Monday, July 28, 2008

Whisks In The Tango


In my post entitled "Whisks In The Waltz" (Article 5) of June 23 2008, I described the 3 types of whisks that are commonly used in the waltz. They are the whisk, the back whisk and the left whisk. There is also another dance figure in the waltz known as the fallaway whisk which is quite similar to the back whisk. This dance figure has however fallen out of favour and is seldom, if ever, taught in dance schools nowadays.

Besides the waltz, whisks are not specified dance figures in the other ballroom dances. Whilst the whisk is not a specified figure per se in the tango, it is often used in conjunction with other dance figures particularly as an ending to a chasse to the right. The whisk in tango is popularly used in amalgamation with the Oversway and The Chase.

I find the walks, contra checks, whisks and the sharp head flicks to be the distinctive figures and movements in the tango. A tango dance routine would normally incorporate at least one or more of these figures or movements. The whisk if executed properly can add a lot of flavour or character to the dance. Technique is of course important in dancing the whisk. The whisk should be executed with sharp, crisp movements for that special tango effect.

The correct technique is to for the man to stand with the full weight on his right foot. The left foot should then be swept back quickly and crossed behind the right foot in promenade position into whisk. With the weight now evenly distributed between the right and left foot, the man should be standing on the flat of the right foot and the ball of the left foot. The lady of course stands on her left foot and sweeps her right foot back in promenade position at the same time turning her head sharply to her right.

Here's a nice tango routine incorporating the whisk. Dance two walks followed by an oversway with a timing of S S Q Q S S. Next do a chasse to right, RLR and cross left foot behind right foot in promenade position into whisk. Then step right foot forward in PP and CBMP and place left foot forward in PP without weight. The timing is Q & Q S Q Q or Q & Q Q Q S but I personally prefer the first timing. Finish with a closed promenade, S Q Q S. Happy dancing!

Best Regards,

Dance Aficionado

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