Tango Argentino > Understanding codigos

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Dave Bailey, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Ha ha ha ha!! Thank you, BTM, that's cheered me right up!

    I've got The Pirates of Penzance running through my head now :)
  2. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    I just don't think it's a particularly attractive word and again is unnecessarily 'mystiquey'. What's wrong with 'Tango Dance' 'Tango Ball' 'Tango Social'. Why mark out tango dances as having a special name when none of the other social dances do?

    In fact - it's my dream to go to a dance that was tango followed by funk and Northern Soul!! A Tangunkathon!! ;)
  3. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Hear, hear, Brother Dave! Co-director of the Plain English Campaign (Tango Sub-Division)

    Maybe we should start a union?

    Those teachers up the road are hosting a 'milonga' this coming Saturday - Right, down Comme il Fauts - Everybody out!!! ;)
  4. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Please look kindly on this young pedant (we're the salt of the earth you know!) Yes, hands up I'm being picky!! Hope that's not the same as being pretentious!!

    Keep up the good work, brother David!
  5. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    But surely the word 'dance' can have have several meanings including verb and noun.
    I am going to dance. I am going to a dance. The dance I am doing is called the milonga.
    I am going to dance tango at a milonga. I'm going to dance milonga at a milonga. I am going to malinger at a milonga with a fishmonger from Ongar
  6. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    and I have noticed some estuary Tango terms eg ochers, milongers, ganchers
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    There is something to be said for a having international terminology for dancing. I mean arn't ballet terms all in French? So if you go to Germany or Holland or Spain to a tango workshop at least people will be using some of the same words so you won't have to speak s l o w l y and l o u d l y to be understood ;)
  8. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Welcome to the fold, brother BTM... Plain English Society, co-director Tango Sub division, Pedant's Corner Sub-Sub-division (I run that bit)... I call a meeting in the Stanley Unwin Suite at 2pm tomorrow ;)
  9. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    It would appear that there is indeed something to be said for international terminology. However, I would argue (with my Pedant's Corner hat on) that tango as it is... is so complex that it really has to be learnt by understanding quite complex language and concepts that are expressed verbally - it's much more difficult to just watch and copy. I would argue that unless you're learning in your mother tongue (and that the teacher is speaking in their mother tongue unless they are fluent in the second language) you're not really going to learn much - unless you're pretty much on your way to being a tango dancer anyway.
  10. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    ach watch your Petard! " Comme Il Fauts" mean "like it is"

    so you have said "down like it is everybody out" which hardly constitutes plain English or or French for that matter ( je deteste le Franglais)

    I think as we may be in a minority it might be better to start an 'elite' than a 'union'
    and the best way to get people to want to join something is to prevent them from doing so by making it "exclusive" ( am currently reading about Teresa Cornelys who set up the first nightclub in Soho for "the Nobility and Aristocracy" in a book called the Empress of Pleasure by Judith Summers. She had two children by Casanova)

    or did you mean Commie Foes?
  11. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Tee hee hee! J'adore le Franglais - j'adore Serge Gainsbourg :artsy: Some of my fave non-tango tracks to tango to!

    I was looking at the front cover of The Empress of Pleasure only today - spooky! Might add it to my list.

    Well seeing as my rant was against elitism I'd bedder not be seen to be forming an elite. Maybe as a tactic to recruit we could use subterfuge of some sort. Or just intimidation:
    "your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"

    Commie Foes? *snort* *titter* :uplaugh: So you won't be wearing a black armband next Weds (anniversary of Trotsky's assassination) ;)

    Allons enfants de la patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé!!

    I think I'll be joining the 'I'm going bonkers' sub sub sub sub committee soon!
  12. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Ah well- I don't really think it's worth an argument. and I kind of think the whole conversation is strange and interesting, considering that one of the complaints that my other half had when coming to AT was that things weren't named and so seemed too "mysterious" becaue of it...I just think that's funny.

    Because when I compare the naming terminology to other dances I've studied, there really aren't that many complicated names for things. I mean there aren't that many things in AT that get done so much they become "pattern", ocho cortado being one of the few that merits it's own name...

