Tango Argentino > Comfortable Close Embrace?

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

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member


    Because of the non precision of the translation of apilado as "piled up," and the use of "close embrace" to mean a non "weight sharing" "embrace," my personal, functional (I think) definition of apilado is that you can't maintain your balance alone.

    This "Rely on the partner connection for dynamic balance," is correct, too, because in the real world there are changes in the amount of "weight," that goes into your partner.

    The technical among us will ask, "how many pounds of weight do we share?" And the answer is, it depends, and it varies.
    But, I can tell you that it feels great in a way unlike being "on your own axis."
  2. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    No Subliminal, I totally disagree! Apilado beginners rely on their partner for balance. Advanced apilado dancers dont. It´s all a question of technique, structure and muscles. Tango dancing is a pretty hard piece of work and lean is an illusion!
  3. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I disagree. If apilado has your balance forward of where it would be if you were not dancing with a partner, then you are by definition relying on your partner for balance. Sure, you may say that for advanced dancers they are mutually agreeing to rely upon each other, but it's still reliance.
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    The problem is that they're not agreeing on this fundamental point. The lean = illusion v. lean = real debate rages on...
  5. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh, ;)

    when i lean, i lean. I can lead a Pisan follower to a cross and take no steps myself.
  6. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Totally disagree.

    I consider myself an advanced apilado dancer and I definitely lean. It is not hard work. The way I do it, it's quite easy and comfortable, even enjoyable. There is no illusion.

    As always, we're using terms that are not well defined, so we can't really have a clear discussion. If by "lean" you mean my partner is supporting me like an injured player, that she is lifting me, then no, I do not lean on her. I mean that without her pressing back toward me I would loose my balance, so we are distinctly leaning toward each other. Not "on" each other.

    If you don't dance that way, or don't want to, that's fine. Some people don't like it. However, your shade of gray is not correct, while mine is incorrect.
  7. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    IMO, if the lean is an illusion, then it's not apilado. Now in other styles, like VU, the lean is (at least mostly), an illusion.
  8. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Tango is deconstruction

    I really welcome your well rounded words, AndaBien. But I am surrounded in my own tango community by dancers that already danced perfectly when I made my first tango steps and surely would consider themselves as very advanced apilado-dancers. But not for me anymore. If you haven´t thrown your tango two or tree times completely over board, if you haven´t reinvented your tango structure several times, if you haven´t sworn by different styles once in your tango life...... I would not accept that a flaming apilado credo could be grounded in this or that way. How difficult is it already in the real world standing face to face with dogmatists. And how much more difficult is it in this anonymous virtual world. I apologise to all those I´ve alleged assertiveness.

    Finally: I do not think we use different definitions, terms and vocabulary. I fear we do not share the same concepts.

    I am actually lacking the concrete reference for Augstine (of Hippo), but he wrote about the difficulties of human beings to understand spoken words, nearly the hopelessness to understand someone else´s concepts, and the bare impossibility to think of god at all.


  9. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

  10. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    If you are implying that I've never re-invented myself as a dancer, you are mistaken. Apilado is my last, and so for lasting, re-invention. (At least 15 years, so far).

    I'm just telling about my experience and preferences.

    How about this quotation?
    The world I'm interested in is the one where things are not named.
    — Martha Graham ​
    More here:

    It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but you can't say that with pictures.
  11. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    ok, then

    and your quotation´s list really is a gold mine!
  12. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Glad you enjoyed it.
  13. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    I suggest that the OP check out the collection of video clips at tangoandchaos.org I think that seeing the variety of maestros captured in one place is _very_ useful to create an image of how one "should" look, which might help with the concepts behind the embrace.

    In particular, one can look for offset v.s. flat front-to-front, 'lean' and more generally overall posture, intention prior to and drive during a step, etc. - you know - all the good stuff that people endlessly argue about.
  14. poetas 84

    poetas 84 New Member

    I do not want to know what it is called For me it is called Tango Although the tempo is fast enjoy the relaxed way this great Dame dances .. Just type " Marta Fama y Gustavo -D'arienzo & Maure -Tierrita " on youtube search engine .sorry still not allowed to send URLs

  15. Suetango

    Suetango New Member

    I am new to the close embrace and I have a question I don't quite know how to ask my teacher in person.

