Bounding Unicorns

Tango

Technique

Knees bent slightly.

Maintain constant head height, and shoulder height, throughout the dance.

L and R elbows same height.

Elbows forward of the body (not even with the body).

Upper body leans back slightly.

Weight is always forward.

Maintain light pressure forward toward the partner, not excessive.

Leader is looking over the follower's right shoulder.

Although Arthur Murray instructors specified that the final step of tango close should be a drag (walk-side-drag), nobody else seems to share this opinion and instead prefers to either close the foot without dragging it or close partially and then move LF forward into the next step.

Follower's Frame

Left elbow can or should be separated from leader's right arm, and pointed horizontal-ish.

When rocking in place, frame should be maintained on both end: follower's back against leader's RH and follower's RH against leader's LH. In the forward rock specifically, follower should maintain tone in RH to avoid collapsing frame.

Counts

Tango counts always add up to a multiple of 8, where each slow step is 2 counts and each quick step is 1 count. Tango basic is 8 counts total. (Though many of the steps here take 12 counts, don't know why that is.)

Tango closes (second half of basic) can be added as necessary to get to the 8 count. Example: medio corte.

Forward walks can also be added as needed, for example the following is a valid variation of the basic:

LF forward          (S)
RF forward          (S)
LF forward          (S)
RF forward          (S)

(2x tango close:)
LF forward          (Q)
RF right            (Q)
LF together         (S)

LF forward          (Q)
RF right            (Q)
LF together         (S)

Basic

Leader's steps:

LF forward          (S)
RF forward          (S)

(tango close:)
LF forward          (Q)
RF right            (Q)
LF together         (S)

Drag LF on floor in the final step.

LF steps left of follower, RF forward steps between follower's legs, just right of follower's right thigh.

Back Tango Close

From frame, leader's steps:

LF forward          (S)
RF forward          (S)
LF back             (Q)
RF right            (Q)
LF together         (S)

Start LOD, finish LOD - no direction change.

Shadow Rocks

From frame, leader's steps:

LF forward          (S)
RF forward          (S)
LF forward & push follower forward into open break  (Q)
rock RF             (Q)
LF together         (S)

LH pull toward leader's right hip                   (S)
LH j-hook & rotate follower R 180°,                 (S)
    LH switch to follower's LH,
    RH on follower's right shoulder blade - shadow position

LF forward          (S)
RF forward          (S)
(tango rocks:)
LF forward          (Q)
rock RF             (Q)
rock LF             (S)
RF forward          (Q)
rock LF             (Q)
rock RF             (S)

RH push follower out of shadow position in front of leader
    & LF forward    (S)
RF forward          (S)

(tango close:)
LF forward          (Q)
RF right            (Q)
LF together         (S)

Notes:

  • J-hook return takes two slow counts.
  • When in shadow position leader should keep follower in front of him rather than side by side.

Left Rock Turn

Breakdown

From frame, leader's steps:

LF forward                          (S)
RF forward & rotate R 45°           (S)
rotate R 45° & LF left/back         (Q)
rotate R 45° & RF forward           (Q)
(now facing DW against LOD)

rotate L 45° & LF back              (S)
LF back                             (Q)
rotate L 45° & LF forward           (Q)
rotate L 45° & RF together          (S)

(tango close:)
LF forward          (Q)
RF right            (Q)
LF together         (S)

Start LOD, finish LOD - no direction change. Start in frame, finish in frame.

Slow Left Rock Turn

From frame, leader's steps:

LF forward & rotate L 45°           (S)
rock RF & rotate L 45°              (S)

(tango close:)
LF forward          (Q)
RF right            (Q)
LF together         (S)

Rotations on each step should be small. Total 90° of direction change left though 180° can be an option also.

Quick Left Rock Turn

Leader's steps:

rotate L ~60° &
LF forward/left 45° & rotate L ~60° (Q)
RF rock back & rotate L ~60°        (Q)
LF rock forward & rotate L ~60°     (Q*)
RF rock back & rotate L ~60°        (Q)
LF rock forward & rotate L ~60°     (Q)

RF right                            (Q)
LF drag together                    (S)

Start LOD, finish LOD.

There is a total of 360° direction change which can be spread evenly over 6 steps. The first step is taken diagonally forward/left with the body concurrently rotating left. The RF right step is taken with the body still facing diagonally right, rotation ends during this step. LF drag together is done while facing LOD.

