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

    Calecitas and colgadas. This, apparently, is the down-side to having a nuevo-centered teacher. *lol*

    Actually, it was good. He likes to lead them and play with them, and I'm always saying I feel like I'm losing my balance and falling. At which point he reminded me that I *will* feel like I'm off balance, because I am. (Well, at least for colgadas.) So, we worked on foot/leg placement, and body angles, and how I can maintain my balance. Very useful.

    I was told that my AT is "really starting to look like Tango." Great...only took a damn year for my AT to look like AT. I mentioned this...he just kind of shrugged, and said, "Well...?" As in, well, what do you want me to say? It took a year. I'm not sure if I'm encouraged or discouraged. I've resolved not to think too closely on it.

    I also got a raised eyebrow. He accused me of rushing a step. I told him, truthfully, that I didn't consider it rushing. I knew the song, it was a neat place, and I wanted to step a bit faster b/c of what was going on in the music. He just gave me the raised eyebrow and didn't say anything. Meh.
  2. desinel

    desinel New Member

    Calesita — Carousel; the merry-go-round: A figure in which the man places the lady on one foot with a lifting action of his frame and then dances around her while keeping her centered over, and pivoting on, her supporting leg.

    Colgada — A spinning move executed by a couple at the end of an inside barrida in which both dancers lean out away from each other and spin rapidly until the man leads out with a back step.

    I think i understood what a Colgada is and i think i saw it in clips, but i don't get the Calesita... at all... sounds a bit like planeo, but still different... Could you recommend a clip of some type with a Calesita? Sounds very interesting...

    thank you!!!

  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I know it wasn't offered as bait, but I haven't written for a while (partly because I was away and I fear I am beginning to repeat myself), and so I'd like to react to encourage Ampster to see learning about close embrace as a quest. Some of you may have read similar comments from me before. I guess I think it is worth repeating.
    I'll start my making a statement bordering on heresy.
    Open embrace tango, when compared to apilado close embrace, is just another partner dance. Open embrace is very nice to see done well, but for me, I get no more satisfaction from it than doing one of my country partner dances with variations I made up myself.
    When you dance close embrace apilado, and the woman has consistently good posture, and transfers her weight completely with each step, and keeps her weight towards you, it you literally feels like you are taking her steps. It is as if your bodies have merged into one.
    This merging of two bodies is what to me distinguishes "close embrace" without the sharing of weight, and close embrace with weight sharing or apilado.
    I DO wonder if I would like this style so much if I was married, or was in a serious relationship with someone. The sharing of your body is, of course not sexual in any way, but it is a sharing nonetheless.
    As far as "close embrace" being boring... I'd say I don't enjoy close embrace at all when there is no apilado. That's because, at least for me, all the things I really enjoy, all the subtle movement of my body that elicits a response in my partner, the feeling of each of my partner's steps as if they are my own, is not possible.
    Add the "forward energy" of an apilado embrace, and a whole lot of other things become possible. Many of the things that fascinate people in open embrace, many of the things which are written about in the postings here, are unnecessary to have a very rich, definitely not plain vanilla dance in apilado close embrace.
    Many people teach "close embrace", but do not teach the apilado part. I would say, make sure you know the difference. And definitely check out the apilado part until you feel the intensity of the connection.
  4. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member


    In MY view, I would be encouraged. I know a few pros who do shows, blah, blah, blah... but it took them years of practice to look good. I know a lot of people who have been dancing AT, literally for years... and they are still not good to watch. I myself, took at least a year to gel and considered to be halfway decent.
  5. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    My friend Steve, my quest HAS begun in earnest. it was all borned from that post that I started (i.e. "Epiphany"). It was exactly as you spoke. It is a sharing of one's movements closely with another to produce poetry. Before I made the journey, I was obsessed with being "Showy." And, I did find that I couldn't half of what I knew in close embrace. Thaus, finding it "boring." I do have to recant and say that. It now has a totally different appeal, and am on my way to doing both well... or at least, trying to.

