Tango Argentino > Draft essay on tango

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Tango-ne, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    Ah yes, I should scribble some pointers onto my hand...not unlike some of my fellow beginners who bring small cards with dance notes on them to the milonga...and dance with them in their lead hand! But even as I cheer them on, I have my own notebook full of tips open on my lap!

    But now, instead of figures, I will write small notes to myself such as:

    "Paralysis through analysis"...just to remind me not to overthink!

    Nike is good too..."Just do it"

    <or perhaps BMW? "The Ultimate Driving Machine!" ha! not yet! as if! oh yes...>

    Or as Peter Pan would say, "believe"

    Yes, my practice notes are in front of the computer, tango music fills the room, my dancing shoes are begging to be slipped on, and yet...somehow, my business phone just won't leave me alone, and Outlook keeps beeping a reminder that the afternoon meetings are looming ever closer! Cheers!
  2. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    Tango lesson and Practica tonight! Oh, I hope I can put to action all these "conversation" concepts that I've been brainstorming for the past week. Well, all the thinking part is done, tonight I hope to just let go...and go! Cheers!
  3. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    Oh dear! After last night's lesson, I understand how OFF TRACK I had gotten with my creative story writing!

    You all are right! Stories are akin to pre-made choreography! What I need is the right "attitude" to bring to the dance floor.

    All those patterns that I had been memorizing and putting together DO NOT, I realize now, make up the Tango! Tango is the feeling expressed by those patterns...I was searching for the wrong way up. Putting together the pieces of the elephant without having a clear picture of what is the elephant! Or more like a gorilla I feel and fear as I clumsily lead around the dance floor.

    So now I'm glad that I've explored that story-writing approach, but it's a bit of a dead end, so I'm back on the street and getting back to the basics. Stay tuned! Cheers!
  4. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Aaaaah, bless you. You know what, I love reading your messages..they are so *******ingly honest in that wonderful newborn baby way. I almost want to kiss the screen. And, and, and...STOP thinking so hard and just the let the music dictate to you rather than the other way round. And remember patterns? Don't. Or, better still, try making up your own - that way you'll get a better buzz.;)
  5. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    <=== Here
  6. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    Does a tree make a noise when it falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it? Oh that is a good question, because, only I know that I just spent a goodly amount of lunchtime time typing out my Treatise on Tango, and horrors, as I reached for the mouse to hit "submit", just in that moment of moments, some cosmic sneeze jammed my computer and the screen went blank. I had to laugh. It was SO appropriate! A huge amount of time pontificating...right down the ether! From digital dust to digital dust. Or perhaps, garbage in/garbage out? Or...as I started off...does that digital tree make a noise when it comes crashing down in virtual space?

    Well, the answer is...YES! All that writing was worth something...and if I trusted this computer not to crash again, I would type it all out again. But did I mention that I skipped lunch to devote time to this task? I must go eat! Must keep up my energy to tango! or to write about it anyways! If I have the courage to retype my musing...well, it will appear later on, ne? Cheers!
  7. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    New Beginnings:

    The nouveau tango enthusiast comes upon a most curious sight. It is a dance floor in a clearing in the forest. After hours of gruelling hacking and chopping through the underbrush, this open area is a sight for sore eyes not to mention a welcome for his tired feet. But just as he is about to step forward onto the anomaly, he stops himself and falters at the edge. As he narrows his eyes and tries to make sense of what he sees, there are two lines magically appearing on that dance floor of the forest. One is a dark brooding black line, like powerful ink brushed on with the confidence of the ancient calligraphers on pure white rice paper. The other line is a beautiful fluid blue spilling forward with the grace and curves of the laughter of nymphs. As he watches, the line come together, pause, then start moving in parallel. Of course the strains of the tango reach his ears and the lines move with purpose with the music...

    And herein we witness the beginnings of a New Idea in the Cravings of the Beginner...stay tuned! I'm late for an appointment and can't keep writing right now! Cheers!
  8. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    Sheesh, this computer crashing thing is getting a little old...or maybe I'm getting old in that I haven't learned to "save draft" every couple of...seconds!