    Most of the rest is just basic vocabulary of elemental concepts consisting of not more than a word or two that is descriptive of the basic idea or action involved.

    How about if the reverse question came up... say an Argentine wants to learn ballroom dance (yeah- highly unlikely) and gets mad because the teacher says to do a promenade to fallaway with a slip pivot....and they can't think of the names.

    Now the Argentine person doesn't have English as a first language. Should they be angry becasue the terminolgy isn't Spanish and demand the teacher learn the Spanish equivalent while teaching them, or change the terminology for them? Or should they just accept that because they have decided to learn a dance from another culture, they may have some vocabulary they have to accept?

    I just don't think it's that big a deal. You are either good with names, or not....and there may be variations on names and you can take them or leave them, but I'm not going to get up in arms if there's names I'm unfamiliar with- those usually come with time and continued exposure anyway.
  13. Taniquel

    Taniquel New Member

    Not quite, but I don't really feel like arguing... :p
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I agree.

    Ballet is always given in the original French terms and has been for several hundred years now. I don't see anyone complaining about that in ballet class. It means that you can go to countries that don't speak your language and still have a common language for the dance, or take a class anywhere in the world.

    By all means, give the translation so there's a frame of reference for the move, but is it really a BAD thing to have a common way of talking about the dance with people from a different language or culture?

    How would we even communicate on this forum if the people from countries where English isn't the primary language were writing posts in english, but learned (for example) German terms for the moves in their tango class, and didn't know what terms we used here in the US?

    Just because people from another country speak some English doesn't mean that their dance classes are given in English or that they will use English terms (Why would English become the language of tango? Wouldn't that be even MORE bizarre than using the original Spanish?) And what about the fact that the US and Britain have many different expressions and word usages despite theoretically having a common language?

    I vote we stick with the Spanish. Its served Ballet quite well for a long time to use a worldwide standard.
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Ooops. Once again.. should have read ahead.. BTM beat me to it.
  16. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I have been reluctant to jump into this fray, but i really don't understand the big deal with the "codigos". The only really esoteric thing i can think of is the not-dancing-to-adios-muchacos we were talking about in the other thread, and as most DJ's will not play this song it is essentially an non-issue, everything else does not seem to be that irrational and culture bound to me:

    1) Tandas: i need usually more than one song to warm up to somebody, so planning on 3 in a row is good - tango could go for the salsa solution and create 10 min extended songs to the same effect, sure, but it is not a bad solution for the problem. I tend to dislike sets that are longer than 3 - even with 4 songs i sometimes get kinda fed up with that specific style.
    2) Cortina: One set of music stops, there is a pause, and the next set starts. The sets have a different mood/orchestra/type of sound, and to bridge the pause between the sets there is some elevator music. The few ballroom dances i went to there was instead somebody announcing what the next few songs would be - which i found kind of disruptive to the mood, to be honest.
    3) Lines of dance /floorcraft - well, it is a travelling dance, people should try to not hurt each other - is there really anything else to know? Sure, the direction is arbitrary (well, the direction is a function of the direction of the embrace, and the direction of the embrace is a function courtly dancing and the man wearing a sword on his left side), but aside from changing the direction of the embrace and then consequently the direction of the line of dance there is not much i can see one could do differently. If you were to mix people with different embraces on the same dancefloor it would get too complicated, i think.
    4) Cabeco: To be honest i find the whole "walking up to somebody, offering the hand and saying "may i have this dance" " thing much more artificial and strange -i feel like i am (badly) imitating victorian manners - the mysterious cabeco is exactly how i get girls to dance with me when i am out clubbing - i pick a girl, make eye-contact, smile at her, she smiles back(hopefully), we start moving towards each other somehow. I don't think i have ever explicitly asked somebody for a dance at a club, and i bet most girls would start laughing.
    5) Names - i am not sure if a milonga would be more attractive to people if it was called "tango-ball" or "tango-dance", but if anybody wants to do that, more power to them. Same with the names of the moves. Actually in my experience many argentinean teachers don't care all that much about names, and i remember one hilarious class where the argentinean teacher used english to talk about tango, and each of the elements of the figure he was using to illustrate the concept he wanted to teach "turn, pivot, backstep, displacing the followers foot", and one of the american students kept insisting on wanting to know the name of the figure. The most annoying use of terminology is to me when people reference things by the step of the 8CB - "so, we start this figure after the 6" - and that is all english - i really prefer "this element can be easiest started from a sidestep to the closed side of the embrace". (which helps to remind us that there are variations for open side - sidesteps, parallel system front steps, parallel system backsteps, and all the diagonals, too). Actually the best tango instruction i had was almost completely without naming things, so i don't really see the problem.