  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    For me, the difference comes in the form of the freedom of movement and timing. And, there's an incredible intimacy that can come from intense eye contact. When I manage to (very rarely!) achieve a good open embrace dance, with lots of eye contact, and syncronization, and balance...it's just beautiful. Then, it's like mind reading. One heart, two bodies. It's amazing. (OK, I'm a beginner. I'm sure my teacher or whoever isn't thinking nearly the same thing, but I find it enjoyable. I'm allowed some self-delusions!)

    You make me want to try apilado. Seems, though, like it involves a degree of trust I'm not comfortable with yet. And ab muscles that I don't have!

    I'm married, and love close embrace. To me they have nothing to do with each other. As you said, it's not sexual--just an incredible intimacy and sharing.

    I'd challenge you to something along the lines of what you challenged Ampster. (OK, that made sense in my head.) I'd challenge you to really try non-apilado close embrace, as well as open embrace. Find a good teacher, and a good follower in those styles, and approach it with an open mind. The feeling of taking your partner's steps, the forward energy, the beauty that can come with both the plain vanilla and the showier steps...all of them add to the dance. If you let it! ;-) The subtle body movements that elicit a response from your partner--it happens. And it's beautiful. Even when I'm on my own axis!

    (I'll add the disclaimer again...I'm a beginner. So, what feels beautiful to me I'm sure doesn't feel nearly as beautiful (if at all!) to a more advanced leader. Oh well. It still feels beautiful to me, and there's only so much I can do at this point so that it's beautiful for them. I just have to do my best and hope they recognize and are patient with my limitations. Some are, some aren't.)
  7. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Heh...that's why I dance both styles. Granted, I'm not proficient in either right now, but I'm hoping time will fix that.

    To me, it's a bit silly to constrain myself to one style of dancing AT, when--to me--the beauty of AT is it's adaptability. When it's good, I LOVE LOVE LOVE close embrace. Showy, I suppose, is in the eye of the beholder. I also love the freedom, and, admittedly, some of the showier elements that come with open embrace. Back sadacas, for example. I love them. And a nice, slow, sandwich into something else. Cadenas are another favorite. A current favorite is an alternate embrace where we're side by side facing the same direction--either a left hand to left hand hold with his right hand on my hip; or his right hand on my hip, my left arm still around his back, and a left hand (his) to right hand hold. Very nice. Especially nice if I can summon the courage for eye contact.

    I suppose those could be considered showy, but there's something very special, still, with everything.
  8. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I don't know of any clips offhand...when I have time I'll see if I can dig one up.

    About the definitions... I haven't done a colgada the way it's described above. Granted, I'm just now starting to do colgadas (he's been attempting to teach them to me for a while, lol, but I've been resisting--I don't like being taken off my axis). Generally, he--my teacher--leads them much in the way he'd often leads a back cross of sorts. Forgive me, please, for not having alll my terminology down pat. Basically, it with a quick step backwards (for me, of course). I get the lead to take the next step back, and as my leg is moving back he stops the movement (sort of like a boleo). Momentum takes the free leg out further. This is done in open embrace, and usually there's an extension of the embrace so that I'm leaning back of my axis. He stays on his, and will usually dance in a circle around me.

    A calecita is comparatively simple. I stay put. He dances around me.
  9. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    OK Peahces, I REALLY want to dance with you now! Our philosophies are getting close to converging. :D

    (Oh, and apologies for the bad spelling. my last post was done in between meetings and didn't have time to "proof read." My bad :rolleyes: )
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I'll be in Portland in December. There's a pretty good chance of a trip being made up to Seattle, too (DH has business up there). Any possiblity of meeting up?

    And I'd LOVE to dance with you!
  11. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    OK. Some clips. http://tangovideos.blogspot.com/2006/07/javier-rodriguez-andrea-misse.html

    At 2:24, and 2:31 you'll see the woman is standing in one place, on one foot, and "just" doing embellishments while the guy walks around her. These are calecitas.

    For a colgada: http://www.tangoafficionado.com/media/moti/ta_moti_divas_04_15_06_moti_naomi_aisha.asx

    (If you have trouble getting this to load, it's under the "tango clips" section of D-F...the alternative milonga.)

    At :20 into it, he leads her in a colgada. She's led to lean out away from him. There's a more dramatic one at 2:19, and another at 3:35 in an alternate embrace. Also, at 3:10, after she comes up out of the slide thingy, he leads a calecita.
  12. desinel

    desinel New Member

    Thank you, Thank you!!