    Imagine if you will: a great rewrite that was just lost again into the nothingness of the electronic ocean. What remains is just as follows (and spares the reader my nonsense that lead up to the idea):

    The idea of tango music as a Purple Ribbon, the male leader as an entity of Dark Blue, and the woman follower as Bright Red...the blue and red embrace as they wait for the purple, which is now appearing and wrapping them up, hugging them close together and, like a great genie, starts moving them smoothly and powerfully around the dance floor, leaving carved curves of blue and red lines as a trace of their adventure, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes stopping altogether and swirling around and around. Always carried by the music, the color, as it were, of the tango.

    And that record of the dance is what the beginner tangerous at the forest clearing sees...and he begins to understand that it is not the memorized patterns or figures that creates those lines, but it is the music itself that inspires interesting ways of inscribing them. He is a little closer to his tango now and gets back to his notes...
  9. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    I'm starting to get it.

    The music moves the leader to move the follower.

    <Notes from my woman>:

    My woman: Just lead me on the floor, to the music.
    Me: That's why I'm memorizing these figures...
    My woman: That's not as important as other things because I can't tell what figures you're doing anyways until you're into them.
    Me: "other things"??
    My woman: The key thing is - you, me, the music, the floor...all in sync.
    Me: That's it?
    My woman: Yes, but "in sync" is the key. The music moves, you move, you move me, we move on the dance floor. If you're in the groove, then it doesn't matter to me what figures you do. I step with your leads, your leads are meshed with the music, all is good.
    Me (holding up my notebook): What about all these figures and patterns then?
    My woman: Use them according to the music to switch things up. I start to notice repetition when you don't switch up your steps according to the music; the music changes/you change what you are leading me in, and all is good. It's only when you continue to do the same step (like those back ochos) even when the music changes that are as noticeable as if you didn't step with the music.
    Me (contemplating, or trying to look as if I am):....hmmmmm....
    My woman: Variety in the music, so too variety in the steps. Then we are all happily dancing. You, me, the music, the floor. Feel it here (her hand moves forward to my...I'm guessing, heart...nope too obvious...to my chest then, nope...maybe to my forehead?eyes? ears? her hand travels down, down...oh...!)
    Me: I...I...oh...I understand...
    My woman (massaging): Good, I'm glad I could be of help.
    (She gives a squeeze and let's go of my...feet. Oh I love a good foot massage!) And of course she is right on. It is my feet that trace the steps on the floor and the feet that moves the body. Yes, yes, one instructor says "ignore the feet, they will find their own way, as they have for all your life, instead, think of moving your chest around". I'll get to that idea later...but next dance...I'll let the music move my feet and my feet to move me and me to move my woman...around and around the floor! Cheers!
  10. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    Conversations with my techie biomechanical analyst friend (He has the slow motion cams and digital software that he's written himself. His room IS a laboratory, I don't know half of what all those wires and computers are for, and I'm no dummy, but this place is crazy. One wall looks like a recording studio, he does a lot of sound and audio things that are classified! How is sound analysis classified? Anyways, we are both seated at his control desk, there are five different monitors in front of us. I feel like we are building a cyborg, but instead, we are analysizing the "feel of music and the soul of tango." Hey, he said he could help and I'm game for anything.)

    On the main screen is a closeup of a leader and follower, I don't remember what clip we are watching, but on another smaller monitor, there is a fast motion version of the clip playing in a loop. Step, step, side step, back ochos, bolero, out. We chose this clip because the audio is, according to my friend, neat. On a couple of screens are moving graphs and charts and things that are following the music. There's one in particular that I like because it breaks down the music in a beat line, the melody line, and other static line. The cool thing though is that the audio track has picked up the slight sounds of the footfalls, which my friend uses to syncronize the film with the audio. Now it feels like we are analyzing the gunshot noises on the old JFK film clips.

    My friend has sketched out what he calls the Man Motion Track and lined it up with the Music Melody Track. He says he has found the essence of tango in the data and is eager to show me...he says nothing as if it's obvious what I'm looking at. Now I feel like I'm looking at security cameras in slo mo waiting for a ghost to appear.