Instead of 360° of direction change the total can also be 270° or 180°.

Technique:

  • Knees always bent while turning.
  • Do not rotate hips.
  • Transfer weight from front to rear foot. Push off front foot via its heel, push off rear foot via its ball.
  • Maintain stable posture - weight slightly forward throughout.
  • Keep front foot (LF) in place, move rear foot (RF) in a circle around the front foot.
  • Quickly plant rear foot down.
  • Practice weight transfer by rocking forward/back.

Pivot

I think the important part here is what the follower does, which I don't know at this time.

Leader's steps:

LF forward                  (S)
RF back facing R            (S)
LF forward & rotate R       (S)
RF back & rotate R          (S)
LF forward                  (Q)
RF together                 (Q)

This is similar to hte quick left rock turn but 1) clockwise and 2) slower. Next step is fans according to my notes.

Back Corte

Leader's steps:

LF back/left        (S)
rock RF             (S)

(tango close:)
LF forward          (Q)
RF right            (Q)
LF together         (S)

First step is diagonal back/left, to make room for the follower's R leg.

Weight is over the L leg on the first step, but keep body straight vertical - do not lean back.

Lean right on the first step, L elbow higher than R elbow. Follower leans with the same angle.

Medio Corte

Leader's steps:

LF forward          (S)
RF forward          (S)

LF forward          (Q)
rock RF             (Q)
LF back             (S)
rock RF             (S*)
(again:)
LF forward          (Q)
rock RF             (Q)
LF back             (S)
rock RF             (S)
(2x tango close:)
LF forward          (Q)
RF right            (Q)
LF together         (S)
LF forward          (Q)
RF right            (Q)
LF together         (S)

Medio corte should be executed straight in line of dance, especially the back steps.

On the lunge steps leader's back should be vertical, and weight forward.

Start in LOD, finish in LOD.

With Attitude

On the step marked (*), drop LH to waist level and change hold to swing LH hold with leader's palm up. This specifies for the follower to execute attitude which is raising RF behind her.

With Hand Change

Following attitude, another variation is for the leader to use his LH to move follower's RH behind her back into the equivalent of swing's Texas Tommy position. Unlike swing which uses leader's RH to follower's wrist hold, in Tango the hold is finger to finger.

Exit from Medio Corte is led with RH down (rather than away from the leader's/back from the follower's perspective) to avoid dislocating follower's shoulder. Follower should lock her shoulder to avoid injury.

Rotating Medio Corte

Leader's steps:

LF forward                          (S)
RF forward                          (S)

LF forward/left 45° & rotate L 90°  (Q*)
RF back/right 45° & rotate L 90°    (Q*^)
LF back                             (S^)
rock RF                             (S)

(again:)
LF forward/left 45° & rotate L 90°  (Q)
RF back/right 45° & rotate L 90°    (Q)
LF back                             (S)
rock RF                             (S)

(2x tango close:)
LF forward                          (Q)
RF right                            (Q)
LF together                         (S)

LF forward                          (Q)
RF right                            (Q)
LF together                         (S)

Travel in single track throughout.

(However, with an inexperienced follower change in direction on the two steps marked with the asterisk can be between 90° & 180° total, rather than 180° as is technically correct. Keeping steps small and not overrotating for the given partner is more important when dancing socially.)

RF and LF on steps marked with the hat should be facing the same direction. This means RF on the first step marked with the hat must be facing 180° from starting direction, and should not rotate in place.

Leader must keep weight forward during the lunge. (This means upper body must be leaned toward the follower in the lunge.) However head must be straight - do not lean head either forward or backward.

Total rotation is 360° - start in LOD, finish in LOD.

La Puerta

This is similar to rotating medio corte but follower stays outside.

Leader's steps:

LF forward
RF forward
LF forward pointing 45-90° left & rotate L 90°
RF forward/right & move follower to right like in 5p
LF back & hold
rock RF
LF forward
RF forward/right (maneuvering around follower)
LF back & hold
rock RF
2x tango close

Turning Rocks & Corte

This is half of a medio corte into slow left rock turn.

I am missing a step here because my steps take 11 counts.

