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Timing the cross

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Date:    Mon, 12 Oct 1998 09:08:44 -0400
From:    "Walter M. Kane"
Subject: Timing the cross


Hi all,

At the risk of causing some exasperation, I'm raising the "leading the
cross" question again. My question addresses the particular aspect of
controlling the timing, or speed, of the cross, NOT whether or not to
cross.

For purposes of the question, I'll use the start of a basic (I know, I
know...) salida, counting the side step (to my left) as count 1. The cross,
then, could occur on count 4, as I close with my right. While I have no
trouble indicating WHEN to cross, I find that many partners will cross
quickly, on a half beat, i.e., "1, 2, 3-&", where the cross is on the "&,"
rather than on "4" whether I intend that to happen or not.

I can mark a quick step on the cross, or at another point in the salida, by
the appropriate movement of my frame, but I am not successful at preventing
it at the cross, when I want to take that step ON the beat. My regular
partner gets it right 99% of the time, because she recognizes that unless
she receives the positive indication to accelerate, she will move at the
"normal" pace. Thus the mark for an "on the beat" cross is a passive one.
When dancing with another partner, though, we don't have such a
pre-understood signal.

Am I missing something? Is there a positive signal that I should be able to
impart to my partner to prevent the quick timing of the cross?

Tangringo


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Date:    Mon, 12 Oct 1998 16:04:04 +0200
From:    Michael Cysouw
Subject: Re: Timing the cross


Tangringo wrote:

> While I have no
> trouble indicating WHEN to cross, I find that many partners will cross
> quickly, on a half beat, i.e., "1, 2, 3-&", where the cross is on the "&,"
> rather than on "4" whether I intend that to happen or not.

I see this often, sadly enough, but it is understandable. The reason why
this happens is that the distance covered at the cross is half that of the
other movements. Using Walter's numbering: the distance the feet have to
cover between step number 3 and 4, and between 4 and 5, is half the
distance between e.g. step number 2 and 3.
With the speed of the weigth center kept constant the feet will have to
move faster to keep with the upperbody. What people have to learn is that
they have to 'slow down', so to say, for a cross.

>Am I missing something? Is there a positive signal that I should be able to
>impart to my partner to prevent the quick timing of the cross?

As you may conclude from the above explanation: no, not really. The one
performing a cross will have to try not to double tempo as a default,
otherwise the movement becomes uncontrollable. It is possible though to
slow down a backward move by being very explicit in your movement, but that
is a rather difficult technique.

bye
michael cysouw
nijmegen, holland


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Date:    Mon, 12 Oct 1998 17:48:03 -0400
From:    "Walter M. Kane"
Subject: Re: Timing the cross [2]


I wrote:

> >Am I missing something? Is there a positive signal that I
> >should be able to impart to my partner to prevent
> >the quick timing of the cross?

Michael wrote:

> As you may conclude from the above explanation: no, not really. The one
> performing a cross will have to try not to double tempo as a default,
> otherwise the movement becomes uncontrollable.
--------------

Thanks, Michael, for understanding the question. Your answer is
encouraging, in part, in that it corroborates my view that the onus is on
my partner not to "double tempo as a default."

I hope I can follow your suggestion:

> It is possible though to
> slow down a backward move by being very explicit in your movement, but
> that is a rather difficult technique.

But how explicit can I be? To continue using the same salida example as in
my original post (side step is count 1, trying to mark a cross on 4), I
stop my forward progress on count 3, with my left foot outside partner
right. I am closing with my right, without any further forward motion. My
partner recognizes the mark for a cross, and does so. The acceleration, or
"double tempo" that I'm trying to cure is mostly in the movement of her
left leg.

What explicit movement (or lack of it) can I impart to forestall that
double-tempo leg movement? My wife tells me that a poke in the ribs is not
acceptable ;-).

Tangringo
____________________
Walter M. (Tangringo) Kane
Harriman, NY

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Date:    Mon, 12 Oct 1998 18:30:35 -0500
From:    "Stephen P. Brown"
Subject: Re[2]: Timing the cross [2]


     Michael wrote:

     >>The one performing a cross will have to try not to double tempo as a
     >>default,

     My partner (Susan) and I concur with Michael that is the woman's
     responsibility to execute the cross in one beat--not 1/2 beat--unless
     she is led to do so by the man accelerating her into her cross.

     Nonetheless, some men may inadvertently lead their partners to move at
     double tempo by attempting to establish quick leads which allow them
     to stay ahead of their partner.  This can arise when both partners
     have the feeling that their partner is moving too quickly throughout
     the dance and forcing them to do so also.

