Remember… the beginning of your tango existence life was simple. She was standing in front of him. He was standing in front of her. Mirror image of each other. He walked with his left foot forward. She walked with her right foot back. Easy.
Now think what this kind of set up allows us to do.
We can walk forward.
We can walk back.
We can walk in small circle.
We can walk in large circle.
We can walk outside partner left and right.
We can use 8 count basic in parallel.
We can also come up with the whole array of mirrored steps, Meaning: both partners are doing the same things just on opposite legs.
We can also dive into more complicated rotary steps by use of the oppositions.
But hey - don’t limit yourself. You can do more. In much simpler way. All you have to do is to add side step to the recipe plus body isolation to isolate your lead to you partner’s body, from what you require your own body to do and we can come up with some very cute steps including changes of directions. That alone can carry you through many many milongas.
You can also simply let your body do nothing and just lead your partner around. Or forced her to do nothing and dance around her.
That solves the problem of not knowing about cross system and its never ending possibilities.
Now you get annoyed. Hmm? Cross system, parallel system. Parallel system. Cross system.
What the hell?
Weight change used to switch between parallel and cross system of walking.
The cross system and parallel system walk nomenclature originated with the Naveira/Salas "Investigation Group." Early on, they used 'even/uneven' to describe the arrangement of legs in the walk or turn. By the mid-1990s, they began using 'parallel/crossed' and later 'normal/crossed'. The process of changing from the parallel system to cross system (or vice versa) by having the leader change weight without the follower changing weight (or vice versa) is named contrapaso, or "contra-step". This change can be made off or on the normal beat.
When demonstrated in walking, the idea is quite simple and easy to understand.
In normal walk left foot of leader follows right foot of follower and right foot of leader follows left foot of follower. This results in two partners walking on two tracks only. if we go outside partner, we will have to use 4 tracks to avoid stepping on each other. In cross walk both partners are using ‘same’ legs. Right foot of leader follows right foot of follower and left foot of leader follows left foot of follower. This results in 3 tracks walking. One common middle track for right foot and to left feet on outside tracks. Or: left feet on one common tracks and tow right feet ‘sticking out’ on two outside tracks.
So if this is so simple why does ‘do you know cross system?’ question pops up every time you have difficulties with your ochos, giros and changes of directions? What does the simple 3-tracks walking has to do with it?
Take this 3 track walking and put it back on 2 tracks. You cannot use 3 tracks and you have to stay in front of each other. Stop reading here and go experiment to remind yourself.
Are you back? What did you found out?
back ochos for follower with straight forward walking for leader.
forward ochos for follower with straight back walking for leader.
forward cross walk (forward ochos) for leader with straight back walking for follower.
back cross walk (back ochos) for leader with straight forward walking for follower.
Now add lateral direction step to this concept (side step).
Now add movement isolation. Meaning - create all possible combinations by combining forward, side and back step of follower with forward, side, back step of leader, eg:
· L - forward and F - forward
· L - back and F - back
· L - forward and F - back
· L - back and F – forward· L - side and F – forward
· L - side and F - back
· L - side and F - side
· L - forward and F - side
· L - back and F – side
· L – side and F – side
Now add additional pivoting, over pivoting, weigh changes, double time plus other musical options and the world goes crazy with the amount of options.
How about switching fronts and using Doble frente’/Tango al reves position. Just to open the discussion – in this position what is cross and what is parallel…
Curious about discovering new options and joining us on the trip towards tango horizons? Check out our schedule at: