Toe leads for every step for the man?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by LordBallroom, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    I can't get a straight answer when it comes to whether or not the man should take toe leads on every step. I've heard some say that he should just take normal walking steps (heel, toe) footwork going forward. I've heard others say that he should be pioised slightly forward taking toe leads with every step. Can you guys help me sort this out?
  2. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    LordBallroom, basically it´s a style question. What are your preferences, which style do you want to follow?
  3. Mladenac

    Mladenac Active Member

    There was and there will be a debate about that. :eek:

    It's not just toe vs heel but the whole posture is different when performing that.
    I was told that AT should be as natural as could be and to land on heel.
    Aside being more natural way of walking the follower receives clearer marking on the beat.
    I some special occasions I step on my toes only, but not heel afterwards.

    I would vote for heel first, but that's just my personal opinion.

    Generally more correct is what AT society is used.
    If dominant technique is toes first, you should dance way.
    And also about the heel.

    You may be the best dancer, but if you do it your way only you may be alone.
    You must integrate in your community and dance for the partner. ;)
  4. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    I'd like to dance the most practical style. To me it would be a versitile style that one can easily use as a base when they want to start branching off into different styles. Since I don't really know too much about the differences in styles I hope you guys can point me in the right direction.

  5. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I use both. poining the toe when walking forward or taking a side step, makes for an elegant movement, and taking a sidestep I can land my weight on the ball of the foot. walking forwards the heel generally comes down first.

    watch Alejandro hermida; he has lovley footwork IMO

  6. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Then I would suggest to learn all variants: heel first, toe first, extended step projection, alternating, ... A lot of guys only stick to one tango style, I don´t. Before the golden age of tango the community was split: upper class dancers (so called bailadores or saloneros) only used to dance with toe first (they only did dance on parquet floor), low class dancers (so called milongueros used to "display their soles" what means they had developed an all-terrain cross-country walk). Today the VU-style and the stage-style follow the toe-first paradigm, while Naveira and his school claims a third-way-style: the natural walk. I don´t know if todays milonguero stylists focus on a certain walk? I saw almost everything between toe and heel first. But mind that your walking style also affects the follower´s style. Toe-first (leader) does not fit together with an open toe-angle (follower). And in the end your head position also is determined by your stepping technique. So I find it better not to follow a single style.
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    @Lord That´s an example for a moderate VU-style: bobbing (lifting and lowering), right to left temple, toe first on every other step.
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    you don't have to call me 'Lord'!
    'sir' will do..;)
    opendoor likes this.
  9. Mladenac

    Mladenac Active Member

    The most practical is the most prevalent style in your AT community. :cool:
    When you start to dance with foreigners you will adjust your style slightly.
    And evolve a bit by bit. ;)

    You need to master one style, cause other styles differ in nuances.
    It's not as fast progress as some would like. You must feel your partner.
    And that's another complexity of AT. The nuances in dancing and musicality. :cool:
  10. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    It doesn't matter. The answer for a beginner is whichever makes you feel more stable.

    I know some teachers like starting people with heel first because it feels more familiar. You are less likely to tense up and inject noise in your step.

    I personally pick it based on the height of the person I am dancing with, sometimes on the style of music. For very tall ladies, I've found i can make a smoother step with a toe lead. For very short ladies, my heel leads feel better for driving the shorter steps.
  11. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    In general, do the most natural thing; toes first for side steps, heels for forward steps. That's how most dancers do it, because it's natural. Check the videos. In some situation you might decide to do it differently.

    You can reach out with your toe close to the floor, going forward, but you'll still land with your heel.
  12. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    It's nothing more than a personal and/or style preference.

    IMO, it's good to know how to do both, that way when you're in a class with a teacher who claims his way is the one true way, you'll be able to quickly change from one to the other, without the teacher having too much of a nutty.
    :D


    Also (and seriously), you might find that in some situations you might want to step toe first, while in other situations you might want to step heel first (at least I do).
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Straight answer?
    No.
  14. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    Ok. My final answer is: The standard of tango dancing is of course the way i am dancing in February 2013, which means no toe leads ever......except when a toe lead would be better.

    Joking aside: In general most people use all different types of walking techniques during their dance. People who aspire to do a more "pure" style tend try to use one style exclusivly, but even they sometimes they mix in other things. The different walks facilitate a different embrace, different vocabulary and different overall look/feel. The embrace is decided in negotiation between the partners and changes dynamically, the vocabulary is a function of the music and how crowded the dancefloor is, and the overall look/feel is again a function of the music and continuous negotiation between the partners. To be able to navigate these three variables smoothly - music, partner, dancefloor - one needs to have a working knowledge of all options available.

    I personally think a really pure style is only possible either when practicing or performing, and one needs to embrace flexibility when actually dancing. (Disclaimer: this is based on my personal bias that tango is what happens at a milonga, and that everything else is either practicing or demonstrating some of the skills needed for this/related to this. In my mind the relationship between dancing at a milonga and doing a performance is similar to the relationship between hunting and target shooting - both are valid pursuits, and to be a good hunter requires at least some level of markmanship, but it is not actually the same thing. It is possible to stack the deck at a milonga by dancing only with certain partners to certain songs when the dancefloor has the rightdensity, and then it is possible to dance relatively pure, but that feels a bit limiting to me.)

    Gssh
  15. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Is the answer the same for women?
  16. Mladenac

    Mladenac Active Member

    For ladies might be dilema if they step on the heel at all.
    And when to step on the heel, if they step at all. :rolleyes:

    It's no wonder that HEEL is very close to HELL. :D
  17. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    You had to go there didn't you? :eek:

    Are we talking about women who are leading in flat shoes or women who are following in 4" stilettos?
  18. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    No, the standard for women is of course Twnkltoz, circa February 2013 ;)
  19. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Women following in 4" stilettos. :) Personally, I do what feels natural at the time. Off the top of my head, I think when I step forward in close embrace, I'm more likely to step on the toe. When I'm led into something in open embrace, such as forward ochos, I think I'm more likely to take the heel. But I never know if one or the other is correct.
  20. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Active Member

    None of it is incorrect per se. It is all boils down to what you are trying to achieve, dynamically, musically, aesthetically, etc. under the circumstances consisted of some unique ( your body, your present mood, for instance) and some common ( basic human anatomy, laws of gravity, to name a couple) elements.

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