Tango Argentino > Show tango is not REAL tango?!

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by larrynla, May 6, 2009.

  1. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    Social dancing is social dancing.
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yes and no. But a milonga isn't a place for deliberately showing off, unless you've been asked to do a performance. Nor is it the place for moves which are, generally speaking, performance oriented (lifts, kicks, any number of other things). I don't care how carried away either partner gets with a great partner, it's not appropriate. If the dancing, in the midst of other social dancers, could be construed as "showing off" or "performing" it is likely to also be a danger to others, not to mention disruptive to other dancers. Not cool.

    I don't care what salsa social dancing is like (and, yes, I have been), but it's just different.
  3. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    I can see that no one reads my posts. Peaches, that which may be interpreted as a showoff to the observer, is just an enjoyable dance to the dancer(s). (...just like what everyone else on the dance floor should be having.)

    P.S.....though, my daughter has yet to get to her comfort level in A.T.,...I can say that she has never hurt anyone on the dance floor (though, "she" has been hurt many times by intermediate dancers that are not aware of their surroundings and how to navigate properly) and the only disruption was that the crowd were watching her and her partner, rather than the other social dancers. If this upsets the other dancers, then apparently, they're the ones that are dancing for the audience.
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Actually, I did read your posts. All I'm saying is that milongas are different than what social salsa is like.

    Exquisite social-appropriate tango, which happens to get watched, is fine. Anything more than that is not. Dancing with "so much flash and show" that an "audience" is applauding? It's disruptive and disrespectful to other dancers. I'll stop short of going so far as to say that "flash and show" has no place at all at a milonga, since what one person considers flashy and showy is not what another considers it to be. But I'm very close to saying it.
  5. Tango Bellingham

    Tango Bellingham New Member

    Of course, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want (see "Texas bar-fight attitude" above), but dancing tango is not just about the steps. Like I mentioned above, Rick's article on the códigos explains why they do things the way they do, and if we really want to understand the dance, music, and culture, we need to "walk a mile in their mocassins" before we start applying the North American, British, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central American, or European standards of what constitutes a "social dance" to an Argentine context.

    This is a common argument, and is also a variant of the "Texas bar-fight attitude", which goes, "I ain't hurtin' nuthin'!" Well, okay, granted she hasn't impaled anyone with her stiletto heels, but if what she's doing is causing the crowd to applaud (which is also bad form on the part of the "audience"), she is disrupting the ronda.
  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    While I agree with what you've said, I'd also hesitate to go the route of thinking that the way it's done in Argentina is the way it's done, period. I'm sure that's not what you mean to say, just that it can be taken too far. One of the most beautiful features of AT, as I'm sure you know, is it's adaptability...and it would be such a shame to lose that by not letting it adapt to the customs of new surroundings, on the basis of "that's not how it's done in BsAs."
  7. larrynla

    larrynla Member

    social and show dancing cross over

    So far the discussion of show tango seems to focus on stage tango, a subset of all show tango. Dancers on the stage are usually professionals working full-time at dancing, including teaching as well as performing. It has social tango as a base, but adds ballet and jazz dance moves to make it more exciting to general audiences.

    There are other kinds of show tango. Here Miguel Balmaceda, father of Julio Balmaceda, and teacher in the 80s to a lot of the tango pros of the 90s, does a show with one partner. This is pure social tango, nothing that he wouldn't do in the midst of a crowd. The audience is not a general one that needs all the jumping and lifting and karate kicks of stage tango to stay interested. They can appreciate the subtleties. Nor do they sneer at him for "showing off." Likely he got persuaded by a bunch of aficionados who were eager to see him dance.


    Here is a respected milonguero, Jorge 'El Gallego' Garcia, doing some fancy stuff in the middle of a crowd, but a loose crowd that lets him and his partner do movements that take up a fair amount of space. At :38 seconds, for instance, he leads a volcada. In other words, tricky and acrobatic movements often done on the stage are being done as part of social dancing. There's no way to be sure, of course, but my guess is that these dancers are dancing for each other and no one else.


    In other words, the distinction between show and social dancing is useful but not an absolute; there are lots of cross-overs between the two.

  8. Tango Bellingham

    Tango Bellingham New Member

    Nope, I'm just saying, let's try it their way before we start changing/"improving" it.

    We've had a running battle up here in 'Hamsterville for years since the local ballroom/contra dance club decided to start teaching Argentine tango and holding a monthly "milanga" [shudder]. Imagine "brownian motion" floorcraft mixed with flying gaunchos/parada-mordita-lustrada-whatever, impromptu dance lessons from two-lesson video tape wonders, all to "Hernando's Hideaway" music or a "Best Hits of Argentine Tango" CD on Random Play.

    When we politely suggest that just maybe they might want to invest a little time in learning about the códigos, we get the West Coast version of the "Texas bar-fight attitude." Oy gevalt.
  9. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Agree, 100%.

