following or 'dancing the woman's role'?

bastet

Active Member
Hmm, i would guess you can do that too, with the caveat that i imagine that it is quite difficult to communicate what you are dancing to with your follower/leader if you are dancing neither on the rhythm or the melody. I imagine if you find somebody to dance with who actually feels the same thing you do at the same time then that would be quite amazing. That is for me one of the difficulties of doing a partnerdance - i have to not only dance, but communicate what and why i am dancing clearly enough to the person i am dancing with so she can dance herself.

I have to admit that i have difficulties imagining how this would work in a partnerdance without making it very hierarchical - i.e. one person gets spontaneously, shapelessly moved by the music, the other person bases their dance on the first persons movement - or taking turns in beign the person in the music. When one person dances to the music, the other has to follow the first persons body (barring telepathy :) ) - so its more contact improv for them?
Or you could make the body/movement the shared reference point instead of the music (which i feel is something some of the more avantgarde dancers do)?

Interesting question - i will have to think about this
I haven't weighed in here in some time and haven't read through the whole thread yet so don't yet know how much it's been discussed but have to say I am heartily in agreement with this.

I tend to have the best and most creative dances with leaders who are really hearing the music (and I don't just mean feeling emotional about it. Feeling emotional about the music does not equate to musicality) and also that I am understanding their interpretation in a way encourages my own participation and where my own participation also heightens the dance.
 

bastet

Active Member
In some ways i feel like a lot of the recurring discussions about who controls the dance, and how much the follower "allowed" to shape the dance, and so on, are somewhat misguided. They omit a key part - the music.

I would suggest that the actual "leader" is the music, and the dancers accompany each other following the music. I think the relationship between the dancers is crucially dependent on their shared understanding of the music, and the freedom that comes with richness of tango music that allows both of them to base themselves of complementing or contrasting melody and rhythm lines.

I think one of the reasons that this does not work as often as it should is that leaders are not doing a good job at dancing to the music, and because of that take the followers space to dance away. If a follower cannot trust a leaders musical interpretation she has no time or room to dance her own dance.
And i feel a lot of teaching activly makes this worse - like when beginners get told that the classical sandwich-stepover is "a space for a followers embellishment, and the leader waits for her to finish her embellishment".
No- it is a moment that the leader lead because there is something in the music that he wants to accentuate, and the follower embellishes if she hears something to embellish to, or doesn't if she doesn't want to, but even if she embellishes the time she has is defined by how the music goes, and what their shared understanding of the music is. I think leaders lead things that don't work with the music way too often, leading to followers essentially giving up on their own dance.

At least in my experience it doesn't really matter what one is doing, and what style one is dancing, but the magic moments of being both equally empowered and present in the dance are a consequence of being in the music. It is not the follower reading the leaders mind, or vice versa, or other kinds of magic, it is both listenign to the same music, at the same time, and agreeing and compromising and playing with what to do with that music. This is one of the reasons a lot of non-tango music tango dancing falls a bit flat for me - if there are not enough different lines to dance to then there is only the choice to dance to what is obvious, or do a free interpretation based on what it makes me feel, and then the follower had no good, predictable basis for her own dance - the only thing she can do is react, she is behind me, and no longer with or even ahead of me.

For me as a leader the key to lettign a follower shape my dance is that i first have to understand what she is hearing and dancing to, and i assume vice versa is true, too - sure, we want to surprise each other, but the surprise is not "why is he running right now?", or "why is she doing a 5 min embellishment here?", but "oh, i have never really paid attention to this piano flourish" or "i can feel the tension of the music building up to an accent".

Gssh
This was actually the post I was trying to quote. Who knows what happened.

I agree strongly, most leads in my experience aren't doing a really good job of dancing to the music and though there are teachers who can teach it, until it becomes a "normal" thing to teach and teachers themselves develop some sort of ability past "feel the music" to teach with, it probably won't happen. As I said, feeling an emotion to the music does not equate to musicality. However, I see quite a few people that feel like because they've just emoted heavily in a dance, they must have also been musical...

