close or open embrace

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by aqua, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    What do you mean by "very close" though? If you cant feel them physically, it is bound to be a less profound connection. IMO. (I'll assume BTW that you're not trying to be patronising with your last comment)
  2. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    My first teacher taught an open style, but she often said to dance close together with your partner. However, when it came to fancy footwork, the embrace would open up. This was in the days before “apilado”. Each dancer maintained their own balance and axis. When I first learned apilado, my teacher was clear that you leaned into your partner, but not “on” your partner. Strength came from the floor, up through the axis and into your partner’s rib cage. When I dance apilado, which is always, I like to have the contact with my partner go from around the sternum way down to the bottom of the rib cage. So yes, we are close together, but not on our own balance. It gives me tremendous awareness of and sensitivity to my partner. From this connection I can generate profound subtlety in my dance – subtlety that would be invisible to an onlooker.

    I like to think of the distinction between the two styles (is that all there is?) as whether the connection between the dancers is mainly in the arms, even if my arm is around her back, or if the connection is mainly in the chest. Tete likes to demonstrate the chest connection. Personally, when I have my partner fully wrapped up in a "cradle", as Cacho and Gavito explained it to me, I would see no reason to unwrap her until the music is over.
  3. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

    To me, a profound connection doesn't come from touching someone, or being chest to chest. It's much more than that. This is why you can still have great connections while in open. You can feel the other person's body and have a communication with it.

    The flavor is different but the quality is still present. It's fine to enjoy more one flavor than another, but I don't think it's true that you can only get a great connection in close. This is a panacea and has lead to countless persons dismissing dancing in open and categorizing it as soulless, etc. Chicho alluded to this same thing in his last (now famous) public interview. Dancing in open forces you to explore abilities you won't as much in close and this makes you a better dancer. I cannot say it more clearly.

    I didn't mean to be patronizing, just trying to be concise since there's already too much noise and semantics in this board.
  4. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Hear, hear
  5. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    To paraphrase Gssh, dam but it's hard to clearly convey information about dance technique with words over the internet.

    Yes. I exactly see and appreciate your point. Thank you for the clarification. And I will add, as is apparent from some of the other lead comments in this discussion, that some leads actually do want the leaning. I mean the real, tipping over kind of leaning seen in opendoor's avatar.

    Violent agreement here. I've danced and taught dance for nearly 15 years, and over the course of time have come to recognize a couple things that I am constantly reminding myself:

    1. The experiences, techniques and preferences of others are just that. Perhaps different, but often at least as valid as mine, and sometimes more so.
    2. Every year, become a beginner again. Chose a radically different style, a different technique, even a different dance, and try to master it.

    Though hardly a multi-style master, I've worked hard to do this in AT. Although I certainly have preferences, I hope that they are informed preferences determined by my abilities and my strengths and weaknesses, and not just biases or, horrors, prejudices.
  6. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    yes it always seems in these discussions that we spend half the time clarifying our terms. Still that's why we prefer face to face communication isnt it? :p

    Of course I dont dismiss OE - its not an "either or" situation. However I do think it requires a fairly high level of proficiency in OE (from both sides) before you can develop a "great" connection. I'm much more likely to have a good connection with an intermediate in CE than I am in OE. There's simply less noise getting in the way.

    So I'd still say that chest-to-chest communication is better - but I'm not going to get into a fight about it - to each their own ..

    ps Chicho always talks like a stage actor - that's the prerogative of being a "great dancer", no ? lol
  7. chanchan

    chanchan Member

    Leaning, itself, is more difficult than staying on your axis, because we are used to walk while staying on our axis since we were children, while leaning to another person is a completely new experience.
    But, assuming that you can do it properly, you shouldn't feel any tension, and be totally relaxed.
    In this position, every movement of your torso IS a movement of the follower: she doesn't need to "follow", she is just moved by your movement. You can know where is her weight because you feel it in your body, you can "listen" to her: you can tell if she is actually doing what you are expecting, if she is adding some adornos, if she needs more time.
    This is not becase you are close to her, but because of the shared weight.

    On the other side, without leaning you cannot really know which foot she is on without watching: in fact you just guess it, because you know the previous step, and you assume that if she is a goog follower, she didn't change her weight without your command.
  8. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    So much for getting work done today, but... (Heh.)

    I'm going to get a bit picky about things, with the caveat that I don't lead. (So I'm perfectly amenable to being told that I'm full of it. :) ) Even in close embrace, leaning or not leaning, the follower moves herself. And also, there is just as much following involved. It's not a case of just being pushed around without thought. As much following, as much self-generated movement and power goes into that as goes into open embrace.

    Also, it's been my experience that plenty of leaders know which foot a woman is on without looking, without leaning. I just don't agree with what you've said. Now, like I said, I don't lead so I can't attest to this personally, but I know leaders who can/have done it.
  9. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Also, to completely hijack this thread for a moment, I've got to say it's so nice and re.freshing to have a long, civil, open-minded, respectful discussion around here. I feel like it's been such a long time. And extra special bonus points for it being such a great topic!
  10. tanjive

    tanjive New Member

    While I agree with most of the latter comments now some of the word definitions have been agreed.

