An article by Anthony Hurley for Education Department WDC&AL
I feel it is necessary to add some personal thoughts on the development of the character and atmosphere of the ballroom competitive tango.
For me tango has three moods:
1. FAST REFLEX SPEED developed from using the body weight through to the supporting leg, this will create a crisp, fast weight change as long as it is not followed by an oversized step.
2. DYNAMIC STOPS after a flurry of pivoting or fast telespin type actions a couple must be able to demonstrate the ability to create a dead stop, such as a contra check or the ever popular throwaway oversway maintaining a perfect shoulder line and body contact. When trying to perfect these lines a good tip to remember is that never take the combined energy of the partnership to the end product this usually results in losing the balance of the line selected.
3. THE SLOW MOODS the Spanish drag is a first class example when many slows may be used whilst in a non- progressive feature of choreography. The courage to hold lines and listen for the correct musical impulse to exit will give an immediate contrast and reflex speed.
MUSIC:- There are different thoughts in the dancing world on musical interpretation. Should we be counting it as 4/4 (1234) or 2/4(1&2&2&2&). For Fay and I there is no choice the crispness of 2/4 timing in my opinion gives the ability to correctly change weight on the accents of the tango music. If I compare the two musical structures one promotes a long floating action whilst the other demands smaller steps that in turn promotes a more staccato and compact production which is the hallmark of a good tango.
VISUAL RISE:-Regardless of choreographic choice I hate to see any visible rise and fall and when I see figures such as double reverse spins, overspins, standing spins with waltz type foot rise, my blood boils. We have of course tango figures that are danced on the ball of the foot. Examples, side chasses man & lady, lady’s big top and outside spin danced from step 4 of the twist turn and not from an open natural turn, it does not exist in tango. All must be produced without visual rise.
PROMENADE POSITION:- sometimes known as problem position. (Sometimes) in the dancers dictionary usually means always.
When standing in PP man facing DW, the lady will be facing DC. Therefore the lady has a ¼ of a turn difference in alignment and 1/8 of a turn off the man’s centre, so the lady cannot have her right side in contact with the man. Her foot position should be LF to side and slightly back. Most girls I see dance any opening action by stepping diag back with LF therefore leaving the RF diag fwd under the man’s body. Could it be the Man is not correctly leading the opening action and therefore creating all sorts of problems on the first step of promenade regardless of what the following figure maybe.
Let’s keep the tango as a competitive ballroom dance with its own exclusive characteristics that separate it from the swing dances.