TangoForge i Sverige 1: Notes

5 Biomechanical Tools
  • arch of connection
  • projection
  • transfer of weight
  • power/co-contraction
  • change of embrace

The Biomechanics Solo workout video (sent to you before the workshop): Fierce Balance.

Biomechanics 1: Projection


The Anatomy Tour

  • base leg, free leg
  • joints: wrist, elbow, shoulder, hips, knee, ankle
  • internal/external rotation
    • base leg ALWAYS in external rotation
    • free leg in external rotation except when APPROACHING the base
    • shoulders ALWAYS in external rotation
  • flexion/extension
    • base leg hip ALWAYS in flexion
    • elbows use very gentle extension to keep the embrace taut
    • extend the back leg’s ankle joint during transfer of weight: positions flat, demi-pointe, pointe
    • to change the embrace, shoulders flex vertically
    • when we move in contra directions, shoulders flex laterally
    • when moving in same direction: NO change in shoulder flexion!
  • abduction/adduction
    • when we mark lateral projections, the leading arm abducts slightly and the other one STAYS where it is


(visit the Exercise Center for videos)

  • Psoas (solo)
  • Obliques (duo, first kneeling, then standing on one foot)

The Mark communicates Intention for a direction

There are only three directions:

  • Toward the Mark
  • Away from the Mark
  • Lateral to the Mark

The Revel is responsible for connection: with blade/of palm and fingerpads, with BOTH HANDS

The Revel Projects

  • A beautiful free leg comes from the strength of your base
  • Look for length/muscle activation in the base leg (stretch its rib cage away from its knee) first, and then stretch the free leg’s toes away from the base leg’s rib cage.
Impro 1: Cross to Voleo and Gancho

The Transfer of Weight

Solo walking finding demi point and point in the sending leg in front and side steps and in the receiving leg in back steps.

“2nd projection” is the Revel’s old base leg that has just finally been de-weighted and is now projecting toward it’s old position. This is the key to perceiving crosses!

Marking Crosses

  • The same technique applies to marking crosses and marking change of foot. The mark points his arc at 11 o’clock or 1 o’clock (4cm to either side of the Revel’s base leg’s rib cage).
  • Use the back leg’s process of ankle extension through demi-point and point to guide the arc to the correct place.  In front crosses, this process starts mid-transfer when the Mark’s back leg’s foot is still flat on the floor. In back crosses, this process starts mid-transfer when the Mark’s back leg’s foot is in pointe.
  • We are moving together so there cannot be any changes in shoulder flexion

From Cross to Pro Circular Voleo

Solo exercise: co-contraction on a circle on the perimeter of a circle defined by your arms

Together, from cross to circular voleo.

Revel’s technique for circular voleo:

  • In front circular voleo: [1] pivot the base a lot [2] cocontract the base leg [3] stretch to increase the distance between your free leg’s toes and base leg’s rib cage.
  • In back circular voleo: [1] don’t try to pivot the base (it will a little, but don’t add anything) [2] from back projection, co-contract the base then [3] extend the free leg’s hip fully, stretching the toes away from the base leg’s rib cage [4] when you reach the maximum point of hip extension, then finally flex the knee. [5] to exit return the foot to the floor before pivoting.

Finding Ganchos from Cross

See TangoForge on YouTube: Elements of Tango: Gancho for all the variations.


  • gancho=voleo+hole
  • hole geometry + change the embrace
  • projection (using biomech tools) + cocontraction
  • order varies for: holeplacement, projection, cocontraction.
Biomechanics 2: Arch of Connection

Axis is not useful for tango because it doesn’t manage lateral force, and it tells us nothing about connection.

The tango connection is based on an arch, made by each dancer creating and constantly repositioning their body’s arc.

The arc goes from base leg’s heel, to ass, to rib cage.

Solo practice: Base leg’s rib cage over the knuckle of base leg’s big toe + 1cm hip flexion (pull your tailbone back NOT UP)


(visit the Exercise Center for videos)

  • Piriformis
  • Transverse Abdominus
  • Shoulder External Rotators
  • Triceps

Yoga as a tool for getting these muscles working: stretching happens because of hardworking muscles…

Up-stretch, use heels to pull away from fingernails, feel slight hip flexion.

Knuckles on the wall, shoulders in external rotation, triceps contracting. (Change feet, build your arc from the heel up through the rib cage.

Balance is mutual!

Open embrace double gancho, find the arch!

Back sacada into mutual balance

Vio’s first jewel for applying tango beyond the contraints of the embrace: find mutual balance with ANY point of contact. Mark doesn’t try to hold or support the revel’s spine. The Revel takes support where she wants and Mark uses body to support her there.


Link from Impro 1: Using the arch to direct the Revel’s 2nd projection into crosses and change of foot while walking…

Impro 2: Sacadas to Ganchos


Dancing with Revel’s projection only

Vio’s second jewel: Tango touch means that the Revel will project (stabilize the base and extend free leg in direction of mark’s intention) with ANY contact. (Mark has to feel to figure out which projections are possible.)

Sacadas are only possible if the Mark can create Revel’s projection without moving his own body yet toward a step

Sacada Game

No embrace. One person receives steps, the other enters. Then change roles.


  • The entering person steps between the receiver’s legs, placing their foot just next to the old base leg.
  • The receiving dancer must step 90• (perpendicular) to the already-extablished line of the enterer’s step, which is exactly from the enterer’s spine to the receiver’s spine.
  • The enterer may use front, back, or side steps with either foot and can change feet and pivot at will (for the game).
  • The receiving dancer may use front, back, or side steps with either foot and can change feet and pivot at will (for the game).
  • The receiver should wait in projection for the enterer to be ready, so that the dancers can transfer weight exactly at the same time and synchronized.

See TangoForge on YouTube: Elements of Tango: Sacada for all the variations.

Sacada Technique

(Now we are in the embrace, marking the sacadas.)

  • Because we step in different directions (contra) the mark must communicate the Revel’s direction first.
  • Lateral shoulder flexion is also necessary every time we move in different directions.
  • Revel: Don’t autopivot afterwards. Wait for the next communication.

It’s perfectly fine to dance a whole dance of only sacadas

Sacada to Parada

You can stop any sacada at any time, by stopping the process of transferring weight.

Sacada-Parada to Gancho

After decelerating a sacada to a stop, the Revel is standing on two feet. This gives the Mark every possibility for ganchos and Time to Think! He can close the embrace, walk around her, set up the geometry to make a voleo into a hole or around his body (piernazo).

For this and more, see our two-session Ganchos class:

password: cocontractionstation





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