Throwing in sequences spontaneously

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by opendoor, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I have to fill in at a practilonga for two month. It is common there that the host also shows a little sequence. If you have done that before, do you build on your spontaneous intuition or do you plan the steps in detail. I rather want to be able to pull knotty figures from the hat, but I also fear that nothing interesting comes to mind.
  2. Mladenac

    Mladenac Active Member

    I would suggest that you reahearse it a lot, and present sketches for the sequences.
    When somebody have technical issues you will be able to pull the solution out of your hat. :cool:

    Everybody has their own level of dancing and you cannot explain them the same,
    so that's why I proposed the sketches.
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    When I've subbed for anyone in almost any situation (class or practica) invariably, everyone wants me to help them with the step they were working on in the previous session. Usually no one remembers it well enough for me to get a clear idea of what it was, but they all expect me to show it to them and tell them the sequence and which foot did what, where, and when. etc.

    Of course, unless I had the usual instructor go over it with me in detail, I can't tell the class what the sequence was because I never saw it. Most of the time, I was filling in for an emergency and there was never an opportunity for the regular instructor to even tell me anything, much less show it to me.

    Personally, I don't like teaching sequences anyway except the basic molinete and ocho cortado ones, but I do like a few simple sequences that give me the opportunity to talk about technique. One of my favorites involves having leaders walk the follower to crossing, alternating which leg crosses front, with the leader using primarily (or only) chest movements and careful placement of his own step to achieve the alternating crosses without any pauses.IN other words, the leader can only move in forward walking steps.

    (This is actually much harder than it looks, frequently stymies even more advanced leaders, and gives you lots of opportunity to talk about many aspects of both leaders' and followers' technique.)

    If I were going to run a guided practica for 2 months (not a class, but a practica) I'd resist the temptation to do ANY sequences except the basics but rather pick single elements and explore them in detail. That way, it doesn't matter whether people attend every time or what they missed from previous sessions.

    Possible topics could be:

    All the ways you can think of to get into the cross.

    Walking outside partner on the follower's left

    Walking outside partner on the right and delaying the follower's cross by having her continue to simply backstep when the cross usually occurs. (this one really refines leader's ability to lead the cross)

    Unusual entrances or exits to molinetes or ochos

    Exiting the molinete at unusual points in the sequence.

    Why boleos, ganchos, and actual steps are fundamentally the same for a follower. (the former being interrupted steps)

    Playing with double-time in the music and easy steps for it.

    Using the same elements in all 3 music tempos (tango, vals and milonga)

    And of course, another personal fave... let people just do what they already know and are working on, but run around getting in people's way to force them to deal with potential floorcraft issues.

    Or make the space really small so they stay bunched up but require them to continue traveling.

    You get the idea. In the long run, I think these sorts of things are more useful than any sequences you could come up with because they make people think for themselves on the fly and focus on fundamentals rather than memorize something.
  4. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I think entrances and exits are incredibly useful; ( echoing Zoopsia above)

    just getting in and out of cross system with different figures could give you four weeks practicas
  5. newbie

    newbie Active Member

    Did that a couple of times. When it was with a partner, we discussed the thing beforehand and rehearsed a little until both of us had the sequence memorized. When no female substitute teacher was there, I improvized something.
    The worst system we tried was to ask to the pupils for what they wished to see. They hardly came up with a name (e.g "a sequence with sacadas") and then were clueless when we asked if they were meaning back sacada, or sacada de la mujer, or high sacada or whatever.
  6. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I plan the steps, and also (time permitting), will show a couple different ways to end the "sequence".
    opendoor likes this.
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Of course I agree totally.

    Thanks so much for all of these ideas. Of course these are important topics but I also fear this might be a whole class schedule as well.
    By the way, altogether these are male (leader´s) issues. Intentionally? The teacher I act for only throws in a sequence without speaking or explaining it and then he lets the dancers find out how it works. A little bit like at Naveira´s class in BsAs. So that either role is involved equally.

    Finally I think so, too :)

    I coquet with "fifty ways to leave a cross"
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    FIFTY WAYS should get the followers in...;)
  9. Mladenac

    Mladenac Active Member

    When doing sth like that besides the sequence I would focus of how dancers give and receive information about their leading and following.
    So they have deeper experience when dancing those sequence and I strongly believe it would help them being better dancers in general. :)
  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I totally disagree that they are "leader's only" issues. Everything that ever gets taught is an opportunity to talk to followers about the techniques they must use to be able to follow anything. It's just that so few teachers seem to take advantage of that kind of opportunity.

    Also, when a step pattern is taught, IME, the followers pick it up more quickly and then it turns into the follower telling the leader what he is supposed to do to complete the pattern as given instead of focusing on her own role in following what he actually DOES.

    All of the things I listed can be approached from both a leader and follower perspective, especially if you have followers who dance on autopilot instead of being open and ready for unusual things (like crossing or not crossing in the expected ways/places or entering and exiting common step patterns in different ways or times)

    Personally, as a follower, I think the sorts of things I listed give far MORE opportunity for followers to learn than the usual way of giving a pattern that everyone is trying to mimic and memorize. If there's no pattern, followers have to FOLLOW. (they also have to focus on their own technique instead of impatiently badgering the leaders to get the step right)

    Seems a little lazy to me, but then, I'm not there to see how that actually works out. o_O

    I would think doing just the opposite would work better for a guided practica. Give them nothing, but help individuals work out whatever is giving them trouble. What you describe seems more like someone who can only perform (not teach) doing a demo and then everyone going "ooh... ahhh!" and trying to mimic the "pro". If you're just going to show a pattern and let everyone suss it out on their own, you might as well not have a guide at all... just have any one of the participants show a video or everyone share amongst themselves things they've seen and want to work on.. :confused:
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Well, you're doing it for 2 months, right? You ought to be able to cover at least some of them. I assumed that you meant a weekly event. Of course, if it's monthly, you're going to have to choose rather more carefully because you'll only have 2 opportunities and there's no guarantee that the same people will come both times.
  12. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Good point! Would be an interesting new thread.
    Don´t know what you mean by autopilot. I would not call it autopilot if following simply was reeling off learned step combinations. For me autopilot means dependable leading-following: the follower can switch off her head because the lead is reliable.
    mmmh ? I think it´s not up to the follower to cross or not. The lead must be clear. I mean by "leader´s only" all those issues concerning direction, timing and partly cadencia, weight change, axis (shared, own, dynamic). Technical issues (body mechanics), cadencia, and styling would be question for girls, to me anyway.
    I started with the common cross, frozen at the moment of crossing. First gimmick: exits without weight change (f.i repeated hang-up and front volcada).
  13. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Ah... That's not what I meant by autopilot, although that could be one way to define it. By autopilot, I mean that the follower thinks "Oh , I know that!" and then just goes ahead and does something based more on assumption and anticipation than following. Auto-ocho'ers are quite common. I led one the other day... I led ONE ocho and she was off and running doing ochos back and forth without me leading anything. ! And I'm thinking "How do I make her STOP?" That's what I meant by autopilot.. the pilot's (leader's) controls are completely overidden.

    Along the same lines as the auto-ocho'er, followers sometimes get used to the cross being at a certain point.. the leader steps outside to walk, and she will expect to cross on a certain step. IME, there are so many leaders whose ability to clearly lead a cross is lacking, that followers end up doing it by rote rather than because they got a clear lead. So learning to control the cross by NOT doing it when expected, and then doing it whe it isn't expected is good practice for everyone
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