Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Twilight_Elena, Dec 31, 2004.
zen mind, beginner's mind.
Master Shu Tan Go
I say go for it! Join in with the lesson. The worst that will happen is it will be stressful at first. In time, with more lessons, there will be additional rough moments. It is all worth it when we discover the moments worth treasuring, and the better we get with practice, the more moments we will have to treasure!
Dear Twilight Elena:
It certainly wouldn't hurt anything to go to a milonga and watch. The most it will do for you is stoke up your insane desire to dance tango, however. Kind of like looking at Playboy -- it looks droolingly wonderful, but you can't have any. I find watching to be about 1/2 a degree from sheer torment. I want to be dancing, not watching. And watching will not help you learn very much until you know enough to be able to analyze what you're seeing. But, it definitely will help inspire you and help you fall even more seriously in love with tango.
You seem to be just a little scared and intimidated by the unknown. Why don't you just ask if you can sit in on the beginner's class? That will answer a great many of your questions, like how the class is conducted, the atmosphere of the class, the attitudes of the class members, what level of instruction is offered. A really first class teacher will start by teaching you the fundamentals of dance (which will help enhance all your other dancing) such as body alignment, carriage, movement, balance, etc., and keep the steps and patterns very simple so you can focus on doing simple things really well, instead of complicated things badly. My ballet teacher is the same way. He gets after the advanced/professional dancers for doing five pirouettes in a sloppy manner, and makes them do one very slow, with clean impeccable technique. He says if you can do one pristine pirouette with a clean crisp ending, you can do ten. But if you do five sloppy ones, that's all you'll ever be able to do -- sloppy turns, and not very many at that.
And yes, I admit that tango dancers are an insane bunch. They are as bad as or worse than evangelical born-again Christians -- just smile politely and tell them that the Archangel Gabriel appeared to you in a vision and told you to dance [your dance form] and that you don't dare disobey a direct command from the Almighty. I'm not sure that will shut them up, but it's worth a try.
If you want inspiration, watch the Tango Lesson! If you want to learn how to dance, dance!
I'm not what you speak of, but please becareful regarding the discussion of religion. Yet I was giggling at your comment.
I've only had one tango lesson, with Felix, ReneeJoan's teacher. Felix said later to me that balance was most important, and then proceeded to tell me exactly where on my foot to balance, and then said that was extremely difficult.
If you really want to do something before a lesson you might try dancing an Argentine Tango or two, one that really mixes up the tempo of the music, even not knowing how. That will at least give you a personal feel, really convince you, that AT is different than ballroom, different techniques and stuff. Anyway I did that, more because I thought it was American Tango and then discovered it was AT and began to stumble around. The stumbling convinced me that AT was not ballroom. And that had value. And so my mind was truly open and not relying on my ballroom techniques.
You could do worse than listen to some tango music.
Once you start dancing you'll hear it in a new light and get to appreciate the differences between differnt orqestras and composers and you'll find your favourites: For pure listening get Yo-yo Ma: Soul of The Tango; for dancing most compliations will be fine. There's a few websites around that guide you through the differences between Di Sarli and Hugo Diaz, f'rinstance.
And while listening, dance around, 'while no-ones watching' as the saying goes.
Erm... Dancing AT to see how it goes is a fine idea, and I'd go for it but... how in Hades' name do you do it?? I mean, doesn it have anything to do with Ballroom Tango? I actually have no idea how it is danced! Any clips or videos/movies that might enlighten me?
Also, some tempo info: is it the old slow-slow-quick-quick-slow? I always pictured it as a very free rhythm, but who knows?
P.s. You guys are marvelous!
P.p.s. Dancepoet, what's the "Tango Lesson"?
I stepped on each beat. Forward, to either side, backward. I somehow doubt that one can prepare very much though for a first class. The music tempo is all over the place. So you certainly have to adapt to the changing tempo.
It is a movie directed and written by Sally Potter. She stars in the film with Pablo Veron. The film is about relationships, argentine tango, and the lessons of life. It is a relatively new film, and it can still be found in video stores. I highly recommend it!
you can download three videos by some teachers of mine. It's stage A.T, not social A.T.
By the way, unlike performance A.T videos, which are very easy to find, I wonder whether there exist some videos of social A.T
Clips and pictures for "the tango lesson" can be found at
but be aware that your A.T will never look like this. Well, unless your partner is PAblo Veron.
Ah! But it is so inspirational, and it is the quest that help makes it an adventure anyway!
As I understand it: the basic tango beat is a walking pace; within this walking pace beat one can take forward side or back steps; one is also allowed to pause; some tangos like La Yumba by Puglieses are very dramatic and pick out an emphatic beat out of every four; which might suggest a more dynamic step or halt. Then in each tango composition there will be more lyrical music for a few bars suggestive of flowing movements; such as ochos and giros. Yes it is a very free rhythm.
I saw the clips and did some digging, and realised that AT is all following. Is that accurate? If it is, I'm a very happy girl. For some twisted reason, the following part is my favourite in all dances. (That's probably why I don't like things that have to be done by the follow independedly, like some turns *cough hint nudge* :roll: )
Well, there goes my feminist streak.
More or less; but once you get past the basics you can add adornos:
decorative movements; there are other playful movements that the woman can initiate; there are subtleties within the follow ( eg you might delay a step and use your partners resistance as spring- more easily demonstrated than explained.
As to feminism, you have to leave that at the edge of the dance floor; apparently long term couples where the woman rules the roost find it hard to dance with each other.
Thank you pascal!
I have no clue. Does someone else?
Oh, and welcome to DF!
I'm actually glad to follow! But most feminists would have thrown daggers at me by now.
That's a good thead subject... *hint hint*
I must admit I was a little intimidated when I took my first AT class. I have never been intimidated by a dance before but I had seen others at the studio dance it and it looked quite complex. Had a bit of trouble in the beginning, but the instructor taking me through it was only learning to instruct in AT herself. Found it much easier when I started taking group classes from my instructor.
Now I love it but don't really dance it enough to be proficient. I regularly get the leads mixed up and have stopped in the middle of a dance with my instructor because I didn't think he had led anything. He just stared at me, and gave me a little pull in one direction and the lightbulb went on as to what I was supposed to be doing. We had a good laugh. :lol:
I've had a decent number of AT classes in the last three months. More recently I've been taking a beginner group class at a ballroom studio where AT is a new edition to the studio's ballroom courses. It has been interesting to observe how the ballroomers are taking to the AT moves.
The ladies that are already good followers seem to be picking it up quickly. Some folks are looking to have it danced to a beat, but in reality it really is not, which seems to be a little difficult for folks to get adjusted with at first. Once the ladies do, the looks of delight on their faces is wonderful when they begin discover how the feelings from the music are being felt through the movement of the dance.
Separate names with a comma.