  17. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I can understand that- I certainly don't care for names of figures (or sets of steps) and this is what I often find to be the case with people who are used to named patterns, which I have little use for.. They usually want a name to associate with a particular pattern and there aren't that many movement in tango that are done with such regularity in a set way that they get their own name...

    But what I was talking about are the names of the very basic elements like an ocho having the name ocho becasue that's what's been used for the last multiple decades instead of an instructor having to constantly translate for his audience..."ok, we're in America or England so... people ocho means 8"... or gancho being called gancho and not hook... most people I've seen seem fine with the names of the elements that are already being used and it's not that hard to learn the slight translation in to Spanish. They could have called it ice-cream when they first started teaching tango for all I care, I just associate the name with a visual reference of what I am doing and it just seems right to me that I use the frame of refernce for the country of origin to do so and whatever seems most customary for them.

    To be honest, for the people I know that have trouble with names of things...like they know how to do a whip but if someone says do a whip they stop and look at you...it honestly doesn't matter if the name for whatever it was is in another language, they still have trouble with names...so like I said, names, take em or leave em. I dont' find them pretentious. I think the names of the basic tango elements are more helpful for me than hurtful (but, like I said, I am comfortable around Spanish even if my Spanish is pretty bad), but if someone started putting big patterns of steps together and giving them names and having me memorize that...I'd be in trouble.
  18. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Oh please god, NO.... I've finally learned to sit out the first half of a meringue because if I dance the whole thing, my hips will be aching by the end of it, and that will be the end of the evening for me. No 10 minute songs. The slight pause between songs is when you get to chat with your partner a bit and take a breath.
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    In a VERY crowded milonga, the cortina is also a chance to clear the floor. In fact, you're SUPPOSED to leave the floor. That way, you aren't stuck dancing forever near the same oaf that was in front of you for the entire last tanda. Yes, I know... milongas in the States are rarely so crowded that its a problem. But I have been to some where even so, you just can't seem to get away from someone.

    And in BA (don't hit me) they are so crowded that you truly are shoulder to shoulder with whoever is near you for the entire tanda. No passing, barely moving. If it weren't for the cortina, in order to get away from anyone, you'd have to somehow make your way off the floor, then back on somewhere else between songs, and it really isn't practical to get back on the floor during a tanda.

    So the cortina isn't just to break up the sets stylistically and give partners a natural easy way to get away from each other. Its also to get everyone to completely clear the floor and come back so you can also get away from the other people who were dancing around you. Even in less crowded milongas, it seems to work because people typically change partners at the cortina which means everyone leaves the floor.
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Interesting... I've always wondered where the line of dance originated. Its actually the same line as used in skating rinks. Occassionally, they will switch the direction in a skating rink, but many don't. And even when they do, its still just for a little while, with counterclockwise being the predominate direction.

    I always figured it was because most people are right handed, and therefore most people find it easier to learn skating "crossovers' by crossing the right over left. Going backwards, its easier to cross left over right (which still makes a counterclockwise circle) People in general seem to find skating counterclockwise much easier.

    But I always wondered why the ballroom line of dance was that way too, since being left or right handed has little to do with ease of the dancing. It never occured to me to wonder whether the form of embrace came out of the line of dance, or the line of dance came out of the embrace.

    It makes perfect sense that the embrace and line of dance would be set up so that the man looks onto the floor so he can navigate, while the woman looks outward so that she can be seen, shown off, and admired. But I never realized there was a reason for it to be the way it is rather than the exact opposite.


    On his left..
    because most people are right handed and even those that weren't were most likely taught to use the sword in their right hand.

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