DNI Class Notes


DNI Class Notes

Classes at DNI cost 10 pesos. You can buy a card for 10 classes for 80 pesos.

DNI labels its classes Tango 1 through Tango 6 but they don’t exert any screening of the students.
Saturday, April 29 – 1:00
Another variation on a turn. In this one the man puts the follow into a back ocho and meets her arrival with a left foot that has been sweeeeeping around in a following move. The trick in this part is to provide a nice continuous smooth movement for the follow, bring the loose, relaxed foot along and do this arm/shoulder thing where you are firm enough to send the woman off then relax and allow one set of shoulders to open while the other set closes as she moves across in front of you.
OK, that is just the second step. Then the man steps behind with his right foot as the woman continues her giro and plants his left and prepares his right for a sacada on the woman, then doubletimes (maybe more quickly, the step is muy rapido) left, right again for another sacada and steps left, right to meet the end of her giro. I’m really prancing around here and trying to stay connected to the floor, the woman and my sense of humor.
I should also be bringing a natural movement of going up and down. The down movement helps make a good sacada. These guys go for a moderate up and down movement. Anathema in the old dispensation.
For the second day I paired up with a woman who seemed able to understand the sequence more quickly than I. Makes ya wonder. The gal yesterday was from Chicago but she has family in the BA area. She was a pretty hot tango dancer. The one today liked to lead and would break forth every once in a while when she couldn’t hold herself back any longer. Since she put with me, I just said what the hell and went along.
Then they killed me with a continuation that I bumbled completely. When the woman comes to what was the end of her giro, I send her on a rebound that will bring her back to do a sacada on me. About this time I’m thinking Tango 4 is way above my level. While providing her with a lead that sends her outward and stops her at my arms length (more or less) (firmly but gently) I’m supposed to prance AGAIN and step forward with my right foot, leaving my left behind without weight for her to sacada and then prance again (left foot up to right, shift weight, step forward with right foot) so she can sacada me again with the next step on her walk forward.

From Legging it
Last night’s lesson focused on bringing the woman around in a giro that is launched from a torqued position of the man. One pattern started from a cross footed beginning and other from standard footing. After the initial step to provide a starting point the man puts one foot behind him and provides a lead that brings the woman over his leg in a series of steps and pivots until they have turned around completely. Cool, basic stuff.
On Wednesday night I attended two classes and one teacher spent time with me loosening my leg. In between classes I kept practicing on the move assiduously. Last night, by god, my damn leg whipped around until it was touching my partner’s foot and my embrace was still in place where I had frozen her as I put her in an equal weight backstep. Amazing. I have practiced a back sacada for years and just couldn’t do it without wrenching my back.

Tango class Tuesday, April 24, 2007
We were working on a movement I found interesting because I had experimented with something similar very often — stopping the woman as she starts a giro around me and sending her back with a rebound. I finally abandoned it because it wasn’t working — and for good reason as my clumsy attempts to follow their instructions showed.
In this pattern I start by leading the woman to take a backward step while I step outside on her right with my right foot. Then I lead her to step across my front and forward on my left and that is when I step forward and rebound her to step back across my front.
There are a lot of aspects of their techniqe that come into play here. The movement is started with shoulders/arms that are firm but then become relaxed and then firm again as you apply the rebound. You actually allow the woman to meet the line of your shoulders. Your timing is important, obviously, as you step forward to provide a soft welcoming shoulder to rebound against.
They wanted a flow of continuous energy on each movement of the woman from one side to the other. In the first variation the man rebounded from the forward rebound step and stepped to the side as the woman came back across his front and started her giro. He then followed her around with pivoting steps that were in ‘cross-foot’ mode until on his third step he double timed back into standard foot mode.
In the second variation the man stops her move forward on his left but the rebound contains a side step on his part with his left leg that moves against the thigh of her left leg and provokes a gancho of the left leg across the front of her right leg as she moves back on her rebound. The man then provides room for that gancho leg to move onto the start of her giro by putting his right foot behind the other in a Tee and he continues with step then Tee as she giros. One of my instruction pointers was to not lean back as I made that Tee (probably thinking that that would help the woman by providing room) but to remain perpindicular.
They want you to move from the center of your body and provide a continuous smooth movement, well I guess all teachers want that, but their way of expressing that verbally is lost on my foreign ears so I can’t repeat it nor can I express it myself yet.

Monday, April 30 – 1:00

Monday, april 30, Tango 3, 1 pm class notes

normal footing. man steps toward woman with his left foot, puts all his weight on it, but leaves his right trailing, to protect his space in a milonga. asssss he transfers the woman’s weight on to her right foot he orients her with his hand, open embrace, or elbow, close, to move so that when he now steps back on to his trailing foot, she moves to his left side with one step.
he stops her again and brings her to a pivot possibility giving her air before moving her back again in a ‘back cross’ while he does a back ocho. he meets the result of her back cross with his step at the end of the ocho pivot. he leads her to continue her ‘giro’ sequence with a side step and meets that too with another step.

in the variation on the above we depart at the point he takes his step on the back ocho with his left. instead of taking a normal step he brings his feet together in a cross, or shuffle, changes weight and steps again with his left foot. so he receives the woman at the end of her side step with his left foot having weight. he steps forward with his right foot into the woman’s right side/right foot and sends her into a back gancho. as she returns from this gancho he steps onto his left foot and positions himself so that the woman’s left foot returning from a ganch, meets and hooks into his right foot that he has raised in hooked fashion to receive it. he disengages them and then steps forward with his right into the woman’s receding left foot.

Monday, April 30 –
7:00 Lesson, Tango 5/6

normal footing. Start with step to outside left of woman. bring both of you back with a step back that keeps the same configuration with man’s foot on outside and then go back forward again this time with the man’s thigh pre-positioned against the woman’s thigh to send her leg up into a flying gancho that flies away from him. the momentum from that leg helps turn the woman until her back is almost against his front. he has to let her move and turn of course.
as the leg comes back from that gancho the man directs her leg through his legs in part by going down and in part by using the momentum of that leg to continue to turn her so she is almost fully turned to face front and away from him so his right hand reaches across her front in supporting her while she brings her leg on a back gancho through his legs. he has repositioned his left foot so it is close to the woman’s left foot.
as the leg comes back from that gancho he directs her to start turning in a giro to his right. he does this by opening his shoulder/arm joint on the right side ( and closing on the left?). he follows her turn by twisting his body until his legs have become wrapped up (in an enrosque?) and then he shifts his weight onto his left leg and starts a sweep with his right at the point she has made her step back on the right cross (a usual starting point). the continuation at that point is up for grabs.
until that is they added another part that involved the man performing a wild gancho on the woman, going through her legs. i was too tired by then and dropped out.

my problem area with this move — or rather the one i remember: when the woman moves to make the first flying gancho i have a tendency to move my left hand so that it moves too far back — in basically what is close to its normal position. if it is there it pulls the woman off her axis.


Friday, May 3, 1:00

Tango level 5/6

normal footing. man leads step to side — his left. then he starts the woman on back cross in a way to prepare her with an opening to receive a sacada, he must time it so that he arrives in time to take advantage of her in the back cross postion. While she is making that step he is kicking high with his right foot and returning it to a leg akimbo position across his body (bottom half of leg parallel to the floor) and the continuing through with that foot into the sacada of the woman’s back leg. That movement takes some practice to complete it in time to give the sacada.
he inserts the foot with toe down and then moves down and into the leg while giving the woman a motion of pivot and carrying the leg. then he allows her leg to rebound by moving back/side on to his left leg and he starts her on a giro around his right side and when she is rebounding from the carried leg movement and starts a back cross, he too is starting a back cross by stepping behind the left leg that he has put down. she continues her giro with an apertura, and he steps back onto his left.
she continues with her forward cross and he brings her into a forward ocho on that landing foot. he lands on his right as she lands. as she pivots he steps on his left with what can be a stamping exclamatory step that prepares him to launch a sacada on her back foot.

this sacada is unique. he must insert and then carry through and put weight on that foot but
before he completes that thrusting, movement (with a down feeling that then can rise as he follows through) he must give the woman a good degree of torsion in her upper body that is then finally released as he completes the sacada by stepping onto his extended foot. That torsion gives her the momentum that prepares her for a strong rebound with that leg.
because that woman’s back leg must fly around and arrive at knee height where it will be met by the man’s left ankle which will catch her ankle. then the legs are relaxed and the ankles are allowed to descend to the floor in between the two.

at this point in the first variation the man sweeps the ankle bound legs to his left in a side step and then directs the woman to step through the resulting paired feet.

in the second variation that sweep is preceded by a falling to the side movement that lands on the man’s right foot extended ‘behind to the side’ and then the ankles are swept to the left.

i dropped out at this point. can you add anything? there were super fancy knees catching knees and flinging up, etc.


