Getting criticised on my tango walk by a newbie!

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#61
... if everyone is talking about how Arg Tango has 'no steps' and is a 'feeling', then why is everyone constantly debating 'accuracy' and 'authenticity'?
Bailamos, "everyone" simply is not everyone. A certain small number seems to be louder than the rest.
If I go to an Arg Tango Milonga, why is there a need for me to do what everyone else is doing? In my ballroom world, there are levels of quality, but at the social level nobody is expected to 'perform'...
You are right, and be sure AT is as codified as any other tango style. The only difference is, that in your world the focus lies from the beginning on the performance aspect, while the social dancing skills often (all but you, of course) are a byproduct. And of course also in the AT world do exist competition-orientated studios. But actually there are no stage tango followers posting at DF. Have they been (by chance) frozen out, or never been around? Don´t know!
 
#62
Once i realized that there are at least a dozen different tangos that are more or less compatible with each other, and that the best practice was to assume that every dancer was dancing their tango absolutely correctly i had a much better time at milongas. I still reserve the right to like what i do best ;) , but once i started to stop thinking about it in terms of "correct/incorrect" and started to think about it in terms of "matching style/mismatching style" i was much more at peace with not liking to dance with some people, and with some people not enjoying dancing with me.

Gssh
Exactly. In a milonga, once you picked a partner and agreed to dance a tanda with him or her, you are playing the cards you were dealt, and trying to make it work, to enjoy or at least, make the best out of it. If it is not at all possible, you excuse yourself from the dance.
Evaluating your partner's dance and formulating feedback is a different task, and requires very different mindset. That is what the lessons and instructors are for. If social partners in the milonga start doing that, they are not doing their "main job" correctly.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#63
As a non 'argentine' dancer I have a question... if everyone is talking about how Arg Tango has 'no steps' and is a 'feeling', then why is everyone constantly debating 'accuracy' and 'authenticity'? If I go to an Arg Tango Milonga, why is there a need for me to do what everyone else is doing? In my ballroom world, there are levels of quality, but at the social level nobody is expected to 'perform'...

No animosity here, just need to know;
Well, it's not totally accurate to say there are "no steps". There is a vocabulary, and most AT dancers know the basic words and phrases of that vocabulary. Think of it like a language... If you know some key words and phrases for the most fundamental things, you might get by as a tourist in a country where that language is spoken. You would have to be able to ask for rudimentary directions, find restrooms, handle currency, etc.

In tango, there ARE steps, and people tend to learn them at roughly the same time in their development. They learn ochos before they learn Molinete (because you have to string ochos together to do a molinete). They learn (hopefully) volcadas before colgadas (because leaning towards each other is inherently safer). They should learn Ocho Cortado before Ganchos and Boleos, but so many don't (sigh). Everyone learns front ochos far too soon in my opinion. The "cross" (Crusada) is a staple (but for some reason, it gets led poorly by a lot of people)

We call these things "moves" rather than steps because some of them don't involve any actual weight changes or travel on the floor, and also because we are snobs. ;)

If you go to a Milonga and dance "whatever" without using any of the AT vocabulary, you might have a good time, and you might actually find some good followers who are able to follow what you do because they (again hopefully) learned to FOLLOW rather than "recognize" what a leader does. My first teacher/partner has a lot of background in ballroom and he would use "steps" from Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz and American Waltz interspersed with AT "steps" as well as other stuff he made up. Maybe that's why I had to learn to follow from Day 1.

You will get into more trouble with the difference in posture and connection than in using non-AT steps. If you expect the follower to always do a weight change with you and never do one without you, you'll get into trouble since they work independently. If you look for "THE rhythm" that you are supposed to adhere to (such as Fox trot's S,S,Q,Q), you'll see that there isn't one. You can dance slows and quicks however you want. We care about dancing "the beat" but not any standard rhythm pattern. There is also no "basic" step that you return to in between other stuff (such as Rhumba's Forward, Side/Together, Back) Some teachers unfortunately teach a "basic pattern", but the real "basic step is simply walking.

Does that answer your question?
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#64
But actually there are no stage tango followers posting at DF. Have they been (by chance) frozen out, or never been around? Don´t know!
I think that depends on what you mean by "Stage Tango Followers". Do you mean there are no dancers who ever perform, or that there are no professional performers who do primarily that?

By "followers" do you mean as opposed to leaders, or do you mean "people who adhere to (follow) stage tango styles and activities"?

Plus, don't forget, there are a LOT of lurkers who never post.

My guess is that the emphasis on Social Tango here on DF is simply the nature of having a community made up primarily of hobbyists. People who make their living from Tango are too busy living it to have time to talk about it, and internet discussion about it is probably the last thing they want to do in their limited free time.

I would hope that if we have any professional performers lurking around, they will feel free to chime in. I'd love to hear from them. Beyond that, I think quite a few people here (including myself) have performed in an amateur exhibition capacity.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#65
Exactly. In a milonga, once you picked a partner and agreed to dance a tanda with him or her, you are playing the cards you were dealt, and trying to make it work, to enjoy or at least, make the best out of it. If it is not at all possible, you excuse yourself from the dance.
Evaluating your partner's dance and formulating feedback is a different task, and requires very different mindset. That is what the lessons and instructors are for. If social partners in the milonga start doing that, they are not doing their "main job" correctly.
Brilliant post.

I actually do teach sometimes, and I find that unless it is a glaring problem, when I am asked for feedback when social dancing, I often can't think of any immediately. I usually say: "Let's dance another, and I'll dance with that in mind". It IS a different mindset except when the problem is something you can't "ignore". If I get asked at the end of the tanda, I sometimes have to take a few minutes to mull on it to remember the most important things that might have been worth mentioning.

