Tango Argentino > AT Lessons: What are you working on?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by DancePoet, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    OK, Installment #2: Being heavy v. giving energy back to the lead.

    This started at the very beginning of the lesson, when I was VERY nervous. And, when I'm very nervous, I have a very difficult time connecting with my partner. It just takes me a while to relax and settle into the embrace and become comfortable.

    So, the comment was that he was not feeling the connection enough from me--that the connection wasn't solid. So they were talking about having me establish a bit more pressure through the connection. Resistance?, I asked. They don't like the term resistance--they prefer to explain it as matching the energy established in the embrace by the man. It's hard to explain, but much easier to feel as an explanation. Basically, when he established a very "firm" embrace, with strong intention (not rigid), I was to match it. If the embrace was softer, or more hesitant, I was to back off a bit on the connection. Still have a connection, but not use the same amount of forward energy. We just stood there alternating between them for a while, which was interesting. Like I said, hard to explain, much easier to feel.

    In matching his resistance through this, I felt like I was giving a lot more energy/pressure than I was used to. (At this point he'd stopped playing with the embrace, and was back to his normal one.) I told them this, and asked about the risk of becoming a heavy follower. He evidently understood enough english to know what I was saying, because the response was a very immediate NO. They explained that with with my energy/intention matched to his, and the resulting firm connection, that it made for a lighter follower, since it allowed for more subtle leading and easier detection of the leads.
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Nope. Don't like boleos, don't like ganchos.

    Evidently, the best one I did last night--which was, supposedly, very goood--was the very fist one that he led. I had no idea it was coming, and was relaxed and comfortable at the time, and honestly didn't recongize it as a boleo. But in working on them, I think they got worse--because i was thinking about it. I understood enough of his comments to her to know that he said the same thing--if i wasn't thinking about it, i was pretty OK.

    I've concluded, though, that as much as I dislike boleos, they are the lesser of 2 evils to have led by guys I don't have much confidence in. What is with volcadas, gosh darnit!?
  3. desinel

    desinel New Member

    "As he put it--"No good." Period. No other comment. She echoed the sentiment--"Your pivots are no good." *sigh*"

    I think it is rather rude to say such a thing to someone who is trying to learn... Just 'no good', in stead of saying something like 'It would be better if you could do it in such and such way'... are they all like that, the instructors...?

    Btw, how does a lady know when to do a boleo? Is there a sign, perhaps something that a man does with his hand, or turns her in such a way that she knows it is time to do a boleo?

  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I see what you're saying, but somehow it didn't come across as rude. And, they were right--they aren't good. I knew that to begin with. Also, with the slight language barrier, it could have been "not good" which is somewhat less rude sounding. They weren't mean about it--it was not said in a rude tone or anything. It was just an honest assessment. And, from teachers/dancers/performers of that caliber, in a one-time lesson I was fine with it. But no, not all instructors are like that. And, also, it was followed up by "What is going wrong is... You need to work on fixing it by... Practice it this way..."

    As for a boleo, it's a pivot that is stopped/interrupted with an abrupt change of direction. When that happens, if the follower's non-supporting leg is relaxed properly, a boleo happens. In a sense--or the way I think about it, at least--he creates it, she controls it. So, for example, if the leader wants to lead a boleo with her left leg, he can initiate a counter-clockwise pivot, and then abruptly pivot her back clockwise. The free leg will just swing around--if it's relaxed.
  5. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    The boleo is nothing but an interrupted Ocho. ALWAYS led. So, if the lead puts you in a backwad ocho, the lead would hold you, and stop you from completing an ocho.

    This abrupt change would then cause your leg to go from the extension caused by the ocho, and fling it around in the opposite direction. If not stopped and with enough space, you end up in a cruzada. With a little imagination, it can be made into a whole 'nuther step.
  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yup, and we worked with a multiple back ocho to boleo (sometimes multiple) to cruzada combination.
  7. Boleos and ganchos are not figures to do in a milonga... At least the "show" ones, cause you can kick hardly to another couple dancing near.
    So, I dont like them. Preffer the smaller steps and close embrace figures.
  8. jhpark

    jhpark Member

    I haven't started ganchos yet, but boleos seem harmless. Just don't do them when someone is nearby... At the milongas here, you can pretty much fit one in without endangering anyone rather easily.

    Boleos are most useful when there's a cat crossing the dance floor (I kid, I kid....)
  9. Yeah... I know, you can fit a boleo if you have the room... but, at least in some "more traditional" milongas here, its not well seen.
    "You should dance more 'al piso' (to the floor)" They told me, and they are right.
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Well, at most milongas here (that I've been to, at least) there is enough room for boleos and ganchos. Especially if you keep them small and connected to the floor--which we worked on.

