following or 'dancing the woman's role'?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by jfm, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    thank you Jan. That is fascinating.
  2. In many of these instances, instead of waiting, the leader can move on and do something without the follow (hold position for the follow with the torso, but do something different with the lower body). Often I will do this and it will lead to a situation where we are teasing each other by doing things that the other one of us does not expect. For instance, if I lead her to a pasada and she decides to do something extremely indulgent, like a back boleo, well, I might mirror her boleo with a lead's back boleo and then either follow her front step with a mirrored front step, or maybe even sacada her front step or whatever fits the music.

    I completely agree. Also, I think the lines are extremely fuzzy especially when you see that no two milongueros dance the same and even individual milongueros' styles evolve and change over time or sometimes even from song to song or even depending on how crowded the floor is. Many Milongueros will open up and dance larger when there are fewer people on the floor.
  3. This is my response to the original post:

    JFM, I agree completely with everything that you said and I too get just as bored with a completely subdued follow as you do with being completely controlled. There was even a while, years ago, when I prefered to dance with complete beginners because I enjoyed reacting to their natural movements (other tango dancers may have considered them mistakes). To solve this problem of boredom from being in complete control of my partner, I learned numerous ways in which to include the input of the follow and I would have quit long ago out of boredom, except for that I have learned many ways within the dance to ask for the input of a follow. This is something that no teacher has ever taught in classes that I know of, but I think many of us leads just pick up on the dance floor. It's probalby difficult to teach because it is different for every person and would be hard to get a whole class of people capable of using these techniques.

    I absolutely love when follows take the initiative and use the opportunities that I give her to do interesting things. It sends chills up my spine when a follow marks our steps, the steps that I lead with her own rhythm that I didn't think to use, and it's so easy for a lead to let a follow do this. I have marked the rhythm for a woman lead that I was following and she said that she enjoyed it, so I know I am not the only one (I follow too, as do most leads from my lead-heavy city).

    There are also free flow situations where I hand control to a follow and she may hand it back or not and I may even decide to "steal" the lead back at times. These situations can become chess games, or opportunities to tease, or play with each other. It all depends on the mood or relationship.

    At times a follow can "steal" the lead from me or take control. One of my favorite follows is like a wild animal and if anyone tries to control her, it just ends up being a crappy subdued dance, but if you let her do her thing, it will end up an otherworldy freeform freakout bliss, where we are doing flurries of kicks and spins and all sorts of crazy things (if space permits) and end up laughing so hard we cry. It's completely about the emotional connection and neither of us care at all how we look, but we get lots of complements.

    Exploring these areas of communcation are deeply satisfying and provide an extra level in meaning and intimacy that I didn't know existed before and they are possible at all levels of dance from complete beginner to extremly advanced. The intimate communication and interplay is what separates argentine tango from all other dances and without it, you mine as well be doing ballroom or something else.
  4. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Thanks MTS, that´s it and the increase of that one-style-only-dancers is a waste product of that commercialization, labeling and trading of tango.
  5. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    From what I can judge, there is nowhere in the world where tango is more commercialized, labelled and above all, traded, than BsAs. It sounds very unattractive, to be honest.
  6. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    Who and what is driving the commercialization of tango? The foreign market demand for more shows, more classes, more fancy shoes, more festivals, etc.

    It is unattractive, I agree. Tango is being homogenized for export.
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    and a rocky Argentine economy...
  8. jantango

    jantango Active Member


    First of all, it's published in Castellano, not English. I did the translation. Secondly, I don't want to infringe on copyright. The publisher doesn't approve when her magazine articles are used. If the magazine was still online, I would provide the link, but it's not. One should read the interview with the professionals to get the full context of their remarks and who says what.

    Gavito was put in the "milonguero" category, when I'd put him in "stage" style. He didn't go to the milongas to dance.

    Julio Balmaceda says the "milonguero" style doesn't exist. He's not the only one. Years ago a friend who attended Dinzels classes at the University of Tango asked a question. What do you think about the milonguero style? Dinzel replied, it's the latest fad and won't last long.
  9. JohnEm

    JohnEm Active Member

    Many nations trade their heritage and culture for tourism,
    including the UK. But don't you trade on ballroom by teaching?
    I find much ballroom unattractive compared to some of the
    original dances ballroom has converted into more rigid patterns.

