Dancing to the beat

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by AndaBien, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    @AndaBien Think you haven´t read carefully what I wrote!
  2. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Well, I appreciate the additional explanation. Now I understand.
  3. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    @AndaBien
    For me leading is not a physical process of steering. A follower may understand my lead or may not. A follower may stick to it or may refuse it. A close embrace isn´t a screw clamp and the leader´s body no sack barrow. If a follower will interpret my lead in the wrong way, I let her go. Inexperienced followers I do help of course. And of course all this hangs together with my leading philosophy: my right forearm should feel as little more than a soft woolen scarf, and of course lean is an illusion!
  4. Mladenac

    Mladenac Active Member

    I hope that transfering information is more important than soft embrace.
    When embrace is to soft or loose there might be a tendency for assuming the lead or some kind of a lag in following.
    Sometimes I get so subtle feel that I don't have a sense I am dancing with somebody.
    And in my opinion embrace is rarely the same along the song.
    An embrace must be a functional part of leading. ;)

    I wrote about that already. :cool:
  5. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    yeah.."Form Follows Function"
  6. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think it depends a great deal on the embrace (and style) being used. The closer and tighter the embrace (and more traditional the style) the less choice there is in where to step as a follower to maintain the established physical relationship between the two bodies (assuming that is what you mean by the geometry)

    Even in an open embrace, however, the increase in choices doesn't come from a greater ability to step differently while maintaining the geometry; it comes from a general expectation that the geometry is fluid. IE: the relationship can be temporarily altered.

    Strictly speaking, even something as basic as pivoting ochos alter the geometry of the 2 upper bodies to whatever extent necessitated by the follower's ability (or lack thereof) to disassociate her upper from lower body. But the follower typically isn't supposed to FINISH in that altered position. She is supposed to be making an attempt to come back to that established relationship unless prevented by the leader.

    Generally, followers should be seeking to maintain the relationship more often than not. That's how they know where to go at all. You go where you have to go to keep that orientation to the leader.

    However, alternative tango styles with a more open embrace allow more for the follower to complete her step in a way that changes the orientation of the bodies and the leader responds accordingly. That is mostly because the style is more encouraging of "hijacking" the lead, and for there to be more of a 50/50 exchange of ideas.

    So I disagree (in a "semantics" kind of way) that there are sometimes multiple choices of where to step and maintain the geometry. That may be true on infrequent occasions, but I think more often it is a case of changes in the geometry being "allowed" or even encouraged. Strictly maintaining the same physical orientation to the leader (or, more specifically, moving as a way to maintain or return to the geometry) allows for very little flexibility in where to step.

    Unless the lead isn't clear in the first place.. but that's a whole 'nuther thing. ;)
    bordertangoman and Subliminal like this.
  7. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    I agree with your disagreement - maybe a better expression of the idea would have been something like "increased awareness of how much the geometry can be changed without throwing your partner in disarray", or "how to temporarily alter the relationship in such a way that the partner is able to restore the original relationship easily"

    I disagree that this is least possible in close and tight embrace - my current belief is that it is most possible in close and tight embrace; In counterbalanced close embrace the follower has basically as much control over the leaders/the couple as the leader - e.g. in the basic walk the follower decides when the couple move by deciding when the energy the leader has created in the compression and the music are what they want and and uses it for the step, the follower decides the lenght and speed of the step. Compared to more open styles i feel that the follower has more input in the orientation of the couple as a whole, because the movement is powered by the follower, and to be able to continue leading the leader has to follow the follower - one of the more enlightening experiences is having a disagreement about the interpretation of the music with one of the old school close embrace followers - as a leader it is like being a small rowing boat smashing against a cliff - and it is equally enlightening when the dance clicks and suddenly we are using that same energy in synch. To be honest i am somewhat leery of words like "50/50 exchange of ideas" because i have this seen this leading in practice to people taking turns dancing and serving as a mostly passive dance-tool.

    Gssh
  8. newbie

    newbie Active Member

    The beat is the beat, the follower dances on the beat, if the leader wants something else then it has to be super-clear, it cannot be an invitation. For stepping here or there, for the location where the follower puts her foot, yes it can be an invitation, but when it's about leading a double-time, or leading one step every second beat, the leader, well, leads.
  9. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Gssh, honestly, some of your terms really puzzle me. Tightest close embrace can be lead without compression. I fear that a great number of apilado-aficionados only adhere to this style because they are lazy dancers, without much tummy muscles and an extremely poor ability of dissociation. Also in apilado the follower has to follow actively. Resistance is bad style. And only because a lot of traditional social dancers in BsAs cannot but lean onto each other and step with resistance it remains bad style. Done properly, apilado is the most physically demanding tango style and actually a challenge on the wrong side of fifty.
  10. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Member

    I don't know if we are talking about different phenomenon but I have often a strong feeling of where a dancer focus her/his dance, what part of body carries the main expression.
    Tete's dance did not make any sense for me, I was actually quite uncomfortable, until I covered his feet/lower part of the body on screen, so I just could see his shoulders and then it was ok. I think he is one of the old dancers still having the expression at shoulder level.
  11. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    That's an interesting observation!