    My friend: There! there it is, see it? And again...
    My friend: I'll play it again from the beginning, keep your eyes on the melody track...
    Me (up close to the screen):....okay....what am I looking for?
    My friend (patiently): I thought YOU were the tango expert. Okay, watch the man's foot on the floor and keep your eye on the beat, better yet (he types a few commands on the computer and somehow he gets a couple of dancing colored dots to appear, they appear like music notes on a staff, in perfect time to the music.) And now we isolate the foot fall noises (he types again and a square appears each time the man's foot hits the floor). Now watch.
    My friend: see, it happens over and over, with each step. Now I'll add the woman's footfall noises...let's use a blue square to flash.

    And this is what I see:

    The clip starts: man footfall, woman footfall, beat of the music are all at once.
    The melody starts an upward swell.
    A beat falls.
    The man's foot starts to move...(my friend nudges me and I nod)
    THEN the woman's foot starts to move in response...
    Then the man's footfall meets the woman's footfall and hits the floor just when the beat light flashes.

    I see that the role of man's feet is to move BETWEEN beats, the direction of the movement leads the woman (I'm sure the chest is leading up out of view of the clip), I see the woman moves her foot faster than the man, the man is waiting for the beat now, up in the air, then moves in unison with the woman's foot and they both land on the beat. The man is ahead of the beat, but lands on the beat. The woman is behind the man, but ahead of the beat as well and the man waits for her to catch up, and down they go. Over and over, whether it's the stepping or the ochos.

    And we are watching this in slow motion, which I forget until my friend speeds up the series to normal speed...and there...I can't see the nuances anymore, but I definitely "feel" that the couple on the screen are totally in sync with the music!

    My geek friend smiles and shuts down this simulation then returns to his more "serious" endeavors. I say thanks! But he's already got his headphones on and is mumbling "don't let the cat out when you leave..." I have no doubt that tango for him is child's play. Cheers!
  11. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    Thoughts of Tango from the perspective of my Feet:

    The primary thing I, sorry, WE, do is balance the body up there. We are the only points of contact with the floor, we are the handle on the whip...the tail of the whip is up there...way up there in the middle of the chest somewhere. But it's an odd sort of motion that we have to initiate because we have to get all that MASS up there moving before we are off balance enough to leap ahead to where we need to be to rebalance that mass, or to keep it moving!

    Luckily, once that mass starts toppling, we are quick enough that we can get under it in plenty of time. We can even hover around for a while and time our landing to some music. Then we rebalance the whole shebang, choose a direction and retopple.

    Oh, by the way, while we are in the business of balancing, we keep the mass above us way ahead over the arches so that we can keep the Other Body (the follower) at a good distance to give ourselves some working room. In a way, we send a motion wave up the leg to the body to initate a direction then depend on this body to keep a good enough frame so that we can also start to move the follower's body as well. So sometimes we have to pivot and do all sorts of gymnastics to get the follower to come along...then once we are satisfied that everyone is moving the right way we listen to the music and get ready to either continue the motion or catch everything in perfect balance...but THAT depends on the guy in charge upstairs...and if we don't get the command in time...well, we stumble around! But that's not OUR problem. But it's getting better these days...we are getting our signals in a smoother data stream, and we are able to land more with the music! Out.
  12. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    The Theory of Threes:

    Goldilocks: the first bed is too hard, the second, too soft, but the third is JUST RIGHT.
    Washing rice (Japan): once for your ancestors, once for yourself, once for the future.
    Identifying noises: <creak> What was that? What? <creak> Oh that? Yeah what is that? <creak> The wind.
    Practicing: Watch...<action>. Hey, do that again, I missed it! <action>...Cool! Do it again <action for the last time>

    The Theory of Threes says that the first time is Surprising. The second time is Experiencing. And the third time is Understanding.

    Then the fourth time becomes Old Hat. So before the fourth time, we should made do Something New for the first time.

    This is the lesson told by my instructor on why he only does three backward ochos before moving on. Or three ganchos, boleros, etc at the most.

    Too few...as in A New Thing, A Newer Thing, Another New Thing...is just one surprise after another and not pleasurable. There's no time to experience and understand.

