (woman sd & fwd R) to closed position facing wall; fwd R outside partner (W bk L) turning sharply RF to contra banjo checking, recover back L (woman fwd R) turning RF to end in closed position facing DRC,

We sometimes get careless and dance this figure with curving steps like a curved feather. We dance so many foxtrots and waltzes that it is easy to fall back into the habit of smooth styling and flowing movements, but tango is sharp movements punctuated with static pauses. Here, step 2 involves a sharp 1/8 turn (M RF, W LF). Step 3 is side, checking, to a tango closed position (W well into M's R arm). Step 4 involves a sharp RF turn, checking again. In essence, the W is wound up a bit to the left and then turned sharply to the right—bang, bang. Don't dance a smooth, graceful curve.

This figure is often followed by a chasse or a back/lock, back; to finish out the measure. Such an ending would be separately cued. Alternatively, some regard the chase as a six-step figure (sqq; qqs;), the last step being side and forward R turning RF to end in SCP facing DLC.

In Diosa Marina by the Schmidts, there is a five step to a chase with a chasse ending and brush tap;;;; curve 2 to face COH; fwd rock 3 to face DRC; back cruve 2 to face wall; bk rk 3 to face DLW;
Double Chase

sqq; qqqq; qq
In semi-closed position, step side and forward L (woman sd & fwd R), -, fwd R turning RF (woman fwd L), sd L (woman sd & fwd R) to closed position facing wall; fwd R outside partner (W bk L) turning sharply RF to contra banjo checking, recover back L (woman fwd R) pivoting RF to end in closed position facing DLC, continue turning fwd R (W bk L), sd & fwd L to CP wall;fwd R outside partner (W bk L) turning sharply RF to contra banjo checking, recover back L (woman fwd R) to CP DRC,
In Dark Eyes by the Garzas, there is a viennese turn; progressive link to a double chase to face RLOD;;; back corte;


Some material from this page was reprinted as “Tango, Argentine and International,” Roundalab Journal, 32:2, p.17–18, fall 2008.




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