    Except I prefer "Oy shoyoot!" as an expression. ;) (Reference to The Frisco Kid, in case that was missed.)
  10. barrefly

    barrefly New Member


    I want you all to know that I know very little about Milongas and am just using common sense and my life experiences. I relate the A.T. social scene to the Flamenco social scene of spain. Everyone is there to have a great time. If an exceptionally gifted dancer really only enjoys themselves (or enjoy themselves more) if they pour it all on (so to speak)...I doesnt' make sense that the attendees/crowd/friends at the social would hold that against them, or criticize them. I just have a hard time beleiving that the Argentinians would not embrace such dancers and welcome them to their Milongas. In fact, I think they would admire them. (as long as it stays within the context of the dance). I mean, karate kicks....I don't think so.
    If I am wrong, then I'm wrong.
  11. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    I totally agree.

    No offense to you barrefly. But really, when someone starts doing flashy stuff in a milonga it considered showing off. People notice it because it IS disruptive. AT is a very personal thing. Some teachers trolling for new students who don't have a clue sometimes do this and if you look at the crowd moving in close embrace, with everyone having their tango moments... The ones showing off end up looking a tad silly.

    However, the exception is that if the milonga is predominantly a nuevo crowd. Then then flailing legs go on all the time. Not pretty to watch though when everyone does it.
  12. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    I took my daughter to her first Milonga a few weeks ago. There were at least 50 people there. We sat there for over an hour and not one person asked her to dance.
    None had seen her dance before. My daughter said, Dad, this is boring, let's go. So I took her to a salsa club where she danced the night away. Most there, had not seen her dance before either.
    If I were Milonga king, and that's what Milonga's are all about....I would make some changes. :>)
  13. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yeah, it can go that way.

    Why didn't she ask others, if it was such an issue? (I've had nights like that, btw, and didn't ask people...but recognize that the "fault" was my own, since I wasn't willing to step up, either.)

    Then again, given the codes of etiquette that exist, it's quite possible that they saw your daughter with you, sitting with you, and assumed she was off limits. Might I suggest making more of an effort at getting to know and understand the culture of AT and what goes with it, before you get offended and start making suggestions. I don't know where you are, or what the scene there is like, or how the two of you conducted yourselves...but in a lot of settings, if a girl is there with a guy, and they stay seated and talking to each other, other men will not ask her to dance. It's a question of respect.

    I'm not saying I condone it, or even like it. But that's the way it is, and there is a reason for it, which isn't particularly a bad one. Could be there were other things at stake (and, yes, some milongas are friendlier than others wrt newbies...and I know your daughter has been dancing for years, and is talented, but she's still and AT newbie regardless)...but the etiquette is, at its most basic, one of respect for the couple and the people involved. It's not a bad thing to automatically be criticised.

    Once again, AT is not salsa. It's a different scene. Perhaps, despite what various teachers are encouraging her to do, and perhaps despite what you want her to do, the AT scene is not for your daughter at this point. Not saying she can't come back to it, or that she can't excel at it, but if she's not enjoying it the way she's enjoying salsa...perhaps stick with salsa? There's nothing wrong with that.

    As much as AT can be a dance for all ages, IIRC your daughter is pretty young. <18, yeah? While I don't have a problem dancing with men old enough to be my father (or grandfather), I'm 30...and there's a world of difference between 30 and 18. I can see where men would think twice about asking a young girl to dance...particularly in front of her father.
  14. Tango Bellingham

    Tango Bellingham New Member

    Again, different dance, different traditions, yada, yada. Probably the exact same thing would happen to me at that milonga, depending on the male/female ratio. I would recommend that you bring her to the pre-milonga dance lesson if there is one so that people can see her dance.

    Something similar happened to me in Toronto at Paradiso on a Friday night. I went there in the company of Mary-Ann Henderson, Oscar Casas' wife, and two of their friends. I danced the first tanda with Mary-Ann. After that, I never sat down - it was like I had a "Good Housekeeping Tango Seal of Approval" stamped on my forehead.

    In conversation later that evening, one of the regulars assured me that if Mary-Ann hadn't danced with me, or even worse, hadn't enjoyed it, I would've spent the entire night "invisible" to the A-listers (and there are a ton of A-listers in Toronto - some amazing dancers). As it was, she introduced me to her friends, who introduced me to their friends, yada yada. I had men coming up to me and asking if I would please dance with their wives(!). Damndest thing I ever experienced at a social dance of any kind....
  15. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    My daughter really loves A.T. What she loves about it is personal to her. (Though, I think I know...since she is always looking in the mirror when she dances it. LOL). I would hate to see her lose such love due to conformity. I really enjoyed the OP's clip of the guy with the little kid. Was that at a milonga? Watching it, ..."that", is the atmosphere that I perceive a milonga to be. My daughter is certainly capable of dancing in a sensual style....but it's all an act. It's a visual thing. The King of Swing, Buddy Schwimmer taught my daughter this. It applies to any form of sensual looking dance. Bellydance, lyrical jazz and modern, swing, salsa, ballet. What you all seem to call show....I would call fire...like in "a heat of passion". Everyone displays there passion differently, wouldn't you agree. (I have an analogy, but it's too adult for the board).
    ...P.S....everyone would "not" be flailing the legs around at the same time. LOL
    (referenced to a previous post).

