Tango Argentino > AT: is it too much for ballroom beginners?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Twilight_Elena, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. tacad

    tacad New Member

    Really? What do they do?
  2. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    They have problems. ;) :lol:
  3. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Hmmm... So AT is intimidating for beginners? Do they run off, terrified? Is there any whining? Whining is fun. :p :D

    Twilight Elena

    P.s. Forgive my crazy self. Haven't salsa-ed for 2 weeks. 14 days! (You salseros/as out there know what I mean...)
  4. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I don't think AT is intimidating, it just takes time to learn, so lower your expectations and don't expect instant gratification.
  5. ColinP

    ColinP New Member

    No, it's not intimidating (well, just a little bit, like anything new and unknown!). Most beginners seem to enjoy it thoroughly. A lot drift away after a few weeks or months, having had a pleasant enough time but now finding something else to do. The rest of us got addicted...

    I'll risk catching a bit of flak by pointing out that there is a lot of variation in the way AT is taught - far more than in say ballroom. Some dance schools teach it very much in the way they teach ballroom: very structured and formalized. And some independent teachers are at the opposite extreme, teaching it as a street dance in much the way salsa is taught outside the dance schools. Standards of teaching also vary widely.
    So anyone learning AT and not happy with the way it's being taught, should try elsewhere.

    I have always found it fun to try different classes, and useful, too. When I started, there was no entirely satisfactory class locally. I started at a ballroom-oriented school, and then added a more 'street dance' style independent: together, they gave a pretty good grounding in AT.

  6. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I have found this to be true, though I think that ballroom also has a great deal of variety in teh way it is taught depending on whether it is for social/club of competition dancing...why the studenst are taking it....
  7. Polly

    Polly New Member

    Tango: The Great Leveler

    I, too, entered tango, (or it entered me) having had experiece in many dance forms. None of them contributed to tango. All previous training quickly became moot.

    Tango became a passion quicker than I could say (or understand) cruzada.

    The only things that assisted from previous experience were balance and rhythm. Everything else had to be re-trained. And difficult is an understatement. But I loved the dance and was willing to do whatever it took to "get it."

    A major undertaking, to say the least. Posture, balance, tilt, no anticipation, wai.........ting, etc. were contrary to everything I'd learned in other dances.

    But the ensuing time invested was definitely worth the effort in learning this incredible art form.

    The most advanced dancers say they are still learning. There is more to tango than we can learn in a life time, but we can enjoy the journey as in no other dance.

    Tango makes us all feel like galumphers at times, and on certain nights I can feel like I'm floating or sinking. An ecstatic rise to Nirvana or a flailing beginner. It only takes one dance or in the case of tonight, two dances with an incredible Lead, and two with my amazing grandson (16) who led Pugliese like it was written for us, to make it all worthwhile.

    It's the magical moments that keep us coming back for more.

  8. piimapoika

    piimapoika Member

    I have only just come across this thread but I would say in answer to the original question - go along there and DANCE. Any leader worth his salt will realise at once that you haven't learned any fancy figures and will stick to simple walks and pauses that you CAN follow. I have danced to quite difficult AT music with ladies who have never danced before (not ballroom, not salsa, not anything) and found the experience perfectly satisfactory. They seem to have been of the same opinion, as they came back for more.
  9. Sobrero

    Sobrero New Member

    Hi everyone! :)

    I am a good friend of Elena’s and I can now officially announce that we had our first AT lesson yesterday!!! :D :D

    First Impression:

    I step with Elena into the ballroom and the AT professor, who we already know from ballroom dances, asks us with a surprised expression ( and I mean a very surprised expression :shock: :shock: )
    “Are you here for the AT lesson?”:shock:

    I sit on the couch and watch all the other advanced students changing shoes and preparing and I think to myself “there is no way I am going to participate in this lesson I am just going to sit and watch”

    Yeah right! :wink:
    The AT professor gives me The Look and tells me that I AM going to participate no matter what! Well it is really hard to argue with the particular person and I mean really really hard so I gave in! :wink:

    AND… (dramatic pause)

    It was amazing!!!!! I only did the basic, the front Ochos (sp?), the back Ochos, the sandwich (honestly where do they find those names?? :? ), another thing that goes round like a circle I can’t really remember the name!! Something like ganjos ?
    :headwall: Ok guys do not kill me if I haven’t got the names right it was just my first lesson!!!!

    The hardest thing was to do the Ochos slowly… I have been practicing salsa non-stop and I am used to move a lot quicker! However once I got the hang of it, it was great!! It is a beautiful dance! :D

    I still find it difficult to follow the music!
    Is there a particular way to count? :?
    Because all the guys that I danced with counted differently!!

    Thank you all for your help and encouragement :friend:

  10. tacad

    tacad New Member


    The beat in AT music is all over the place. Speeding up, slowing down. Which is why regular tango cannot be danced to AT music, aside from not fitting the music style. Congratulations!

