Tango Argentino > Ballroom style

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

  1. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Now I understand. I was interpreting swing dances to be Lindy Hop, WCS,
    balboa etc, all quite different. Whereas you are using it as a swing group
    of ballroom dances, a term that I've never heard used. In the US it includes
    all jive forms I think which in the UK we don't.

    However I can see your point about excluding Ballroom Tango from such
    a theoretical composite frame but the "swing" group are similar enough
    to be compared/contrasted to AT in the (close . . ok - very close) embrace.
    What do think, shall we leave it there?
  2. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Heh. It's interesting. My first teacher grew up in BsAs and danced tango growing up. She said she'd never heard anyone call it open or close or whatever until she started traveling outside of Argentina. To her family and teachers, it was all just the embrace.

    Which isn't to say labels aren't useful, particularly for an online discussion. But it's something to think about.
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Bwa ha ha!
  4. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    There are ballroom dances where the hold is connected along the body on one side and completely open on the other side with the follower looking more to her right?
  5. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    In this context, 'swing' refers to the fundamental ballroom walking action, where the leg is swung from the hip (backwards & forwards), and which doesn't apply to ballroom tango, which has a distinctly different 'pick up and quickly place' action. Tangotime did suggest that I should clarify what I meant (it is perhaps not a well known distinction outside the professional realm), but your following post did make reference to the three + tango, as though you had in mind the same distinction, but perhaps I should have clarified anyway.

    The trouble is, that if we are talking about comparing a 'swing-dance ballroom frame' with an AT embrace, we still have to define what we mean by embrace, because if we think there is only one, that is generally because we have a strong preference for one style of AT, and 'our' embrace is the one we mean, and all others are out of contention. I would agree, on any showing, that they won't have very much in common, except that they still have the same fundamental purpose: they connect two people in a partner-dance. The arms may be more or less active, depending on the degree of body contact, but such contact is usually considered vitally important in both the 'frame' and the 'embrace'.

    If we want to compare the ballroom tango frame (I would prefer hold) to an AT embrace, it is more difficult. The walking actions in tango don't vary much by style (they're not the same, they just don't vary much), and the means of physical connection in ballroom tango could reasonably be said to be within the broad limits of possible means of achieving an AT embrace (taking the widest definitions of what can be called AT). That said, there is not much to be gained from considering the individual differences, which I think are mostly to do with the points of bodily contact. The shaping of the arms are different, but positioning can be so variable anyway: the handclasp being anywhere from below the chest to above the head. The most sensible thing to say would be that the ballroom version is more-or-less standardised, and you could readily dance with anyone from anywhere in the world, whereas the embrace is a style statement, and while most dancers with a particular but different style preferences would studiously ignore each other in the cabaceo, they would probably have great difficulty in dancing together at all if they tried.

    Standardisation has a lot going for it.
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Not sure who you mean by "they". AT dancers?
  7. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I guess then that you are not familiar with Scrivener .. one of his stock in trade phrases.. " If ya aint got that swing, ya aint got a thing ".. referencing the action used by the leg/s in the " swing " dances, i.e. F/trot, W, and Q/step .
  8. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    I think standardization of some things can be helpful, but I COMPLETELY disagree with the statement above. It isn't nearly so clear cut. Particulary for followers. Any follower past a certain level can dance any style of embrace. She might not necessarily enjoy it as much, but the general follower technique would hold true for all styles.

    In the same vein, if a leader is taught the same way, to be accepting rather than close-minded, they can adapt to any style as well. If anything I think THIS should be the standard in AT... a teaching method rather than a body diagram. Just like learning improvisation is better than learning patterns, learning to follow/match a partner and change the embrace depending on the person you are dancing with is superior to learning one way to do the embrace.
  9. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I certainly don't agree that every follower past a certain level can, or even
    should attempt to, dance any style of embrace. Certainly I know followers
    who make a conscious effort to be able to do so but there are others with
    a definite preference for a certain style of embrace or hold. Assessing a
    follower's level on that basis would never have crossed my mind.

    The many different styles with no one in the ascendancy undoubtedly
    makes AT more difficult than it should be. I don't agree that followers
    technique holds true for all styles at all, particularly the matter of the
    embrace variations and holds of one kind or another.

    This depends on what you think a leader is. A leader is obviously not the
    follower though you are advocating here that a dance with an unknown
    partner should be "accepting". A certain amount of adjustment to a new
    partner usually has to happen but as a leader it still is my dance and there
    are limits. There always is the option not to dance with each other.

