Tango Argentino > Toe leads for every step for the man?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by LordBallroom, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    As a leader who follows sometimes, I can tell you what I like and what I've been taught about the followers forward step.

    What I want as a leader: If I ask you to step forward I want you to drive the movement, to energize the step, to own it. What ever allows you to do that is fine by me.

    As a follower: I have been told my heel steps are "stronger" and my toe steps are "smoother". My teacher told me she liked my follower front step better with a heel step.
  2. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I like about AT that the most natural and effective movements are required.
    Some movements seems to be relicts of professional dancing.
    I like the Naveira moto that someone already proposed.
    Dance in a ways that is most natural to you.
    Every tension you have is not good except the one that transfers information to the partner.

    If you feel strange, and it is not logically connected to your natural movement I supposed it not good for AT.
    It might be contradictory what you have learnt in other activies, but that is most natural for that activities.

    The most important thing in dancing is non-verbal communication.
    If the leading and following are not appropriately transferred than sth should be changed.
    And if something is not understandable than it should be talked over and see what's most natural thing for the couple.
  3. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    That's about the coolest thing I've ever seen. Can anyone recommend a dvd that teaches that style?

  4. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I doubt that you'll find anyone who would suggest that any DVD is much use in learning AT. Find out about your local AT community. Most teachers offer drop-in classes. Explore your options and identify the respected teachers in your locality.
  5. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Honestly, you cannot learn this by watching a DVD: absolutely impossible! He has to take you in his arms, you have to feel his belly tension, his explosiv energy, his dynamics, his breathing rhythm, accentuation, cadencia....
    So if you like this style (or this couple), then there will be no alternative to having privates as soon as possible. You do need pathbreaking stimuli as soon as possible.

    I for one (leader) prefer privates with a follower, only. Though followers got a different role, they can most often teach you your part as well. Especially Nayla, and she´s near by, now!

    Ale and Neyla don´t work together any more:

    This is Ale´s site http://paulayalejandro.com.ar
    This Nayla´s http://nvtango-calendar.blogspot.de
  6. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    For general walking, close embrace, I land completely flat but with weight on the forefoot. I never heel-toe because landing on heel and then toe takes place on two different beats: Ba-dump. You'll never hear this rhythm in tango.

    Also, when I land, my knees are straight. This transfers the energy back up to the embrace that signals to the woman that I have stepped on the beat. This also signals to the woman that I am precise and provides a sense of security and confidence in my lead. My knees land straight most of the time, except when the music calls for the steps to be soft and un-accented...

    Which leads to how the woman steps. A woman should step exactly the way I have described above. On forward steps, feet should land flat, knees straight. If the knees are bent, it absorbs the energy from the step and makes it difficult to indicate to the man that she has taken a step.
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member


    For one thing, many women do not have enough flexibility in their forefoot/arch to reach forward with a straight leg and have their toes contact the floor because of the height of the shoe heel. In apilado, it's more do'able (though perhaps still not completely possible for some, depending on their shoes) but in OE it's fairly difficult or downright impossible.

    So a woman should step in a way that allows her to maintain her control and stability and not stumble along trying to land flat just because it's a "rule".

    As for knees bent/straight.. we've had this conversation before and I still disagree. I reach with a straight leg and it softens as I transfer weight. In all these years, I've never had a teacher "correct" or try to change that.I have had a teach scold me for pivoting an ocho on a straight leg instead of having softened my knee as I transferred my weight to it.

    Maybe we are talking semantics when you say "land" with a straight leg. I don't like that term anyway. It implies some sort of "coming down" and a moment when "landing" is achieved. Weight transfer, IMO, is less distinct than that because it is a gradual and smooth process. At the moment when my foot "lands", there's actually no weight on it yet. So in that sense, my leg IS straight when I "land".

    But since my foot never left the floor to begin with (except in certain circumstances) I prefer the term "Place". I reach (with a straight leg, usually) and then "place" my foot in the spot where it will most likely stay as I transfer weight to it. THen my knee softens as that weight transfer occurs.

