Comfortable Close Embrace?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Malena, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Perhaps we can take comfort from this.

    "Do you know why you dance beautifully?"
    Because you suffer when you dance."

    Or, maybe not.
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    There are several things from that interview that are perhaps related to this thread.

    Cacho Dante http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuralwF3naU
    starting around 13:00

    "We didn't know how to make people embrace. Susana had some large pillows made for hugging... It was an unbelievable success there, many people, everybody wanted to dance embraced."

    From this I take that "embrace" has been adopted by people who teach "open," although it was not used that way originally. There must be earlier uses though. Anyone know of any?

    q "Cacho, the style and the definition of "tango milonguero" How did it come about?"

    a "Look, Susana and I didn't know how to name it...but, etc...

    interupting "Pardon, but you wanted something to differentiate it from the rest."

    a "Something that you danced socially with all the people, not with four."

    etc

    Around 19:00 Cahco says, "It was a bad to be a milonguero... Sure, they were calling us that way, we were milongueros. So we gave it the name "estilo milonguero. It's tango salon, but dances body to body, danced with a close embrace."

    "I never like the other "vegetarian" tango. What do you want me to say? It's like dancing with a broom."

    There it is. "It's like dancing with a broom."
  3. Imbrace

    Imbrace Member

    I'm glad you've enjoyed the rest of your evening, dchester.
    At this point I would have said something playful but challenging like "Sure, let's see what you have". This in itself could have changed the course of the interaction (dialogue + dance).
    At this point, if I know she is wrong, at least by generalising the style that she likes, I would say "oh, so this is the style that you prefer(?)". With this I'd put her in the defence position by which I can size her up with how she responds. She may become nice and polite or express some genuine concerns. Or she may defend her position as strongly. If she choose the latter, I'm diffidently not going to dance with her again, but may challenge further if I feel like :cool:

    If it wasn't a thread about embrace, I would have shared some nice stories which happened to me with both a couple of rude girls and some nice ones who love dancing with me.
  4. I have taken classes from her and some teachers from her school and they have never asked me to lean. Tete previously from her school claimed that he does not lean and was constantly telling us to stay on our own axis. Alicia Pons previously from her school, also stresses staying on your own axis. If Susanna's style is Apilado, then that would mean that Apilado has no lean. The inadequacy of semantics can really put us in a bind sometimes.

    I got the idea that when Susanna Miller coined the term Milonguero she was talking about the way that Milonguero's danced. She seemed to represent her teaching as a way of learning AT, in the way that the old guard danced inclusive of all Milongueros. Many of her general principles can be applied to any of their ways of dancing and every dancer who sticks around and dances long enough with her principles will eventually come upon their own individual style (that is similar to the way old guard Milongueros dance)...but that style may or may not have lean. In fact, I have played with lean in just turns or just walks or just in certain movements and they all change the quality of the dance.

    Apilado for me and pretty much the majority of the US West Coast means lean throughout the dance and usually an amount of lean to where the axis is constantly shared, which is not a lot of the "Milonguero style" dancers that I have seen. Maybe my misconception is that Apilado requires lean or shared axis. All this is rather confusing and I am glad that it is really irrelevant to my dance and just effects communication.
  5. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    The tricky part is the "shared axis". I think the term is confusing, and I try to avoid it these days. Typically, it depends on the size of the dancers. If two people match a strong forward presence, then the taller heavier person (usually the leader) might not be "off axis" at all, and the follower could be the only one past her personal balance point. The easiest way to put it is apilado is when one or both dancers are past the point when they would fall without someone in front of them. Monica Paz (who also carries on Tete's teachings) says it barely has to be past the balance point at all. You want strong forward intention without weighing down your partner. Which is all about maintaining the core with whatever "lean" you agree on.
  6. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    this thread is turning into a juggling jelly exhibition.

    For the sake of clarity never mind what anyone else says; apilado=milonguero= weight sharing ie leaning on each other..otherwise how on earth are we going to discuss anything in a meaningful way.
  7. JohnEm

    JohnEm Active Member

    Hurray! You require clarity too! The problem is the usual one,
    we don't agree.