    His thinking is that the dance is FOR the follower, so he presents a New Thing, lets her experience it by doing it again, and then lets her understand it by doing it a third time, then gives her a new surprise right after that, over and over. So that by the end of the dance, the follower has had a multitude of new things shown to her, has had the time to experience the newness and gain an understading (or enjoyment) out of them, and in quick sucession so that she was never bored by it all. The Theory of Threes...I'll build on that! Cheers!
  13. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    So I'm furiously sketching, trying to do the human figure, doodling the proportions, attempting to get fluid motion in the drawing, trying to get the action going. I'm at the library getting books on "How to sketch", "Using the Right Side of the Brain", etc. Then I spy a comic book! American! But the superhero on the cover, the villainess, the posture, the stance, it's all so...so...Tango!

    I feel like I'm buying illicit material as I go through the loans desk and check out the book, but I think it holds a clue to something I'm looking for...but I don't quite know what that something is...

    So I start copying the cover art and the inside art. And as I sketch I begin to see the relationship of the shoulders with the hips, and the chest with the bellybutton, and the knees with the ankles, and the way the feet have to look like they are supporting the mass above.

    I am getting a feel for balance and posture and the tilt of the head in relation to the back, and the arch of the spine as it goes around the shoulders and down to the rump, and how the hips curve into thighs.

    And then I see that from the feet to the head and the postion of the knees to the wrists and the weight of the head and direction of the eyes...it all goes to tell a bit of the story...Story! That's where I started it all off!

    But now I'm looking at the feet and how they are posed but solid to the ground. I hope no one is looking in the window because they will see me standing there with a comic book, posing like a superhero! Sigh...if they only knew the whole story! But there's something about how the artist captures the attitude and the motion and the balance of the figure that seems so much of what is in my head about the Tango...

    This merits some exploration...but even as I sketch...with piazzola in the background...I am thinking of > feet pushing against the floor > one body leading another > music moving me > posing with character.

    There's something there about the posture...I can't quite get my mind around it yet, but surely it is significant! Cheers!
  14. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Have you seen the film "Waking Life?"

    on threes ( four your partner may be getting bored) but its on or two or three for dancing but i use threes for teaching; but with a new partner each time.

    Are you writing a book?
  15. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    I know what you mean. His writing is so engaging and his posts read like extracts...
  16. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    ever heard Laurie Anderson's song "Walking & Falling"? I use this occasionally to teach people how to KEEP that in tango but to allow themselves to fall more then catch themselves.
    it transforms the way they move. (Yeah I end up with a heap of people on the floor, ironic ha ha)
  17. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    Oh, I just listened to the clip! Thanks for the tip...tip...walking...and falling...you are now in my power...hear nothing but my voice...walking...and falling...you are feeling very sleepy...you will dance the tango...you will not think of figures or patterns...you will become the music...become the music...walking...and falling...now I'm going to count backwards from ten...and you will wake up...you will feel crisp after...walking...and falling...you will dance the tango...ready...three...two...one...<fingers snap>...<snap, snap>...<slap!>...<medic! is there a doctor in the house?! somebody help!>

    Now I'm typing...typing...just thinking and typing...

    If I ever figure out the new iPod generation I'm going to take that music clip to a tango lesson! Ah the spawning of a new era.

    At last night's lesson (on walking and pausing with purpose, on lowering one's body for a powerful step, then rising for quicker steps) - I had an interesting Dance of the Knees. It drove my partner nuts. "Give me more chest, chest, more chest...less butt...forward first, then feet." Argh! So this tip about falling is a good mental image to keep!

    And it was a doubly good lesson because I am working back from the basics right now. The power couple, dubbed the Italian Duo...whipped around and around me, but for the first time I felt like I was going to let them race around for a while because I am starting to build a good foundation on which to rebuild using the blocks that I had been collecting over the past year. Sure the Italian Duo can remember the building blocks of patterns and figures, and sure I too used to race around to see how high I could pile those blocks. And some days I got that stack pretty high, it took a lot of sacrifice though! You have to ignore the music, ignore your partner, have a mighty frame and strong grip. You have to be relentless and go from move after move, sometimes stacking two or three of them together and pulling your partner along. But, but...eventually the stack has to be seen for the flimsy structure it was. And it hit me between the eyes as I watched a video of myself. Oh the brutal honesty. Whereas I thought I was like a beautiful swirl of partnership on the dance floor, I was actually a brutish monster stomping other couples out of the way and using my partner as if a broom to sweep the music off to the sidelines! What was I thinking! And as I watched that very clip, in unmitigated horror, I saw that the very tower that I had been building was so very, very fake and that I was so utterly consumed with the race of figures that I couldn't see that the thing was toppling over, and that other couples were not stepping back so as to admire my form, but they were stampeding to get out of the way of the flying whirlwind of limbs coming their way! Oh, how the heavy fall (I dare not use the word mighty, for there was nothing mighty or even noble about my efforts, other than the extent of blindness and deafness that I demonstrated!).

