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One Figure 

A Step is a movement of the foot from here to there. A Figure is a specific sequence of steps forming a set that is complete, is often standardized, and is widely accepted and used as one component of a dance routine.

Tango Closed Promenade

by Harold & Meredith Sears

The name "Closed Promenade" sort of tells the story. We begin in semi-closed position (promenade), lead feet free, and we end in closed position. We do this in four steps, danced SQQS. In semi-closed position LOD, we step slow side and forward L (W sd & fwd R), quick thru R, quick sd & fwd L (W folds LF to CP DLW and steps sd & bk R), and slow close R to L (W cl L to R).

I speak of "slow" and "quick" steps, but almost all Tango steps are properly done quickly. Take the step and hold. Even on a "Q," make it Q/&. Step on the "Q" and pause on the "&," if only briefly. And if you have a "S," you can do even more. On the first step of this figure, don't step forward smoothly and draw the trail foot forward for the second step with flow and body flight; but step, move the trail foot up smartly, and hold, all within the S-count. Now your trail foot is collected and poised for a Q/hold, Q/hold, close/hold, hold (QQS). Make use of sharp movements and alternating stillness.

Although the woman folds from SCP to CP, there is no turn for the man. The man's feet are still pointed DLW at the end of the figure. So, although we sometimes talk about "picking the woman up" on step 3, it is certainly not a waltz Pickup to LOD. This shift from SCP to CP is sharp but subtle. To lead the "fold" to CP, men, give her your right hip. Also, make step 3 a little more side and a little less forward. The woman will have more freedom to make the turn. She will feel the snap more cleanly.

Above, I am describing the woman's "fold" as occurring during the second "Q." Another style has this turn occurring a little earlier, at the end of the first Q. She steps forward R on the S, thru L and fold to CP on the first Q, and then both can step side and close, together, to end the figure (QS). This approach, too, is clean, snappy, and very tango-like. Ladies, how do you decide whether to dance this "fold" at the end of the second step or at the beginning of the third? Do it when your partner gives you his lead, when you feel his right hip.

It is possible to dance two Closed Promenades in a row (or otherwise to do any Promenade from closed position). The man simply needs to take his first step, forward L, with strong left-side lead, and the woman will turn RF, rolling from the front to the back of his right hip, and step small forward R in SCP. The count for the first three steps might be &1234; where we turn to SCP on the &, we step on 1, hold 2 (the initial "S" of the figure), and then take steps 2 and 3 on beats 3 and 4 as normal.

There is also a Double Closed Promenade, but of course this is not two Closed Promenades. Like the Closed Promenade, we begin in semi-closed position, and we end in closed position, but we take just two extra steps and briefly turn to CP in the middle of the figure, as well as at the end. Instead of SQQS for the Closed Promenade, we have a count of SQQQQS for the Double Closed Promenade.

In SCP, usually facing LOD, we step slow side and forward L (W sd & fwd R), quick thru R, quick sd & fwd L (W turn LF to CP and step sd & bk R), quick thru R (W turn RF to semi-closed position and step thru L), quick sd & fwd L (W turn LF to closed position again and step sd & bk R), slow close R to L (W cl L to R) to end in CP DLW.

Throughout, we will make use of the &-counts to give sharpness to our steps, but step 3, especially, needs to be danced like a Q/&. She folds to CP and steps side R and then quickly turns back to SCP for step 4, thru L. Of course, the man needs to dance that & too. He steps side L giving her his R hip and then takes his R hip away to turn her to SCP. He has to turn her to CP a second time in the figure, so he is using LF hip rotation on step 3, quickly RF, and then LF hip rotation again on step 5.

More tango figures here, or go to index.

This article was published in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, May, 2011.


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