Base leg

Argentine Tango Encyclopedia



Most of the time we are standing on one leg, so base refers to the weight-bearing leg, and will be used in the singular throughout this section. Sometimes we are standing on both legs, in which case we are lucky to have double the resources, two base legs.

Function: Connection

We position the base leg into an architecture with the partner through which we communicate, create balance, and experience the lovely sensations of connection. To do this, each dancer positions their base leg in an arc and then we connect those two arcs into an arch of connection.

The base leg is ALWAYS in external rotation and its hip is ALWAYS flexed.

Function: The Source of movements of the free leg

Beautiful seemingly “natural” movements of the free leg start from the power of the base leg.

It seems that Dana Frìgoli is to be credited with freeing revels’ free legs to a level of fluidity not widely used prior to 2006. Dana’s technique is evolving, but in 2009 she was emphasizing that the freedom of the free leg comes from the base leg. I have subsequently learned why this is true. If we want to move the free leg solely with the psoas muscle, its strength, like all muscles, is a function of the stability of its “insertion point” where it connects to bone. The psoas connects to the spine, so it is dependent on the stability of the spine for optimal function. Therefore, the stability of the base determines the strength and smoothness with which the psoas will function.

In accord with this approach, the Revel is responsible for managing her own base leg/arc, while her free leg is available to respond to the Mark’s creativity. The mark is not responsible for maintaining the Revel’s balance, only for not messing with it. And the Revel should refrain from using her free leg in any way that induces tension and consequent unavailability to the Mark. This relation makes possible a dance in which the Revel’s free leg is the expression/consequence of the Mark’s otherwise imperceptible artistry.

Function: The source of the mark

It’s possible to mark from the embrace, but it’s not convincing and it does not create a sensation of oneness. Clear gentle intention comes from the power of the base leg.

Function: Controlled transfer

During the transfer of weight, the old base leg is a control system to create various dynamics (acceleration, deceleration, elasticity, change of direction).

Variations of Each Element


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