Comfortable Close Embrace?

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

  1. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I am saying nothing about this blog.draw your own conclusions...
  2. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    actually I'm going to join you; griping about teaching is off topic and boring...

    of course its just a Catch 22; if you teach then you can't be a milonguero; and if you're a milonguero then you don't teach..poor El Pibe SARANDI; giving the benefit of his experience of dancing, and sacrificing his honour as a milonguero :rolleyes:
  3. JohnEm

    JohnEm Member

    An uncomfortable embrace

    No she doesn't teach escenario, but like many teachers looking to earn
    a living she teaches her own interpretation. She is generally credited with
    coining the description "Milonguero" as a dance style when at the time
    it was a term for the lifestyle of the men at the milongas. I seem to recall
    Cacho Dante discussing this point in the Practimilonguero interview.
    So let's not get stuck on that.

    I have to admit that to me she does not appear to be a good example
    and I have heard criticism elsewhere of what she teaches. I have no
    personal knowledge.

    Minimal change in the embrace, preferably none. All the movement
    comes from within. So we agree to that extent. I cannot ascertain
    your lean but mine is only as far as is necessary to maintain connection,
    space and movement. And it varies accordingly. Maybe yours does too
    in practice.

    Susana Miller looks too rigid, somewhat awkwardly off balance and
    her head is negatively interfering with the chest connection.
    She is too busy with her feet and legs, they are not "free". In other words
    she is far too concerned with that dance as a performance.

    Bringing this back to the thread topic, she actually looks uncomfortable.
    And note the toned outstretched arms - her right, his left - a visual
    indication that this dance is not chest lead in the embrace but a dance
    in a hold. The confirmation is in the way Osvaldo holds Susana into his
    right arm to the extent she is actually twisted off centre. Whose fault
    this is we cannot tell, just that this is the way they danced this dance.
  4. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member



    I would regard them as the same thing.
  5. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Well, we can agree about that, at least.
  6. JohnEm

    JohnEm Member

    I was describing a "real" apilado which people here regard erroneously as
    a slightly exaggerated lean with lots of forward force. That is restrictive.

    No problem with this at all. Feet much closer than Sebastian Arce's contrived
    one foot separation and you can see how the space varies. In turns you find
    yourself taking a foot out of your partner's way without thinking (because
    you've had it stepped on a few times), form following function.
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    yeah, one clearly needs a good beer gut to dance apilado; no wonder they dont have to lean, only the woman does to make contact with his chest.
  8. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Complete agreement. I get my feet out of the way often, or apologize to my partner for not giving her enough space.
  9. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    While I would disagree that having one's arm outstretched indicates that the lead is not coming from the chest, I really never have liked the look of Susana Miller's dancing. However, I promptly remind myself that it's not how it looks, but how it feels, and that's a question I don't know the answer to at all. It doesn't look like I'd be comfortable dancing that way and Cacho's dancing looks more comfortable to me, but I don't like his left arm either. It seems like it would be easy to press inwards on the partner too much and create tension, but again, that's only the view from the outside. From the inside, it could be fantastic. I'll probably never know.

    Embrace is pretty much the primary factor for me in a dance (some of those comments in the blog post linked to earlier are mine) and I always say a person should take time to learn to have the very best possible embrace for whatever style they are dancing, and most people will find it comfortable. I'm always able to work with a GOOD embrace of any sort, but less so with crummy ones.

    I guess there is something to be said for this. I am lucky to have a (very very) patient fiance who lets me fiddle with his embrace and tweek it. (One day I'll finally discover the secret of those delectable Argentine trained close embraces I've encountered.) Generally, one of the first things the ladies comment on is how nice his embrace is.
  10. Imbrace

    Imbrace Member

    Hmm .. that can stir up a hornet's nest. I like your outspokenness ;)
  11. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    How can you avoid it?

    I can do it, I just don't like it, because it feels like walking through a swimming pool.
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Seems you can't NOT do it! :)

    Er...I dunno how guys avoid it, but plenty of them seem able to. It's like they're simultaneously trying to get as far away from the girl as possible while still maintaining the "embrace." Annoying as hell.
  13. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Could be more than just the style? Maybe it's the grounding? AT followers are generally taught to remain solid and stable through the movement. And if the leader is neutral, do nothing. You can lead more than one step at once to get them moving with extra momentum, but it requires a very specific impulse. This combined with apilado would probably feel really weird if you dance multiple styles.

    On the other side, when I am dancing with BR followers, it feels like the brakes have been cut! :-D
  14. The type of tango that feels the absolute best to me is when I feel like we are smoothly gliding over the floor almost like air hockey. When there is a frictionless sense of complete relaxation and the moves seem to do themselves without me having put any extra strength into them. It's a feeling as if I am floating on a cloud and things are passing us by as if we are looking out of a train. This feeling can only be achieved by not sharing weight. Resistance/lean means that I can't get that feeling because I am always having to activate my muscles and can't achieve that relaxed feeling that I strive so much for in tango.

    Lots of lean or resistance is like a tango bear hug to me. It feels good once in a while, but it feels constrictive and I can't really dance very much like that (maybe one tanda) without craving that sense of relaxed "floating" that I get from non-leaning tango. Lean used to give me more intimacy, but now that I am more sensitive and can feel her whole body, the lean/weight actually blocks her and feels less intimate to me now. Back muscles activate with lean and activated muscles block communication. Without lean, I can feel her hips and even legs through her back, but lean blocks this connection.
  15. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Well, I dunno. For some reason Peaches says I feel very grounded.
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    ...to put it mildly...
  17. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    Fascinating - the part of your quote that I put in bold is how I feel when dancing apilado, but only with a woman who dances with apilado technique, meaning she does NOT lean on me. For me the feeling of shared weight leads to a feeling of almost weightlessness that feels exhilarating. I discovered this by "accident". My 1st teachers were Salon style dancers who were strictly about "maintain your axis & maintain your elegance". I sometimes did not follow this rule & tried to adapt to the style the woman preferred, rather than impose my (teacher's) preference. As for initimacy, I've found after learning technique, that apilado made me feel a more intimate connection to the music. I no longer "felt" my connection to my partner in the same way that I do not "feel" my connection to my arms or legs. To feel the intimate connection with my partner, I dance in salon style (but never open embrace if I can avoid it). All goes to show how much variability there is in the mystery of Tango
  18. I love your post, though I am still confused about what Apilado means. Also, after contemplating it, I think that even weight sharing is a confusing concept, because it's very easy to go back and forth between weight sharing and not weight sharing even in the same dance or even with every step, or parts of every step and not even know your doing it. Even a Giro can be done on the leads axis, with no weight sharing, or follows axis with no weight sharing, or around a shared axis with full weight sharing or anything in between all in the same dance. I am beginning to think that it's impossible to really communicate about these elusive concepts adequately. And for sure, I know that a wonderful feeling AT dance transcends these technical concepts.
  19. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    This is absolutely true. I was confused about this whole close embrace apilado thing for a while, thinking it was something completely weird. Until someone told me that was what I was dancing. :D Turns out my first teacher liked the strong forward embrace, and that's what she taught me without me even knowing.

    I think the big distinction actually comes from the NON-apilado people. Their close embrace is very big on you being in complete control of your own balance the entire time. No leaning UNLESS it is part of a specific movement, such as a volcada.

    So maybe we can define it as:

    Apilado Close Embrace = Do whatever it takes to maintain a strong forward presence. Rely on the partner connection for dynamic balance.

    Non-Apilado = Stay in command of your personal balance unless told otherwise. Keep personal control of dynamic balance.

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