    To break through the commercial nonsense you have to go to
    Buenos Aires where it is possible to almost completely avoid it.
  10. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Now there's unattractive bait: it would be more fun to chew on a wasp.

    Each to their own. I dance in over twenty styles (five of them Ballroom), and find pleasure in all of them.

    I'm not sure that I can reconcile the fact that BsAs is probably the principal dance tourism city anywhere in the world, with choosing to go there with the specific object of avoiding it's commercialism. I don't go the London to avoid Negrachas, I can avoid it on my own doorstep.
  11. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Does not the home market lap up these things too?

    How big is the BsAs dance community, if we discount the tourist/commercial circus? I really don't know, and am curious.
  12. JohnEm

    JohnEm Active Member

    Its not that difficult, there's plenty of choice.
    How do you know without going?

    As for commercialism, aren't you selling lessons for money?
    Isn't that commerce?
  13. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I don't, directly, but I also believe the world to be round, having not seen it with my own eyes.

    I think I dealt with that one before.
  14. JohnEm

    JohnEm Active Member

    That's a fatuous comparison.

    Rather as you have done here - by dismissing the point.

    Not content with Ballroom Tango, ballroom people are teaching
    and performing so-called Argentine Tango. One ballroom teacher
    of my acquaintance dances what she calls Argentine Tango but,
    oh no, she doesn't like the close embrace of Argentina so it looks
    much like a ballroom competitor dancing Salon/VU in a locked
    posture and with a "Tango look". More like cartoon tango.

    I don't think the English dancing world can claim any superiority
    in knowing what to do with dance except standardising and codifying
    for teaching and competition. Somehow that's what seems to be
    happening in Buenos Aires - the English have a 100 year head start.
  15. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I have an Argentine friend here who could do the translation, but if it goes against your morals, then I understand.

    I think that the concept of how things are named, doesn't translate well when going from country to country. Some people seem to think that the name (whether it's milonguero, VU, or whatever) somehow indicates that everyone that's a milonguero (or every one from VU) dances that style. Here, no one would think that, and can just accept that's a name for the style.

    An example (that has nothing to do with tango): An NFL football team that was very good in the 80's (San Francisco) had a specific style of offense that they were very good at. People started calling it the "West Coast" offense (even though none of the other teams on the west coast used that offense, and even funnier, that offense actually originated in Cinncinati). No one here gets confused by any of that, and we all simply accept that's the name of that style of offense.
  16. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I'm sure we'll stay ahead, then.

    As for the rest: nope, not biting.
  17. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Don't EVEN get me started on West Coast Swing. No wait! It's FAR TOO LATE for that!
  18. This quote above makes BA unattractive to me. It is not so much like this in my city and I am thankful that the NA West Coast tends to have a laid back approach to learning and dancing tango with not so much commercialism. All but a few teachers out here are in it for the love of the dance. My only interest in BA is meeting and talking to a few people there, but it is expensive to go there and I may not get to meet them when I am there. Also because classes/lessons from BA teachers/dancers cost as much or more in BA as they do in my own city it makes more sense to use imported talent.
  19. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I hope you consider that the milongas that I went to did not feel the slightest bit "commercial."

    It's beginning to look like I'm headed for Argentina again, and I once again will be "passing through" Buenos Aires. I will take advantage of the opportunity to again go to a milonga (or two, or...) and see if I can get lessons in milonga the dance; since that was the only place I seemed to be doing something that was worthy of commenting on in a non positive way.

    And, while I agree that AT teachers on the "NA West Coast" do it "for the love of the dance" (although I could qualify that statement), the DO usually expect to be paid for lessons. "Commercial," I think, is too general a term.

    I sincerely hope that you don't pass up an chance to go to a milonga!
  20. I hope you don't mind too much if I envy you...and there are a couple of places that I want to go to for shoes in BA.

Share This Page