    In my case I have a preference for the in-line (close) embrace and if I
    couldn't dance it then AT would have little appeal. In the other holds AT
    becomes an ordinary dance of no particularly greater merit than many
    others which are more easily accessible as they are danced more widely.
  10. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Did he pay Billy Strayhorn a royalty for pinching the lyrics from Eliington's 1931 hit 'It Don't Mean a Thing ...'? ;)
  11. salthepal

    salthepal New Member

    It just looks less forced to me...
  12. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    I'm not going to respond point for point because your post didn't really apply to mine. I was responding to UKDancer about standardization of styles. I really don't care what style you dance, do whatever you want.

    My point was there are less differences between the styles than people suggest, and if you approach tango looking for the simularities rather than the differences you can dance with anyone if you choose to. The follower comment was perhaps poorly worded; I don't "rank" followers. It was an observation that the follower role promotes learning to adapt, and there's no reason leaders can't learn the same lesson. If there was some attempt to standardize the teaching of the embrace, looking at the commonalities across all the styles and combining them would be the way to go.
  13. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I thought I already was doing what I wanted and hopefully similar to a
    great number of argentineans in BsAs so wasn't seeking and don't need
    your permission and nor was I telling you what to do.

    Well you have your point of view and I have mine.
    Not so strangely, they are rather different.

    Your standardization of the embrace would result in an inevitable dumbing
    down then. Oh - now I remember, that's exactly what's already happening
    with the widespread teaching of VU.
  14. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I agree, and I have tried to extend my own ability to adapt, to a point. Beyond that, I am the leader and my partner is the follower. I do not imply any hierarchy. The roles are equal but different.

    Why would that be the way to go? Standardization is the same as homogenization. It makes everything the same and reduces individuality. I don't think that is what AT is all about.
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I agree that being open minded and learning to adapt to various partners is a good thing (and other stuff you said in the 2nd paragraph). However, I disagree that being "past a certain level" as a follower automatically means being proficient in any embrace... Or perhaps we have a different definition of what level one needs tobe "past".

    I consider myself a fairly capable AT follower and yet I find a pronounced V embrace quite difficult. It's not just a case of varying enjoyment.. I actually become awkward and inadequate in a V with my head turned dramatically to my right. It's VERY different from dancing milonguero where "behind me" is at the back of my head.

    Yes, basic follower techniques are still in play, but my entire orientation to my partner is different. What my brain considers "back" is now in a different direction from the orientation of my head, and even my body. Dancing with your hips perpendicular to the line of dance is not the same as dancing with your hips at a diagonal to the LOD.

    I can't stress enough just how much changes to be oriented to your partner and the LOD at a different angle. It's actually (with my limited experience of BR) even more different to move that way than to be in a BR hold vs a milonguero AT hold, both of which square off to the partner and LOD in a similar relationship. A great deal of follower technique involves maintaining the relationship to the leader. You can become quite good at dancing in one relationship (ie: square) and still have trouble adapting to a completely different relationship (ie: 45 degree angle)

    I think it's true to say that most (but probably not ALL) followers "past a certain level" COULD learn (with time investment) to follow in any embrace. But I don't think it's true that being past a certain level means that they automatically have... unless being able to do so is part of your definition of being "past a certain level".
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I agree with this

    I don't agree with this, but I may misunderstand what you are saying... Combine the styles? You mean find a middle ground and mush them together so there's only one?
  17. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    I don't necessarily think it would be easy. Or even possible. I am just entertaining the possibilities since the subject was raised.
  18. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Hmm, well, I don't have much exposure to the V. It doesn't seem to have caught on around here, or maybe I just haven't noticed it. A few teachers that have come through use it, but the ones I am familiar with in the local area mostly teach apilado as the close embrace, then opening up the arms if you want to do something bigger.

    I think my point is getting lost. I wish I had just made the statement differently. "I have observed that the followers that I consider the most proficient in my geographical area are capable of adapting to any embrace offered by a leader within my geographical area. It follows that it is possible for one person to adapt to many styles."

    Better? ;)
  19. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Not really. It's more like... the difference between making a math student memorize all the formulas vs teaching them logic and critical thinking.

    The only way I could see to standardize tango without losing the core of it is to come up with a method that allows the student to derive their own dance from the common principles. Which common principles? Well, all of them. Yes, some of them conflict. That's why the student eventually has to choose which ones to follow...
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Doesn't that imply that it isn't standardized? If principles conflict and students have to decide between conflicting principles to follow whichever one suits them, that's the opposite of standardization, no matter what "method" of teaching the stuff you come up with.

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