Leader's steps:

(half of rotating medio corte):
LF forward                          (S)
RF forward                          (S)

LF forward/left 45° & rotate L 90°  (Q)
RF back/right 45° & rotate L 90°    (Q)
LF back                             (S)
rock RF                             (S)

(facing against LOD here)

(slow left:)
LF forward & rotate L 45°           (S)
rock RF & rotate L 45°              (S)

(facing LOD here)

LF forward                          (S)
RF forward                          (S)

(tango close:)
LF forward                          (Q)
RF right                            (Q)
LF together                         (S)

Closed Into Promenade

Leader's steps:

LF forward                             (S)
RF forward                             (S)

LF forward                             (Q)
rock RF & rotate upper body R 30-60°   (Q*)
twist into promenade                   (S^)

Note the 60° of rotation - if promenade is done DC (diagonal center) the direction change is less than 90°.

Head styling - look right on the step with the star and left on the step with the hat.

How to go from frame into promenade seems to be less than clearly specified, and also seems to vary from one instructor to the next. I like the explanation here. For the leader:

  • LF, L knee, head pointing 90° left
  • Hips rotated 45° left
  • Shoulders parallel to follower
  • Weight on RF

A variation of this is L knee pointing at follower (forward), LF pointing 90° left, everything else the same.

Promenade / Promenade Turning Left / Promenade Left Turn

Leader's steps:

LF left facing L                    (S)
RF left facing L & rotate upper body L 90° &
    collect follower &    
    LF snap together behind RF      (S)

(tango close:)
LF forward                          (Q)
RF right                            (Q)
LF together                         (S)

On the second step the leader brings the follower in front of him. Follower does a step & pivot, leader just does a step.

Follower collection is lead with upper body, i.e. as leader's upper body is rotating left he is taking the follower with him. Lead is not with arms.

Start from promenade position, finish in frame.

Promenades can be done diagonally toward center (DC) in which case usually they cut a corner of the room off, with the finishing position on LOD next to a different wall from the starting position.

Promenade Turning Right / Promenade Right Turn / Natural Promenade Turn

This is too quick to learn from but shows the step by itself:

This is a slower tempo but includes other step references:

From promenade position, leader's steps:

LF left facing L                                            (S)
RF forward cutting off follower & rotate R 90°              (S)
LF back                                                     (Q)
RF back small & keep follower offset R & rotate R 90°       (Q)
LF together                                                 (S)

Starting from promenade direction, there is a total of 270° direction change right.

Reverse Turn With Follower Outside

With Closed Ending

Start facing LOD.

From closed position, leader's steps:

LF forward                                          (S)
RF forward                                          (S)

LF forward pointing left                            (Q)
    & rotate L into contrabody position
RF right                                            (Q)
LF straight back into contrabody position           (S)

RF straight back                                    (Q*)
rotate L to face wall & LF left                     (Q^)
RF together                                         (S)

The step marked () should be straight back, not curving. It should be large enough to make room for follower to move in front of leader. On the step marked (^) there is some rotation but it should be no more than 3/8 of a turn. If the follower runs into the leader on a step after the asterisk () step it is possible that the leader overturned on the hat step (^).

With Open Ending

From closed position, leader's steps:

LF forward                                          (S)
RF forward                                          (S)

LF forward pointing left                            (Q)
    & rotate L into contrabody position
RF right                                            (Q)
LF straight back into contrabody position           (S)

RF straight back                                    (Q)
rotate L to face wall & LF left                     (Q)
RF straight forward into contrabody position        (S)

(leader is facing DW)

Sample exit:

rock LF & rotate R small                            (Q)
rock RF & rotate R small                            (Q)
rock LF & rotate R small                            (S)

(leader is facing back DW)

RF forward                                          (Q)
LF left                                             (Q)
RF together                                         (S)

The rotations on the rock steps in the sample exit are very small. Over the three steps the total rotation is 1/4 turn, from DW to back DW. The final step rotates partners into LOD.

Natural Twist Turn

From promenade, leader's steps:

LF forward                                          (S)
RF forward curving right to cut off follower        (Q)
    & rotate R 45°
rotate R 45° & LF left                              (Q)
    (partners is closed position*)

RF back crossed behind LF                           (S)
    & move follower right
rotate R with feet in place, move weight to RF      (Q)
finish rotating to promenade facing L               (Q)

Follower's steps:

RF forward                                          (S^)
LF forward                                          (Q)
RF forward                                          (Q)

LF forward around leader                            (S)
RF forward around leader & pivot R                  (Q)
finish rotating & LF left(?)                        (Q)

The figure begins in promenade, at the end of first measure (marked *) partners are in closed position. Then follower goes around the leader while the leader is rotating. In the second measure leader has a single step which is the RF crossed behind LF, then leader rotates with feet stationary into promenade position. At the same time follower is walking around the leader and arrives in her promenade position on the other side.

