About Tango Head Snaps in Modern tango
The Head snaps are very often said to have not come into play untill the 1930s. However, outside of the old gaucho story of the dancers getting a whiff of Body odor, the real disagreements are about the time frame. This excerpt is from Charles Durangs (1796-1870) book ... "The dancing casket", which was printed in 1857 and this page presents the head snaps in his desription of the basic Tango, done in 1857. Outside of the strange time stamp on this piece, this does reveal the old tango.


Part 1st...
The gentleman and lady at the beginning stand face to face, without taking hands, or holding by the waist.
1). Echappé with the right foot, and raise the left foot; the second time to the side, point it down. Spring on the right foot slowly, the three following times quicker. The lady does the same with the gentleman.
2). Give their right hands to each other and place their left on their sides. During these steps they look under and over their arms, which they move in graceful circles four times changing their hands and feet, and finish by Echappé levé bringing the foot into the third position. Three jetés well marked. They turn their faces from right to left, and from left to right.

The four measures which follow are different from the first, because the dancers turn, sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left. The gentleman holding the lady by the waist as in the tarantular.

Part 2nd.
Valse time movements to form the graces.
1). The gentleman takes the lady by the waist as in other dances. He commences with the left foot Coupé, bring the left foot back slowly in the third position.
2). A Jeté in front.
3). Fouatté (whip step) with the left foot, and spring on the right foot.
4). They turn in the Valse, at their pleasure from right to left, or left to right. The gentleman commences with right foot.

The lady does the same all through taking care always to commence with the left foot, if the gentleman commences with his right or the opposite foot to the one he begins with.

Goes on to describe the...
LE TANGO VALSE. A Fancy Ball Room Sketch.

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