    In retrospect, that disasterous milonga, wherein, as you may remember, I barked at my sweetie that she wasn't trying hard enough with me! Oh, the humiliation that I feel in that memory! How can I make it up to you my dear?

    Am I writing a book? Heavens no...or am I? Kidding.

    It's within that shame and embarrasment that I found this public forum and I embarked on this more chatty path of talking out my ideas...with the hope that by voicing out my thoughts, I will lay bare my ideas, air out my thoughts in public, be exposed and naked in a glaring light so as not to be blinded by my imagination again. Please point and laugh and tell me if my new clothes are pretend! I am not an emperor, but I had exhibited the very same vain qualities!

    As for the Italian Duo, you guys better watch out, because though I am standing amongst the rubble of my elementary tango, I am rebuilding with a religious fevor, and as long as my computer and my feet hold out, I will be exploring the many facets of tango and before you know it...YOU will be the ones glancing up from your dance and misstepping with envy! But no, that is too harsh...I will help you too, gentle friends, and we shall dance together... that is the new spirit, ne? Cheers!
  18. Tango-ne

    Tango-ne New Member

    Modesty, Humility, Simplicity, Elegance...these are the women I am dancing with right now. Their demands are not loud, and before I met them, I was in way over my head. I had been dancing with Show, Drama, Complexity, and even with History. I now I leave those women for men with far more experience than me, let them deal with more advanced concepts. I have finally opened my heart to welcome those four beautiful Foundation sisters who have so patiently been watching with bemused smiles but who will not dance unless asked first. So, humbled, I approached them. And to my surprise, one after another said "yes" last night at the practica. And now I have a new direction. I am christened in the glory of the opening move, the "One" (not yet followed by 2-3-4-5cross!), I am taking my first step towards a new approach. I will give my best 1 to anyone who cares to test me out, and dare any man to approach me in a challenge, for I have bowed my head and am ready to take in the lessons taught to me by those wonderful partners...I whisper their names so as not to surprise them, "Modesty, Humility, Simplicity, and Elegance." Oh I can't wait to see them again! I can smell their sweet perfume on me whenever I move. Do not be jealous my Sweet, I go forth to partake in their lessons so that I may come back and please you!
  19. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Not Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy?
    I have been dancing with horses; my advice is dance congruently; ie with what you are feeling not with what you should be feeling.

    Open heart is good( I'm told)
    This is another Laurie Anderson Song worth playing : Poison
    with great lyrics:

    It was one of those black cat night
    The moon had gone out and the air was thin
    It was the kind of night the cat would drag in.

    I'll never forget it, we had a fight.
    Then you turned around turned on the light. You
    left our bed.
    Then you moved downstairs to live with her
    Yeah just one floor and a shout away.
    I guess I should have moved but I decided to
    Did I drink some poison that I don't remember

    And every night I open all the windows
    I let a cold dark wind blow through.
    I play loud organ music and I talk to myself and
    dream of you.
    Uh oh! I hear voices coming up through the pipes.
    Through all the springs in my bed and up through
    the lights.
    The volume goes up then it drops back down
    I can hear the two of you playing records
    Moving furniture and fooling around.

    Did I drink some poison that I don't remember
    Is there blood on my hands?
    No, my hands are clean.
    Did I do something in another lifetime
    That was really really mean?

    Yeah I'm hearing voices.
    Am I losing my mind?
    Think I'm going crazy, I gotta get out.
    I run into the street and start to shout
    Get out of my way! Get out! Get out!

    Did I drink some poison that I don't remember
    Is there blood on my hands?
    Did I do something in another lifetime
    that was really really mean?

    A small bullet, a piece of glass
    And your heart just grows around it.
  20. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Beautifully put - siiigghhhh

    Why should you be surprised. These wonderful four elements have obviously detected something within you that goes beyond the tango steps, that is for sure;)

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