Double time revisited

12th October 2010

"Well I was looking forward to your explaining how to lead double time :) - but you sort of copped out at the last moment!" ~ Captain Jep.


Ask and you shall receive.

I first considered this here

I still maintain crosses are a good solution to double-time.

Here I explained another couple of possibilities - Ending a Boxstep and Stepping sideways which work for tango double-time too.

Giros and double-time walks are a bit of a wild card - there's a lot of variation in what different followers will do. So for now I'm going to skip them.


"Catch you on the rebound"

Rebounds are tricky things. On the one hand they're a very useful tool for doing double-times. On the other, well they don't seem to really work...

For the sake of simplicity I'm going to go through the process of learning them and cover the common mistakes along the way.

They're not single-time or quadruple-time.

The first thing almost everyone does wrong is to get the timing wrong.

I've explained this part in detail here.

Basically in that example I've described a ocho cortado as being two consecutive rebounds.

They're not Manhattens

This is probably the most fundamental mistake Ceocers make. Although rebounds look similar to mahatttens, there are important differences.

The forward step of a manhattens isn't quite grounded enough for a tango rebound. Ironically the first solution most tango leaders come up with is to make them even less grounded.

"Touch and go"

You want to stop the woman from doing a complete step (why she keeps doing this is explained at the end "The Important Bit"). So you make your first step light and quick. You "kiss" the ground with your foot. This makes sense, but to understand why it's wrong you need to know a couple of things.

What stops a woman taking a step in tango as opposed to doing a rebound?

Her axis. If you step forward with your foot but then don't move forward enough to complete the step and move her over her axis she can't collect without either falling over forwards into a volcada or backleading.

Cool, so as long as you only come forward about this far

(happily about as far as you would in a Manhatten) everything is good. The problem with touch and go is it's not fun to follow. What feels better is when the leader firmly places his foot. It's been described to me as "making a footprint in wet sand". I also like the analogy of stepping forward in a martial art punch. You'd have some weight on your forward foot. It makes the landing feel confident. Having said that it's not a "clunk" either which unfortunately is what most of the clips on Youtube happily demonstrate - they keep freezing in place at the end of the punch - you're not trying to break a piece of wood here. Think more Mr Miyagi or Ali.

While you don't want to be going quite this fast, this clip shows the idea. There's enough grounding and force in their front steps that you can hear the clash of the swords, but they're light enough to still be able to step remarkably quickly. While you're at it, notice the way they move forward. A somewhat macabre description is having a pole through your stomach (from your front to your back) so you can only move at a constant height. So again a rebound is not a sinking of your hips. You just step forwards. ("Just" being a relative term in Tango)

"Shoes matter not, ... Look at me. Judge me by shoes, do you? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Music, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Music around you; here, between you, me, the room, the dancers, everywhere, yes. Even between your foot and the floor." ~ Yoda

Use the music. D'Arienzo will pretty much give you double-times whenever you want. Pugliese and Di Sarli, not so much and personally I'd rather use crosses for Di Sarli's double-times anyway.


"I aim to misbehave" - Mal Reynolds

The Important Bit - Mal has script writers, you don't.

Realistically speaking for social dancing, if you want to do a rebound you need to have either paused / collected / or done a double-time within the last 3 steps. Ideally the previous step. If you're dancing to D'Arienzo and you've taken 5 simple time steps forward, now is not the time to go for a rebound even if it fits the music; go for a cross instead.

Again there's suggestions here on how to get into pauses with blocks.

The end of a phrase is also a great time to pause

If you don't follow this, expect the woman to backlead you into a step when you try to lead a rebound - sometimes they misbehave too...

 - Christopher O' Shea, 12th October 2010

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