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Amague – Feint and Deception

Amague – Feint and Deception

Argentine Tango is a dance of deep connection, musicality, and expressive movement. Among its myriad techniques and styles, “amague” stands out as a subtle yet powerful element. The term “amague” in Spanish translates to “feint” or “deception,” and in the context of Tango, it refers to a movement where one dancer pretends to initiate a step or direction but then changes it at the last moment. This technique not only adds an element of surprise and dynamism to the dance but also enhances the communication and connection between partners. In this article, we will delve into the history, technique, applications, and variations of the “amague” in Argentine Tango.

Historical Context

The origins of Argentine Tango can be traced back to the late 19th century in the port cities of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay. The dance emerged from a melting pot of cultures, including African, Indigenous, and European influences. As tango evolved, dancers began to incorporate more sophisticated techniques to express their musical interpretation and emotions.

The “amague” likely developed as a natural extension of the improvisational nature of tango. In the crowded dance halls, or milongas, dancers needed to be able to navigate the floor skillfully, often requiring quick changes in direction. The “amague” provided a way to create space, avoid collisions, and add an element of playful deception to the dance.

The Technique of Amague

“Amague” involves a deliberate but controlled fake movement intended to mislead either the partner or the observers, before executing the intended step. This technique requires precise timing, clear communication, and a deep connection between partners.

Basic Steps

  1. Initiation: The leader initiates the “amague” by starting a movement that suggests a specific direction or step. This could be a forward, backward, or side step.

  2. Deception: Just as the follower begins to respond to the initiated movement, the leader changes direction or pauses, creating the feint.

  3. Execution: After the moment of deception, the leader then guides the follower into the actual intended movement, which may be in a completely different direction or an entirely different step.

Key Elements of Amague

  • Connection: A strong connection between the leader and follower is crucial. The follower must be highly attuned to the leader’s body language and weight shifts.

  • Timing: The effectiveness of an “amague” relies on impeccable timing. The feint must be convincing enough to prompt a response from the follower before the actual movement is executed.

  • Subtlety: While an “amague” can be dramatic, it is often more effective when executed with subtlety, maintaining the smooth, flowing quality of the dance.

Variations of Amague

The “amague” can be incorporated into various tango figures and sequences, adding layers of complexity and surprise. Here are a few common variations:

  1. Amague in Ochos: During forward or backward ochos, the leader can initiate an “amague” by starting an ocho and then quickly changing direction, leading the follower into a different movement such as a giro or a parada.

  2. Amague in Sacadas: In a sacada, where one partner displaces the other’s leg, the leader can use an “amague” to suggest a sacada in one direction and then perform it in another, creating a dynamic interplay of movement and space.

  3. Amague in Ganchos: Before leading a gancho, the leader can use an “amague” to hint at a different movement, making the gancho more unexpected and dramatic.

  4. Amague in Barridas: In a barrida (sweep), the leader can perform an “amague” by feinting a sweep in one direction and then executing it in another, enhancing the fluidity and surprise of the movement.

Musicality and Expression

The “amague” allows dancers to play with the music in a creative and expressive manner. Tango music is known for its intricate rhythms, pauses, and accelerations. By incorporating “amague” into their dance, dancers can reflect the nuances of the music, accentuating sudden changes in tempo or emphasizing dramatic pauses.

Practical Applications

In addition to its aesthetic and expressive benefits, the “amague” serves practical purposes in navigating the dance floor. In a crowded milonga, dancers often need to change direction quickly to avoid collisions with other couples. The “amague” provides a graceful and effective way to manage space and maintain the flow of the dance.

The “amague” is a testament to the improvisational and communicative nature of Argentine Tango. This technique, rooted in deception and feint, adds depth, dynamism, and surprise to the dance. By mastering the “amague,” dancers can enhance their connection, musicality, and ability to navigate the dance floor. Whether performed with subtlety or dramatic flair, the “amague” remains an essential and captivating element of the rich tapestry of Argentine Tango.

Andreas MaierA

Andreas Maier

Researcher in Love with Tango!

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