The title of this post is 'Anatomy of a step' but really what we want to try and explain with today's videos if how you can start with a relatively simple marking step (in this case for tangos) and add layers of movement to it to transform it into something that can be pretty spectacular.
There are 4 videos that show the progression of the transformation starting with the feet marking the rhythm of tangos.
If you are a beginner you can start working with the movement in the first video and stay there for a while, if you've been dancing a bit longer take the opportunity to get back to basics and understand each part of this movement.
Part 1 - Pies
José starts by stepping out on his right foot on the first beat. Notice that he only steps on the ball of his foot (planta). The second beat is marked by a golpe on the left foot. The right foot then comes back to just behind the body to mark the third beat with another planta and the fourth beat is marked by another golpe.
Repeat this movement 3 times and then finish with 3 golpes directly underneath your hips. You will finish on your right foot.
Now you can start the same step of your left side. I know the other side is always so much harder but you have to do it! I know you can don't let your brain freak you out about these things, your brain doesn't know what it's telling you : ).
Things to note...
José doesn't move his weight onto the right leg as it moves forward and back, his weight stays centred over his supporting leg.
He also waits until the very last moment he has available before making the sound of the golpe. This step is square with a sound on each beat but there is a nuance if you listen really carefully.
Part 2 - Cabeza
In this video José adds the movement of his head to what he already had going on with his feet.
Look towards the front diagonal of the foot performing the planta step as it goes in front and the opposite diagonal (over your other shoulder) as your foot goes behind your body.
Try to make the movement nice and sharp.
If you start getting dizzy stop for a bit and then start again.
Part 3 - Brazos
Now we add in some movement for the arms.
Move your arms together towards the same front diagonal as your head and then back to just in front of the opposite hip. Now you should have three elements all working together.
As your arms move keep them nice and supported by the muscles in your back, not the top of your shoulders! Your arms should also be slightly rounded not completely straight or bent with a right angle at the elbow.
José is not changing the position of his shoulders very much in this step. They are moving a small natural amount with his arms but generally he is keeping his shoulders facing forward along with his hips.
Part 4 - Manos and the complete step
The final embellishment that we will add to this step is the movement of the wrists.
Add in one circle of your wrists at the end of each arm movement. Try not to let the wrist circles change the shape of your arms - your elbows shouldn't drop because you suddenly started moving your hands, if they do you need to go back and work on your wrist circles in isolation for a while.