Tango Argentino > The Pasada

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by dchester, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Not exactly a life shattering question, but just something I'm curious about. I'm aware of three different philosophies on how the lead and follow are supposed to work when leading the pasada (step over).
    1) Once paused, it's completely up to the follower to decide what she will do (she can embellish at will) and how long it will take.

    2) The leader only leads (with his chest) when it's time get on with it (for lack of a better word, or the rhythm and timing).

    3) The leader leads every aspect of what the follower does, using a combination of his chest as well as using his left hand to move the follower's right hand to lead the motion of her free foot (the embellishments, are actually led).
    What are your thoughts on the pasada, and how do you typically do it? I mostly go with the second option, although I've tried them all at various times.
  2. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I think this is probably one of those "grey areas" of tango, where it all depends on some variables like your level of dancing and who taught you how to do it.

    I have experienced all 3 as a follower, including option 3 with a lead from BsAs.

    I think quite a few things in tango get taught as a "do it this way" when you first learn, then later, as you advance, it becomes more like "oh- guess what, the Easter Bunny isn't real..." and it's not a black and white situation.

    I think my partner and I most use a negotiation of 1 and 2. I am aware he may want to indicate movement so am ready to "move on", but he is also paying attention to where I am at in my "embellishment" and what I may be hearing in the music, so we sometimes end up with a combination of 1 and 2, but probably weighted somewhat towards 2.
  3. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    BsAs is where I learned about that option as well.
  4. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I prefer option 1.
    REALLY prefer..

    I've found that many leaders who try to determine the timing do one or both of 2 things...

    1) They rush the follower so she doesn't feel she's doing it in a logical or well timed musical place. (with some leaders, pausing here is one way to get things back with the music or to at least give a good indication to the leader of how you are hearing the music)

    2) They don't get their leg in at the right time or the right place because they are trying to keep it flowing, and it becomes a "trip over" instead of a "stepover". (Is there a Spanish tango term for tripover?)

    I don't dilly dally around on them... Some followers go way overboard on the adornifications and that just makes leaders even more anxious to adopt a "leader leads the stepover portion" style.

    But this is just about the ONLY place in a dance that the follower can create a pause if she needs one for whatever reason (regaining a good center/axis/balance, emphasize a musical element, catch her breath, get a leader back on beat if he's rushing things or lagging, whatever)
    Why not let her have this one little moment?
  5. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    In close embrace, Initiate with a forward ocho. Block with the right foot. Lead with the chest, gently, but positively... suggesting... Pasada. She moves. Allow her time (to embellish, shift weight, interpret the music, move, etc.) . Don't rush her.

    When her weight lands and you feel her settle, continue with next flowing movement.
  6. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    If I lead a pasada, which is not often, I give my partner a moment or two to play. After all, I'm playing, too. But, there are some partners who take the opportunity to do every trick they know. I will hurry them along, and not lead them again to a pasada.
  7. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Somehow, I knew that would be your preference.


    So no option 3 for led it masterfully?


    I will say that this weekend during my tanda with JW (you know who), she paused me someplace else (and it was the first time a follower had done that). I'll give her credit, it was clear what she wanted me to do. I just wasn't quite sure when It was OK to start again. She commented on it in between songs. She seemed happy (and I think, surprised) that I picked up on it. It scored me a second tanda with her.


    Because we're guys. We want it all.


    All kidding aside, the issue I run into sometimes, is that I may lead a pasada, and then later on I'll lead a front ocho on the side, which starts out similar to how a pasada might be setup, so then the follower just assumes that's what it is and wants to take over. I haven't done a foot tap or a parada (pause), be she'll do that on her own and then procede to take her time stepping over my foot that isn't there.

  8. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Hmm - if another leader would ask me this i would probably say 1, but when i dance, i tend to do all three -for me it is part of the game/communication with the follower. Actually 3 is part of one of my favourite variations on the pasada: sandwich, pasada, and on a a strong accent in the music take her out of her adornment+single axis turn a half turn or a quarter turn, resandwich, ground her again and open the sandwich to the other side for another pasada. Repeat till she slaps you (or pasadas befoe you have a chance to reverse it) :). At least for me this only works when the follower is balanced and does her adornment on the music/consciously and not by rote.

