Music and Candencia

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Mario7, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    These are just some of my musings about the candencia in the AT dance....I'm offering that; by candencia it is generally agreed that the person is dancing with the whole body..not just with the legs... and of course within the good fundamentals of the dance but not rigidly so... It has been my impression from watching several years of YT videos that seeing a male dancer move from behind him, that I can tell an Argentine from a non-Argentine dancer...anyway, this is certainly not always true but I would bet that I can score more than 50% right guessing and to a large enough number to prove that there is something significant there..... so, now I'm just speculating on what that 'something' is... and what I get is that the dancer was raised in the same culture that produced the dance and the music. Ok a no brainer..but think about it... knowing the song and what is coming next...where the accent is ..the next dynamic move in the music... well, that's what gives the Argentine the edge in cadencia...and in getting all the meat on the fire when it counts...so, what can we non Arggies do to compensate a little.. to inch towards that divine movement where the music and the body are one? ... I'm proposing the listening to more and more music... putting aside time to do it... or combining it with other activities...driving?... and most relevant of all would be listening to music with a singer..' the singer is the soul of country music' as Waylon Jennings said... and that goes for Argentine tango too..
  2. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I very much doubt that it has anything to do with that. The culture that created the dance and music hasn't existed for over half a century, and there are almost no dancers still living with any personal experience of it.

    As long as you delete the reference to the Argentine, then I think that this is self-evident. Anyone, from anywhere, can get to know the music. For the lyrics of sung tango, I can see a limited advantage for a Spanish speaker, so that's a lot of people, but not necessarily from Argentina. Listening is the beginning of understanding the music, but tango (the sort I'm interested in, anyway) is dance music. So you have to listen and dance. Technical competence in the movement vocabulary of the dance can come quite quickly (weeks & months), but really discovering the music and starting to use the vocabulary of the dance in a really idiomatic way takes rather longer.
  3. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Ever since I heard Joaquin Amenabar said you have to know the music in order to dance well to it I have listened more carefully to the music, but I have also been selective. I think having a core of tango music that is familiar is better than having every recording there is. So my music collection has been expanding deliberately slowly, and for the people I teach, they get to hear a small core so they get to know the tunes too.

    I believe blues dancers have cadencia more than any other group of dancers so blues dancers coming to tango seem to have a more intuitive feel and use their body more. A generalistion, I know.
    Mario7 and sixela like this.
  4. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    But not better than being familiar with a wider repertoire, surely?

    My own collection is quite big, these days (but not unusually so for someone who DJs), and I find that my understanding of the core repertoire is enhanced once I can set it in the context of an orchestra's other work, period by period, and also comparatively with other orchestras. Mind you, there are now so many online listening services, that building a personal collection seems almost redundant.
    Mario7 likes this.
  5. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member


    of course its a personal preference, so yes for me it is better. A lot of the stuff I have listened to I would never chose to play or dance to, so I don't bother getting familiar with it. For me hearing another piece of music, eg Son Cosas del bandoneon I heard at a milonga in Bristol, which grabs me is more important than taking note of every unfamiliar piece i hear. There's a lot of dross out there and my preference would be to dance to music I like, than stuff that is just okay, or worse.

    Another example; an obscure milonga got played as part of a tanda, and it was dreadful to dance to. When I mentioned it to the lady i was dancing with she said "That was a milonga? I hadn't realised."
    Mario7 likes this.
  6. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    So Mario7 should modify his aim from:
    to
    It set me wondering just how small is the core repertoire of songs for milongas where traditional music is the norm. If you were a new DJ, establishing a new milonga, but hoping to attract experienced dancers, how many songs are going to (or should) make up 80% of your playlists?
    Mario7 likes this.
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    if you are doing a monthly milonga, then far less. if you are doing weekly milongas then you need far more variety, because people will still remember what you played a week ago, and don't want all the same stuff.

    I go to several different milongas and the djs don't play the same stuff as me. maybe there's a 20% overlap, but its probably about 80% music I know.

    if you have a monthly 4 hour milonga and play tandas with cortinas that's going to be 18 songs per hour roughly = 72 for the evening. 12 times a year
    = 864 songs..so I'm hardly going to dip into my collection of 11,000 tracks am I? Its going to be a choice of quality: variety, mood, orchestra, instrumental, canta
    Mario7 likes this.
  8. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Your monthly calculation assumes that you don't repeat anything for 12 months, but I think if you had enough material for 12 quality playlists, then using them weekly (so roughly four times a year) would be perfectly OK - no one could object to dancing to a song once every three months.

    My own guestimate was around 1000 songs, so we are in the same zone. The problem is, which 1000, and can you acquire a collection of uniformally high quality, or do you have to buy, say 2000, with a 50% hit rate?
    Mario7 likes this.
  9. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    i guess in part you can rely on popularity on itunes or spotify. if you are buying cds then the the hit rate is going to be lower probably 25% unless you go specifically to cds with tanda arrangements.
  10. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Member

    Mario7 - I can think that you are right here!

