Vals Croillo / Cruzado
Dancing on tangovals is a good way to let your body flow on the rhythm of music. The three-beat rhythm works as a heartbeat of energetic waves. Tension, charge, discharge and relaxation is also the beat of the body. It has a perfect, personal tempo, it is not the same as the mechanic time-pitch of a metronome.
The smooth and connected legato of Waltz music, as opposed to the staccato breaks between notes in classic Tangomusic, asks for a more gliding movement of the feet over three-beats, instead of staccato placement, not-connected steps.
This valse-gliding is stretching the body-energy over 3 steps, thus making them an unit, like a bandoneón pulsation. The "push-off" is like the jump of a cat, the landing, the last step, is always soft.
This technique can also be done on classic tango and milonga music, making a 3 step-connection on 2 beats (or 5 steps on 3 beats), "entre temps" or "contretemps", so creating a traspié. In this milonga, the energy and the steps are more compact, closely united, not stretched.
A surplus can be the act of making a visible marking step on the ground, so adding to the step an accent like a candombe drumbeat.
The idea is to walk/dance Vals Cruzado with Tango vocabulary, not to run a Tango on 1,2,3-Waltz music. In this, healthy breathing is important.
Best is to start just by walking, doing no figures and match the steps to the music, just listen.
Tango: 2 strong beats on 4
1 2 3 4
Tangowaltz - Vals Croillo / Cruzado
1 2 3 1 2 3
The use of the measure (three beats) allows a period of one full second for one change of weight or one movement.
The use of "medio galope" or "canter rhythm" (walk=four-beat, trot=two-beat, canter=three-beat) reduces it to 2/3 of a second for one change of weight or movement. When using the beat, there is just 1/3 second of the same actions.
The energy starts in the hips/chest, and goes down to the feet.
Al ritmo del dos por cuatro
The tango rhythm is based on the 2x4, 2 strong beats on 4:
1 2 3 4
A way to make this 1-2 -mark visible in the act of stepping is ...
on 1 : lifting the knee and the heel of the foot, and slowly starting moving = expanding like a bandoneón.
on 2 : stretching the leg, fast like a clasp-knife, and putting the foot down like a knife-thrust, a thrusting flash, a strong stab to the heart, una puñalada with an Argentinian Facón.
As stabbing happens fast, quick, the duration of the marking moment is extremely much shorter than the earlier lifting of the knee, the extending. That contrast gives a striking tension, a noticeable suspense.
It looks like:
________1________ ... /2\ ________3________ ... /4\ etc...
It sounds like:
La Yumba ....
In dancing, as in knife-fighting and boxing, it is nice to know that the flexibility of the body increases when the feet are in a more open \ /-position rather than close together, stiff.
Argentine tangos, milongas and tangovalses are a very soft private dances with visual emphasis on the leg movements, and have been used as an examples of irrational dancing, improvising creativity. This character was changed dramatically in Paris in the 1930's, where the dance was combined with the proud torso of the other ballroom dances, and given a staccato action. It moved the visual emphasis to the torso and head, which puts the bodycenter higher. This is a characteristic of dances coming from Western Europe, and is a heritage of the origin of dancing in the royal courts of Europe, like a symbol of higher education.
Ballroom dancers will tend to put appearance above connection, more on performing to an audience, that is their intention. The focused intention of milongaclub or social dancers will be primarily on their partners-connection and musicality. These subtle rhythmic cadence movements are the pleasure of salondancing, but are no stage spectacle for an audience at a distance. However, since 1955 is Argentine tango also made for a stage performance with more fantasia, called "Tango por enscenario".
In Argentine tango the body energy-center lies lower then in ballroom tango. A little downwards pressure in the hips, makes the knees bend more and gives a more centered body axes, a sneaking, gliding way of walking. This less royal way of moving is related to knife fighting, which is a fast, fluid and dangerous affair. To master this most lethal of martial arts demands self-discipline, physical sacrifice and years of intensive training. The experienced knife fighter will easily see an opening and go in for the kill without being countered.
