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
Tango Back Corte
by Harold & Meredith Sears
We need to be a little careful with the
tango cortes. We have a Corte, a Side Corte, an Advanced Corte, and a
Back Corte. They range from phase III to phase V, and from one to
four steps. The plain Corte is one back step, lowering, but
the true Back Corte is four steps, taking 1 1/2 measures.
In closed position, perhaps facing line
and wall, step back L with left shoulder lead and a little lowering
(woman fwd R with right shoulder lead), step bk R (woman fwd L)
turning LF, continue turning and step side and fwd L (woman sd &
bk R), and close R to L to end in closed position facing line and
center (sqqs for the four weight changes).
A "corte" is a step, whether
to the side or back, and then subsequent lowering and shaping. It is
a sort-of "dip." So in the Back Corte, the first step is
really the corte, and the rest of the figure is a Closed Finish or a
Box Finish — "corte to a closed finish."
If you look at another tango figure,
the Rock Turn, you see that it looks to be a rock back L (W fwd R)
recover R to this four-step Back Corte. Some choreographers blur the
line between the "rock turn" part of this figure and the
"back corte" part by calling for a "rock turn (qqs) to
a back corte (qqs)." In this formulation, the last step of the
one measure rock turn (qqs) (unphased; not standard) is really the
first step of the Back Corte (sqqs). It seems that this sort of
crossing measures and using a single step as the last step of one
figure and also the first step of another is not uncommon, although
it feels uncomfortable to round dancers, who like to have clean
definitions to each of their figures.
In Libertango by Lamberty,
part B starts with a walk 2 (ss); to a rock turn (qqs;) back rocks
(qqs); quick back corte (qqqq); to a forward, side, to an outside
swivel to SCP (qqs). Notice that Lamberty is using a four-step Back
Corte, although with "quick" timing.
In Noche de Amor by the
Gosses, part A starts with a link to an open promenade (qqsqqs); rock
3 (qqs); back corte (qqs); to an open reverse turn and closed finish
(qqsqqs). In this dance, the last step of the rock 3 is also the
first step of our standard Back Corte.
More tango figures here, or go to index.
This article was published in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, October, 2010.