    All the ladies who have been in Argentina and returning, returning and returning back again are talking about the abrazo. It sounds that it is something really great and something they can not get at home. Something is different there. I suppose this kind of abrazo is result of the whole body AND mind performing smoothly together after a long dance life. It should be visible if you are looking for it.

    When top sportsmen are trained they often get mental goals, images, pictures, sequences to work with, to create vivid pictures of them and they get better results. It means that they get different results based on different images in similar situations. Maybe those wonderful abrazos in Argentina are based on other images, other goals in tango compared with the ones in other countries.
    Mario7 likes this.
  11. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I would say it is, at least it is to me.
  12. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    Yes!!!! Tango is about the embrace, not the steps. It is really great, and there is no other place you can get that kind of embrace except in Buenos Aires. It is different, but no one wants to talk about it in classes. The steps sell. You can see the difference. Just watch a video in Lo de Celia. Those embraces are all feeling with nothing held back.

    A young couple attended Lo de Celia yesterday. I didn't see them dance together. She left early and her husband stayed with another woman. When I introduced myself to ask where he is from, he mentioned that the woman is their teacher. He and his wife have only two weeks in BsAs, but they've already missed what is here to discover -- the embrace. The teacher danced tandas with him, but there was no connection. They were going through the motions. I saw them leave early so he never got to dance with a portena to discover the embrace.
  13. JohnEm

    JohnEm Active Member

    It can be seen and it certainly can be felt. There are tourists I don't dance
    with because they don't embrace fully and even some recently taught porteñas.
    Commercial teaching here (BsAs) is omitting the soul of their own dance.

    On the other hand there are tourists who do return year after year
    for the embrace and the resultant dance which they can rarely find at home.
    But it can sometimes be found abroad, you should see the surprised look on
    some older porteñas faces when they discover they have just been embraced
    by an Inglés - it's tangible - and sometimes it's followed by "but you dance
    like a porteño!".

    You are right about the whole mind and body working together, it requires
    total involvement and, for the ultimate dance, a physicality from both partners
    that most newcomers to the dance do not appreciate, men and women.

    Teachers shy away from such considerations, usually under the guise
    of encouraging more people to learn the dance. Who best is that serving -
    the future of the dance (which means people somehow have to discover
    the extra ingredient for themselves) or teachers' own commercialism?

    It's a common criticism here (BA again) that Argentines/The City/Argentina
    do not look after anything, buildings, infrastructure, (pavements are tangible
    example), are used and abused and uncared. Walking back late last night
    after a late night bar milonga I came across the DJ and his mate walking home
    and we chatted. Their complaint was just the same, along with incredulity
    and wonderment about why foreigners come to BA when all they wanted to do
    was escape. The DJ's mate pointed to the unkempt, broken pavements we
    were walking on as the obvious example.

    Tango is treated just the same. Jantango, myself and another visitor from
    abroad were alarmed to discover that an important resource for the music
    is in danger of being lost because of the difficulties of operating in the city,
    weariness and the general disinterest in tango except for its potential for
    earning tourist dollars in dinner shows and tourista classes in tacky steps,
    moves, poses and lady's decorations.
    sixela likes this.
  14. Mladenac

    Mladenac Active Member

    About cadencia:
    It takes time so you can get relaxed and fully express to the music and within an embrace.
    As I have been listening more and more tango to minutiae I noticed that tango can become quite complex.
    As a leader I always try to adapt to the follower's dancing technique and musicality level.
    I increased my musicality by listening tango in my spare time (while not dancing). ;)

    About embrace:
    I noticed that in some cultures people do not touch each other so often so they are restrained.
    So when they come to BsAs they can get something what is natural for them and wish they can come back.
    They are not used to being so natural. It takes time for that, but the sympthom is very curable. :D
    Even to the good thing we must get used to. :cool:
    I believe that those foreigners who have nice embrace are either experienced dancers or come from culture where touch is not a tabu.
  15. NZ_Guy

    NZ_Guy Member

    And if they did, what would they say?
  16. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    I don't know. Surrender? You have to feel it. Many are afraid of getting that close to a person for three minutes, especially when starting to learn tango. They miss the essence of tango. Tango IS the embrace for the milongueros.

    Pedro Sanchez describes it best: you have to fall in love when you dance.
  17. JohnEm

    JohnEm Active Member

    Surrender!!! NO!! Nor submission.
    It's physical and mental commitment, one to another,
    whole hearted and without qualification.

    The two partners combine in the embrace to make a new whole for 12 minutes,
    "listening" (feeling) with all the senses and watching out for each other too.
    The two roles may be different but they contribute their own skills
    to that partnership and the woman needs to be equally involved.
    Definitely not surrender to her partner but you might consider it
    surrendering to the dance, but that applies to both man and woman.
  18. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member


    That truly makes me sad.
  19. NZ_Guy

    NZ_Guy Member

    For both leaders and followers, or just followers?
  20. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member


    A friend who's just come back from BsAs said she enjoyed the Argentine abrazo and the argentine Ladies enjoyed her husband's lighter embrace.so it could be a case of the grass is greener..

Share This Page