  9. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

    There are no pauses in the dance, really.
  10. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    that's pretty interesting. :)

    I will note I often see ladies (and gents) generally doing this move by "rote" rather than at musically appropriate places...but if we're (in the general aspect) both listening to the music, and letting it guide us through the duration of the pasada, then that's where the "grey area" comes in and it can be a combination of the options, I think. Ultimately a phrase will end and the music moves on, and so should we.

    I'd say I prepare myself in general for "option 2", but since I'm listening to the music also, then sometimes "1" may occasionally come in to play for me and IMO, at least, option 2 can be a toned down type of "option 3" in a way since in "option 2" the lead is still indicating the movement of the free leg to step.

    I guess I am also of the opinion that it is my job as a follow to always be ready to take the step (assuming my leader is keeping track of where I am at) and so I tend to keep my adornments "in the vicinity" where I could get out quickly should the indication come at a time in the music I am not expecting and i either go, or if I am really adamant about what I am hearing, perhaps invoke "option 1" :).

    Something large like a big sweeping ronde', half moon movement I see some follows do (on their own at a pasada position) to me would have to a led movement (option 3) and so to me isn't really an adornment anymore at that point.
  11. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    I would agree with Gssh. When “traffic”, space and music allow it, I often give the women a little time to do some embellishments, as many love to do them. When I feel it’s time to move on, I will gently advance to option 2. I don’t want to disturb the flow on the dance floor and I’m not blessed with patience too much.

    In other cases 3 is my option of choice. Sometimes a pause does not fit the music. In Valz, for example, I use sandwich and a pasada as a change of direction to enter a caminada. It’s fun to do it double time. On stage every movement is planned ahead anyway and it’s my responsibility to get it on the right accent of music, so I better lead everything.
  12. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Since it's quiet here, I thought I'd ask another question about this. To you, does a pasada (step over) imply a parada (stop or pause)? The reason I ask is that a while ago when in a class about something unrelated to this, I was partnered with someone who informed me that I was doing the pasada wrong, because my chest became disengaged with her, as she paused to do some embellishments. She went on to say, because of this, the only way you have to lead me over your foot is with your arms.

    She's a very nice person that I like a lot, so I actually managed to keep my mouth shut and not say what I was thinking, which was: (1) I didn't pause you, and (2) if my chest is here and you are there, how is this my fault.

    What are other's thoughts on this? Does a pasada imply a pause for you? I know I've seen others (although not often), do pasadas without a pause before stepping over.
  13. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    It depends? (Being this helpful and insightful is a skill, lemme tell ya!)

    I'll assume for the moment that both the guy and the girl can actually hear the beat and time their steps to it, if not work the movment to go with the phrases. It's a big assumption, I know, but...well...if that basic assumption isn't there it's a whole other can of worms.

    I think there is a high potential for the pasada implying a parada. If it's timed with the music and possibly the phrasing, the music will determine if a pause is implied. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.

    I'm trying to think about the disengaging thing...and mostly failing. It seems like the guy's chest is always somewhat dissociated through the movement. I can't think of how a lead from the arms versus the body would feel--except when done badly--but I know I can generally tell if the guy is letting me pause or not. Not sure what the tip-off is.

    Personally, I'm not much of a pauser. My teacher had resorted to actually leading embellishments to try and get me to do them so I would become used to them. I sorta did get used to them...and then promptly stopped when he stopped leading them. But I will use them from time to time to try and get back on the beat with some leaders, or to catch my breath.
  14. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    I didn’t weigh in on the first question, so let me add my two cents on that first… I am with those who advocate using all three at various points depending on the connection and the music. As a follower, I love the spontaneity of a partner who does the unexpected, or at least doesn’t constantly do the same pattern over and over. Plus, dancers who stick to only one are typically not as in sync with the music (in my experience – I realize that in some cases it’s just a matter of preference). Sometimes this is just part of the learning experience and becoming more comfortable, but with the time the hope is that those possibilities start to open up. And I think the music – more than any sense of right, wrong, or appropriate – is what calls for these multiple options. As a leader (I also lead), having three options gives me that much more flexibility with the music, the quality and speed of movement (especially playing with the acceleration or lack of when coming out of the pasada), and the follower’s unique energy in the moment.

