Tango Argentino > Argentine Tango - Want To Learn...

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Spitfire, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Yes I've noticed that for a while. Maybe it's because it's 'silly season'. I've noticed I'm getting tonnes more spam this past couple of weeks too. There could be several motivations for doing it - normally I avoid posting to those threads but I think a lot of sincere DF'ers get sucked in.
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Good point. I hadn't really noticed that.

    Then again, I've been so bored at work lately (please keep your fingers crossed that a job situation happens the way I want it to!), I'll answer to pretty much anything, just for the diversion of it.
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Not going into all the various points and the whole "chair" thing... I'll agree though that tango does take some muscle develpment that many average folks don't have. Its certainly more muscle than required for being the average couch potato. But its certainly not more muscle than is required for ballroom or gymnastics.

    Actually its the SAME muscle development that so many movement forms SHOULD have... ie: strong core and abdominal muscles. Many people (raising hand... yes, me too) try to use every muscle in the body except the ones they should be using because the ones they should be using are so weak. Consequently, you get people who are tense where they should be relaxed and weak where they should be strong (ie: the core)

    I disagree that its just walking, because first of all, most people dont' walk backwards much. Secondly, most people don't take a lot of side steps when they walk, and few people pivot on a dime when they turn a corner walking down the street. The transfer of weight in tango takes a level of control that simply isn't nessesary in regular everyday walking, especially if you are really reaching.

    Many people step sorta under themselves when they walk, and lots of people walk with a slight waddle because they wouldn't be worried when walking down the street about passing through middle or brushing their knees. Tango isn't like fashion model runway walking, but it FEELS like that to some beginners whose normal everyday "tracks" for their 2 feet stay further apart than is appropriate for tango.

    The other muscle group that is generally weak but can be of immeasurable use in tango are the adductors (abductors? dang, I always get the terms mixed up... The ones that you use to draw your thighs together against resistance, not the ones you use to open your thighs against resistance) These muscles help alot in creating the coordination and strength to collect and transfer weight completely and effortlessly (especially in side steps).

    But again, you don't have to train these muscles to some strange extreme just for tango, it just helps if they are stronger than the average person, because the average person is typically very weak in both areas: core and inner thigh. You don't really need either of them to be strong to just walk down the street, so people aren't used to using them if they've never taken any dance or movement before..
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Good points, that I hadn't much thought about.

    I think, though, that I'd make a distinction between developing those muscles (which brings to mind time spent in a gym) and learning to use them "properly" for AT. Not so much building up that's necessary (IMO), but training/retraining them, and letting that retraining become habit. *shrug*

    Just my $0.02. Then again, maybe I've just gotten used to moving a certain way without ever thinking about "developing" those muscles.
  5. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    tee hee ... :D
  6. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I agree. You don't have to "build" those muscles, you just have to learn to actually USE them. For some people using them at all will take some building. For most people who haven't used them, they have to learn to even talk to those muscles. For those people, you might as well tell them to wiggle their ears!

    If someone doesn't even know how to access the muscle, or what it feels like to use it (especially the adductors) some sort of resistance exercise will make them feel what, where, and how those muscles work. But you don't have to spend hours at the gym weight training; you just have to get them to the ah-hah moment of "OH!!!! THAT muscle! NOW I feel it!"
  7. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    You know, Zoops, that I usually agree with your posts close to 100%, and was ready to go tete a tete with you on this one, then you wrote....

    I am a firm proponent of the tango is based on walking concept. There isn't a mvoement in tango that isn't a natural, everyday movement. I agree completely, however, that many don't exercize or even perform everyday, narual movements correctly. Funny how many of us have really bizarre habits even in our normal walking movements. Once, these basics are adjusted, one can begin to expound upon them (reaching, exagerating, etc.) to become a good dancer (depending on the desired level of proficiency).
  8. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Yep. When people come up to me outside a dance studio/milonga and ask if I am a dancer, then I know something is not quite right in my everyday walking:rolleyes:
  9. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    So basically, you are saying that it's based on everyday natural movements, as long as you are willing to change what's natural for you.

  10. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I was going to say something similar; the only person who walks natural is my four year old (and she'd rather be carried most of the time!)

    others are flat footed, slump backwards or forwards, walk like cowboys, ducks, soldiers.

    In fact I usually notice a lady in the street if I think she has a nice 'tango' walk and its rare.

    "Being natural is simply a pose." Oscar Wilde
  11. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Yes, and notice how the same applies even when dancing
  12. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    mind you duck walking is okay for milonga- ballet second position; it keeps your hips nice and stiff, especially for Trampera which should be danced as if you were Charlie Chaplin.
  13. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    but fortunatley no builders bum!!
  14. dancinrina