    But, yeah...no boleos and ganchos on a crowded floor. I got kicked really hard by someone doing (probably) a boleo--I ended up with a huge bruise on my calf that hurt for almost a month. So, I know the hazards of them.
  11. JonD

    JonD New Member

    Interesting posts Peaches - thank you. It sounds like it was an excellent lesson and you covered a lot of ground. The "up, up, up" thing is familiar as is the "energy in the embrace" concept. Sadly, so is "your pivots are no good" (though it's mainly me saying it to myself).

    I'm in complete agreement with this! I've been kicked and had partners kicked too many times by people who were either completely thoughtless or thought they had enough space.
  12. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Installment #2: Being heavy v. giving energy back to the lead.

    Giving energy back to the lead is something that I wish would happen a lot more often than it does. Being "on your own axis" seems to be the more prevelant thought.
    Just in case anyone has any doubts, I much prefer a partner who feels like she is dancing with me over one who is "on her own axis" and is moving based on "an impulse" from my body. The weight sharing (3 lbs or as high as 6 (I love that, and I know other guys who love it too)), or giving energy back to the leader is what does it.
    Not giving energy back to the leader, poor posture, and indefinite weight changes all make it much more difficult for the man to know where the woman's feet are, and where he can go next, and where she can go next.
    This keeping your energy toward your partner is quite unique to tango in my experience. Yes, "the moves" in tango are cool. But I dance it for the unique feeling of partnership. When I don't get it.... Sigh, what's the point?
    Of course there are the guys who will inevitably tell their partners that they are being too heavy. Too bad. Eventually the women sort it out, either through competent instruction, or trial and error. Some don't ever figure it out. They seem happy, too.
  13. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Had to chime in about the being heavy vs giving energy back...

    Being heavy:

    I have danced with a few follows before, who (albeit, know how to follow well) but do not readily respond to subtle "Impulse" type leads for one reason or another. Rather, My leads have to be significantly firmer and deliberate without "Manhandling" her. The dance is still just as beautiful, except that it just takes more effort

    Giving energy:

    I also have dance with follows who give energy back. It's like using opposing poles in magnetism to your advantage. You both maintain consistent contact. As a lead, once I give the "Impulse" to do someting, my force repels her, and causes her into action. The combination of close/open embrace, and the application of impluse=opposing energy method leads to electricity and one beautiful dance.
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    To clarify, I was still on my own axis the entire time. Giving energy back, sure, and maintaining connection/light pressure, definitely...but still on my own axis. There were several times when he would stop dead, I'd be told to freeze and maintain whatever position I was in, he'd wriggle out of the embrace, and I'd have to demonstrate that I was balanced by myself. The exercise wasn't done to demonstrate that I was on my own axis, but it does illustrate the point.

    With the exception of things like volcadas and colgadas (and the occasional loss of balance), I've always danced completely on my own axis--never apilado.
  15. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I am still not clear what "giving energy" means. I have danced with followers who accelerate into a step ( taking a musical cue) usually in a giro, so my pivoting movement gets some impetus from the woman. Is that it?
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Like resistance, but not quite. Not so much any sort of pushing back, but just keeping (what my ballroom teacher would probably call) positive pressure. Dancing into the connection.

    Something like that. Like I said at the beginning...much easier to feel in person than to explain in writing.
  17. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    That's what I call resistance but I wouldn't describe that as giving energy back. To me that implies a postive response to something the leader has indicated.
  18. Adam1976

    Adam1976 New Member


    Planeo — Pivot; glide: Occurs when the man steps forward onto a foot, usually his left, and pivots with the other leg trailing (gliding behind) as the lady dances an additional step or two around him. May also occur when the man stops the lady in mid stride with a slight downward lead and dances around her while pivoting her on the supporting leg as her extended leg either trails or leads. Can be done by either the man or the lady.

    You can find more on tejastango website

    Best regards!
  19. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Ochos. Dear god I hate ochos. Dear god I suck at them. Practice has not seemed to help--I still lose my balance.

    Circular grapevines/giros/molinetes...whatever you want to call them. We worked on extending the leg and "taking the step" without transferring weight. He added ganchos to them--what a pain in the butt. However, it is very good, instant feedback as to what I'm doing wrong. What? My leg is being taken out from under me? Obviously, I transferred my weight too soon. Oh, and kicking between my feet throughout them...also a very good, instant method of feedback for my timing throughout them.

    More "de-sensitization" to being taken off my axis, trying to find ways for me to be comfortable with it. Volcadas with my right foot free (which I suck at), going straight into a volcada with my left foot. That's WAAAY to much for me to like right now. Mini-colgadas. Ick.
  20. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Currently working on my close embrace technique.

    I'm trying to vary and extend what I can do in close embrace. I find it quite boring (and hot) after a while.

    [I'd like to think that...] My open embrace is good and highly developed. But I find that some of my partners can only dance in close embrace, because they're only studied, or have been taught, or prefer to dance AT that way (going open gets them lost). I would like it to be a very good experience for my partners. I need to take up that slack.

    I like to be highly expressive. Which a lot of it can be done practically only in a combination of open and close embrace.

    So, I deem the close embrace to be an area for me to improve.

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