I'm not sure I ever did see a clarification from the OP about whether embellishment means add some direction to a dance, or find space within the lead to add some of yourself so I will take the conservative approach and assume she meant how to add in meaningfully without disrupting the flow of the shared dance.

I can say from experience that unless a leader has learned at least a little of the above (actually hearing the music and learning how to express it in ways that make sense to his follower), it's actually quite a difficult thing to find ways to express oneself without disrupting the "flow" of the dance. After all, if you are the only one who is understanding your musical interpretation (leader or follower) are you really being musical?
 

bastet

Active Member
Also, I'm one of the people who doesn't think embellishment is evil. I understand what Melina was saying about the confusion of the words "active follower" versus "someone who is just doing what they want" or throwing in embellishments everywhere. I think this difference between these two things is perhaps relevant to the OP's inital question. When you have learned how to follow actively, and thereby take the initial impulse of a lead and take it to it's conclusion without having to be "carried" there or also getting away from your partner, a lot for time and space can open up for you, if you are dancing with a leader who is actually hearing the music and interpreting it in a comprehensible way.
 
I tend to have the best and most creative dances with leaders who are really hearing the music (and I don't just mean feeling emotional about it. Feeling emotional about the music does not equate to musicality) and also that I am understanding their interpretation in a way encourages my own participation and where my own participation also heightens the dance.
If not emotion, then what do you mean? Dancing to rhythms and melodies in the music is what most leads do isn't it? I am not sure what you mean by hearing the music and dancing with musicality. Could you explain?
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
If not emotion, then what do you mean? Dancing to rhythms and melodies in the music is what most leads do isn't it? I am not sure what you mean by hearing the music and dancing with musicality. Could you explain?
I understood Bastet to mean that one could feel some emotion while listening to the music, but that this does not necessarily equate to dancing with musicality.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
Re: The Styles of Tango

AndaBien said:
UKDancer said:
That reads as though it might have been first written twenty years ago.
Not sure what you mean by that. Do you find something missing or incorrect? As with any definition of tango, it can only be generally valid.
I was thinking particularly of the last couple of sentences. It reads like a piece of recent history, not about today - that's all.
Indeed, I find it spirit of the last century, too. Today no one actually will remembers that nuevo and neo times.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
I was thinking particularly of the last couple of sentences. It reads like a piece of recent history, not about today - that's all.
Is there anything specific you could quote, to help me follow what you feel he said that doesn't apply to today?

Basically, I'm wondering if the Europeans have a different take on some of this, from some of us in the US.
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
Is there anything specific you could quote, to help me follow what you feel he said that doesn't apply to today?

Basically, I'm wondering if the Europeans have a different take on some of this, from some of us in the US.
"People who are feeling-oriented incline to personal experience and inward feelings. People who are movement-oriented incline to steps and outward look. The feeling-oriented dancers, of whom many are milongueros, have developed the milonguero style, which is danced in a close embrace with slight leaning "

I have a problem with the inference here..that feeling-orientated equates to milonguero.

My understanding - from a youtube post of Horacio Garcia, which has sadly been removed,- that the styles evolved from space constrictions. ie movement. I see no reason why either type of person could dance either kind of style, or simply adapt to the space available.

It would seem to be a logical fallacy; Presuming that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other.

