Tango Argentino > Ballroom style

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Shaka, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    It's an interesting question., and like the others have said, the answer can vary from teacher to teacher. I think close embrace is the farthest from the ballroom frame. A lot of the structure of the connection comes from the chest, and the arms are mostly for support. As far as open goes, the one thing I can tell you is that when I first learned AT with open, there was a large emphasis on dynamic/flexible arms. There is a structure, but it moves and shifts with the dancers. A lot of tango movements are circular or move in spirals, internally as well as externally. The leader's right arm slides around his partner, and the follower's left moves up and down his arm or around his body as needed depending on the movement. Open and close aren't really set terms... it's not a 1 or a 0, though a lot of people dance it that way. The embrace is a continuum.

    If you go into modern/nuevo, they take the flexible embrace a step farther... the concepts of compression, momentum, and balance are explored. Movements that you might find more appropriate for bolero or swing become possible.
  2. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    The answer to that would depend on the style of tango, as well as the teacher's personal preferences. Some teachers say that the only purpose of the embrace is comfort. Others do teach doing certain things with the embrace for functional reasons (making it more like a frame).

    This gets into the whole issue of a "standardized" sylabus for tango. There are several "named" styles, and maybe a jillion other personal styles, (although that number drops quite a bit, if "sucks" is not counted as a style).


    Some of the "rules" (or things that are allowed) in nuevo, would violate the "rules", of some other styles (which then gets into the seemingly unwinnable argument about whether nuevo is part of tango, or not).
  3. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Made me laugh.
  4. Me

    Me New Member

    Well, I will be the one here to come out and say that it is not any different than frame.

    I think most people who hear "frame" have this idea that it is rigid. That is it is ballroom only. That it is on a syllabus somewhere. They don't understand that this is just a word, of many others that could be used instead, to describe the basic concept of "Hey, you. Yeah. Stand up straight, okay? Now, hold yourself up, and face your partner. Don't let your arms fly around like noodles. Thank you, drive through..." How it is shaped and how it is used is different from style to style. I have no earthly idea why "embrace" is the word of choice and "frame" is a dirty word. Sometimes I entirely avoid the word "embrace" because some peoples' concept of embrace is to hug or to squeeze. We all know how uncomfortable that is while dancing.

    This thread baffles me. I thought the kids were brilliant. The routine was cleanly executed, it had solid tango content, and the children showed an incredible maturity of movement. The music was authentic. There was no snarling, posturing, roses in teeth or other such nonsense. I honestly don't know what some people want.

    This is the type of sensationalist no-content "AT routines" we used to complain about here:


    I'm really disappointed to read some of the comments made here about the original video. I think Larinda, the "ballroom dancer" who came to reply here, has a more open-minded attitude here than several others I've seen post here.
  5. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member


    Yes, it's better than DWtS or SYTYCD. But to me it still looks like latin dancers playing with AT moves. That's fine, as long as they are having fun with their performance and the audience enjoys it. But I don't have to like it. ;)

    Also, welcome back Me. Long time no see.
  6. salthepal

    salthepal New Member

    I don't think people complain about these routines just to be curmudgeons. I think that all those routines have their own merits, even those "sensationalist no-content" ones. I enjoy watching a lot of them, including all the ones that were posted in this thread, but I shake my head when I hear them being called "Argentine Tango". What bothers a lot of people I know (and a good portion of posters on this forum, I suspect) is pretending that those kinds of performances are authentic tango, or that they contain solid tango. They may be executing some really nice step combinations, but what really impresses me when I watch a good argentine tango (either in a performance or just voyeuristically watching people dance at a milonga) is the feeling they're expressing while they're dancing and their interpretation of the music.

    To borrow an analogy from photography, it's like someone taking a technically perfect picture (sharpness, white balance, exposure) and claiming it's perfect, while ignoring the fact that its composition is underwhelming. In each case, the interesting photos trump the technically correct photos.

    I know this dead horse has been beaten plenty before, so feel free to ignore me ..
  7. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    While it's a nicely executed show dance, I'd complain about that too if somebody called it tango.
  8. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    mini hijack...

    Was wondering what kind of experience posters on this thread have in BOTH dance styles?

    I've been watching this thread from the sidelines (popcorn optional), and it struck me that there seem to be some who are knowledgeable about one or other style, completely ill-informed of the other, and yet quite vociferous in their misinterpretation of the style they don't know about.

    I don't mean any affront to posters of either style or this forum, just honestly curious, really.

    (I'd hate for some readers who might not be as discerning as other posters to take ill-informed opinion as gospel truth and perpetuate them).

    Sorry for the interruption...

  9. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Will you list what the BOTH dance styles are, that you are referring to?
  10. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    Oh, loosely? BT and AT.

