1c. Leading the Follower to the Cross in the 8-Step Basic

THE BREAKDOWN

 1 2 3 4 5 6 78
Follower does: Forward
(left)
side
(right)
back
(left)
back
(right)
cross (left in front of right, shift weight to front left foot) "The Cross" ) back
(right)
side
(left)
feet together
Leader does: Back
(right)
side
(left)
forward (right,
to outside of
lady's right)
forward
(left)
feet together forward
(left)
side
(right)
feet together

When the leader steps to the side
of the follower, he steps very close
to her. In this picture, his feet
are right next to her's. This is
the 3rd step of the sequence.

    

A different angle on the 3rd step;
Here she is taking her 1st
left step back. On her next left
step back she will cross her left
foot in front of her right
and will shift weight to the left foot
to arrive in cross position

The above sequence of 8 steps is commonly taught as the Argentine tango basic step. It is a starting point.

Shown in the video at the 5th count of the sequence is the signature step of Argentine tango, the follower's cross, . The follower does a cross (that is, brings her left foot in front of her right foot) whenever the leader stays to the right of her for three consecutive steps. The follower does not cross if the leader is in front of her or to her left. The follower crosses on her second back left step (her 3rd back step), but only when the leader is moving on her right side (both his feet outside her right side).

THE LEADER starts by stepping back (making sure other dancers are not behind him!) and then to the left. Next, he takes two steps to the right of the follower and then steps in place with his right foot (5th step). This step in place is where he leads the follower to her cross. He steps forward out of the cross with his left leg, steps to the right, and steps in place with his left foot. He is now ready to begin the 8-step sequence again or move on to another figure.

When the partners are to the right of each other, they twist slightly at the waist, so that their chests are facing each other. When the leader takes the 5th step of the above sequence, he straightens out his chest, or untwists, which causes his partner to shift to her right. This shift to the follower's right makes it very natural for her to cross her left foot in front of her right.

THE FOLLOWER steps forward and then to her right. Next, she takes 2 steps backward, then crosses her left leg in front of her right and shifts her weight onto her left foot (5th step). Her weight should be completely shifted to her left foot so that she can smoothly step out of the cross with her right foot. She then steps to the left, steps in place with the right foot, and is ready to begin the sequence again.

There are a variety of other steps which the follower could be led to do from the cross, but always from the cross the follower will step with her free foot, her right foot, either forward or backward, depending on the lead.

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