From Latin/Swing to Argentine Tango - Help!

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by LindyKeya, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

    Contorting is contorting, and it can be done regardless of the type of embrace. Bad posture, bad technique, bad dancing...are all bad regardless of which style or which embrace is being used.

    It is entirely possible to dance--and dance at a high skill level--with the woman's hand draped around his neck, or down across his back, or along his back/side on the right, or on his arm. So much depends on what feels comfortable in any particular partnership--relative heights, body shapes, what things tend to be danced...the list goes on and on. The point is, is that it is all possible regardless of where/how she (or he) uses her arms...provided that it is done well, with good technique.

    If her technique is bad, and she hangs off his neck with the draped arm...it's not the style and placement that's at fault, it's her technique.
  2. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    well said...
  3. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Could you elaborate a little on what you mean by "unrestricted movement" implying greater skill? No balance and off axis makes sense enough.

    I have honestly never understood why people think that if you aren't doing back sacadas, ganchos and over-rotated ochos every 10 seconds, you are "less skilled" as a dancer....we certainly have several people who beat that drum in my own town...so I can only hope that's not what you are implying.

    I've had some perfectly wonderful dances that had some limits due to the embrace we chose to dance in, but it was done well and certainly required skill.
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Answering only for myself, which may or may not be even relatively close to what hbboogie had in mind...

    It's not about, IMO, what sorts of movements are being done (back sacadas, over-rotated ochos, etc), or even what sort of embrace is being used. To me, it's about "unrestricted movement" within the parameter of whatever embrace or style is being danced at the time.

    If an embrace is fine, but the woman's movement of her legs is restricted (not moving from the hips, not keeping her free leg...well, free...and relaxed) then it's a case of restricted movement. Or their movement could be fine, but she doesn't know how to dissociate her upper body from her lower, so the movement is restricted. Or everything else is fine, but the guy seems to believe he's shearing a sheep, or was a boa constrictor in a prior life, so she can't fully move the way she needs to--to dissociate, to adjust her position or embrace (to correct for a mistake perhaps), to deal with balance issues.

    Or, the woman is hanging on the guy's neck--his balance is thrown, and his shoulders will probably end up hurting like hell by the time the tanda is over.
  5. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "Bad posture", an alternative to the preferred posture for Western couples dances is an integral part of the style of some dances: African dance is probably the most obvious example. Canyenge and that protruding bottom is another, as are the styles of many "Lindy Hop" or Jitterbug dancers. Even the dancing it what may be the first Western Swing aka West Coast Swing features quite a "bend" at the waist at times. Country Western, too, that isn't taught in studios features quite a relaxed posture. Hungarian "folk dances" that pre date the influence of "dance masters" featured changes of posture.

    I loved the scene(s) in "Save the Last Dance" where the ballet trained young woman was - shall we say ridiculed? - for her upright posture.

    OK. I know this is sort of a tangent (what else is new?), but I am convinced that taking Western "dance master" styles as the touchstone for Europeanized dance leaves out a big part of a picture that is much more rich in variation.

    Add enough qualifiers to the quoted statement, and I'm ok with it.
  6. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

    If the woman is lead into a figure and cannot dance it on her axis and in balance would you agree it’s because her movement is restricted in some way?
  7. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    It's possible. But, it could be the fault of the leader, and not because of her embrace.

    You could have led something badly causing her to be off balance. That's the leader's fault, not hers. It's happens when you dodn't wait for her to land her weight, or didn't give her enough space... a myriad of reasons. Or, as peaches said, her technique could be bad...
  8. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

    Whoa back up we’re talking about the woman’s arm wrapped around the man restricting her movement and putting her off balance.
    You could take one of her shoes and toss it out the window and that would also cause her to be off balance but that’s a different thread for later.
  9. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    ... And what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't matter. If she has her octopus arms draped around, its still the leaders job to lead her to center so she can balance. Even if she has bad technique, it's still the leader's job to make it work as best as possible. Otherwise, its not good leading.

    It is after, all about HER.
  10. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    What about if they are sharing weight (like an apilado embrace)?
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I also find the converse to be true; that people sneer at sacadas, ganchos etc because they claim its not traditional when it reflects their own inadequacies and lack of skill in dancing.

    I find the same skills are required to dance different "styles"

    and I agree with Peaches' post above.
  12. bastet

    bastet Active Member


    I can certainly agree with Peaches post and Ampster's as well, but I fear that the original meaning was what I thought- you dance in a certain embrace and it automatically means you are less skilled as a dancer. That's the main attitude in my own area- so sad.

    So I'm kind of tired of seeing the attitude and reading the attitude so I need to take a little break.