My conclusion is that; the assertion "The fundamental cause of stylistic differences lies in human psychologies." is bunkum
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
"People who are feeling-oriented incline to personal experience and inward feelings. People who are movement-oriented incline to steps and outward look. The feeling-oriented dancers, of whom many are milongueros, have developed the milonguero style, which is danced in a close embrace with slight leaning "

I have a problem with the inference here..that feeling-orientated equates to milonguero.
Labels again, sadly. Better to say apilado (not the exaggeration of Gavito)
or the geographical term tango del centro, as we only have words.
My understanding - from a youtube post of Horacio Garcia, which has sadly been removed,- that the styles evolved from space constrictions. ie movement. I see no reason why either type of person could dance either kind of style, or simply adapt to the space available.
Yes there are people who can adapt to an extent but you really can see
the difference between those who have adapted from what we are tending
to call VU and those who only dance apilado. Those who dance apilado
by leading from the chest rather than with toned arms rarely want to dance
anything else since that truly is the dance of feeling and the senses.
It would seem to be a logical fallacy; Presuming that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other.

My conclusion is that; the assertion "The fundamental cause of stylistic differences lies in human psychologies." is bunkum
That sweeping generalisation is probably just as flawed as the one you
are dismissing.

There is little doubt that the space constraints influenced the dance to become
tango del centro, whereas the social climate had a part to play in the looser tango
of the barrio social clubs. del barrio However it is by no means universal even at
Lo de Celia and I can think of people who whirl about with stuck out strong arms.
Even if they may stay in the ronda their behaviour can be quite disturbing.

As far as psychology is concerned different styles once established do tend
to attract different personalities. The flamboyant tango exported from
Buenos Aires by means of shows tends to attract the extrovert. Others
who just want to dance are repelled by the flash but there are so few dancing
tango del centro abroad that it is virtually unknown and existing dancers
stay dancing something else. It's a sort of dancer self-selection.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
...My understanding - from a youtube post of Horacio Garcia, which has sadly been removed,- that the styles evolved from space constrictions.
I dont know who Horacio Garcia was, but I´m sure I was the first and only to claim this idea in this forum. And I was beaten therefor :cool:

I see no reason why either type of person could dance either kind of style, or simply adapt to the space available
There is a second point: different spaces require different music styles. Thus different dancing styles evolved. And please don´t pass it on Señior Garcia again.
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
That sweeping generalisation is probably just as flawed as the one you
are dismissing.

.
i don't think so..if one asserted that those who were personality type A danced style X because they judged it to meet their needs better, I would accept that..but cause simply isn't true;

As far as psychology is concerned different styles once established do tend
to attract different personalities
Can you substantiate that? my experience is that tango dancers are quite varied as people, even if the things they enjoy in tango are the same, or have some commonality, and my perception of VU dancers has been that they dance with as much feeling, as any other style.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
JohnEm said:
As far as psychology is concerned different styles once established do tend
to attract different personalities
Can you substantiate that? my experience is that tango dancers are quite varied as people, even if the things they enjoy in tango are the same, or have some commonality, and my perception of VU dancers has been that they dance with as much feeling, as any other style.
In my hometown the styles are more or less separated.

Students of the neo/nuevo/con scene do not attend traditional milongas, at all. (Vice versa of course: for the young girls)

The milonguero/apilado scene is rather cliquey and got it´s own club and a lot of dancers feel cut out there.

The stage stylists feel rather something special and do not mix, too.

And then there is a broad spectrum of ordinary multi-stylists that do not need special clubs, venues or milongas.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
and Melina´s 2 cents on it..

A ....Villa Urquiza teacher, who does not want to be named.. From his point of view, we were dancing Tango Milonguero as well. He told us, that we would be dancing Tango de Salon, if we danced like him. But unfortunately, we do not agree with the majority of his technical or philosophical principles. We do not want to lead with the arms, we do not want to open the embrace for turns and we do not want to make the woman look like a goddess. We want her to feel like in heaven.
http://melinas-two-cent.blogspot.de/2012/08/revision-salonmilonguero-argument.html
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
i don't think so..if one asserted that those who were personality type A danced style X because they judged it to meet their needs better, I would accept that..but cause simply isn't true;
Sorry, don't follow that.
There are no absolutes in dance choices though we might perceive tendencies.
I can almost immediately tell whether someone has the personality and/or
capability to dance apilado, partly because the connection tells all.