    I would like to add my view.

    Near close embrace
    Each lead and follow has own axis, barely any contact often an inch away. Feels awkward and limits connection and range of movement. May as well be fully open and get visual clues.

    CE
    Weght on the balls of feet. Point of contact is better the longer down the body. Presence is toward each other and equal. Not enough that removeing some one topples the other. The tight hug is a good anology of good connection but not leaning on the person. The axis is still not shared with an exception. It is not shared as a giro of follow means her axis is in a circle around the lead whose axis is as close to a central pillar as posible. Each is independent. My exception would be if both do the giro together. ie each person is stepping to where the partners foot just left behind. The axis of both are intertwined like a dna double helix. It requires alot of torsion in both dancers. They both share the same axis in space above the ground. Note the axis is shared but no more weight sharing. Therefore shared axis and shared weight are not equal.

    CE Apilido
    As CE but even more weight into each other. Weight is shared. The connection point is on the edge of where a person is likely to topple if on their own. The axis is falling between the two pairs of feet all the time. Even in the giro.
  11. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yup. That's exactly how I think of things. Yay! Consensus somewhere! :)

    Oh, and welcome. I like your avatar...it makes me think of Tetris.
  12. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    Luv ya Peaches, but this reminds me a little of Mrs. Slocomb's (Are You Being Served) "And I am unanimous in that." :)

    But I agree that it's good there's at least some level of agreement between at least a couple of you all.:cool: Actually, I think I agree too. That in itself is sorta amazing.
  13. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Innit, though?

    I'm just happy if we can agree on what terms to use going forward in a discussion. I don't really care whose terms they are, just so long as we can reach some sort of consensus so we're not talking at cross purposes using the same words.
  14. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Every one is different, thus there is really no way to know how one person's experience compares to someone else. It's entirely possible that you are experiencing something different/better in open embrace, than some of the other people; and/or they are experiencing something different/better than what you are experiencing in close embrace.

    If you have something that works for you, then keep doing it. If it's not working, then either change it or try something else. It really doesn't matter if something works for someone else. What matters is if it works for you (and of course your partner).

    Great debate, BTW.
  15. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    This quote exactly mirrors my own experience. :D
    "Like a loaded spring pushing up into my rib cage." Was how I once described the feeling of dancing with a very naturally, talented beginner. It was great.
  16. chanchan

    chanchan Member

    If we are leaning, and I move my torso, you will move togheter with me: there is no other possibility, if you want to do something else you have to put yourself on oyur axis (or you can lead me something else).
    Of course, this movement is going to be propagated and amplified by the follower, but I wouldn't define it as "self-generated".
    Anyway, I am not a follower, so I can't tell if it is self-generated or not, I just can tell that from the point of view of the leader, when leaning I have the perception of a more direct control.
    Are you sure that they really *know* and don't just *assume* that you are on a certain foot?
  17. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    As a lead, I (try) to know where my partner's weight/foot is at all times. If you assume, or guess, it blows up the dance.

    You do this by feel through leading. Its done without having to look, nor having to lean. (Mentioned in this post)
  18. chrisjj

    chrisjj New Member

    Thanks Angel, but actually I have been here for a few years... just that someone barred my account chrisjj (hence this substitute account). I'm still hoping that the mods will tell me why, and unbar it.
  19. chrisjj

    chrisjj New Member

    No either/or. People can try both.

    "can afford them"?? Hereabouts (Europe) learning to dance from one-to-one lessons is much more affordable than by classes. Typically a student who's had half-a-dozen one-to-one lessons is of a higher standard than one who's spent three or four times times as much on classes. Classes do of course deliver other benefits for the money, like introductions to partners of the same level.

    Sure - if by instruction you mean classes. Most BA dancers have never even seen a class. What we know as classes were invented only in the late 1980's by Argentines working outside Argentina - for foreigners.

    Well, you'd hope so. That's exactly what accomplished social dancers do.
  20. chrisjj

    chrisjj New Member

    Dave Bailey said:

    >I wouldn't know; I don't know the vast majority of close-embrace dancers in BsAs.
    >How did they learn then? Did they just pull themselves up by their
    >bootstraps? Seems an incredibly inefficient way of learning to me...

    They learned by dancing with friends and family. Google for "How They Learned to Dance tango" and pick the history-of-tango link.

    >> try learning it by dancing.
    > Where? In a milonga? :eek:

    Er, no. At home, in a studio, a practica etc.

    >> If that means paying someone for a private one-to-one session, fine.
    > A private class, in fact.

    No. A private class may have fewer classmates, but when I said one-to-one, I meant it. That way, you can be dancing all the time with the more experienced partner of your choice.

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