If I am dancing with my own student though, it's usually easier, because one part of my brain is assessing whether they have implemented any of my previous instruction.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#66
od said:
..no stage tango followers around..
..By "followers" do you mean as opposed to leaders, or do you mean "people who adhere to (follow) stage tango styles and activities"?
The latter: disciples, aficionados. Sorry for my english.
My guess is that the emphasis on Social Tango here on DF is simply the nature of having a community made up primarily of hobbyists. People who make their living from Tango are too busy living it to have time to talk about it..
mmmmh, no! Everyone that is occupied / employed / busy (sorry again for my english) practically got no time to post. I fear that a lot of mediocre dancers (me too, perhaps) use to strand in a forum.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#67
The latter: disciples, aficionados. Sorry for my english. mmmmh, no! Everyone that is occupied / employed / busy (sorry again for my english) practically got no time to post. I fear that a lot of mediocre dancers (me too, perhaps) use to strand in a forum.
Yes, everyone is busy in some way or other regardless of their career choice. My point was that Tango professionals are already focusing on tango for a big chunk of their day while those who do something else for a living are focused on that other thing for a big chunk of their day.

So in our free time, we hobbyists want to focus on tango, while professionals of tango probably want to focus on something other than tango when they get "free time".

I know if I spent an 8 hour work day doing or teaching tango (instead of what I actually do for a living) I probably wouldn't want to come on a forum after work and discuss it endlessly, especially with a bunch of opinionated amateurs who can get quite rude about it all sometimes.

YMMV
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#68
I just searched this thread and did not find any uses of the word of "authenticity." Folks do seem to read this into AT discussions. Most of us who have been around the dance are aware of how diverse AT is. There are styles, such as that of the milongas of central Buenos Aires, but IT is no more "authentic" than the style of the surrounding neighborhoods.
Maybe I'll do "accuracy" next, but as others have said, our primary concern is for our partners, the music, and also the other couple on the dance floor (well, that last is sort of idealistic outside of central BA based on my experience).
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#71
...debating 'accuracy' and 'authenticity'
This discussion got to do with the various concurring AT substyles. Someone with 'accuracy' always on his lips is a VU-stylist, someone that is always claiming for 'authenticity' is an aficionado of that so-called Milonguero-Style. And socially dancing women around demand that the hold and the leading must be comfortable (only to add a third challenge). I do not mention the main categories for nuevo-tango and stage-tango dancers because they are not around in this forum.
 

LKSO

Active Member
#72
I feel that the direction Argentine tango is headed is the way of salsa. Salsa is almost entirely academic - you must go to a class, learn the "basic step", some turn patterns, and then you are dancing "salsa" - without having any connection to the music. Salsa, like tango, is not a dance; it is music. What the music does, you do. But this is rarely taught.

If the instruction focused on the music, we'd all be better for it. There would be a lot less "you're doing it wrong" since social dance is a response to music.

But unfortunately, anyone who is new to a dance will only see the physical movements and want to imitate these steps. It's the reason for salsa's popularity. And these tango "steps" are the reason for tango's popularity. They look sexy and is a reason why so many women take classes because by doing these steps they, too, can be sexy. It's also the reason why so few men dance tango since there isn't anything very showy about the dance for them.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#73
I do agree to most what you said!
..If the instruction focused on the music, we'd all be better for it. There would be a lot less "you're doing it wrong" ..
Let me polarize: for heaven´s sake they don´t focus on music. If they would, the same developement would set in as in the BR-world: homogenized, codified, artificial elevator music. And some musicians and bands would soon specialize on this genre. Thought we actually do not agree upon styles, and music traditions in this forum, we still do talk of real music, dont we?
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#75
As a non 'argentine' dancer I have a question... if everyone is talking about how Arg Tango has 'no steps' and is a 'feeling', then why is everyone constantly debating 'accuracy' and 'authenticity'? If I go to an Arg Tango Milonga, why is there a need for me to do what everyone else is doing? In my ballroom world, there are levels of quality, but at the social level nobody is expected to 'perform'...

No animosity here, just need to know;
Well I think "Arg Tango has 'no steps' and is a 'feeling" is so much BS*.
Its a dance, its like learning to play a saxophone, you need to do a lot of steps and practice. Any feeling you put into the dance comes from mastery of the steps and enjoying the music...

As to Authenticity...a whole other crock of dissent...

*just in case this abbreviation doesnt cross linguistic boundaries..please look it up.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#76
UKD said:
od said:
... homogenized, codified, artificial elevator music...
like Gotan Project, Otros Aires, Libedinsky, Bajofondo ... ?
In a way these bands actually resemble those orchestras of Canaro, d'Arienzo, and Biagi. Of course at first sight it seems to be more pretentious to arrange for an increased orquestra tipica. But have you seen the number and the frequence those golden age bands used to throw their productions onto the market? Canaro, d'Arienzo and Biagi worked with precast arrangement modules.
And concerning Libedinsky, please do not doubt his skills as a solist, theoretist, and as an arranger. He is on a par with many of the arrangers of the golden age. Look at his works with classical string orchestras. And one reason I get a little excited about Libendinsky: he brought me to play bandoneón 2004 when his band played in Hamburg.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#80
The "cross" (Crusada) is a staple (but for some reason, it gets led poorly by a lot of people)
That's because a lot of followers cross automatically, so we don't really have to do much to lead it with them. That's one of the things I'll normally test out with someone I haven't danced with before, (what does it take to get her to cross).
 

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