Can you substantiate that? my experience is that tango dancers are quite varied as people, even if the things they enjoy in tango are the same, or have some commonality, and my perception of VU dancers has been that they dance with as much feeling, as any other style.
Of course tango dancers are variable, just like the population at large.
We just cannot pretend that the tango that is learned here is the tango
of central Buenos Aires, even if being taught by Argentines.

Here is where our understanding of language needs to distinguish between
feeling and feel. I cannot comment about VU dancers and your perception
of their feeling as perception is not the same as actual feeling. What I can
express is my own experience of dancing fluid, dynamic embraces, open
hold (which I regard as a practice hold) and close (apilado) embrace.

You are right that dancers can dance almost any sort of dance with feeling,
visually displayed for your perception even expressing emotion. But other
people's perception is of no consequence to apilado dancers, the only thing
that matters is the physical connnection to dance together. They can feel
each other through their chests. There may indeed be an intangible,
invisible, even emotional, feeling by each partner but that is each
individual's to experience, not any audience and who are of no concern.
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
In my hometown the styles are more or less separated.

Students of the neo/nuevo/con scene do not attend traditional milongas, at all. (Vice versa of course: for the young girls)

The milonguero/apilado scene is rather cliquey and got it´s own club and a lot of dancers feel cut out there.

The stage stylists feel rather something special and do not mix, too.

And then there is a broad spectrum of ordinary multi-stylists that do not need special clubs, venues or milongas.
I guess I would fall into the last category. I like dancing apilado but hate cliqueyness, you end up being too much like other people and I'd rather be unique ;)

(PS; I am also a bit like Groucha Marx...."I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member!!")
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
What I can
express is my own experience of dancing fluid, dynamic embraces, open
hold (which I regard as a practice hold) and close (apilado) embrace.

You are right that dancers can dance almost any sort of dance with feeling,
visually displayed for your perception even expressing emotion. But other
people's perception is of no consequence to apilado dancers, the only thing
that matters is the physical connnection to dance together. They can feel
each other through their chests. There may indeed be an intangible,
invisible, even emotional, feeling by each partner but that is each
individual's to experience, not any audience and who are of no concern.
when you express "what is your own experience," I am inclined to take what you say seriously. And i can understand that being important to some dancers, and less so to others, or not at all.

I still question the author's assertion that a style arose because of a "feeling-orientated..inward feelings people."
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
...I still question the author's assertion that a style arose because of a "feeling-orientated..inward feelings people."
FWIW, I find that assertion suspect, too. It would seem to imply that feeling-oriented people tend to live near the town center and movement-oriented people tend to live near the outskirts.

And what about the people who love the feeling of movement?
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
FWIW, I find that assertion suspect, too. It would seem to imply that feeling-oriented people tend to live near the town center and movement-oriented people tend to live near the outskirts.

And what about the people who love the feeling of movement?
Centro; "curse those unfeeling Barrio posers"

Barrio; "Curse those clumsy Centro bohemians"

:D
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
I guess I would fall into the last category. I like dancing apilado but hate cliqueyness, you end up being too much like other people and I'd rather be unique ;)
Oh my preference for women who give themselves to the embrace
has nothing to do with cliqueyness but purely pleasure(!).

In fact it's the teaching of levels and classes that promotes a natural
cliqueyness that takes a long time to break down. Class teacher based
milongas are the worst for that I find.

I am told by partners that everyone's embrace is unique.
You might think they all look the same but they feel different.

I still question the author's assertion that a style arose because of a "feeling-orientated..inward feelings people."
Maybe my language was just a bit too "clever".
I agree, I would question it too but, like many such statements, there's
some truth that different styles attract different types of people.
But other forces in play actually influenced the evolution of styles.

Regrettably tango academia, commercialism & tourist promotion by means
of competitions are influencing the dance, negatively in my view.
 

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