    dancinrina New Member

    Just wanted to chime in about the whole muscle thing. Look at a body builder and then take a look at a gymnast - then tell me, what's the difference? The difference is, body builders have no purpose other than bulging muscle mass. Gymnasts have a purpose to each and every muscle they develop. Same thing with this - if you just go to the gym and try to develop muscle mentioned earlier (Abducter, core, etc) it would be almost useless to dancing (IMO). They'd just be a bulging mass with no purpose. So, I think the best way to actually develop those muscles IS to dance. They strengthen with a purpose and will therefore never get too big for that "I'm on steriods" look - they'll just tone nicely.
  15. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Ha, ha, ha [clearing throat] - I'm an ex-competitive bodybuilder as well as ex-competitive gymnast (currently teaching) plus, ex-performing contemporary jazz ballet dancer/choreographer, I - er - would beg to differ with 'some' of the comments you made re. muscle development. Competitive bodybuilding is little more than showing off huge muscles - think of it as being dumped a huge amount of clay and then being given free range on what you do with it - it can remain as a huge lump or rather, it can be chiselled into something resembling a marble statue and requires huge amount of artistry in the way you show it off (come the evening when posing) and how one muscle group compliments the other through aestheticism, size and symmetry (during the day in front of the judges). And that whole "look I'm on steroids" look won't wash with the Judges if there isn't good A.S.S. Upper body strength (mainly in gymnastics) requires near enough the same amount of muscle-strength building as a bodybuilder - the differences being the protein-carb ratio - plus sets and reps (re. red fibre v. white fibre training). As a performing dancer esp. where balance, speed, lifts, turns, splits etc are concerned (granted not all dances)- the only way to develop strong muscles to help you perform such is through weight bearing resistance exercises - weights.
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Not being a body builder, I can't comment much on what Heather wrote about it, but I would like to add that there is a huge difference between body building and weight training/ strength training/ resistance training (whichever term you want).

    A large portion of American women are FAR too weak. I've read that even though the average weight gain in middle age has typically been only about 2lbs per year, the sad truth is that many lose 5 lbs of muscle and gain 7 lbs of fat. The average American fails to use many of his/her muscles in the average day, and certainly fails to use them to the extent of even maintaining strength much less building it.

    It may be true that traditionally social tango needed no more strength than people had in their everyday lives. But people were stronger then! (and the salon dancing was simpler and than what people are trying to do at milongas here in the US)

    Even women who go to the gym often fail to use sufficient weight on a machine to actually do them any good. When I go to the gym, and I'm not at all marine level strong or bulky or anything (and certainly nowhere near as strong as I was in my 20's) I ALWAYS have to increase the weight on any machine that I follow a woman on. For the most part, they are probably wasting their time and money if they are hoping for any of the benefits of strength training. (increased bone mass, increased metabolism, better muscle strength, stronger joints, etc, etc)

    You cannot develop a muscle through dancing if you are not USING it when you dance. And if some middle aged non-dancer with little exercise or atheletics in their life decides to take up tango, the odds are that they won't ever have even FELT some of those muscles working to know how to use them.

    Its easier to twist and wiggle to balance than to pull the adductors together. Its easier to tense your back, shoulders, & arms, stick out your butt, and lock your knees than it is to hold everything up with your deeper core muscles. People have no control or balance and they go home from a dance with a backache, and they don't know why because they aren't even aware that they have some very large muscles that are doing nothing while smaller muscles that they know how to access try to do all the work.

    I certainly wouldn't claim that social tango dancers must go to the gym to "build" muscle. But if using your muscles properly is not a habit outside dance class, you're not going to use them IN the class when you have way too much else to think about.... unless the teachers emphasize that stuff and make students focus on it.

    Besides, I don't know about other places, but in my area, people seem to really want to do flashier complicated moves. There is less emphasis on traditional social tango of simple walking and a closed embrace, and more emphasis on open embrace and lots of fancy leg work requiring strength, flexibility and superb balance. Tis far more athletic than walking, but quite a few of the people who take up the dance are not athletic at all. They haven't even enough basic strength to balance on one foot and still keep everything upright. They may be able to do simple milonguero walking type tango with whatever strength they have from daily life, but 99% of them want to do WAY more than that. They want to do Forever Tango. (figuratively, not literally)
  17. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Excellent points. Yes, there are some dances, including simple social AT, that do not require much in the way of specialized movements to perform at a very basic level. But to dance in the way that many people want to do - fancy leg work, elegant, dramatic lines, etc. requires some physical fitness as well as training in how to move like a dancer.

    Beautiful posture, line, balance and precise muscle control do not come naturally. As I have said before, I have used more of my previous ballet training in AT than in any other partner dance I have learned -and even still have found AT a big challenge.
  18. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    What, in people's opinion, is the best background to have had before you start tango?? E.g. technical dance training such as ballet, jazz, contemporary, ballroom? Or disciplines such as martial arts or something like pilates?
  19. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    I would say there are no major advantages to different backgrounds if the person is of flexible mind. From my amateur experience of ballroom, I would say it was too full of limiting concepts (rules) and very strict form that interferes with both the mind and the body of the tango-newbie. Of course the transition is made frequently, but some people may never shake off their original mindsets in what at face value appears to be a very similar partner dance.

    Former ballet dancers seem to progress very rapidly, I suspect due to their much enhanced sense of balance and control.

    3 months of jujitsu helped me along somewhat, but certain postural things were hard to clear out. A black-belted friend of mine relates a passing urge to turn tango movements into far more drilled throws...
  20. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member


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