When the Vals tanda comes on during average Milonga you can immediately see attendees being divided into few groups.
One – those who don’t really hear the music and don’t even notice that the music changed happily proceed with their Tango assuming that Tango Vals (Vals Cruzado) is nothing but happy and faster tango.
Two – those who hear the difference and have enough knowledge or/and common sense to realize that there must be the difference in cadencia and interpretation of music between Tango and Vals (Vals Cruzado). Since they hear and are capable of realizing that they lacking the knowledge they stay at the safety of their tables observing the brave ones on the dance floor.
Three – Those Who Know and Can Dance Vals Cruzado.
The Monday class main goal will be to get into exclusivity of group #3: Those Who Know and Can Dance Vals. REGISTER NOW
The basic difference is hidden in its rhythm. Vals is written in ¾ notation, which means that one measure consists of 3 quarter notes. Since quarter notes can be divided in many other 8-, 16- 32-, 64-, etc value notes lets leave all this for the musicians and see what it means for us.
In Tango we count each measure as 1-2-3-4, but we only step on 1 and 3.
The Vals is much faster so even though we can distinguish 1-2-3, in the very basic interpretation of Vals we are only stepping on 1 and completely ignore the 2 and 3. How lazy of us….
What happens is that if we are only dancing on 1 and the phrase is still equal to 8 (or multiplications of 8) measures it is fairly easy to dance slow tango to vals music. Everything fits. It just seems slower then usual, but not extremely slow. That’s why we have all this confused souls from group 1.
The next difference is hidden in the interpretation of double time. That’s just another mental shortcut. The truth is that Tango Vals doesn’t really have double time, but instead has a syncopation.
Of course, you say, it’s logical. The double time would have to fall in exact middle between step and step. Since we are only stepping on 1, where is the exact middle between 1 and 1?
The middle would be somewhere between 2 and 3, but not exactly on 2 and not exactly on 3. The exact 2 or exact 3 would give as syncopation.
So although it is true that Tango Vals is a descendant of Viennese Vals, the interpretation of the music is different. Viennese Vals is slower, so there is time to step on every beat. On 1, on 2, and on 3. Because of this there is an even space between 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 3 and 1 so if we are crazy good we can attempt to use those spaces as double time as they are even. Or we can shift the step/pause placement and create syncopation in reference to the main beat.
Tango Vals is moving so fast that we will be lucky to step on 1 and 2 and 3, forget spaces in between. Of course there are spaces. But for us tango elephants with elephant feet it is unlikely we will be able to utilize those spaces. So instead we are assuming lazy approach stepping on just 1 and syncopating either by using 12-1–12-1–12 or 1-31—1-31—1 for the moments of music that call for ‘double time’ and what in fact is a syncopation.
If – and only if – we were able to clearly distinguish the difference between 2 and 3, and after being able to distinguish it we were able to control our bodies that they step on 2 or 3 not on the ‘somewhere in between’ sloppy double time, million doors open allowing for amazing interpretations of Vals.
We can have both Leader and Follower on: 12-1–12-1—12-1 or 1-31—1-31—1.
Or we can have Leader stepping on 2 and Follower on 3, or vice versa.
Or, from time to time, we can even use all 3 beats for both of us.
The cadencia of Vals also differs from that of Tango. In tango we are arriving to our axis on the beat. Vals with its wonderful symmetry calls for split axis (axis in transition) during the 1 since we still have 2 and 3 to arrive fully to one leg axis. Of course it changes when we start using 2 and 3 for our syncopations, but still the floating sensation is there thanks to the different interpretation of musical accent.
All that kind of suggests what steps do or do not make sense in Vals. It’s not like something is forbidden or something is absolutely necessary. But in a way it does. We tend to go for more circular movements and avoid linear movements.
All this in more details with Vals specific steps and music analysis in the new class
‘Secrets of Vals Cruzado’ starting Monday, February 5th at 7:30pm
*No partner necessary.
*$30 drop in, $90 – 4 classes (to be used within 5 consecutive weeks, no exceptions)
*Completed pre-intermediate level required. Talk to us during practica if you really, really, really want to be in this class, but you are not yet out of the pre-intermediate level.