What is the difference between the parallel and cross systems?
In the parallel system we dance as if in a "mirror image" i.e when my left foot goes forward, my follower's right foot goes back. This is the most simple form of walking in the tango
In the cross system, my partner's weight is not the mirror image of mine e.g. if the leader has his weight on his left foot, the follower has her weight on her left foot We can draw a diagonal line between our left feet which each have weight
How can I change from the parallel system into the cross system?
The simplest way to do this is to start off with a normal side step (apertura) in the parallel system to leader's left.
Then leader changes his weight to his right leg WITHOUT changing the weight of the follower (do this by maintaining the embrace constant)
The leader is now free to walk forward with his left foot.
How can I start walking in the cross system?
Following the last point..... the leader starts to walk forward on his left foot, with the left foot tracing the left side of the follower's hipline. The follower will also start to walk on her left.
Hey, does this sound familiar? Yes, it is. It is similar to how you might initiate back ochos but it doesn't have any pivoting. At this stage we are just walking straight. BTW Ochos are a form of walking in the cross system.
You can walk merrily along in the cross system, with your left leg on the left side of your follower and your right leg moving directly in front of your follower. This is called the left lane of the cross system. Take care to dissociate your upper body towards your partner so that you don't lose the connection
What's next? Back ochos
The cool thing about walking in the cross system is that it enables you to initiate new moves very easily and with fluidity.
From walking on the left side of the follower, it is possible to lead into back ochos.
All you need to do it this: While you are walking, as you step with your left leg, initiate a pivot to the left. Voila!! You are leading a back ocho, Cool! So lead a pivot to the right and you have led a back ocho to your right.
You can lead back ochos that are long and "walk" like or back ochos that have a lot of pivot side to side.
The back ochos are the middle lane of the cross system
The right lane
Once you have effortlessly crossed from the left lane to the middle lane (ochos) , you might like to move to the right lane.....This is the trickiest lane in the cross system.....
After you have transferred weight for the right ocho, straighten your partner out and step in front of her with your left foot. She will be stepping back with her left foot. You will need to dissociate your upper body towards her to maintain the connection. You will feel that you have moved to the right side of her (from leader's perspective).
After transferring your weight with your left foot, pivot your hip so that you are perpendicular to her and do a side step to your right. The follower will continue to walk backwards. At this point it is very important that the position of your right arm remains the same to the follower, If you allow your right arm to rotate with your hip, she will no longer continue to walk backwards.. It is also important to step as close to her back foot as possible in the side step.
From this point you can continue with ochos (middle lane) or continue walking in the left lane as before!!
Here is an image of dancers in the cross system.