    But I agree with what others have alluded to, which is that what is typical in a community often reflects its tango philosophy, especially with regards to the leader-follower dynamic.

    I think the parada/pause question is very closely related to your original question. I don’t think it’s automatic, although it may be considered automatic in certain communities or with certain individuals based on their training/experience. I think the leader has the option to move directly through or to pause, and both are equally enjoyable depending on the feel of the dance and the music. So I guess the short answer (my personal vote) is that the pause is not implied.
  15. li

    li New Member

    My experience is that options 2 and 3 give the choice of a pause, which still feels part of the dance. Option 1 can often feel like there is a break in partner dancing when the follower imposes a pause. I'm happy to take the time to allow for embellishments and gain more understanding of how my follower interprets the music. What's not so enjoyable is when all the stuff that I've led was intended to be shared, but the bit that she is taking her time over seems to have nothing particularly to do with me (other than using my leg as a prop). So long as the dancing remains engaged, I'm happy playing with all 3 options.
  16. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    My first teacher often said, "There are no rules in tango", which I liked. There certainly are customary things with tango, within any community (I suppose), and certainly with individual dancers. Your partner may think something is implied, but is there any room for doubt?

    If I ever get the idea that my partner is dancing automatically, I try to jar her awake by leading contrary to what I feel her doing. I certainly don't want to have anything automatic in my dance. Frequently?, usually?, of course, but not automatic.

    It sounds to me like your partner had a different idea, and that she was not following your lead.

    Was she a regular partner, who knows your moves?
  17. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I'll just say I can really relate to this. Been there many times. And there were times when I finally said what I was thinking.

    She can pause if she wants. And take as long as she wants, because you have opened that space for her to move into. Or, she has allowed the space to be created.

    But that would make her responsible for not following your lead, and she has no grounds for telling you you did something "wrong".

    Beware of leading energetic steps without a pause in this position!
    (addressed to no one in particular and based on personal experience)

    I would think that it is then her responsibility to come to you at that point rather than expect you to "use your arms" to lead her.

    Alex Krebs, as I remember it, teaches (or, has taught) that she can take as long as she wants once that space is opened, and made a joke of being yawning and being bored while waiting for her to complete her step.
  18. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    For me: no it doesn´t! If you do it without pause within the flow, you have to give more space (straightend leg), and have to dissociate at a greater degree. Without pause it would be an alteración (on the beat) or a rebote (double time). All together means to interpret the music.
  19. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I was not going to comment b/c everyone else has said pretty much all there is, but this is such a pet peeve of mine that I had to just mention it. I concur completely with your [silent] assessments. I detest it when the woman 'takes over' these ops to do whatever crap she feels like, and then tells me that it's her option. ^&$@*(+!!, no it's not! We arrive at that point, and the lady takes off in a highjacked tantrum of stiletto fencing sieges of her surroundings and her partner. :shock: :evil: :headwall:

    Neither does the parada imply a pasada nor the pasada, a parada. They are both implied by the intention of the man at that moment. If embellishments are not led, they may be allowed by the lead, that is to say, how the lead is indicated. Re the hands, we all know that this is incorrect. Yet, we have spoken of this chest thing before. The poster who said that there is always some sort of disconnect here is very correct. again, we must remember that a chest lead is argentinean for leading from center, not always "literally" from a velcroed chest.

    comments are general, and not referencing any poster in particular.
  20. ant

    ant Member

    I think alot depends on the crap she is doing at that point. Is she playing with me or is she taking off as you say.

    I feel this is a bit harsh. I prefer this

    I would then wait to see what she does with the space and time she created and when she gives me back the lead in relation to the music. I think the most beautiful part of the parada is the coming back and if this is done to allow a pause at that point all the better and it then shows that the follower is contributing more of herself to our dance.

    I would have thought there was only a disconnection if the follower does not follow the leaders chest as SP described above.

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