Step is a movement of the foot from here to there. A Figure is a
specific sequence of steps forming a set that is complete, is often
standardized, and is widely accepted and used as one component of a
by Harold & Meredith Sears
of these actions are done in semi-closed position (SCP). There is no
weight change; these are "picture actions." To do a Head
the man quickly rotates his hips right (CW) and then left (CCW) to
cause the woman to snap her head left and then right. She sharply
closes her head -- we are ever so briefly in closed position -- and
then she opens it again to SCP. The man's head turns little if at
this action to work, we must be in tight
SCP with lower torsos, from the bottom of the rib cage down, in
contact. This is not an unreasonable expectation -- it is simply a
good tango SCP -- but we mustn't relax and drift apart. He can't turn
her if he isn't touching her. It's like two gears oriented
horizontally and next to each other. If the the gears are together
and the cogs enmeshed, then the one gear can turn right and the other
will turn left. If the cogs are not enmeshed, the one gear can turn,
but the other won't feel it.
is always important for the woman to wait for the man's lead before
dancing a figure. This is what allows you to dance together, as one.
But in the Head Flick, it is especially important to let the man
"flick" the woman's head. If she passively allows herself
to respond to his movement, it is surprisingly comfortable for her,
and it looks classy. If she flicks her own head in response to the
cue, the sharp movement is an uncomfortable strain on tiny muscles in
the neck, and on top of that, it looks odd -- a spasm -- a tic
instead of a flick. Again, the man
is responsible for the Head Flick. If he doesn't do it, she should
do a Foot
in SCP, the man does a tiny brush/tap with his lead foot. In the
process, he pushes with his left knee on the outside of her right
knee, and she flicks her right foot back and replaces it to tap
position. Notice that the man does not flick his foot. There is no
lead for the woman if he does.
Foot Flick itself is a sharp bending of the knee and straightening it
again. If she were to do it by herself, it is as though she has a
pebble trapped under the toes of her right foot and she wants to
propel that pebble back behind her. She shoots it back with a sharp
flip. Of course, she can do a Foot Flick by herself, and it doesn't
seem to look as odd as an independent Head Flick does, but dancing
together still looks better. For good lead and follow here, we must
again be in tight SCP with hips together and
lead legs in contact. If you're apart from each other, and he bangs
his knee into her leg from a distance, it won't feel good. The lead
is the slightest nudge from a knee already touching.
interesting to compare these two flicks. For a Head Flick, he nudges
her with his left hip; for a Foot Flick, he nudges her with his left
knee. Do both, and I suppose she would flick both?
More tango figures here, or go to index.
This article was published in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, April, 2011.
If you would like to read other articles on dance
position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit
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