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The Mystique of the Volcada


By Jean-Pierre Sighé



Enter the mysterious and exciting world of The Volcada. When properly executed this move inspires beauty. However, just like any other graceful move in Tango, the Volcada requires structure.  Often invisible to the beginner, with practice this move becomes indispensable - if one remains mindful of the esthetic of the dance. Obviously, all the dancers who execute the Volcada don’t project the same kind of mastership in the move. Perhaps this stems from an incomplete understanding of the move’s construction. Let us analyze it.

Observing the Volcada’s execution, one may note that the lady appears to be off her axis. She is obviously leaning on her partner. Anyone can see this. That being the case, how could she (out of the blue) be in such position? This is the question I wish all dancers out there would ask, because the answer would give us one of the Volcada’s founding


elements. The Carpa (the tent) allows the woman to lean on her partner. Incidentally, absence of the Carpa in the Volcada’s construction brings an unwanted stiffness to the dance. The Carpa by itself must be properly set up by the man who makes sure that the woman has the support for her back. Any move that takes the woman off her axis without the support she needs proves dangerous, because of the obvious possible consequences. (The warning here is addressed to both the man and the woman.)
These days, as soon as some women are lead into what used to be the good old front Ocho (prior to the Colgada fever hitting the stage), they automatically launch themselves into the Volcada. This means that the support for their back is absent; they are literally on their way to the floor - falling. Of course, the partner won’t let that happen and would be quickly forced to execute a saving move. This takes us back again to the danger of learning the step or move, while neglecting the understanding of how and why the move is constructed in a specific way.

The Carpa yields the first clue of the proper set up of the Volcada. This cannot be over emphasized. Once the Carpa is in place, the remaining part of the move boils down to an “elongated” front Ocho, with a resolution in the Cruzada. It becomes truly easier to execute. I must also bring up the reminder that during the Volcada’s execution the woman remains at the center of the rotation. It implies that the partner at the outer circle of the rotation (the man) must create longer steps to accommodate the situation imposed by the rotation. Thus, the woman as the partner at the center and contrary of the man’s angle of consideration need only exert little effort to satisfy the context of the rotation. She can use that position to make her embellishment on the floor (the literal drawing with her free pointed foot) look as pretty as possible. There is no need to be in a rush. She has her back secured and she is at the center of the rotation. Those of you who have studied the Molinete and the Media-Vuelta with us will quickly catch on here.

Simple and basic concepts are the foundation of all flashy Tango moves. They appear complex when the simple elements that constitute the moves are misunderstood. A simple move added to another simple move in a quick sequence will often produce the awe. We encourage you to train yourself to breaking things down to their simplest elements. All of a sudden, what looked so complex becomes accessible. In closing, I would say that nothing in Tango is done outside of the Walking. Please, keep this in mind.

(a didactic Volcada clip to follow this article).


© July 2008


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