Parallel and cross systems are terms often used during Argentine tango lessons.
Understanding what these mean is equally important for men and women!
You can come across different names for these – parallel walk -cross(ed) walk, parallel system – cross(ed) system…
Not quite clear?
Let’s take a closer look at it with pictures and videos! For beginners and advanced learners!
Walking in parallel system
Leader and follower are stepping with legs opposite each other (mirroring each other’s steps)
Spanish term: sistema paralelo.
Walking in cross system
Leader and follower are using the same foot at each step. (men and women right at the same time, or left at the same time)
Spanish term: sistema cruzado, caminata cruzada
Video lesson for understanding better
That’s all about the theory! Let’s watch Diego Blanco and Ana Pedron in action:
How many lanes are used whilst walking?
This depends on whether the walk is on the inside or on the outside and if it is in cross – or parallel system
- two lanes in parallel system (1st column) leader is walking in front of the follower
- three lanes in cross system (4th & 5th column) the leader slightly beside the follower with the “middle” foot moving in harmony
- four lanes in parallel system (2nd & 3rd column) leader is walking on the outside of the follower
How can we swift from parallel to crossed system?
There are endless possibilities. On the video the leader makes a double-speed cross step. It is also possible with a side step. (e.g leader takes slightly bigger step to the left while shifting his weight and the follower steps to the right thus they start walking)
Advantages of parallel walk as opposed to crossed walk
Using the parallel system gives the impression of a greater harmony from the outside. This is felt by the dancing couple as well. For this very reason it is recommended to begin the dance with parallel walk especially with new partners. Further video lessons and shows can be found here.