In Argentine tango, the way of walking is philosophy. The energy and the way a body moves from A to B is the magic, not A and B. In tango, the feet always glide over the floor, except in canyengue. The walking human can be imagined as a small steel ball (the center of mass) propelled forward on top of two stiff wires (the legs). With each step forward, one end of a wire is planted on the ground, and the steel ball swings in an arc around the other end, just like an upside-down pendulum. As the ball reaches the end of its arc, the other wire is planted farther forward on the ground, and the process is repeated. To maintain forward movement, the energy of the steel ball needs to be transferred from one pendulum to the other. In normal walking humans, only 65 percent of that energy is actually transferred, the rest is vanished and must be replaced by additional muscle energy. At the height of each step, the normal walking human begins to drop down, losing potential energy without transferring it into kinetic energy, which would generate additional forward speed. African women however, are able to minimize this loss through an almost invisible, tiny alteration of their gait. They transfer at least 80 percent of their forward energy to the next step. Only 20 percent must be replaced by the muscles, leaving plenty of energy in reserve to carry the weight on their heads. The across the wooden floor feet-gliding in tango too, has to do with improving the economy of walking.
The socialclub dancer's skill is to know how to choose the most effective move at the right moment, optimize the energy available at that occurrence, as well as turn the hints offered by the partner into an unique, unusual personal dialogue. The interactive nature of pair dance gives lots of opportunity for partners to subtly affect and kill each other. This means that there is a 3rd beat-pattern dimension. Underneath the "quick quick slow"-steps and the living pulse of the music, grows a natural dialogue of rhythm in the choreographic couple's dance interaction, which is based on what is inside you and what is inside the other.
When two people dance together, what they do affects each other in a profound and ongoing way. A dialogue exposes, maybe something of a courtship “dance” rhythm, the bottomline is chemistry. To be effective, the leader must also involve a degree of flexibility, improvising, that of being able to harmonize and synchronize with the partner. Every move is according to the partner’s response. The main goal, the know why, is to build an intriguing bond with the partner, reaching a genuine connection while dancing. The level of indirectness, distance, depends mostly on the amount of feedback one is getting from the partner. The woman can activate a series of “body signals”, bit by bit, like a soft laugh or singing, which ignite the curiosity of the man thus lightning up his attention like an aha-erlebnis. Since the reaction in the man constitutes his response, the level of the man’s commitment is highly correlated to the frequency which the woman sends out these signals, much of this serving to reduce the man’s sense of insecurity.
The beautiful thing about emotional expression in dance is that there is no right or wrong, but the way a dancer feels about dancing and his awareness of the act, makes a tremendous difference in how the interaction is embodied. The dancer is generating and expressing a unique emotional experience at the moment of the performance. The more genuine the emotion, the more developed the technique, and the more focused the dancer's intention, the more the dance partner and the audience will feel what the dancer is experiencing, and the more emotionally satisfying and artistically excellent the performance will be.
Lack of a focused intention is apparent in many performances, unconscious intentions are inevitably expressed instead. If a dancer doesn't know why he or she is dancing, the movements will have no real meaning and it will show up as a lack of energy or a chaotic, ambivalent quality. Each dancer should examine this motivation-issue for himself and choose consciously his reason for dancing and let grow the image he wishes to project.
The greatest dancers are not so much revered for technical excellence, but for their unique personal style, character they put in a movement. If you feel and know why you are dancing, you make more then dance steps, you create a dance. Each tango step has an emotional content, given by the soul, and the plot of the improvisation-play can be the opposition of characters, between what is inside you and what is inside your partner.
Dance and music evoke the human quality of being expressive, they arouse and excite life-sustaining energy. Hearing music and doing dance actions can also bring back lost qualities into the individual. The expressive value of dance movements informs us about our personal life, directly from our living body. It explores and can open, affect something inside. The dancing communication between two persons, the "corps-à-corps"-contact, is emotional exploration too.
It's a face-to-face engagement, from the beginning to the end.
Europeans who go to Buenos Aires to dance a passionate tango in the milongas, may find the formal codes and behavior rules, such as the strict separation between men, women and couples, a bit outdated. Others will find it nostalgic, as if concealing mystic darkness, as in the old days of Catholicism. A history of social dance is a history of morality and as 83% of the Argentinians are Catholics, it reflects some Catholic morality.
