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Plaza Column - View article
Written by : Max M Ali MD
Date : 07-02-2004
Title : What is a Corte?
Article: Dancing Tid-bits Issue #189, Thursday, July 1, 2004.

Today's Topic: What is a Corte?

Question: What is the literal meaning of the word "corte" when used in dancing?

For example in Tango, Back Corte is LF back, RF back (CBMP), LF-S,RF cl LF.

Steps 2-4 are identical to Steps 4,5 & 6 of Open Reverse Turn (LIL) closed Finish.

It is the meaning of the word "corte" in the dancing context I am interested in. One can visualise a hover, check, lunge etc. but how does one describe in words what a corte is?

Answer: I recall the reader requested to be anonymous so no name at the end of this e mail above. I feel quite incapable of answering to this question but I did a lot of research on this phenomenon a couple years ago. I got fed up with many controversial definitions and interpretations and really could not come up with a satisfactory explanation. I went to several dictionaries and talked to few Spanish people and the more I asked, the more I was confused. I reached following conclusions.

1. The word Corte is related to a legal word the Court. This being the place where the King will sit and give his legal judgment. The defendant and the plaintiff will proceed in an orderly manner (in a procession line sometimes), present their case and then take a few steps back to show respect to the king or the judge. If I recall correctly, you still see that in England when the Queen awards the highest honor of the country, the MBE (Member of the British Empire), to a distinguished dancing couple such as Marcus and Karen and Donnie and Gaynor. Could this be the origin of a tango Corte, (Man) Step back LF and then tango Close and Exit.

2. The other logical definition I recall was the word Corte being related to Courtesy. So as a matter of courteous good manners you simply "bow", step back and show courtesy.

3. The most shocking definition that I read was that "corte" had something to do with "cutting" like cutting a log with a saw. The saw goes forward, then comes back and this cutting motion translated into dancing as a "Corte".

I think all kinds of 'corte'movements require the man to step back such as

a. Back Corte in Tango, step back LF

b. Reverse Corte in Waltz, step back RF

c. Hover Corte the same as b.

Then one day I was talking to Petra and she gave me a completely different version that threw me off completely. She lectured me for about half an hour and she was so sure of herself.However I dont remember a word of it because when she talks I rarely listen, Sorry!... Right now she is somewhere in Germany and I could not talk to her, to give her point of view.

I do not believe I have given real explanations and it is more or less a cooked up version of something that may have a deeper meaning but that's all I know. In that case why don't you tell me a more logical answer to this e mail from one of my dedicated readers.

Best Wishes, Max