"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #136 Thursday, Feb 27, 2003
How do you count your Tango?
If he (examiner) really is in a bad mood and wants to flunk you in your certification examination, all he has to do is ask you "OK, Now count your Tango Basic in beats and bars. The Basics of course implies (Man) the 2 Walks (LF, RF). a Progressive Link and Closed Promenade.
Some Facts? Tango music is written in 2/4 time. Slow takes 1 beat and Quick is 1/2 beat. That may be news to some but that is what is written all over. It really gets confusing then, if we count 1234 - 2234 and 3234. If you don't understand these numbers, don't read this tidbit any further, it will drive you crazy.
So, if we are counting 1 to 4 in 1 bar, we are saying that it is 4/4 time. Many world class champions including Hilliers, Barrichis and Sinkinson, count their Tango in that manner.
But then, if you are taking your ISTD or IDTA test, I would think you are expected to say "well I count my tango as 1& 2& - 2& 2& - 3& 2&" and so on. Here 1& is one beat. This is what gets me, so what? 1.2 is the same thing as 1.&. It does become some more difficult to count Basic in &s but at the same time it may perhaps give more Staccato feeling. I would be very interested to hear from you.
So, let's forget all this humbo jumbo and count the Basic in Slows and Quicks. Mans steps below, Ladies reciprocate.
LF Walk S ( 1.2 or 1.&),
RF Walk S (3.4 or 2.&) Two walks have taken 1 bar of Music.
Progressive Link: QQ, LF, RF. (2.2 or 2&) This is 1/2 of next bar of music.
Closed Promenade: SQQS, LF, RF, LF and RF closes to LF at the end. The first S is 3.4 or 2.& of previous bar. We have used 2 bars of Music by now.
It was interesting when Stephen Hilllier pointed out that this Slow was really a part of the bar in which we had done the progressive link. It may be said that Progressive Link really is a part of Closed Promenade and that is where many dancers lack expression and they tend to stop after QQ for too long.
The next QQS of the Closed Promenade is the 3rd bar of Music. Thus we can count it as 3.2., 34 or 3.&., 2&.
Confusing? Yes, but that is the fact of life and if you want to look good for the examiner you better get it down pat. I hope I have rightly interpreted all this.