Dancemax Letter # 18 Thursday, September 28, 2000
Footwork in Tango
1. Heel (H): Since there is no rise and fall or swing in Tango, most forward
steps are Heel (H). They are really Heel Flat but as we agreed before we
will not use word flat. Toe pressure is not felt and therefore in Tango there
is no mention of Toe. Ball is mentioned if it is used in footwork.
Previously (letter 16) we said if there is a rise or turn the foot work
becomes HeelToe. We know there is no rise in Tango but if there is a turn,
should the footwork become HeelBall? Logic says yes, but answer is both Yes
and No. Depends how much turn and how. See below.
2. HeelBall (HB): Tango is very unique in character. Even if there is a turn on forward step, the foot work usually remains Heel. Actually it is Heel-flat (flat is omitted) and no pressure is felt in the ball. The examples are Man's 1st step forward in Rock Turn or Open Reverse turns. They say when walking tango, it gives a feeling that your feet are sticky like stepping on freshly paved tar pavement. So, unlike Waltz, swiveling action is avoided in Tango in ordinary turns. However if the turn requires swivel movement such as lady in Outside Swivel, the foot work does indeed become HeelBall (HB). She also steps with a sharp turn to right, outside partner on 5th step of Natural Twist Turn with footwork of HB. So footwork is what is felt in the feet and usually it is consistent with what is written in Technique books. Remember the Tecnique was written by committee after committee of great dancers (ISTD and IDTA) and what felt right to them. They can't be all that wrong.
3. BallHeel (BH): Quite obviously it is when man or lady walk back. However it is not that simple. Because of Tango Hold and Tango style the right foot back is placed in CBMP. I would think that the foot will roll from outside edge of ball to heel flat. However when left goes back in more open position the foot will roll from inside edge of ball to Heel. I don't know if any technique books go into that detail. I hope I understand this correctly, if not, Sorry.
4. Inside Edge of Ball Heel (IE of BH). Men! Step back left foot with a left shoulder lead (as in a Rock Back on Left Foot), you will feel that you will be using inside edge BH. Also when lady steps to side on right foot (step 3) in closed promenade, she has about 1/4 turn to left and therefore uses inside Edge Ball-Heel and then closes left foot to right foot, slight forward, Whole Foot.
5. Inside Edge of Foot (IE of F): When you step to the side with left foot and close right foot to left foot, left foot anchors strongly in place with IE of foot and right foot closes slightly back "Whole Foot".
6. Whole Foot: One example is as above in paragraph 5. Also quite often Ladies! when you step to side on 2nd step of reverse turns (left foot), you will use this footwork.
7. Ball (B): Hardly ever, at least in syllabus figures. I can come up with only one example. In Natural Twist turn when man crosses his right foot behind left foot, he uses Ball and then twists (or untwists) to right on ball of right foot and heel of left foot. If you can think of more, please let me know.
Students Only: For an average Bronze level dancer this should all be quite understandable provided you did some of your own study while taking training from your teacher. You will never have enough time to know it all from your instructor. So save hard copies and read these notes repeatedly and put it all to work. Honestly I am not being conceited...Max
Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.