In order to attain sufficient rotation without moving feet, when the leader places his RF down on the step marked (^) the foot should be placed on the ball only and rotated further right, vs placing it straight back. During the unwind this then allows additional rotation right without moving LF.

Left Turning Rocks

From promenade position, leader's steps:

(first two steps of promenade left:)
LF left facing L                    (S)
RF left facing L & rotate upper body L 90° &
    collect follower &    
    LF snap together behind RF      (S)

(into 4 steps of quick left:)
rotate L ~60° &
LF forward/left 45° & rotate L ~60° (Q)
RF rock back & rotate L ~60°        (Q)
LF rock forward & rotate L ~60°     (Q*)
RF rock back & rotate L ~60°        (Q)

(two walks:)
LF forward & rotate L ~60°          (S)
LF forward                          (S)

(tango close:)
LF forward                          (Q)
RF right                            (Q)
LF together                         (S)

Open Fan / Promenade Into Fan

Leader's steps:

LF forward                          (S)
RF forward                          (S)
LF forward & roll follower out      (Q)
rock RF                             (Q)
rotate R 90° & LF point left        (S)

rotate L 90° & LF forward & RF point right (in open position)  (S-and)
RF forward small, collect follower  (S)
(tango close:)
LF forward                          (Q)
RF right                            (Q)
LF together                         (S)

Before pointing left with LF, bring LF to RF.

Tango close can be rotated 90° left, making the second half of the figure as follows:

rotate L 90° & LF forward & RF point right (in open position)   (S-and)
RF forward small, collect follower  (S)
LF forward & rotate L 90°           (Q)
RF right                            (Q)
LF together                         (S)

Variation of the second half:

rotate L 90° & LF forward & RF point right (in open position) (S-and)
RF forward/left crossing LF small, collect follower & LF tap together (S-and)
LF forward & rotate L 90° (Q)
RF right (Q)
LF together (S)
  • On the second step, RF goes left of LF instead of staying right
  • The second step is a slow-and instead of slow with the LF tapping next to RF
  • Rotation on the third step is optional

Another variation of the second half:

rotate L 90° & LF forward & RF point right (in open position) (S-and)
RF forward & LF point L & open L (S-and)
LF forward & rotate L 90° collecting follower (Q)
RF right & finish collecting (Q)
LF together (S)

Slow & Quick Fans

Leader's steps:

LF forward                          (Q)
RF back                             (Q)
LF together                         (S)
rock RF                             (S)
    (follower moves forward)
hold RF                             (Q)
    (follower moves back)
hold RF                             (Q)
    (follower moves forward)
rock LF                             (S)
    (follower moves back)
rock RF                             (S)
    (follower moves forward)

(tango close:)
LF forward                          (Q)
RF right                            (Q)
LF together                         (S)

Triple Fans

From promenade position, leader's steps:

LF left
RF left/forward
rock LF
RF forward
LF together & collect follower
2x tango close

Inside Flare / Flare Promenade w/Inside UAT

Start facing LOD, leader's steps:

LF forward          (S)
RF forward          (S)

LF forward & push follower with LF into open break  (Q)
rock RF             (Q)
LF tap together     (S)

LF back & stir pot with LF to rotate follower L     (S)
rock RF facing R & continue rotating follower &
    rotate R ~90°                                   (S)
rotate R ~90° & LF together                         (S)
rotate R ~45° & RF right &
    LF together or LF point L & open side by side   (S)
(follower on left, LH to follower's RH)

rotate L ~90° & LF forward & RF drag together       (S)
rotate L ~45° & RF point R (flare)                  (and)

rotate L ~90° & RF forward                          (S)
LF drag together & collect follower & close frame   (and)

(tango close:)
LF forward                          (Q)
RF right                            (Q)
LF together                         (S)

Start LOD, when partners open they are ~315° R from LOD, finish LOD.

Left rotation can be done in flare or delayed until tango close. (Tango close can start with leader facing DW, then he rotates L to finish LOD.)

Rock And Box

Leader's steps:

LF forward          (Q)
rock RF             (Q)
LF forward          (S)
RF forward          (S)
LF left             (Q)
RF together         (Q)
LF point L into promenade but keep RF pointing forward      (a)

(into promenade)

Start in frame, finish in promenade position.