by Harold & Meredith Sears
The Chase is a one-and-a-half measure
figure (SQQQQ) that takes us from semi-closed position, usually
facing line of dance, to closed position, diagonal reverse and
center. In SCP, the man steps side and forward L and the lady side
and forward R (S). On steps 2 and 3, we step forward on the trail
feet and then side on the lead feet (QQ) to closed position, man
facing wall. This involves a little RF turn for the man and LF turn
for the lady. Then the man steps forward R outside partner (W bk L)
turning sharply RF to banjo position checking, and recovers back L
(woman fwd R) turning RF to end in closed position facing DRC (QQ).
In an effort to connect this unfamiliar
figure to something we already know, we might try to think of it as a
forward, curved feather check, and recover back. We might even get
careless and dance it this way, with curving steps. We dance so many
foxtrots and waltzes that it is easy to fall back into the habit of
smooth styling and flowing movements, but tango is sharp movements
punctuated with static pauses. In the Chase, step 2 involves a sharp
1/8 turn (M RF, W LF). Step 3 is side, checking, to a tango closed
position (lady well into man's right arm). Step 4 involves a sharp RF
turn, checking again. In essence, the lady is wound up a bit to the
left and then turned sharply to the right—bang, bang. We really
don't want to dance a smooth, graceful curve.
Another "gotcha" is often the
exit. Some regard the Chase as a six-step figure (SQQQQS), the last
step being a side step and sharp RF turn to end in SCP facing DLC.
But most round dances omit this last step and instead exit with
something else, which is separately cued. For instance, in Caminito
by the Worlocks, there is a Chase (SQQQQ) to a Right Chasse to a
Whisk (Q&QS). The turn out of the Chase continues right-face, and
we end the sequence in SCP RLOD. In Diosa Marina by the
Schmidts, there is an even stronger RF exit. We do the same Chase
(SQQQQ) to a right-turning Chasse and Brush Tap (Q&Q&S) to
On the other hand, in Fiesta Tango
by the Palmquists, we dance our Chase (SQQQQ) to a back lock back
side close (Q&QQQ), Contra Check and extend (SS). This time, we
have turned left to CP WALL. In Jealousy Tango by the Gosses,
we dance the same sequence and then Tap to SCP LOD.
In dancing a Chase, we can focus on two features. First, dance each step sharply with no smooth body flow. Second, after checking and stepping back, center yourselves and be ready for either a continuation of the right-face couple rotation or a reversal to left-face rotation. Our exit can go either way.
More tango figures here, or go to index.
This article was published in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, June, 2011.