    All I have read about the close embrace say that the woman is the one to decide how far apart the couple should be - How does she do that? I guess I am asking, how do I get closer?

    I am comfortable in my dance class with the men there and would welcome, well, closer contact than I am getting but they all seem to be very gentlemanly and hold me just far apart enough that there is virtually no contact.

    I am, then, so freaked out by the fact that I feel/think that the guy is *trying* to stay away from me that I can't seem to dance/follow.
    Has this happened to anyone else?
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Does your instructor ever talk about, or have the class try, "close embrace?"

    If not, this is part of the problem, just like CW teachers don't even mention "cowboy hold."

    If the men you are dancing with are "young," it could be that they haven't experienced being close to a woman who is not a family member for... ahhh... more than one reason. And they don't want to be embrassed by an involuntary reaction.
    Or is it older guys, too?

    And, oh, hey, see your are a brand new member. Welcome to DF.
  17. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    You partner offers his left hand, you take it, then you come closer to him, to the point where you are comfortable (because the point of the actual contact will depend on your relative body proportions, etc), you put your left arm around him, then he puts his right arm around you. Voila, the embrace.

    Perhaps, they are not comfortable yet. Either not comfortable with the proximity, or do not have enough skills to dance close, or both.

    Why does that freak you out? It most probably has nothing to do with you.
  18. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Not every one would agree that it's the woman who gets to decide this. Some places it is more likely to be decided by the woman. Some places are more likely to be decided by the man.

    However, the most common option I encounter is that it's a collaboration (both have some say in it). Basically, it can be difficult to get someone to dance in a close embrace, who doesn't want to.

    I would suggest just going for it, once the man starts to offer the embrace, and see how he reacts. Just be prepared for some adjustments.
    Subliminal likes this.
  19. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I personally think that looking for the "lean" is a bit misleading, because almost all different tango techniques allow for lean/no lean when standing still or standing straight - I don't even think that how a couple aligns themselves when setting up the embrace is very meaningful in itself. The true test for what underlying technique a follower is dancing is for a leader to lead a turn. A "apliladoish" follower will maintain energy "pushing" into the leader, and by both actively counterbalancing each other they can create a lot of dynamic energy. A "salonish" follower will separate from the leader creating space for her and his shoulders and hips to play with their alignment and stepping beyond what would be possible by pure dissociation - they will almost always supplement dissocation at the hips with turning of the body and realignment of the embrace to get a wider range of motion then possible with just dissociation. A "nuevoish" follower will maintain energy "pulling away" from the leader and expects to be "caught" by the embrace, and by both actively counterbalancing each other they can create a lot of dynamic energy.

    If somebody dances "salonish" or "nuevoish" (as described above - I know that these are not good descriptions, and these are just my personal ideas of what the predominant underlying technical differences might be) they have a wide range of how close they dance - and for them dancing close or not is a stylistic choice, and maybe related to how comfortable they feel with somebody, or how experienced they are, or what is fashionable in their community. In communities where these styles are predominant there are If somebody dances "apiladoish" they have much less choice - so I can see how somebody who has a very clean and unadulterated "apiladoish" technique would feel like their dance won't work with somebody who doesn't offer this forward connection (thought I am not sure this is a very common problem - most people (at least in NA) seem to have enough experience with the other approaches besides their preferred style that they at the very least survive a tanda gracefully).

    What happens to me more often is that I am being surprised by followers who set up a very nice "apiladoish" close embrace when starting to dance, and at the first step switch into a different style. ( I wonder if there are leaders who do the same thing?)

  20. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    So I have a new question on this:
    over the last four years or so a new embrace has become very popular, it's the one where you dance close, but contact is incidental, and if you are a lady with a smaller bosom there is no body contact really. I am having trouble with this because I can't work out what to to with my left arm. I always used to do either over the shoulder and down the back or over and across the shoulders (but without any downward pressure that might hurt my partner). As I am quite short it's really tricky as I don't want to pin their right arm to their side but I only seem able to make contact at their armpit as I am being blocked by a shoulder. At the moment I have two methods
    1. elbow sticking out and risking bashing another couple
    2. contorting my shoulder so that my elbow is pointing upwards

    There are very few people I come across these days where I feel like there is an actual embrace and it makes me sad because my body (short and very thin) isn't capable of filling the space.
    I think I may be thoroughly incompatible with almost everyone.

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