    What point in this process are you calling "landing"? The placement of the foot or the completed weight transfer over the leg or something else?
  8. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Maybe I don't understand what you mean by flat-footed and straight-kneed, but it sounds more like lurching than dancing.
  9. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    It sounds awful.
  10. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    LKSO specifically said he was talking close embrace
    which usually means apilado (not exaggerated) and
    shorter steps. He wasn't talking open hold which frankly
    wasn't really tango at all but originally a means of
    rehearsing, testing and practising show moves.

    Yes, I know there are different opinions now and of course
    movement in open hold requires different ways of walking.

    It isn't a "rule", there are no "rules", but is a question of form
    following function. My partners' landing flat are not stumbling either.

    It depends on how you view tango and, as is so often the case,
    your view is different to mine and others. Yours seems to be a smooth flat
    and possibly rhythm-less feeling dance.
    In the dance of one body and four legs I want to feel my partner's
    steps/footfall. Tango was not a dance of sliding feet brushing the floor
    although that's what many teachers teach now. Both partners landed
    the feet flat on the beat which gives each other total confidence
    in their togetherness.
    And that removes all the characteristic feel of the dance.
    The foot lands flat or slightly biased to the toe and on the beat.
    It takes practice to shoot the foot parallel and forward just far enough
    above the floor to clear less than ideal terrain and yet land the foot
    on the beat and slightly slightly before at the the end of travel.

    Some people might call it a toe lead but it isn't really as that is too soft.
    A heel lead (a heel strike first) results in a double bump, first of the heel
    and then the sole. It completely alters the timing of the walk as the beat
    is inevitably marked by the heel strike followed by complete later contact
    with the floor by the sole of the foot. Bear in mind here that this refers
    to the man's forward walk in apilado and in line, close embrace.

    For more about all this refer to www.tangoandchaos.org where also
    the question of straight or bent knees is discussed and explained.
    A straight leg is not a locked leg but has a flexed knee. But dealing
    with legs and feet in isolation gives the wrong impression. Tango
    is a whole body dance and the movement is not initiated by a push
    from the floor but an impulsion from the chest with the legs following
    the body.
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    When a poster says that it should always be done as he describes, it implies a "rule". Since it was what HE said and not what YOU said, and I replied to HIM, I don't see a reason to debate whether or not he meant it as such with you. If he wants to chime in that he does or doesn't consider it a rule, then that's different.

    I assure you it is not rhythmless. It is smooth. I'm not really sure what you mean by "flat". If you mean no variations in height, that's not really up to me. If my partner goes up and down, so do I. If he doesn't lead that way, then, I'm not dancing that way.

    Oh well... So much for me then... :rolleyes:
  12. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    Yes, what I said was in close embrace. I cannot walk the way I described comfortably in open embrace due to mechanical and balance issues nor would I expect the woman to walk that way in open embrace.

    The music must be mentioned: I generally prefer the sharper rhythmic accents of the 30s and 40s to the smoother sound of the 50s and 60s. The sharper rhythm requires stepping into the floor, sometimes almost 'stamping' to the rhythm of the piano or 'jabbing' to the rhythm of the bandoneon. I am responding to the instruments because it compels me to step that way and I expect that the partner I am dancing with also feels the difference as well as hearing it.

    Just as the man should step, a woman, too, should step in the way that is most musically representative, not simply to soften to knee with each step. Softening the step upon floor contact makes for a floating feeling, which may be musically representative some of the time during a song/piece, but most of the time, it isn't.
  13. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I don't think this would ever be clear by using the term "straight leg" especially for anyone coming from other dance forms where straight means no bend in the knee. To expect readers to know that "straight" means "not straight" is asking a little much. (and you never know who might be readon and what their experience level /background might be... If I were a beginner and I read "straight", I would never assume it meant "flexed")

    I'm also not totally convinced that it is what the LSKO meant by "straight" even though it may be what YOU mean by straight.