    I couldn't tell you if there's a way to count having had one AT lesson myself.
  11. Sobrero

    Sobrero New Member

    Thank you Tacad :D

    I kind of noticed that the music is all over the place and does not really bother me! It is just very difficult for me to follow someone when I do not even know in which time I have to move my feet! :lol: :lol:

    Maybe I am to much of a salsera and I will get used to the unique music of the AT with time!! :)

    I did mention that I will definitely continue, didn't I? :wink: :wink: :lol:

  12. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Hmmm. So yes, last night was our first AT lesson ever. I must say I didn't like it all that much. The steps are pretty cool, I love the ochos and all that, and I would have been thrilled with the whole thing if not forthe music. Ye gods. :shock: Where is the beat, I asked myself? Where is the rhythm? Where are the characteristic sounds? There must be sometyhing I can dance to! A clave, a violin, a freaking tumba! I tried and tried to understand where it is, but failed.
    I gathered it's a lead thing, i.e. the lead decides about the tempo, mostly. Which left me hanging, since I wondered "how am I going to connect with the music if the music is defined by my partner?" A total disaster in that aspect. And this is the only thing that went wrong, yet music connection is so important to me that I was completely dissapointed. Beautiful steps and all that, but where is the music again?
    So I don't think I'm going to continue with AT. :shrug:

    Twilight Elena
  13. Sobrero

    Sobrero New Member

    Yeah the rhythm is a huge problem!! :? :(
    I agree that it is frustrating but I am willing to give AT another chance! So I will continue for a couple of lessons and see how it goes!!

    Could any of the more advance AT dancers give us some advice on how we are supposed to understand when to do a step and when to stay at the same place?? I did a few ochos with different partners and each one of them did them with a different timing!!!

    Thank you all in advance!!! :D :D :D

  14. pascal

    pascal Active Member

    There is a main beat in A.T music, if you follow it you'll make (very grossly) one step per second.
    The leader can make you step on the beat, or on multiples of the beat; say, one ocho in two beats (one beat for the pivot, one beat for the walk). Some old leaders from Buenos-Aires take their time: 4 beats to lead one step.

    The leader may also use one beat to lead two steps, like the quick-quick-slow of standard tango. In this case, you'll usually feel he's giving you more momentum; and more than often, it will be on your back step, within a circular sequence.

    Also, the leader may do nothing. He may wait for the beginning of a musical sequence to begin a dance sequence.

    Some A.T. composers made a music where the beat is easy to find (Fresedo, Di Sarli, Canaro...). Teachers use these pieces for their beginner classes. In advanced classes, teachers use more complex pieces, so if you made your debut in an advanced class (sorry to say that, but it seems a weird idea ) it's natural that you won't feel the beat.
  15. Sobrero

    Sobrero New Member

    Thank you that was quite enlightening!!! :D :D
    So everything depends on what pace the leader wants to perform right?
    If that’s the case it is a great relief for us (girls/followers) and I guess an anxiety for you (guys/leaders) 8) 8)

  16. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    The backward ocho usually takes longer than a beat especially if in the giro: so some followers will use two quicksteps to bring them sleves back onto the beat; like waltz time s-q -q;

    The follower has a perogative to take the time she wants to do the ochos,( except if dancing milonga where they have to be fast and on the beat so she can choose how she responds to the leader's invitation and the music that's playing.) the length of time taken will also depend on the arc that the ocho is turned; for a 180 turn the pivot itself might take a beat and obviously any pivot greater than this will take longer.

    In terms of when to step eg after a pivot the leader should be giving clear signals: if I want you to pivot my shoulders will twist around my own axis, but my chest will remain in the same location; when I invite you to step I have to move my chest in a particular direction. In the giro there should be a clear difference between a lead for another step and a lead for a pivot. Ask your teacher t demonstrate.
  17. Sobrero

    Sobrero New Member

    Thank you, Bordertangoman!!!

    I think I understand better now!!! :D :D
    You are really good at explaining you know!
    I'll do what you suggested and ask my teacher at the next AT lesson :)


  18. pascal

    pascal Active Member

    I disagree on this one. The leader chooses the rythm for the ochos. With responsive followers I sometimes lead three back ochos on two beats (kind of quick quick slow). Of course then I have to be very clear because it's a surprise move for the follower, and it will be very small ochos.
    And when I feel that a partner, however I may lead, will use two beats for her ochos (beginner, older lady, follower with ingrained habits and dancing on her own...) of course I won't try to vary the speed. But on principle I'm the one who chooses the rythm of ochos.
    Same for boleos, or giros, by the way.
  19. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Most of the time I will dance like this - the way you describe, being clear about the lead, but with a more advanced follower, who can hang a step or is doing decorations you have to slow down for her and wait for her to finish her leg movement.
    same thing applies if you do consecutive back ocho/sacada movement but if say I might want to to an ocho with a boleo or gancho then it will be early so the boleo/ gancho happens on the beat.

    So I maintain that as each move is an invitation, the follower does have a choice but most of the time they follow your lead.

    If the music suggests it I will take up to four beats for a backward ocho
  20. Sobrero

    Sobrero New Member

    Ok I have a silly question! What is a boleo :?: :?:
    I have seen the other things that you have mentioned like the ganchos and the ochos but I am not familiar with the boleo :?

    thanks in advance :)


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