    I've never watched Tete's feet very much before, but I can see where his feet appear to be off the beat. I also notice that Sylvia's feet appear to be right on the beat.

    If Tete's thought is to give his partner a dance and he's thinking about putting her feet on the beat, maybe his own footwork becomes secondary in importance.
    Gssh likes this.
  12. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Perhaps you could elaborate on this, because resistance is actually a big part of most couples dancing, and it's a huge part of apilado. It's the calibrating of the thing that makes it challenging to write about.
  13. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Yes, I agree. We often get goofed up on word definitions, but to me, resistance is an important part of the dance.
  14. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    I guess i am lucky then that i have quite a few more years to work on it :)

    Your impression of apilado is puzzling to me, too - from my perspective it is the style that requires the most core strength, as both dancers have to maintain their alignment and the alignemnt of the couple activly, and can not use gravity - in a vertical axis couple the shoulders, hips and feet are kept stacked on top of each other pretty much by gravity, while being even slightly off the vertical all the time, as in a counterbalanced close embrace absolutely requires an activated core at all times. Similar with the dissociation - sure, this style does not support things "big" dissociations like overturned ochos, but on the other hand dissociation is the only tool available - to some extent i think that for example a apilado ocho cortado requires much, much more dissociation than when we use other paradigms - an apilado couple will keep their shoulders parallel, and that requires a lot of dissociation on the leaders side. Even most crossed ochos and crossed giros require quite a bit of dissociation, often more than what people use for pivoted ochos where they use the elasticity and fluidity of the embrace to adjust for the fact that their dissociation is not able to keep their shoulders parallel through the whole movement.

    I don't think resistance is bad style - with the caveat that this depends on what you mean with "resistance". The image i have in mind when i talk about resistance is the couple charging itself up like a wound spring, and gaining the ability to move strongly into any direction by releasing that tension, and recharging again. Like when leading an inline boleo - the elastic spring feeling i have as a leader the moment that all the forces are in equilibrium, that "whee" moment - that "whee" moment is what i am trying to recreate as a continuous experience in the close embrace - just based on bodies moving into each other, and not apart.

    I realize that compression is not neccessary for close embrace - there are lots of people who dance close embrace using tension, or no mechanical coupling at all - but my personal preference is towards compression.

    Gssh
  15. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    What else could he be thinking about? This is a social dance, not a performance or a solo dance.

    Gssh
  16. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Yeah, right. He could be thinking about himself, or about showing off. Maybe the cute woman who just walked in the door. Maybe about the cool sequence he learned in class.
    Gssh likes this.
  17. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Did Tete learn cool sequences in class? ;)
  18. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I can come to terms with all of your slightly differing suggestions on defining resistance, but of course you are experienced dancers or teachers. My experience instead: dancing with die-hard apilado followers or long-standing partners of apilado aficionados, or even native porteñas feel like dragging sacks of potatoes. So this is the reason for my doubt: behind the curtain of so many apilado dancers simply a lack of ability is waiting.
    UKDancer likes this.
  19. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    We must have danced with the same people :).

    I think in tango, as everywhere Sturgeon's Law applies: Only 10% is really good. There are a lot of people out there who dance an unpleasant apilado - just like in any other style.

    I personally got to my current preference for apilado by studying tango from people grounded in tango nuevo analysis, and after a while of exploring stepping in all direction from all systems and using the elasticity of the embrace and the free leg i wondered why with all that freedom we were so prescriptive in how the embrace worked, when there were clearly other ideas out there that seemed to work well for some people. So i started to work with my partner on trying to dance everything we knew while playing with the structure of the connection, going from compression over no mechanical coupling to tension, from offset to parallel, from angled to parallel. And it took quite a bit of time to get accustomed to the strenghts and weaknessess of each combination, and figure out how to actually dance them, and how to move between them.

    For me personally defaulting to compression, parallel, parallel is the combination that gives me the most satisfying dances, and i basically ended up being an old fashioned apilado dancer by playing with nuevo conceptualizations of tango (which is somewhat amusing to me, tbh), but the sweet spot is different for everybody, and i think this probably not related to ability or lack of ability - if the ability to back up ones stylistic preferences with being actually skilled in that style beyond the most superficial elements was a condition for going to a milonga dancefloors would be empty.

    Gssh
    tangomonkey likes this.
  20. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    So true, Gssh !

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