    Apilado ?=? Estilo Milonguero but not weight sharing, basically
    because in social dancing it just is not practical. Look at any video
    of dancing in Lo de Celia (and elsewhere) you will not see what
    you are preferring as apilado.

    Apilado is usually described as meaning "piled on" because that is what
    the lady might look like even though she is not weighing on the man.

    Unfortunately the show tendency has exaggerated apilado into the lean
    of both partners and that has back influenced teaching. In fact tango
    is, or already has been, influenced by today's visual age of passive
    entertainment and thus the need for visual elegance and drama.

    Perversely, video like YouTube, which is the best means of preserving the
    record of traditional central Buenos Aires tango, is also the means of
    overwhelming the rather non-visual dance of feeling with video of the
    rather more contrived salon style of today which is in pursuit of visual
    elegance. It's a personal view.

    However I prefer this post:
    Apilado is all about forward intention and leading from the chest.
    The apparent degree of lean is dynamically variable from virtually zero
    in turns to being visually obvious but never excessive and only as an
    appropriate means of initiating or continuing movement with a chest lead.
    It is form following function, one of them being movement in the embrace
    to the music and the other being the necessity to have maintain just
    enough space between both partners' feet.

    Rarely is embrace taught. What gets taught is a contrived hold such as this
    which also is an example of bad posture and excessive distance from the
    show school tendency.
    The description and their dance is not apilado.
    Note the title on YouTube:
    Tango Embrace - An act of beauty

    Their "embrace" portrays a look, not a reality for social dancing.
  8. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    This is the issue I have with apilado.
  9. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Methinks it's jsut a style difference. It's very interesting that you really don't like it, because you don't seem to make any effort to avoid it. In fact, it's just about the opposite; you match that strong forward intention every bit. It's incredibly pleasant...for the follower anyway. ;)
  10. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Surely something has gone wrong if the forward intention turns into a downward bearing force acting on your partner? I take the required force to be horizontal, and expect that to achieve mutual balance, once the point of imbalance has been passed for either of us, that the force is equal and opposite - or we carry our partner's weight, or else, fall.
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I love apilado=weight sharing, (not the John Em version)...but few ladies seem capable of it, but my favourite dancer, in Bristol, does a beautiful apilado she just leans into me and we take off. She has core muscles to die for.

    in the middle row here http://www.tangoandchaos.org/chapt_2secrets/2basics.htm
    you can see the possibilities of a forward lean and how much space it creates between the couple's feet.
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Well, yes. Of course. I am about 99.99% sure that I don't have downward force going on, with my arms or otherwise. (I was broken of that habit pretty eary on.) But some people--Joe being a good example--dislike that strong forward connection. However, my suspicion is that it's less the connection itself and more the fact that the way the follower responds in AT v. BR (his background) seems to be quite different. When I was still attempting BR, the criticism I got frequently was that I wasn't moving on my own--that I was having to be pushed. Well, for me it felt normal, like I was maintaining a good connection. I was moving in an AT sort of way. When I would actually get it right, and get told that I was moving nicely, I invariably felt like I was moving away from my partner and completely losing all connection and dancing by myself. I think that is the sort of difference that is playing into Joe's dislike of AT connection. Not necessarily downward force, but the feeling of having to push one's partner...which we around here find normal and desireable.
  13. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

  14. JohnEm

    JohnEm Active Member

    Comfortable Embrace

    There is a tendency in the teaching (and the talking/writing) for too much
    emphasis on the technicalities rather than the practicalities. You are right
    though about there should be no downward bearing force. The horizontal
    forces though are as result of either connection strength (at the chest)
    or from the lead of movement. Both vary from partner to partner.

    The embrace in Buenos Aries, seemingly now not taught anywhere abroad
    (unless someone knows different), is an adapted one sided hug. The
    distinguishing feature is a willingness (expectation even) that partners
    unreservedly enter the embrace (hug), that the man wraps his right arm
    completely around the woman and she reaches her left arm, preferably
    without breaking the shoulder line, up over the man's right shoulder and
    reaching only as far as is comfortable around the back of the neck, nothing
    forced, nothing otherwise contrived. In line with the title of the thread, it is
    the most comfortable and connected embrace there is in my experience.
    The only preference for me is good natural upward posture and the internal
    body tone/core necessary for transmission and reception of the dance.

