Saturday, February 19, 2011

Musicality: More on Vals Cruzado

I will have a Vals Cruzado with butter, the way Detlef and Melina make it, please!

This post is on musicality and may be a little too cerebral.  I have notation at the end of what is happening musically (after the video).  If it does not interest some readers, then please just enjoy the nice visual of this tasty video clip that Detlef just published today.  Many dancers are doing interesting rhythms, but this couple maintain an embrace and do everything without losing the most beautiful element of what tango is -- the walking embrace.

NOTES on musicality

Key to notation:
1 (or any number) is a step
* is a rest.
/ denotes a segment (bar) of music, assuming that phrases are in 12 beats (four bars).

When I lived in Germany, I met Melina Sedó and Detlef Engle.  At the time I was new to tango, and I just had no idea how fortunate I was to learn from them. 

In this video clip, Detlef and Melina dance mostly on the down beat (1**/4**/7**/10**), but when the music calls for it often they dance on every beat.  Watch for (123/4**/789/10**) especially at the start, and then later throughout.   Before I hear the critics making comments, of course musicians do not count the vals cruzado or any waltz in 12.  But that is the way we feel it.

Speaking of 12-beat phrases, note how often our dancers catch the last of the phrase with (1**/4**/789/10**).  Starting at minute 2:22 they start a nice series of these examples, starting with (...789/10**) and then going into (123/4**/789/10**). 

Detlef will also do these faster steps as she is marking the slower down beat (1/4/7/10).  Dancing together but on different steps is what most distinguishes a "normal" waltz and val cruzada. Perhaps this is where I have the most fun in a val -- the freedom to have two different steps going on at the same time.  

Also, note the very nice series of sacadas as she is in a circle promenade.  The audience applauds.  I am sure you will applaud too -- for the whole performance. 

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