    Actually, she took the pre-milonga class. (It was in a different room). No one else was interested in taking the class except a few other ladies. (...though, I thought 3/4 of the milonga crowd could have used it....mybad)

    T.B....cliques are common at all dance socials....and I know well and good how to break her into them. I guess I was looking for some cheap sympathy. LOL The truth is...the crowd was much too old for my daughter and she wouldn't have had that much fun anyway. I apologize for leading you all on. We just haven't found the right Milonga.
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I will tell you this, absolutely 100% truthfully...

    I dance sensually whenever I feel moved to do so. I hope for that moment. It is NEVER, EVER, EVER an act. PERIOD. It's not a "sensual style," it is me being sensual, and sexual, and feminine, and relishing in the beauty and power inherent to that. Never.an.act.

    (And, since I don't know how much of D-F you've read, I'll tell you that I say this having just celebrated my 9-year-anniversary with my husband...having been with him for 13+ years.)

    With all due respect, I don't care who told your daughter what... It's not just an act when I dance. And I'd wager that it's not just an act with plenty of other AT dancers.

    I'm glad to hear that your daughter really likes it so far. More dancers are always a good thing. Just do yourselves a favor, and quit comparing everything to salsa, and learn to experience it and appreciate it for what it is. It's not the same thing as conformity.
  17. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    My 9 yr. old is an actress. She just filmed a Samual L. Jackson movie coming out later this year, and also starred in a Lifetime MOW that I think is currently airing, called Little Girl Lost:The Delimar Vera Story. (She plays Delimar) She was also in 2 epis of Showtime's Dexter series. All three she has to cry in them. I just got a call from her manager, that she book a national comcast commercial. It will be a stop action commercial...so it should be cool. yyyiiiippppeeee
    There is a great deal of passion in acting.

    All the best Ballet schools teach their dancers how to act.

    My daughter also partner dances ballet, int. ballroom/latin, flamenco, w.c. swing, hustle...I just happened to pick salsa because it was best suited for comparison..

    P.S, I have been married for 23 yrs and love my wife dearly,....but you wouldn't think it if you ever saw us togeather. LOL
  18. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    One tango with individual styles; traditional milongas

    The dance is a result of the music. There is one tango, with individual ways of dancing. If we all danced the same, we would be bored. We express what we feel in the music. I have a problem when they call it tango being danced to other music.

    The milongueros don't want to have to dance tiny steps on one tile, but they can do it. The problem is that other dancers don't move when they dance. When the floor opens up at the end of a milonga, milongueros are able to dance the way they want without others getting in the way. They can move more freely around the floor. They dance the same as always but enjoy it more.

    I read recently in a Buenos Aires publication that "La Glorieta de Barracas" and "Plaza Dorrego" are traditional milongas. Obviously the writer has no personal knowledge of these two places nor what a traditional milonga is really like. The clubes de barrio like Sunderland and Sin Rumbo are thought to be in that category. Three basic characteristics of a traditional milonga are: tables with seating facing the dance floor; use of the cabeceo; and tandas of tango, vals and milonga with a cortina. La Glorieta is outdoors without any seating or use of the cabeceo; there is no deejay. Plaza Dorrego has no seating, therefore it doesn't respect the cabeceo. Sunderland uses very large tables for groups of couples who have no need for the cabeceo.
  19. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Peaches is right. When you dance argentine tango. Nobody else matters but your partner. When you get it right, the magic happens and it is not an act. Like many a tanguero and tanguera we are all happily married and in relationships. But, we have this discipline, and are secure in our relationships that we can disconnect after the tanda.

    It does not need to be taught as it will just happen. To do that, one requires a certain level of maturity for it to be enjoyable.

    I also agree with Peaches that one must not compare AT with any other dance because AT is so different by its very nature. I know. I used to be a ballroom dancer, and I did the same thing when I started AT. I had to relearn everything to make my AT danceable, and not ballroomy, or with cuban motion, or with large frames...

    I hope this helps explain what were trying to tell you. The intricacy of simplicity
  20. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    This is one of Buddy Schwimmer's dancer. (And a friend of my daughter).
    She was only 16 in this clip. (copy and paste).
    Try to figure out why I post it. I dare you.

    This is not unique to A.T. It's called connection.

    I am sorry you had so much trouble with learning it. Perhaps A.T. isn't your dance.

    Ampster, I see that you posted a photo of a dancer posing from N.Y.C.B.'s ballet, Serenade. ....interesting. I've seen the ballet....beautiful.

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