Tango Argentino > A graph that depicts progress in tango

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Mladenac, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Hi guys,

    I saw some illustration that depicts progress of a woman and a man in tango.
    Some 5 stages are drawn. And there is a male's (leader's) line, and follower's line.

    Apparently I don't know how to find it.
  2. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Might this be it?

    vit, samina, GbPnOy2587 and 3 others like this.
  3. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Thank you dchester. :dancingbanana:
  4. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    The journey would improve if people started by listening to the music for hours and hours each day instead of memorizing steps. The goal should be knowing the music so one is dancing a feeling, not thinking about steps.
  5. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I partly agree with you. That in early years of dancing more emphasis is put on steps, some focus on technique.
    In my opinion that musicality and technique are different areas that need to develop separately and blend it while dancing.

    Listening to music is also practicing, but in another form.
    A lot of beginners often complain to me that all songs are the same, and then I answer them they need to listen more tango music.
    Certainly there is a music and technique (steps) for beginners as well for advanced.

    I am sure that you know complexity of tango music and how difficult it is to follow a partner and complex music as tango concurrently.

    If you don't have good dancing technique no musicality will help you in being a good dancer.

    When I dance I feel followers movement, then then listen music playing, after that what the follower is listening.
    And after all that I decided how to adjust music to followers technique.

    I hope that you notice how many concurrent actions leader has to do. The same is for the follower.
  6. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I have over time developed the view that tango as a community is not giving the music enough credit as the main underlying mechanic how leading and following actually works. Dancing to some extent only works because we are both (more or less successfully) listening to the music and agreeing (or haggling over) what there is to listen to.

    Whenever I as a leader talk about "leading a step", or "following the followers movement", or anything really, this is really only meaningful in relationship to the music - as i leader what i relate to is the music, and the followers relationship to the music. Leading is about working with the followers relationship with the music, and if we for the sake of illustration imagine the two extremes of this spectrum, a dancer (either leader of follower) with weak technique and excellent musicality and one with excellent technique and weak musicality (and i think everybody has danced with both types) i am pretty sure that the one with the weak technique will be easier and more enjoyable to dance with (and in my experience they will also develop technique over time, while the opposite is not always true).
  7. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Musicality can be taught, and technique can be taught. Blending musicality with technique can be taught.
    But it takes time and good teachers and above all curious and patient students.
  8. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    People aren't patient around here. We want it all, and right now!!!

  9. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    Can intuition be taught? It's the same for musicality. It comes from within.

    Technique is taught because it keeps teachers working, but it keeps the students thinking, not feeling tango.

    Too many are more interested in steps and figures than in understanding the music. That's the difference between those who dance tango and those who feel tango.
  10. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Intuition is based of previous knowledge. Often from subconscious level. It cannot be learnt, it need to be aware of it.
    I am interested in technique and music. By technique is not the steps but whole movement by music whole multi layered interpretation.

    Everything can be taught to a certain level, after that student need to explore adjusting to its personality. :D
  11. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I personally think that musicality is very much teachable, and more importantly learnable. Improving technique requires a partner, a dancefloor, and a competent teacher. (if you already have technique you can hone it to a finer edge by yourself, or without a teacher, but a lot of the solo exercises tend to be actually counterproductive for a beginner who does not have a good idea what moving with a partner should feel like). Improving musicality requires that you put a tango cd into your car and sing along.

    My advice to beginners who ask me about how to start tango is usually that they should forget about technique and tricks, and instead spend their time working on musicality - it is basically impossible to fake good technique and attempting vocabulary that is beyond ones technique never works out - i view most vocabulary as a natural consequence of options that open up when ones technique has reached a certain level (well, and the desire to show off just how far ones technique has come ;) ).

    It is easy to fake musicality - all tangos have the same basic structure, there is a accent on the 4, and another one on the 8, and if you do anything that coincides with those people will compliment you on your musicality, and dance with you.

    The sad truth is that the level of musicality in tango is so low that followers are happy if they don't have to fight harsh dissonances between what they hear and what is lead.
    jantango and Steve Pastor like this.
  12. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    You're making the assumption that the women are actually listening to the music, and also implying that it is only the man that has to be musical. If it is so low to begin with, then women won't know the difference between what they hear and how it should feel to move to it, perhaps only happy to step on the beat, more or less.
    Mladenac likes this.
  13. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I met followers that dance for years and can only recognize the beat and nothing else.
    Or get confused when interpretation get more complex that stepping on the beat.
    Once they realize that they need to listen the music instead of play it takes time ;)

    I also realized that musically trained people (teachers and musicians) have problems listening to the music.
    They tend to play the music while dancing and therefore rush a little.
  14. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Have you considered the possibility that maybe they are correct and that you are lagging behind?


    (Hopefully, your sense of humor is good.)
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
    jantango likes this.
  15. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    It's just too difficult to listen and interpret the music when you're thinking hard about steps and improvisation. When you practice steps and figures and have them in muscle memory, it frees up your mind to relax and interpret the music. I think in this way learning steps and figures helps with musicality.
    Mladenac likes this.
  16. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I considered that :cool:

    I found later that they had changed that bad habit ;)
    dchester likes this.
  17. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Well, thinking about this reponse i have to admit that yes, i think that a leaders lack of musicality limits the followers expression of her musicality more than a followers lack of musicality limits the leaders expression of his musicality.

