We will devote these classes to teaching side steps.
Apart from learning a linear movement, we will focus on this sequence to later create the figures. If we begin with a cross forwards, we will follow with an opening, a backward cross, a front and so on till we get out of the movement, stop and connect to the other step.
First, I teach how to cross forwards and backwards and do isolated openings for students to get used to turning their hips and dissociate their bodies in order to lengthen steps along with the music. I have students repeat this on both sides.
Then, I teach the complete sequence of movements with the above structure in a scheme highlighting that there we involve the three movements comprising most of the movements we use for Tango (except for the movements defined as boleas or ganchos), bearing in mind that most of the movements performed in Tango are essentially these three movements present in thousands of combinations.
After teaching this sequence in an isolated way, I then propose partner working.
This movement of working with partners shows coordination between both of them and in relation to the music. It is a step from a very simple and wide structure but of vital technical content. Important for students to feel security when connecting with their partners.
Surely, there exist other displacements or figures that risk greater technical contents, but equally important are the feelings of security and trust and the attitude mainly in the leader when it realizes the effect wich brings about in the follower when leading and coordinating with it.
This content proves handy and accessible for students since they work with different important topics according to their level, and also necessary for the figures they will learn in the future.
In this instance, I also teach the concept of prevision in Tango. We rely on this fixed sequence to influence the follower and have the leader to a prevision knowing that his partner will, in return, make the appropriate step at a certain moment. If the leader had to indicate each cross or opening to the follower, apart from everything he has to think related to his own movements, it would be paying attention to the leads without enjoying the dance.
We deal with this movement to apply to the dance floor: The leader goes forwards by the side. It contours the follower with a new opening in the third movement. At this moment, the open side of the embrace is facing the dancing line.
The follower is invited to make a cross forwards, that is, the natural movement after the follower performs an opening, a backward movement and another opening. The leader performs this backwards. This way, we begin the sequence, alternating the crosses with the openings till coming out the step. Getting out can be performed whenever the leader has to make the cross forwards. It keeps his firmness with the posture and continues walking directly by the side to finish obviously in a cruzada.
Then, we introduce the variant of a Side Step as Mirror. Here the concept of Tango as a dance in which the leader is taking decisions to create his own choreography is shown even more.
When the third step is reached, the follower is asked to do a cross forwards, the leader repeats his cross forwards arbitrarily changing the nature of the step in a complete way. This way, they walk making crosses and openings at the same time till they reach the point in which both of them are doing the same cross forwards. The leader uses the left arm for the follower to enter with the right foot aligned with the leader's left foot so as to get out in front of each other to the dancing line.
Without noticing it, we are preparing students for learning the following figures. We are contributing with the fix structure of circular movements that a follower will have to perform around the leader for it to have the prevision needed to performing the different figures combinations.