     Surprisingly enough, many women seems to gain greater control of the
     dance if they moves more slowly and deliberately than they perceive
     their partner is marking the steps.  The woman actually has less
     control when she anticipates the man's steps and attempts to compete
     with him for the lead.

     >>It is possible though to slow down a backward move by being very
     >>explicit in your movement, but that is a rather difficult technique.

     Walter responded:

     >What explicit movement (or lack of it) can I impart to forestall that
     >double-tempo leg movement?

     Here are some ideas:

     1)  Make sure that you are not establishing a double-tempo lead.

     2)  Do not reward her double-tempo cross by taking the next step on
         the next half beat.

     3)  Vary your dance sufficiently that she cannot anticipate that the
         next step will be a cross before you mark the step.

     4)  Indicate your timing by marking the step slowly.

     5)  Mark the step slowly and restrain any quick movement on her part
         with your right arm.  This is not a good long-term solution,
         however.

     --Steve de Tejas

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Date:    Mon, 12 Oct 1998 17:10:25 -0700
From:    "Crowley, Ted (NLC-EX)"
Subject: Re: Timing the cross [2]


Walter wrote as follows about trying to lead so that his followers
do not "double-time" the step to the cross:
        -----------------------------------------------------------
> But how explicit can I be? To continue using the same salida example as in
> my original post (side step is count 1, trying to mark a cross on 4), I
> stop my forward progress on count 3, with my left foot outside partner
> right. I am closing with my right, without any further forward motion. My
> partner recognizes the mark for a cross, and does so. The acceleration, or
> "double tempo" that I'm trying to cure is mostly in the movement of her
> left leg.
>
> What explicit movement (or lack of it) can I impart to forestall that
> double-tempo leg movement? My wife tells me that a poke in the ribs is not
> acceptable ;-).
        ------------------------------------------------------------

Walter, between your comments and Michael's I think I see the problem,
I learned something (thanks!), and I have two suggestions for you:


First, above where you say "without any further forward motion" it
is probably not quite accurate. Although you do not take a step on 4,
your upper body is probably still moving forward as you bring your
back foot up together with the other. Most likely your upper body's
forward motion really stops much later than count 3. And it is
supposed to -- it is this continued upper body movement that
leads her to continue to move after count 3, either to a cross or to a
close. If you really stopped forward motion on 3, so would she and
never reach a cross.

The next question is how fast your body is moving. Michael pointed
out in his previous reply that the woman's step-to-the-cross covers
only half a normal step, so if her backward movement is at the normal
speed it will take half as long. The same is true of your step 4,
bringing your feet together: it is half a normal step.
So if your upper body continues its normal speed right until it stops,
it will stop halfway between 3 and 4 (roughly)....and so will your follower.
You need to slow your upper body's movement from count 3 to 4 so that it
is half the normal speed, so that you reach the point of being motionless
with feet together right at count 4....and this is your "explicit" lead
for your partner to do the same.

Second, I believe that on a double-tempo cross some followers are actually
taking a shorter step on step 3 (and thus doing it faster) to get to the
cross step 4 sooner.
So I suggest you be very careful to lead step 3 clearly, largely, slowly,
resisting any speed-up of it and trying to lead so the follower takes a
full-size step on 3. This seems to help me when I find myself unintentionally
leading double tempo crosses.

Remember also there is much variety in followers (like leaders) and some are
much more likely than others to do a double tempo cross, so you always
have to adjust.

Lastly, some followers will always do a cross double-tempo whether you lead
it or not, whether you do the things above or not, even if it means she
takes her shortened step 3 much sooner than you take your step 3 etc.
If you are dancing with someone like that, then simply give in to this
follower's style, and for your dances with her expect and plan
on each cross being "double tempo". And enjoy.

-- Ted


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Date:    Mon, 12 Oct 1998 17:22:20 -0700
From:    David Gunter
Subject: Re: Timing the cross


Walter:
Know the feeling. And then try to work in a "tango elegant" walk to the
cross, a la Orlando Paiva, where the difference between the "normal" paced
step you refer to and the others is not 1-2-3& (as in normal/quick), but
"normal" and sloooowwww. It is truly elegant, but partners who feel the
cross in that 3& groove might be suspended in space.
Oddly enough, practicing with that new feel has made it easier for me and my
regular partner to take any number of variations into the cross.
dave


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Date:    Wed, 14 Oct 1998 17:14:44 +0200
From:    "Disco, C. (WMW)"
Subject: Timing the cross (2+)


