Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by dchester, Jan 27, 2010.
the parada is followed by an empanada
Personally I have found the topic very interesting, so thanks for raising it.
The few times it has been taught this way in classes I have attended I have not liked it. However I think there is a good use for this, when there is room, I lead the lady to lift her free leg then open the space and see what she does with the situation. It gives me a very good indication if she prefers a Neuvo or Salon type dance to that track.
I'd be leary, and very careful of that left hand thing. Don't know that I would advocate this.
I'm glad that this got revisited.
For me, theoretically/ideally 1 all the way! On a floor with no one else on it, she can carry on until the music stops, for me.... But I suspect that I'll never be 100% comfortable with the 'lead/follow' thing (even in its most enlightened form, where the definitions break down completely... the mis-perception tends to remain...), especially as the leader, so it's a way of being as equalitarian as I can be... I mean in an obvious way that pretty much no 'follower' can miss.
I tend to take the long view, so nearly always give at least two opportunities for her to adorn/play during a tune (one early on to allow me to get a better impression of what she prefers)... over time, the women realise that when they're with me they will have plenty of such opportunities over a tune/tanda, so they're less inclined to chuck everything but the kitchen sink in with each opportunity, and it becomes more 'tasteful'/musical each time.
I would never be comfortable with 3 - I would see it as completely defeating the object... though new beginners (or/and pattern-bots) sometimes need helpful nudges along til they get the idea, then it reverts to the 1 default.
In reality it tends to be 1... but macro-responsibilty to other couples trumps micro-responsibility to her (except in keeping her safe), and I'm the one who can see the opening gap between us and the couple in front, so it's up to me to get us moving when consideration requires this; so 2.
And if she's dangerous then no more play for her (though I'll try to contain or aim her excesses safely, before denial).
The pause is usually pretty much necessary, practically, but like all things in TA it is a tool that can be used or not, to best effect musically (with a partner with whom you have a very good rapport).
See, and that would just tick me off. Either make clear your intention to let me play and improvise, if desired. Or lead what you want to lead. Don't go mucking about halfway like that. If you lead me to lift my leg, I'll lead it...but unless you do something to follow that up I'm left just standing there looking like a fool. Nuevo or Salon or Milonguero or whatever would never enter my mind, just...what the f am I standing here like a damn flamingo for?
The way I would lead when we are there would depend very much on how I feel you have reacted.
I vote #2
I was playing around with this a little at my practice today, and for me, the answer is "it depends"
If it's a sloooow track ("Tai Chi tango"), with a regular partner and a great connection, every single part of the movement - including lustradas and suchlike - can quite easily be led from the chest / centre.
If it's a fast and furious one, or dancing normally in milongas, I think these are things where the woman usually takes the lead to a point. Let's face it, in Real Life most people don't lead every step anyway - when was the last time you led every discrete step of a giro in a milonga?
This is really just a slight variation of the same question, isn't it? Since your chest kept going, you were leading the timing of the stepover. She either expected a pause (and then you would lead the pasada) or she didn't really expect you to lead the pasada at all and is subconsciously expecting to do it in her own time.
I would reiterate that if there is no pause for her to make contact with the leader's leg and realize she has to step over it, then the timing and placement of the leader's leg has to be impeccable. Otherwise it becomes a tripover. It becomes like doing a sacada to the reaching foot instead of the trailing foot just as she's about to transfer some weight to it. Oops... sorry. Sacadas don't work that way.
The stepover has to happen while she is still solid on her standing leg, not in the middle of the weight transfer... .ie: at the beginning of her reach.
Remember that the follower is instructed to keep her free reaching foot in ever so slight contact with the floor. Therefore, she's going to have to purposefully lift it to get over your foot. If there is no pause from you, she has a split second of time to realize she has to raise her foot AFTER she registers the info that your leg is in her path to accomplish this without stopping. And if you think about the construction of people's feet, the top of the foot has formed a hook under your leg which slows down the "getting it over" part. This geometry is not as big a problem in a sacada when her leg that's being displaced is behind her.
I think it's entirely do'able for the pasada to be led without a pause, but I suspect it's an advanced skill to get it working smoothly with someone who is not accustomed to you as a leader or this particualr way of leading it.
I would also point out that the follower's technique needs to be pretty impeccable as well, so that she has not started transfering weight to her reaching foot too soon... that makes the tripping more likely. But keep in mind that since she is to have her weight forward, and she's likely to be wearing heels, the amount of forward reach she has without placing any weight on that foot is: not very much.
I'd also add, that the way most people I've danced with lead the pasada, it's actually the big pivot around (on my right leg after the forward ocho to his right) that clues me in to the fact that I'm probably going to be stepping over his leg on my next step, whether or not there's much pause. And yes, I've stepped over legs that weren't there. But it's better than being tripped.
That's why I usually do very little before stepping over unless:
A) His timing or placement has created a Tripover.
B) I really need to pause to get myself sorted out. In fact, this is the FIRST thing I consider. If I'm not on balance and solid with my axis/posture, I fix that while I've got that brief moment of stillness. I don't force in an embellishment when all twisted up, and I don't take time to do one afterwards either.
C) I need to "slow down" the leader because he is rushing things to a point of it being uncomfortable for me physically or very awkward musically.
D) Embellishment seems to fit the dance we are creating together based on things he's been leading.
Notice that embellishment is the LAST consideration.
To me, the default position of the leg is down. So even if led to lift it, unless there is something in the lead that forces or indicates to me to KEEP it raised, it's going to go back down. I don't wait for a lead to lower it.
Maybe that's why I find these frozen ganchos that are becoming so popular to be rather odd.
I feel your pain, I guess, since I'm not a follower.
I'd just like to point out to leaders that a simple solution exists for this problem. When a leader blocks a follower's step with his foot, he must make contact with his blocking foot to the followers foot that he is blocking. That is, touch it. I think, if a leader touches the foot he is blocking, the follower will be clear about where his foot is - it's touching hers.
I tap/touch her pivot foot (while she's pivoting), to make the follower aware that her free foot will come to my ankle, (that she will need to step over).
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