Saturday, May 4, 1:00

common footing. man steps forward with his right foot onto the woman’s right side (outside) and rocks back and forth. this is to say he steps onto his forward foot but just puts weight on for an instant and really on his toes, comes back and does the same thing on the foot he departed from, onto toes — and without going back onto heel!!!

when he is on that back foot/toe he pivots the woman and himself into a new direction to his left, perhaps a quarter of a circle or so, and then steps forward again, this time onto the heel and full foot. he has carried out these first rocking steps in a lowered stance and now as he arrives on this foot he moves in an upward direction with breath (in?) and shifts his and the woman’s weight onto other feet. As he does this he doesn’t want to let his forward momentum push the woman away from him. he keeps in contact with her, not allowing his arms to relax and allow her to move away.
now he steps back again bringing her with him. he’s stepping back on his right foot and i think must place the foot behind him to allow the woman space to go by. as she moves by he steps on his left then right in double (??) time, preparing his left to be free to perform a sacada. the woman goes past him and is brought back by a forward ocho.
this ocho leaves a back leg free for a sacada which he performs and uses that action and a forward movement on his part to lead the woman to move with him in a way that is a bit unusual. the sacada’ed leg is ‘carried’ with him as she ‘pivots’ a little from the persuasion of his forward movement and that leg/foot comes down in a backward step.

in the first variation that backward step is turned into a giro across and in front of the man that allows the after sacada cross feet stance to be resolved into common foot.

in the 2nd variation the man leads the woman in a continuation that ends with her ready to step forward after a …. forward ocho????
meanwhile he has been more active and is initial left sacada foot forward has been followed by a quick movement of changes of feet and pivoting that has freed his left foot for a placement behind him that blocks the woman’s progress at the end of her ¿forward ocho? he has to let his arm be very free to make this stretch. she steps over.

Monday, May 7, 1:00
normal footing. start with a side step to the man’s right that carries the woman with him and as you make the side step prepare the woman for a back ocho/start of a giro. as she pivots on her left foot the man maintains a waiting attitude that culminates in a rebounding back step — he steps onto his left foot that he has placed behind him and lands when the woman’s right foot lands on the back cross. he uses his body to guide her and then the momentum of that back step to give her momentum to continue the giro as he rebounds from his left ‘forward’ onto his right, giving her room to continue the giro and setting himself up for a big pivot on that right foot until he steps on his left again and then uses his right to place next to the woman’s right foot as she reaches an apertura. he freezes her there with his right foot and body and steps forward to make a sandwich of her foot with his left.

in the first variation he now just carries her right foot from the sandwich to make a step right and then a stepover I think.

in the second variation — now he ‘gets in line with her’, or I saw it as giving her a little twist as he sandwiches her. that line/twist provides the angle for him to lead her to bring her left leg/foot which has been hanging out in an open stance, over past their sandwich to her rear in a move that places her in a similar position to that as if she had made a back ocho/cross. he then moves with a downward feel and sideways to carry her and her right foot to the side with his left foot and his body in a sideways direction.

then he leads her to step over.

in the continuation to that step over is the opportunity for a back gancho through his legs as she steps over with her left leg and he brings her leg back through his. He allows that ‘gancho’ to become part of a movement in which he untangles their legs and guides her to continue with that foot to make the start of a giro around him with hips meeting and remeeting until he has an opening of his own through her legs for a gancho with his right foot.

Monday, May 7, 7:00
The man starts the woman in a backward ocho by stepping to his left, changing feet and stepping left again. standard. 1,2,3 steps. On his step four he steps away from the departing woman a little bit on right foot and takes a quick step five that is behind him and fairly close to the woman’s left foot that is left behind as she is back with her weight on both feet at the end of her first ocho. the man takes another step, six, that is forward. they are now in a long line with the man’s arms reaching behind him to hold the woman. he uses his left arm to draw her to step forward and turn to step across his back foot, stretching out behind him.

in the first variation he takes his foot that was stretched out behind him with him forward after she has stepped across it and he puts his weight on his front foot, pivots a little bit and then rebounds back with that back foot extended and steps back on it and has placed himself so the can move with the woman as she follows through on the step that went over his back foot and they resolve.


Tuesday, May 8, 1:00 o’clock

Leading the woman to start a giro to left and then right side from a rocking step

common footing. start with a rocking back and forth step with the man’s left foot extended to the front and a turning to the man’s left. at a point with the the weight on the back, right, foot put the left down in a new place. when I watched Sebastion’s left foot it sometimes came down close to the back, right, foot but Mariel described it as a step to the side and that is sort of true.
this sets up the woman to start moving in a giro around on the man’s left. it’s odd that then and now i was/am a little confused about how exactly that woman’s first step occurs. it’s as if that initial step is brushed past in the flow of the movement to the side. mariel made some points about how the woman’s hip moved as part of that flow but i didn’t understand the words, although the movement seemed very pertinent.
as i try to describe this i realize how little i understand it.

the move to the other side may be clearer, at least it was the second one taught and thus more recent in memory.
in this move the rocking step is the same and the move on the back, right, foot is clearly followed by a side step on to the left foot. the man ‘loosens/gives air to’ the embrace on his left side and… how odd, i know what must happen but once again it is not that i am telling what was instructed but what must have occurred. the man must lead the woman to take a side step that moves to his right and then a forward cross. meanwhile his is placing his right foot behind him, stepping on it, pivoting, and then stepping on his left.
at this pint i rememberan instruction to the man to use the upper right side of his chest to lean into/give support to the woman’s upper chest at this point in the turn. and there is a need to be sensitive to the momentum of the woman. that momentum can lead to a continued turn but our instruction was to use it/guide it to carry the couple into a straight line after the turn.

