Tango is not only a fascinating dance but also a fascinating philosophy, culture and lifestyle. The search of tango is the search of connection, love, unity, harmony and beauty, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us into individuals, but tango unites us into a team, community, people and species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through fraternity, cooperation, accommodation, reconciliation and compromise. It is a dance that teaches the world to love.

May 19, 2023

Why Women Fail to Do Cruzada

Tango dancing begins with a four-step routine called salida done diagonally on man's left and ending with the woman's cruzada. The first step of salida is a side step. In the second and third steps the man walks on the woman's right, causing the need for her to recove the symmetrical position in line with him. The most convenient way or shortcut to recover that position is to cross her left leg in front of her right leg in the fourth step. There is no particular signal to tell her to do the cross except that he is on her right. In other words, the woman relies on her sense of equilibrium to return to a symmetrical position with the man by crossing her left leg in front of her right leg.

Tango women must be able to perceive and adjust their body position in relation to their partner. The sense of equilibrium is essential for maintaining alignment. A strong sense of equilibrium allows women to hold their body upright and distribute weight evenly, provides them with balance, stability and control over their movements, which helps create a visually pleasing appearance, allows them to move confidently and smoothly, and facilitates their execution of movements with efficiency and precision. A well-developed sense of equilibrium also makes women sensitive to changes in their body position in relation to their partner, enhances their ability to maintain proper alignment and weight distribution in partnering work.

Students with a strong sense of equilibrium can quickly get used to crossing their legs when the man walks on their right, while those with a weak sense of equilibrium are less sensitive to changes in body position in relation to their partner, thus often fail to do cruzada. For such women, practicing salida helps to get them into the habit of doing cruzada when the man walks on their right.

Bad embrace can also cause women to be insensitive to changes in their body position in relation to their partner. Some women wrap their left arm around the man's right arm, causing their body to be on the right side of the man's body. This misalignment makes them less sensitive to changes in the man's body position. Novice women dancing in open dance hold also can't perceive subtle changes in their partner's body position well due to the lack of direct physical contact. Both may cause them not to do the cross when the man walks on their right.

The right embrace is square and symmetrical, in which the two partners face each other chest against chest, his right arm is around her body, and her right arm is hooked around his shoulder, so the two are perfectly aligned. This correct embrace is not only the most comfortable, it also allows the woman to feel any subtle changes in the position of the man's body, so when he walks on her right, she will naturally reposition her body with the cruzada to bring her body back into line with his.

In my experience, failing to do cruzada is a common mistake women often make. Perpaps half of the women I dance with fail to do cruzada from time to time, and most of them are not new to tango. By adding a step, cruzada often serves as weight shift on the woman's part, thus changing from the balance system to the cross system, or from the cross system to the balance system. Whether the woman makes the cross puts her body in a different position in relation to the man, which affects how he leads the next step. Therefore, it is vital for women to get into the habit of doing cruzada when the man walks on their right. Using correct embrace, maitaining proper alignment, developing a strong sense of equilibrium, being sensitive to changes in the body position in relation to the partner, and practicing enough salida all help to get into the habit of doing cruzada.

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