    A follower has to be able to trust the leaders musicality to dance in more than what i call "self defense mode" - if she can't predict what is going to happen in the next few beats she has no opportunity to add her interpretation.

    But then what i think the most important feature of leaders musicality is not my emotional relationship with the music, but having a relationship with the music that is understandable and interpretable by the follower. This does not mean that a leader has to slavishly adhere to e.g. stopping two beats where the orchestra does an accent, or doing a molinette every time a piano flourish repeats (though those are great exercises) - no, the relationship of the leader to the music at its best is similar to the relationship between the music and the textbook structure of a tango - this is what makes the classical tangos danceable: they are at once completely predictable, and at the same time they play and surprise us within that rigid formula. The follower can only play when they can trust the leader. Just like an orchestra allows the leader to play because they know where the break is going to be, the leader allows the follower to play because they know the leader will respect that break in some way or another.

    I also think that a lot of the tango vocabulary is very difficult - there are many things that require two or three steps to set up, which means the only way to fit them in the structure of the music is to count, or to have counted enough to "feel" where we are in a phrase. Orchestras usually "warn" us before accents, so just "doing something"/ one-step set ups work well because both the leader and follower "feel" that something is about to happen, and the follower will know by the geometry and where the leader has comitted their weight how much freedom she has for her embellishment. Three step set ups tend to be too ambiguous to do things like doubletiming the leader or changing the geometry of the couple.
  18. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    After more thinking: (thank you all for that -i probably should work more on this in my dance)

    My suspicion why musicality is so tricky to think about is that there are multiple different musicalities. And i think how music feels when dancing by oneself, or when listening is really different than when it is about social dance. The communal experience of music (well, a community of two) is different than the individual. Songs that get people to sing along are different from ones where you just want to curl up and listen. "We will rock you" lives of its communal experience, and even when one listens to it alone it is the memories of the clapping that give the goosebumps.
  19. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    I did not have a partner interested in musicality training, I did not have a dance floor and I definitely did not have a teacher for musicality purposes here at home.

    So I was forced to find a private solution to develope my musicality and I found two areas to work on: one is my emotional responce on the song and the other is my feeling of being on time, being on music with my steps. Please note that these are totally non-brain training methods only emotions and feelings are trained. Maybe a more correct way to put it is that I use my emotions and feeling as a tool to develope my musicality.

    For exploring the emotional impact on me I usually was sitting on the floor so I could freely move my uper body, arms or hands if I felt for a bodily expression to the song I was listening. This position gave me a possibility to larger variation of movements, intensity or size when I felt for an expression. I let the music invade me, let it activate my heart and the emotional impact got stronger within me.

    For musical timing I walked to songs. When I am out of the music, there is a dull feeling, a feeling of that something is missing. When I am on the music there is a kind of positive feeling and during the the walk I started to chase that feeling, trying to get it more exact, trying to get a stronger feeling. I developed a violent passion for walking to music and an hour was just a starter. I nearly ruined my knees!

    To show what I mean with the feeling of not correct walking I post this video starting about 4.33 Something is missing, that is not dance!

    During my first ten years this was the only knowledge, the only musical training I had. I was totally unaware of beats, I heard them but I was not aware of them. It was a hell when a teacher asked us to step on ONE. I did not know but my musicality was appreciated by followers. The first bit of intellectual understanding, hearing the beats for the first time came after I studied the Amenabars book about tango music.

    So my point here is that you can be a totally intutive dancer and still doing ok, you can fix your training yourself and still offering some beautiful dances.

    For me the need of a partner comes after all that training above. How to find someone who is attracted to a similar kind of musicality.
  20. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Interesting observations although I am not so sure about this:

    Each to their own I suppose.

    I think you mean the off-beat walking at about 4:44.
    But what I see starts earlier than that in the heel strike
    of the claimed on-beat walk. In my experience this can
    never result in a dance of real feeling, that ability to first
    mark the compass and also convey it to your partner.
    Dance/step/mark the pulse, move to how the music
    moves you, emotionally if you wish.

    See this video for contrasting walk and especially the second
    part (from 5:30) with a viewpoint which makes it clear:

    and see the energy on the milonga from about 8:30

    You confirm my experience.
    Time and again I find people in Europe full of the idea that
    you can dance the melody and have never been taught
    nor learned principles of hearing and dancing the rhythm of tango,
    of centering and axis etc.

    Dancers of other dances mock this kind of non-dance tango.
    To them partner dancing starts with the rhythm of the music,
    dancing a connection together to the part of the music
    they simultaneously hear and which is the component that
    moves people to actually dance, apart or together.

    For all of the above, I rather think we are in agreement here.
    All can be self-taught and practised.

    Finding a partner for this kind of dancing is easy as long
    as you look outside tango circles and at dancers of other
    dances who are then likely to become smitten by the ultimate
    connection of dancing in an embrace.

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