Tango Argentino > Ballroom following versus AT following

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Peaches, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. Me

    Me New Member

    Thank you everybody for the thoughts on WCS. I apologize for the little hijjack to Peaches's thread, but what I have read here has helped me.

    You know, people keep telling me this, but after a while, it just becomes so horribly hard to believe. I can count using one hand the men I feel comfortable dancing this with, and those men are exceptional dancers. Usually this means I have some serious work to do.

    This post makes sense to me, and others above have also mentioned this similarity between the way AT should be taught and the way WCS should be taught.

    I admit all of my bad WCS experiences have been at ballroom dance socials. Not to sound like a complete tango brat, but when I see AT danced at ballroom socials, most of it is clearly a guessing game for the follow on which memorized AT pattern she should begin flying through. Ballroom dancers also often complain about how AT is too complicated and they'd rather spend their time improving their ballroom. Now that I think about, I almost always hear the same complaint about WCS, except instead of saying they'd rather spend more time improving ballroom, they say they need to improve it because everybody else wants to dance it.

    I cannot imagine how awful AT would feel if I were new to it, if it were the latest fad, and that when an American tango came on, guys would grab me "for some AT," start off walking, and then using no lead at all, launch into step 15 of the DVIDA syllabus, "15) Parada, Sandwich al Reves & Pasada con Media Luna - Stop, Reverse Sandwich, Pass Over with Half Moon." :doh: I would completely hate tango!

    YES exactly. That is exactly how I feel!

    I hate this step. The guy just stops dancing for no reason and starts clomping from side to side.
  2. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    That could be... I don't really know anything about the difference between Standard & Smooth or American & International, etc.. although I'm not so ignorant as to be unaware of the difference between American and Viennese Waltz! Love Viennese... Despite my focus on Tango, American and Viennese Waltz are actually still my favorite dances as long as the America Waltz isn't too slow and sleepy. I'll just never be able to do them at a high level because I can't get my upper back into a proper position without pain.
  3. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    :confused: Sounds like he's not doing the step correctly, to say the least.

    What the rest comes down to is, certain dances (AT & WCS in particular) tend to be more lead-follow based and require a fair amount of specific training to be able to enjoy the dance even only on a social level. Whereas some of the ballroom dances share some common vocabulary and can be picked up more quickly, albeit on a very low level, but still enough to satisfy some folks for simple social purposes. Not implying it's any easier to dance ballroom well or properly, of course.

    Apropos, I was talking to a lady who has been taking BR lessons for only about a month. She was at a dance and said she was asked to do WCS. She said that she didn't know WCS but the leader asked her if she knew jitterbug and she said yes. Then the leader told her, that's fine, WCS is like that, just a different rhythm. :doh:

    Pretty much equivalent to someone saying, if you know ballroom tango, then you can pick up AT on the floor, no problem. :rolleyes:
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Oh, don't apologize. I'm a horrible hijacker to other people's threads, so it's kind of karma, I guess. It doesn't phase me in the least. One of the things I like about the AT forum is that threads here do tend to meander a bit, which seems to create nice, "organic" conversations that just flow. If it wanders, it wanders. No harm done.

    And, if it helps you or someone else, so much the better! :D
  5. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think you meant this for me?

    I don't lead in BR at all and I'm not an advanced AT leader yet, so I really don't know. I'd say its probably both.
  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    If this is what it's been feeling like for you...holy crap you've had some bad leads! Did Angel's comment about thinking of it like an ocho cortado make sense to you? That was such a light bulb comment for me. They've always felt like the lead for a back ocho to me...which is what I've always done.
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I agree.

    I'm always amazed at the people who come to Tango from NO dance background. I think it is a much harder dance to gain that "social" level of profficiency than the ballroom dances and I can't imagine someone starting their social dance study with the hardest dance.

    I think that AT will improve the other dances in some ways especially as a follower... (that is, if you actually learn to FOLLOW - not "remember" in AT) But despite the ballroom dancers needing to unlearn some things to do AT, the folks who have never danced ANYTHING struggle considerably in AT in a way that I didn't see in beginner classes for other dances.

    Sometimes I want to suggest that they go take a class in ECS just to get used to moving and having fun at it, then take AT. It takes so long to get to even a low enough level of profficiency to enjoy a social dance, whereas someone can get out and do at least some simple basic fox trot or ECS in far less time.

    But Argentine tango has some weird addictive quality. As I said in another post, it wasn't my favorite dance when I started, I STILL don't really get excited or strongly moved by the music itself the way I do a Viennese Waltz, I still LOVE the Waltz best, and yet... I can't stop working on, perfecting, talking about, and going to AT classes and dances. I can't remember the last time I did a ballroom waltz (American or V.) but a let few days go by that I haven't had AT in my life in some way, by practicing or discussing it, and I feel restless and in need of an AT "fix".

  8. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I remember when I first started AT, as in before my first lesson, the woman who'd arranged things commenting that it was good that I'd only had ~9 months of minor ballroom experience because I wouldn't have that to mess me up.

    I must be strange, though, because I found AT very very easy from the very beginning. I found milongas fun from the very beginning. Could be I had the opportunity to dance with just some very patient leads. Could be that a lot of that comes from my teacher.

    There's one young girl (13 or 14) who gets dragged to milongas with her mother, and who's never had an AT lesson. Despite the lack of formal instruction, she can actually dance a very basic tango with patient leaders, and it's all because of my teacher. He's just repeatedly asked her to dance, and started with nothing more than walking...then adding a cross...then adding a step-over...then adding other little things. No, her technique isn't good, but she can follow and does just fine. It's been fascinating to watch her get better.