    The man's left and woman's right are practically unnecessary but each carries
    their own arm weight and gently holds the other's hand close to the bodies
    and without force. The arms are not extended outwards nor upwards so no
    intrusive sweeping arms and no sticking out dangerous elbows either. It
    genuinely is an embrace/hug adapted for dancing on a crowded floor which
    offers the least intrusion to other circulating dancers.

    Even in Buenos Aires this embrace is under threat from the current fashion
    of teaching "looking good" tango. One problem is that tango is being taught
    by professional dancers/teachers who are not usually seen at milongas
    except to advertise by performing.
    Social dancers don't teach - they dance.
  15. JohnEm

    JohnEm Active Member

    Walk In Line

    Apilado to equal weight sharing is probably considered by social dancers
    in Buenos Aires as part of the tango for export. It seems to come from
    the exaggeration of escenario - tango for entertainment.

    But I take your point and agree that it can be lovely and I have danced with
    a partner too who can do it - maybe even the same one. However it results
    in a tendency for beautiful straight line walking and maintaining it is too
    restrictive of other things (in my experience). I also love it when a partner
    has been taught to provide forward intent from the floor up through her body
    such that you can move backwards just be releasing your own forward intent -
    she seems to be pushing you.

    But I wouldn't advocate any of this for regular social dancing and
    none of it is appropriate or possible on a busy floor.

    I would take issue with Rick McGarrey's interpretation of some of these pictures.
    Note they are all on very quiet or empty floors so the tip of the body into
    initiating the movement is exaggerated because the movement is large.
    Note also that these are motionless pictures of a dynamic impulsion.

    His first row of pics shows the reality of how you naturally have to walk
    when so outside your partner in the embrace - one foot in front of the other.
    But it is not the way to walk when more in line which he seems to be concluding -
    each partner on their own one track to use Oscar Casas terminology.
    Normal walking is on two close together left and right tracks.
  16. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe I need to have another cup of coffee, as I'm not clear what you are trying to say (I'm slow in the morning).

    I did understand (and liked) the blog post you linked to, though.
  17. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Professional teachers should teach - and my experience is that tango is full of social dancers teaching. Hmm.
  18. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I think I agree with what you are describing, no matter what it's called. I don't understand why you think it neither appropriate or even possible. I think it's both. I think I dance that way.

    This is apilado, according to Cacho's own definition.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgWMs0rAcJk
    He probably never bothers to discuss whether there is leaning or not. There is strong connection of the chests - that's where the lead comes from.
  19. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    sO Susan Miller is teaching escenario? I dont see any argentine teachers exporting apilado in any form; I think they are generally too concerned with getting people able to do basic stuff (an aside; the poor buggers who have me as a follow so learn to be grounded; they get my weight even if there's not much of it; ;) )

    I never have had the experience of it being restrictive; you just move with the woman; all sorts of turns are possible; the ladies feet cross, instead of doing ochos, and its perfectly okay on the dance floor.

    isnt that the essence of estilo milonguero ; with minimal change to the torso position?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvv0vzuZi4U
  20. JohnEm

    JohnEm Active Member

    You would say that of course!

    But context is all, and I am talking of a social dance which requires
    teaching of simple straightforward techniques and then a lot of practice.

    Teachers want to teach, these days for money. Instead of six lessons
    for women as preparation for dancing, it's more like 60 and then endless
    continuation. And I am generally critical of dance teaching based on much
    personal experience.

    The history of English dance teaching is not a good one in my opinion.
    Standardising social dances for teaching and competition has been mainly
    commerce driven for 100 years and the resultant dances are rarely an
    improvement on the original. Ballroom's adaptation of (argentine) tango
    is the most apt here but ballroom jive is also stylistically far from
    its social roots.

    Professional academia and the tourist marketing that is behind the World
    Tango Competition is having a similar effect on current argentine tango,
    this time from within the country of origin.

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