    I have no problem with ganchos and sacadas,and I spent several years of tango working on big movements, some of which can even be done in a close embrace with a little adaptation and attention to skill and are a lot of fun with the right leader who can pull them off well and not yank you over in an attempt to "impress" you.

    I also dislike the attitude of no ganchos, boleos, etc...ever...but I know when they are appropriate and I can't see that that many people are being taught the difference and I really dislike people doing things like that on crowded floors- or ignoring completely developing any repertoire for close space dancing so they can concentrate on the "big stuff". It's makes things all out of balance.
  13. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

    Actually I wasn’t thinking of any specific figure when I mentioned skill. Skill: the ability to do something well, usually gained through training or experience. We all have different opinions when we watch someone dance based on our own experience and training. I see you dance and rate you a beginner but you see yourself as advanced. You see me dance and rate me advanced when I see myself as intermediate. We judge ones skill level by our own opinion.
    My opinion is based on how I was taught to tango. One of the things I was taught was never restrict the woman’s movement.
    Example #1 if I lead a series of front ochos and remain stationary and lead her only with my arms I’m restricting her movement by not following her with my chest and allowing her to take a full step before pivoting.
    Example #2 If she has her arm draped down my back and I lead her in the same ochos she is restricting her own movement by default.
    Without unrestricted movement balance and axis cannot be maintained.
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Only if her understanding, ability and technique is such that she doesn't know to let her arm move as it needs to so she can execute the movement fully. Again, a question of technique (or lack thereof) and not the fault of the arm placement in and of itself.

    If she's got her arm draped, and doesn't support her own weight of it, and hangs on the man, and locks it into place such that she restricts her own movement...then, yes, of course there is a problem.

    But the problem is not that her arm is draped, but that she does not know how to use it properly.
  15. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    If they think these movements are "not tradtional", it reflects their lack of knowlede of the history of the dance.
  16. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    True.

    True, but in this case, you call upon your superior leading skills to read her and ascertain the extent/limit of her movement. You then lead/move to compensate on her behalf in order to make it work.

    Now don't get me wrong. I'm just basing my opinion on my personal preference in that, the leader is responsible for what happens on how good the tanda turns out.
  17. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Taken from the video thread: Pablo's lead. Bringing this here as it was referenced below (see 2nd quote)

    (My bold) This explains a lot. First off they're dancing nuevo. Or fantassia. Whatever you call it, they're dancing LARGE. If this is the tango you dance, then yes, you are right. The arm draped around the shoulder wouldn't work because it is restrictive for this particular style/s of AT.

    However, when a woman embraces this way, she's dancing in milonguero. Also can be referred to as, "Close embrace." At which point, you lead in milonguero/close embrace which is very, very different. Leading large stuff in this type of close and intimate embrace will be difficult as you'll knock her off her axis.

    P.S. As for Pablo's right hand/arm down closer to her waist, I know a lot of women who complain and dislike being held there in AT. It makes the dance uncomfortable because leaders who do this tend to lead with their right arms, and gives them a feeling of being driven like a bus. The women I know always prefer being led from the center either in close and/or open embrace.
  18. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I agree on the right hand. But, my read is, that he pulls and drags with his left arm to support the center move??

    OD
  19. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member


    Yes, you're right. He's "pumping" the arms. I've seen him do better, even in open embrace. His arm should be stationary and the lead coming from center... However, this looks like a very old video, and could have been BEFORE the leading from the center thing was well established (I'm speculating).

    Arm leading is caused when indulging in vigorous open embrace styles. You see it all the time in places where nuevo is being practiced, and the leader doesn't quite have the grasp of leading from the center in an open embrace, so they compensate by pumping arms. A little is always necessary, but should not too much that everyone can see it.
  20. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

    It all comes down to what style you dance. I was taught that Juan Carlos Cope and Orlando Piava’s style was Salon Tango. Orlando refined salon into Elegante, which is as the name states very elegant.
    The man’s left arm does not pump like milking a cow. The right hand is definitely used to guide the woman but not like driving a bus. This is the hardest style of tango to learn because you both need to be balanced and on axis at all times. I have witnessed a demonstration of Elegante danced at Salon Canning in BsAs you could have heard a pin drop. The milongueros that everyone holds in such high regard were
    praising the dancers for such a fine performance. For those of you that don’t know this is not show tango or fantasia? or anything other than social tango. Here is a video of Orlando Piava dancing at Sunderland in BsAs notice what happens when they finish dancing.PS another thing you might notice is his partner keeps her feet on the floor at all times. No need for adornments they would ruin the elegance of the dance

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjpJhWFHCKA

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