    [But perhaps a relevant wider net would be Ballroom (and its subsets Modern and Latin--and their parallels in American Style), AT and its substyles (salon, fantasia, canyengue, nuevo, etc).
    Only because the opinions seem to pertain to those subsets too...]

  11. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I danced many styles of dance before touching upon ballroom dance. I've taken ballroom lessons from various teachers before concluding that I did not enjoy the standardization/regimentation involved.

    I've taken AT lessons from many and varied teachers for over 15 years and I enjoy the freedom to discover and express my own personal dance.
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member


    And THIS!

    For what it is, OK, fine. Not my cup of tea, but whatever. But what it is not, is AT.

    As for my background--dabbled in social American style, attempted slightly-more-serious dabbling in Standard. Have studied AT with some seriousness for several years, although have stopped for the last two years for financial reasons. Primarily salon, apilado and nuevo, although have dabbled with canyengue (sp?). Never got into fantasia. I certainly know enough to recognize when AT technique is being used in an AT showdance and when it isn't--regardless of music, or shoes, or improvisation, or choreo, or anything else. I know enough to recognize the misconceptions flying around in each direction--both about ballroom (in whatever variety), and AT.
  13. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    @dchester- I'm assuming he meant ballroom and AT.

    Maximus- I think it's a perfectly valid question related to the discussion. I danced social and competitive ballroom (American style) for over a decade and dabbled a little in Standard/Latin. I've danced AT only for the last 6 years so I believe I am at least able to see the differences and note what they are having had technical training on both sides of the fence.

    I guess what kind of bothers me in this discussion was that at some point someone mentioned that if an AT couple attempted a ballroom showdance, performed with AT technique and styling, that it wouldn't be taken very well by people knowledgeable in ballroom. Yet this is exactly the same thing. The main issue I see is that most of the people posting here in the AT forum don't have years of competition under their belt, because that's not how AT works. So even though a dancer has undertaken serious training in AT WILL at some point be able to look at a video clip (regardless of how good the dancing is) and tell if solid AT technique is being used (because I can surely see when it is or isn't) that doesn't mean they teach and/or compete or have some other credential for themselves and it seems to me that's one possible reason perhaps they get called snobs or elitist as opposed to knowledgeable in their own arena?
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think the difference in these things in ballroom vs AT, is that in ballroom, there is agreement on what is correct, and in AT there is agreement on nothing.
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Beat me to it. ;)
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Or as a well known teacher once said "Bad technique is not a 'style' "
  17. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    What actually is AT?

    compare youtube.com/watch?v=Zf6J-Hg_YWo

    These two are kids, too. It looks more argentinian, may be they´ve got better teachers, grimly determined parents, and a lot of role models all around them, they dance right from their birth, but is it TA? But what actually is TA then? A source of income, an universal art form, a folk dance, an elder style for former salseros, a dance for broken hearted people..
  18. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I WISH !!.. we have disagreement on many matters. This is true in all genres . The theoretical side of dance is always up for debate .

    And in Salsa, its the most disfunctional of all ..( and yes, I dance and teach all 3 styles of Tango and several styles in Salsa ) .
  19. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    A good many, from what I know of them, have little or no experience of the BR world. They are not shy about sharing strong views (and they are usually not complimentary of the style or its practitioners). They tend to have strong views about every separate style of tango too, and seemingly, would wish to be considered knowledgeable about all of them. Hmm...

    Then there are those who were once BR dancers, but who have now ‘seen the light’. Like most converts, too many of them exhibit rather more zeal than discernment in their views, and it is not hard to guess that they were probably never very good BR dancers, who didn’t progress much beyond the stage of novices, and never discovered how rewarding and endlessly challenging BR dancing can be. Many of this group have danced AT for many years, and for all I know, they may be very good at it.

    For me, I claim no particular knowledge or experience of AT: I am a novice of around two years, but I take my tango seriously, and wish to improve. I teach BR full time, and therefore have not left one world for the other, but have feet firmly planted in both worlds. It is a rather odd and lonely place to be!

    Dead right! I would wish that it were otherwise, but cannot see how it is going to happen.

    All of those, by degrees, but principally, perhaps, a topic for another discussion?
  20. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    It has 10x more AT than the dancing of the young couple we started with. I was quite enjoying it (once I had turned the sound off): but a shame she (nearly) fell out of that calesita. Principally, though, it reminded me why I don't like Gotan. As soon as the children start to count, I reach for a sick bag. Given the incessant driving rhythm of almost everything Gotan produces, they could have danced more rhythmically. Perhaps they should practise to D'Arienzo. I wouldn't have to turn off the sound, then, either. ;)

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