A Catholic morality with its restrictions and rebellions, such as between the Catholic Church and the Liberation Theology. Admit, for a single Catholic woman it isn’t always easy to make the step to tango dancing, tango with it's, nearly sacramental, intimacy and passion. But, quite true, dance portrays the beauty of the person as made in the image of God. Regarding Tango and the Theology of the Body.
Buenos Aires is often called the Paris of South America, mainly because of its architectural image. Regarding the man-woman relation however, the Parisian image is different. Especially at the present difficult times, the Argentine Catholic church has focused its advocacy in three areas: ferm opposition to nearly all forms of modern contraception, to sex education, and to abortion. At the heart of this opposition lie views about women’s role in the family, and about maternity and reproduction as key parts of women’s identity. Increasingly, however, Catholic church officials have sought to justify their faith-based opposition to contraception and abortion in less doctrinal and more “pragmatic” terms, such as “scientific” proof that condoms prevent neither pregnancy nor sexually transmitted infections or nationalist concerns with population size and growth. Historically, a central part of the identity of the political elite in Argentina has been that of a frontier nation to be colonized and populated by Caucasian immigrants from Europe. The most famous expression of this identity is the phrase to rule is to populate attributed to Juan Bautista Alberdi, a central figure in Argentina’s political history known as the “father of the Argentine constitution.” Over the years, the refrain “to rule is to populate” has been used by various political actors to justify the limitations on women’s reproductive autonomy and rights, by reference to women’s essential role as childbearers and—as such—tools for population growth. Across the South American region, many governments and legislators have historically declared their opposition to modern birth control methods, usually with reference to Catholic church doctrine. However, in Argentina the government went so far as to prohibit the sale of all contraceptives for several decades in the late twentieth century, an extreme display of opposition to birth control even by regional standards. This pro-natalist approach has historically set Argentina apart from the rest of South America, so much so that Argentina in 1996 was the only country in the region to provide no public support of any kind for access to contraception.
Only in 2002 did the Argentine congress enact meaningful reform, overcoming vocal opposition from the Catholic church as well as several conservative legislators to pass the National Law on Sexual Health and Responsible Procreation. This law placed reproductive and sexual health on the national political agenda for the first time in Argentina’s history. Argentina’s health minister indicated publicly that he thought women’s health and lives probably would improve if abortion were decriminalized. In response, President Nestor Kirchner (elected in 2003) was quick to emphasize that the government’s position continued to be a “clear rejection of the legalization of abortion.” However, Kirchner also defended his government’s health minister against subsequent attacks from the Catholic church, including by asking the Vatican to retire a bishop who had suggested the health minister should be thrown into the sea with a stone around his neck for his comments.
President Néstor Kirchner, while professing belief in the Catholic faith, has often had a troubled relationship with the hierarchy of the Church. Kirchner belongs to the center-left of Peronism and has placed emphasis on certain progressive views that do not go well with some conservative Catholics. The Argentine national government passed laws and began a program to the effect of providing assistance on sex education to all citizens, including the provision of free oral contraceptives and condoms. The Church opposes artificial contraception and has placed conditions on its acceptance of sex education in schools. At the beginning of 2005, the minister of Health made public his support for the legalization of abortion, and Kirchner's silence on the matter angered the Church. In October 2005 conflict erupted again as the Argentine Chamber of Deputies took steps to pass a Sex Education Law that would encompass the whole school system (public and private, including confessional schools), forcing educational establishments to teach students about gender roles and contraception, among other topics. The Archbishop of La Plata accused the state of "promoting sexual corruption" and "inciting fornication, lust and promiscuity". On the issue of the 1970's, - the Vatican Embassy here kept a secret list of thousands of people who "disappeared" during Argentina's dirty wars of the late 1970s - Kirchner called attention on the many bishops "who weren't there while children were disappearing" and who "gave [the sacrament of] confession to torturers" of the Dirty War. Members of the opposition later qualified Kirchner as "Liberation Theology", "unjust" and "intolerant". At the present time, old milonga codes are changing, and more.