    One of the reasons I prefer the term "soft knee" is because "bent", "straight", "flexed" and other such adjectives give impressions of meaning "Locked" or "noticeably bent" (Plie'). A soft knee is one that maintains a comfortable amount of bend and absorption. It is not forced into a deep bend for no reason, nor does it lock or hyper-extend when it is straightened.

    In other words.. a NATURAL use of the knee in movement.
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I can understand this impulse for that specific kind of music, but as a middle-aged+ woman with various foot and joint problems, I'm not going to put extra pressure on my feet, metatarsals, and toes by doing any "stamping" or "jabbing", especially in high heels. Preventing excess impact has become rather important. However, I assure you that you'd still be able to feel where I am, and I could match your general feeling in the music without risking pain.

    Of course, there's always the possibility that I wouldn't enjoy dancing with you if I felt a constant need to use extra amounts of heavy downward pressure. You may not like dancing with me if I can't stomp.

    That doesn't make your way "right" and mine "wrong". It means you have a preference for a specific musical and dancing style that may not mesh with mine. My quibble is that your way of writing implies that what you are saying is universal and should be universally applied. You clearly didn't mean it that way, but it reads that way.

    (my bold)

    And here's an example of what I meant...

    I assume when you say "most of the time it isn't", you mean that it isn't for the songs you prefer to dance. But it doesn't read that way... it reads that your style is more representative of the music most of the time in general, all night, everywhere, and as such should be how everyone dances most of the time.

    For the sum total of songs that get played (at least around here) I'd say that smooth is represented musically far more than "stamping" (marching). I think my partner is one of the few die hard D'Arienzo fans here. So "most of the time" softening IS representative of the music played.

    Unless we are counting milongas. Milongas often have a more "up and down" stomping feeling to them and many people here dance them that way. Rhythm becomes more important than melody. Then they change to a smooth style for tangos, waltzes, and especially alternative music where melody gets more focus.
    bordertangoman likes this.
  15. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    Note that I said "sometimes almost 'stamping'". For most music, the general character is best matched with walking, not stamping or jabbing. But there is usually a lot of variety in just one song/piece. Thus, the manner of walk should change to match the changing character.

    An example that requires jabbing:
    Pugliese, La Yumba. Just the introduction requires jabbing, then it transitions into a softer section.

    An example of light steps:
    Pugliese, Desde el Alma. This is a waltz and the general character is very light, flowing, and sweet. It would best be matched with steps that are taken softly and lightly.

    An example of waddling:
    Charlo, Oro y Plata.;)
  16. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    It seems fairly pointless discussing this with you . .
    but . . .

    Your own posted started with an emphatic "NO",
    and yet you are criticising my reasoned qualification
    of your explanation. Not only that in claiming to
    answer his post which was about men and walking,
    you write about yours as a woman. What was the
    relevance in that?

    Later you have mentioned ailments with which I can
    sympathise. We dance what we are and you have to do
    whatever you need to do to minimise pain but that may
    mean that what you need to do is not that relevant
    as a specific way of dancing for others.

    Tango as a dance of feeling means this is intensely
    personal, let's leave it at that.
  17. I am afraid that both are wrong. I have been told by some very good Milongueros, that you never step with the toe or the heel, but instead step on a flat foot. The toe and heel must meet the floor at exactly the same time, much like the way that a cat steps. This will give you the smoothest gait and the follow will barely feel anything except for a smooth glide. When you reach the perfect equilibrium with your completely flat steps, it will feel like you are dancing on clouds.
  18. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I don't mind that as long as there isn't the sound of the floor being sandpapered!! one of my pet peeves on (some) tango dancers.
  19. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Some time ago before I went on my own path to discover
    the dance in tango I asked a question of teacher about
    how to walk. After receiving no useful answer I decided
    the obvious thing was to copy him. Within 5 minutes his
    partner stopped me telling me not to "sandpaper" the floor
    and that the foot is kept as clear of the floor as is necessary
    to avoid contact. What is a student to do in the face of such
    obvious contradictions?

    In videos you can still hear and see this teacher
    brushing the floor as he moves.
  20. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    She doesn't hear that sound with him. ;)

    Dance how to please your partner and yourself. :cool:

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