    But...yeah. AT is addictive in a way that nothing else has been. And kudos for someone else saying it should be fun! Maybe it's just the competitive influence, but that's one thing which seems to be missing (if not "frowned upon") in the BR circles. I've felt, at times, that even just saying that I want to have fun with it puts me in the category of "not serious." (Of course, I never was like I've been with AT. But even so, I'm serious about AT and demand fun from it.)
  9. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Hmmm...I envy you, Peaches. It's been over a year, and I'm still waiting for tango to feel anything remotely like fun or addictive. This despite finding a really excellent new teacher who is also extremely patient and encouraging. My following has improved a lot since taking her lessons, yet I still don't feel at the point where I'm enjoying the dance much. It doesn't help that most of the leaders just want to show off their flashiest new moves and are annoyed if you can't do them. :(

    I'd be super happy if I could dance AT with folks who want to do simple moves well and connecting with the music, but I'm not finding much of that. I do see that kind of thing more with social BR.
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    :( I'm so sorry to hear that.

    I have no idea why it clicked for me. (Or maybe it didn't, and my teacher was too kind to tell me, lol. I love my delusions!)

    Part of me wonders if, on a very small level, it has anything to do with the fact that my first teacher really didn't speak much English at the time. So I got very little verbal information (relatively speaking), what little there was was confined to things like "focus on me and nothing else" or "don't move," and most of it was just physical and feeling things. (I tend to do well with a very hands-on kind of teaching.) *shrug*
  11. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    interesting...just the opposite for me. I am very verbal and need to hear clear, precise words to explain things. So my current instructor (a former high school English teacher!) is perfect for my needs, and I feel I am grasping things more rapidly, whereas I felt extremely frustrated with the previous non-verbal types of instructors I had. Even if I could follow them physically I still wanted to hear a clear verbal explanation of how their actions fit into a concept. I don't think one kind of teacher or the other is generally better, it's just whatever works best for each individual's learning style.

    Anyway, to take this back on topic, it seems to be a lot easier in social BR than in AT, for a relative newbie to find a willing partner, perform simple steps together, connect with the music, and have a very pleasant and successful experience. The AT learning curve is a real hindrance in this regard.
  12. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    have you taken a class on milonga yet? :D That's what clicked it for me. I love milonga. I can't ever feel bad dancing a milonga and I've found that most people's tango tends to lighten up a little once they've had a milonga class (at least, one that is taught by someone who loves milonga!)
  13. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Yes! I've done milonga and taken classes in it. I enjoy it a lot, think it's fun, and find it a good bit easier as well. But then, I enjoy rhythmic dances in general (latin, salsa, etc.). However, my local venues tend not to play many milonga songs and most of the leaders don't appear to know or enjoy the style.
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Chica, you need to find a new scene. Come on down! :)
  15. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    OH! That's SO SAD! I think you have to have a really upbeat teacher when you first encounter it. My original instructor (luv 'im and all that) but boy- he had a grumpy personality and it didn't really lighten up...not a good intro for milonga. I'm glad we had a reallly nice couple give our first instruction with it...they kind of infected us. :p
  16. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Surprising. As someone else posted, it is one of the first "Swango" (hate that term) moves that is learned. try these....

    1. Sugar Push: man steps L out of the slot on 1 bringing her forward as normal. Stepping R in place for 2, lead her to not take the tap or triplet, but step back R on 3 - gancho "and", recover L fwd for 4, finish like normal 5+6.

    2. From the whip, she ganchos on counts "and 5".

    3. From the Link to Closed, she ganchos on the end. I'm sure there are more.

    This is a common thought, and for the life of me, I can not figure out why. I still insist, almost 20 years later, that AT is socially one of the easiest dances on the planet. I understand that when one approaches it from a S-S-Q-Q point of thought, it can be difficult because, until its surgence into US markets, it was never taught like this. it was based on natural walking. It is much easier than social...it has no preconcieved have-tos, no rise/lowers...just walk-feel-respond. I understand that I had the advantage of learning in BsAs, but so did a million other people.

    The reason that social AT is not difficult for the bizillion Argentines who dance it everyday is because they approach it from a different mindset than the average amer student. I am still convinced, that if people approached AT as in Peaches' post #138...later, that it would be easier at the beginning. Of course the nuances of teh upper level stuff will still be....AAGGHH!
  17. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Interesting points on milonga. It sort of goes with my other post. In BsAs, milonga is considered more difficult than tango. I find that to dance a really good milonga, one has to be fairly well versed in just plain tango. Yet, those on this thread seem to feel differently. I do understand that most rhythm dacnes are easier just because there isn't the time and attention placed to detail/tech. And milonga is fun.
  18. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    See, and this surprised me. I think I'd have said the exact opposite. (Which isn't meant to argue with your years of experience in teaching and dancing.) I guess I'd think of it more along the lines of, "You already know how to move. You already know how to walk. At it's most fundamental, that's all you're doing, so don't make it harder or more complex." Oh, sure, technique changes things. But having seen people seeming forget how to walk normally once they cross the threshold onto a dance floor, I think I'd just approach it from the other direction.
  19. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I see how you could have misread the post, but your reply is exactly what I was saying. If people approached AT in the way that you have described here, it wouldn't be so hard to understand. and begin. Of course, the nuances of gettign better and ultimately really good are a bit.....???????
  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Oh. Well then. Never mind! :D

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