Thursday, May 10, one o’clock — Vals

common footing. another movement that relies on placing the follow in a stance with her weight on both feet and maintaining her there for an instant with your intent and with a frame that stays in place. a big change from one of the most basic tenets of the tango i learned before.

step forward with man’s right foot and stop with weight on both feet. man’s intent puts woman on both feet and he has perhaps not gone totally onto both feet. in any case he keeps her in place and brings his right foot back as he rebounds to his back, left, foot and places his right foot now on the outside, right, side of the woman. as he moves back there can be a slight rocking forward movement of the woman but it is subtle if it occurs and is only a rhythm not a movement — part of the Vals feel.

the man now steps forward on that right foot and carries the woman with him through that step to the next when he has stepped back in line with her with his succeeding left foot. with that step of his left foot he uses his intention and a bit of expanding arm/frame movement to put her back again onto a two foot even weight position. he doesn’t carry through all the way with his step — he shortens his step and places it on the line of her left foot that is the forward foot. the following move is facilitated if that left foot forward is combined with a strong counter rotation of his right shoulder that places it significantly forward, closer to the woman.

this combo is a little tricky, shoulder forward, keeping her in place, he moves his right foot past her left on the outside and puts it forward enough that it is on a line about half way between her two feet, enough to form a triangle. and he (eventually) does this with enough grace to bring some momentum/continuity to the move where he now pivots on that right forward foot and brings her around on his inside for the a back ocho whose landing foot he meets with his left as he completes his pivot.

then, i think, he leads her in another backward ocho as he keeps moving in a line with a side step and that resulting configuration, upon the feet landing, puts her in a place for a backward gancho through his legs. he guides her with an inward/downward movement and the downward part of the movment is carried through in his movement to flex his forward foot which is on its toes to move upward and bring his leg up as he moves down carrying the woman with him.

he uses the momentum of rebound from her gancho to carry forward into the continuation. ….. and here i’ve lost the thread…. it goes forward so they move to a place where he now ganchos her. i’ll see if i can pick this up at practica today.

Monday, May 14, one o’clock
Ocho Cortado/Ocho Milonguero with a twist

Start an Ocho Cortado/Ocho Milonguero. I would do this by taking step forward with my left foot and as the woman rocks back on her right foot and then rebounds and step forward on her left, I place my right foot behind me as I bring her in front of me on my right side and she steps on her right foot in a forward cross. Then as she takes the side step/apertura and lands on her left, I match that step by moving my right foot to step with her and absorb her momentum and send her rebounding back. Usually of course you would send her to a cross, in what I feel is one of the sweetest moves in tango, depending on whether the woman uses the hip movement that this sequence makes possible.

In this case though you lead the woman to take that rebound on the outside of her other foot and you follow her step with your step of your right foot. You are giving her a twist here, some torsion that I don’t think I ever really accomplished, felt. That torsion is a nice beginning for the backward cross that you lead as she puts that left foot down. You also give her guidance by using your right hand on her side to ‘pull’ a little — the point here being that you are not giving her hand leads from the man’s left hand.

After starting her on the giro things get a little confusing for me. If she has been given and made use of the torsion at the start of the back ocho/cross she has done a large/long pivot/back ocho and she has ahead of her, sidestep/apertura, front cross, sidestep/apertura. Your job is to catch up with her at that last apertura.

The sequence of men’s steps, pivots was, I thought, a little vague. In the first sequence I think the man did an easy set of pivots that left him ready to step sideways with the woman on her sidestep and carry her through with her momentum into a continuation of that feeling.

In the second we were supposed to end up ready to step into that arriving sidestep with a cross footed step forward. So — as she arrives with her left foot setting down we stop that movement and step into the unweighted right foot with our right foot. The sequence for the man to prepare his feet to reach that position was pretty iffy in my efforts.

When the man did step forward on his right his goal was to bring the woman to step back on her right, urge her to step across his right foot, put down her left foot and rebound back across his foot to put her weight back on her right foot. then you give her a back ocho pivot on that right foot, voila.

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