Hints & Myths about Argentine Tango


Cambridge Vals

These notes summarise a vals workshop taught by Jenny Frances and Ricardo Oria in December 2004.

The lesson worked on the vals rhythm and introduced some moves that work within the suspense and release mood of the vals rhythm.



Th lesson began with some warming up exercises:

    With everyone in a circle; each stands on one foot and rotates the foot from the ankle and then the leg from the hip until relaxed, then works on the other leg.

Then a little about the normal tango rhythm:

    picking out just the strong beats

1 1 1 1 1 1 ...

or both strong and weak beats

1 & 1 & 1 & 1 & 1 & 1 ..


Then the vals tempo:

    picking two out of the three beats per bar, according to your preference:

1 & . 1 & . 1 & . 1 & . 1 & . 1 & . 1 & . ...


or 1 . & 1 . & 1 . & 1 . & 1 . & 1 . & 1 . & ...


We then played with entering the cross system:



Leader steps wide to his left on his left leg as follower steps naturally to her right on her right leg;


Leader, in contratime, now brings his right leg to close against her right foot as her left leg closes to her right without weight change;


Leader moves his left leg forward as her left leg continues to move backward.
    (We are now in cross system)

adding a barrida and ...



Leader moves his right leg forward and slightly diagonally drawing follower's right foot back in a barrida.


Leader moves his left leg forward so his feet sandwich his follower's feet


Leader now briefly holds this position close against follower (suspense)


Leader and follower now draw in their stomachs, leaning back slightly in the embrace, to make space


for Follower to make a pasada step with her left foot over his left foot


Leader completes the move by stepping back strongly to draw his slightly resistant follower into a big forward step on his left side (release)

and off into ochos or ....

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