    I couldn't watch the first one at all, i probably haven't got the right software for it. But the second one is really really nice... The calecita in this one is quite fast though, i will have to study it... What is this 'slide thingy' called, btw? Looks a bit dangerous to me... who ever doing it has to be someone i really trust and someone pretty strong too, even with my very petite complexion...

    The Colgada, as far as i can understand is her R foot (could probably be either) sandwiched in between his both... her foot remains in one place spinning the direction he goes... the other one is nicely stretched...his both are doing something as simple as one-two-one-two step spinning in anticlockwise direction, although could probably be done in the clockwise too.. both are leaning away from each other... can obviously only done in an open style...hmm... looks very interesting... must try it...

    I think somewhere i saw a gentleman hardly lifting his feet when performing a colgada... it looks even better, i think...

    thanks again!

  13. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    You had problems with the first clip?? That's interesting...most people reported problems with the second one.

    The slide thingy doesn't, to my knowledge, have a name. I certainly isn't a traditional tango element. Probably just a "trick" (to crib a ballroom term) they worked up and like to do. I call it, The Slide Thingy.

    The colgada does not require her foot to be between his, and it does not require spinning. Spinning often happens, but it's not a requirment--that's a calecita movement. The colgada is the act of one (the lady) or both of them being taken off their axis away from each other. (Kind of the opposite of a volcada--where she's taken off her axis towards him.)

    The position of her free foot, and the position of their bodies is not terribly relevant, in my understanding. The critical elements that make a colgada is the off the axis, and leaning away. He can let one of his feet trail out--which I imagine was done for balance and momentum, or he can be upright. He can go off his own axis and then they're supporting each other. He can stay there, he can dance around her, it can be short or long in duration. He can lead her out of it in different ways.

    The calesita is when she's standing and he's going around her. Pretty simple. Unless you're like me and are usually just barely not falling over.
  14. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    How fun! Absolutely! Sent you a PM
  15. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    PM'ed you back.
  16. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    what Slide Thingy? I looked at the clip and couldn't see anything. Please can I have more description of what you are referring to?
  17. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Um...no can do right now (at work...no video viewage possibilities).

    Basically, she's goes into something of an extreme colgada or something, and leans way far back. With his arm around her back, and I think using his foot against hers, he slides her forward on one foot. It's...interesting. When I can actually view the video again, I'll note the time when it happens.

    You are looking at the 'alternative tango" clip, danced to Aisha, yeah? Because it's pretty obvious when you see it. It's definitely a...Slide Thingy. Or is it that the screen comes up blank when you click the link? In that case, look at the AT videos forum..."Alternative Tango"...I've posted directions of how to get around it.
  18. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Found the slidy thingy: it seems to be an invention consisting of a barrida and the woman is supported by the man so he is guiding her slide and bringing her back on axis. neat
  19. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    About 15 minutes of AT tacked onto my last ballroom lesson. Worked on curved back and forward walks. Jeez I hate them.

    Also circular grapevines/giros. With no warning whatsoever he opted to do a gancho in the middle of it (back step). His aim was...perfect. *sarcasm* Good thing I'm not a guy. That was the end of that.
  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Wow. Been a long time since I've had an AT lesson. I miss them sooooo much. It really makes me rethink this whole medal test in standard thing.

    Lesson was lots of strange stuff.
    • Odd variation on grapevines--the last "side" step gets ronde'ed to the outside and hooked behind the standing leg, so that the step is essentially in place but with a turn down lod, and the next step is taken forward with the inside leg. Much fun.
    • Forward sacadas. Wow. It takes every bit of instinct-overcoming to make myself walk into someone like that. Felt good though, once I got over that.
    • More work on back sacadas--being more aggressive in claiming my space. Dissociate torso from hips more, to allow further rotation. Also moving my left arm appropriately to not get in my own way.
    • Overturned ochos. Wow, mine suck.
    • Grounding, and using my legs better. Supposedly, I'm getting better and more grounded. Would be nice if I could feel a difference.
    • Was complimented on my posture and connection in close embrace.
    Overall, lots of practice and dancing dancing dancing. I needed it. Best. Lesson. Ever.

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