Ted's elaboration on Walter's and Michael's comments hit the nail on the
head.  The leader has to understand the placing of the follower's feet in
the cross - especially the fact that the full count step is only half the
distance (see Michael) and lead accordingly.  But why do so many, especially
inexperienced, followers feel the impulse to cross in double-time in the
first place?  Try, as habitual leader, following a cross and this will
become clear.  The follower is simply trying to get out of an extremely
vulnerable condition as fast as possible - expecting the worst from an
impetuous leader.  What she's done by crossing is basically pulling herself
up short (re Michael) and locking herself in place, thereby in fact setting
herself up to be knocked down by an overeager and hence inexperienced leader
- of which there are of course many.  So double tempo crossing is a form of
self defense against predatory leaders.  This becomes a defensive habit
which then prevents leaders from ever learning how to lead the cross right.
So we have another instance of the adagium that leaders get the followers
they deserve - and (probably to a lesser extent) vice versa.  In order for
the situation to improve somebody has to make a move: either the leader has
to become more sensitive and savvy or the follower has to become less
defensive.  The two come most easily together.
        For the leader, to add my two cents, it is important to get the
follower to place her right foot on 4 (the one that determines where the
cross is to be) in the normal walking position, i.e. a normal stride.  At
the same time the leader should take care not to place his own left foot on
4 (the one that determines where he will close) too far forward - otherwise
_in the next step_ the follower will feel the overbearing impetus that
encourages her to close in double tempo.  To do this it is necessary to
retard your stride slightly on step 4 while still projecting your upper body
forward (to get her to do a normal step).  The next step 5 is predetermined
for both leader and follower, but now the leader has to stop projecting his
upper body forward and simply gather himself together above his feet.  Of
course this must also take a whole count if you want to encourage your
partner to do the same.  Take your time and aim to close right on the beat.
The follower as always must yearn with her upper body toward her partner
while gathering her left foot to its counterpart on 5.  Otherwise she pulls
him forward and herself generates the lead that causes her - in self defense
- to close in double tempo.
Here we have an instance of the adagium that place compels time and (to a
lesser extent) time compels place.
        What sometimes helps in practicing is for the follower not to cross,
but simply to close.  It's all the same, but the stress is less.  Wisdom is
easier said than done, in any case.


Nil Disco
Amsterdam
c.disco@wmw.utwente.nl


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Date:    Fri, 16 Oct 1998 00:10:17 -0700
From:    Larry E Carroll
Subject: Timing the cross

A leader is not an all-powerful puppet master - despite what
some men would like to believe! Women are equal partners, &
should get equal credit (or blame) for making a dance work
(or not). However, specific responsibilities of each partner
are different.

The leader must establish the overall timing, the
tempo. He does this at the beginning of the dance by
listening to the music - or so we hope! Then the woman
maintains that tempo for whatever she does - hopefully by
listening to the music. That includes the cross, but also
everything else.

At any time the man can change that timing. Rarely he'll
establish a new tempo. Usually, however, he'll only make a
temporary change, then go back to the overall tempo.

The leader can help his partner keep her timing by stopping
himself from getting anxious or otherwise excited & starting
to rush the tempo. She can help by being a little lazy, by
waiting an instant after each step.

This prepares her physically & mentally to instantly match
a change in tempo or direction of movement. It also drags on
the man, hopefully just enough to notice but not enough to
impede. This resistance forces their bodies a little tighter
together, improving their connection, mental as well as
physical.

If a woman is rushing, the man can slow down a little,
stepping a little after the beat. He can also slow down even
more, taking a single step for every four beats, rather than
the usual two beats.

He can also stop. It's better to do something rather than
just stand utterly still, & of course tango offers a lot of
possibilities here.
                Larry de Los Angeles
                http://world.std.com/~larrydla


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Date:    Tue, 13 Oct 1998 09:01:59 -0700
From:    Brett Kraabel
Subject: timing the "cross"


There has been some discussion about timing the crusada, i.e. how to
indicate to your partner to put her left foot down on the beat or on the
half beat (double-time), so here's my 1/2 cents worth.  I had that same
problem many a time, so I asked our teachers about it, and they told me
that the lead was with the body.  If I keep my body going forward through
the crusada, my partner has no choice but to quickly put her left foot down
and step back with her right, because I am displacing her.  If I stop my
body movement then a good follower will put her foot down on the beat, i.e.
cross on the beat.  A good follower shouldn't rush into this step, or any
other, unless the leader indicates to do so (i.e. don't get ahead of the
lead).  Hope that helps,
Brett

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Garrit Gleischmann Okt.98
Email: kontakt(at)cyber-tango.com