Tango Argentino > Ballroom style

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

  1. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, fantasia is stage tango. It's just that I never saw any that looked like that.
  2. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info Larinda, that is interesting. I wonder which teacher in NY? Nah, nevermind, it's not important. :) I do want to reiterate, I've looked at John and Alexandra's other stuff, and they are fantastic.

    I think my point still stands about the foundation though, and maybe goes along with what opendoor is talking about. There is a distinct look to AT choreography as performed by BR dancers. Maybe it is because of the influence of the BR syllabi, maybe it is something about how the prominent choreographers interpret the dance. Maybe it deserves its own label? Or maybe not, we have enough of those already. :-D

    I think I would like it more if they put a little more effort into the details and learned from some actual fantasia dancers. I think it would look better too.
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Gee, I guess I'm a little more forgiving of the kids than most of you. I didn't think it looked any more 'unlike AT' than most other stagey performances of AT I've seen. The difference was that

    A) the choreography didn't have any flow at all (for which you have to blame the choreographer)


    B) the kids, despite the potential to be (or become) technically advanced as show dancers in general, are too young to have the emotional maturity to back up the movements with something beyond mere execution.

    I saw kids from tango schools in BA perform stage tango and I had a similar reaction. There's just something missing. You could probably also teach a child to dance Martha Graham's Lamentation, but it's questionable whether the average child dancer could actually do anything with it beyond replicate choreography. A child would need maturity beyond their years to portray what Graham intended, and so it also is with AT Fantasia.

    These two kids replicated choreography they were given, but they didn't perform any emotion or subtleties to accompany the choreography. It looks challenging as a dance, but the most challenging (and important) elements are actually completely missing.

    I am left impressed by their ability to execute steps, but I am not touched by their dancing.

    However, I've had that same reaction to a number of performances I've seen by "authentic" AT dancers, so I don't think these kids are nearly as awful as some of you do in comparison.
  4. Mosca Negra

    Mosca Negra New Member

    This is a young couple performing a ballroom version of Argentine Tango with considerable elan. They are far too young to express the more emotional aspects of Argentine Tango and should not be held to that standard; and in fact, had they smoldered on the dance floor, I imagine there would be a very different discussion taking place. I am no fan of any Argentine Tango version of paint by numbers, but I admire the passion and intensity with which this young couple danced.
  5. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    Agreed, all valid points And nicely stated...;)
  6. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Probably latin sandals.
  7. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    No, it is pretty bad.

    The first thing I noticed was her walk, it was poor. They then got into an embrace, and that's when things went really downhill.

    The posture is just ...well, freeze it at 0:25 to see what I mean (and don't say I didn't warn you).

    There's a nice enganche around 0:49. Ummm, that's about it.

    Actually, the choreography was OK I thought. Or, at least, it was no worse than the average performance.

    I don't buy that. They're simply dancing AT the wrong way - basing everything on shapes rather than on technique.

    I've no idea whether they're any good at ballroom. But they're definitely not very good at AT, because they're doing it wrong. It's a shape-based performance, with no technique behind it.
  8. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I agree with Dave Bailey on this. The reason (for me) that it looks so out of place is that they are very clearly trained in Latin technique (and though I didn't have a look at their other dancing, can certainly infer from the Latin technique they are employing that they are probably quite good at it). In other words, like Dave said, "they are dancing AT the wrong way".

    They are overlaying the Latin technique on to the TV-tango routine and since, to me at least, one reason any dance looks authentic when you dance it is because you are using your body the way the dance is structured and with the techniques commonly used for that dance. They aren't doing that in the performance, it only looks like Latin technique overlaid on a Tango-esque routine.

    I'm not dissing their dance ability, because they are clearly talented. But dancing any dance requires a great deal of technical experience, and years of learning one dance form which has one set of techniques and then suddenly trying to attempt another without really understanding the technique behind it (and just dancing a choreography) is not something I have ever successfully seen done....It takes on the order of years to undo one set of techniques and relearn a new one that is different. The body's muscle memory has to be retrained to the point you could exchange one for the other at will, and that takes years, IMO.
  9. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Very true, but also, learning a dance to perform without learning the technique behind it also does not make one a dancer of that style, be it show or social.

    Whatever people may think of show versus social tango, you can generally tell when the couple is employing authentic technique to carry either of them out if you've made any serious study of AT technique.
  10. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Yes, that's basically it. I've no problem with people doing all sorts of weird kicks, flicks and lifts in tango fantasia, it's just that you expect there to be something behind it, you know?

    And as their technique is clearly very wrong for AT, the whole thing looks a bit painful. The raised shoulders, the bent knees, etc. Although the lady does have some nice free leg movements on occasion I think.
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I also noticed the raised shoulders but I certainly didn't attribute that to being from some other dance's technique manual. Is that actually correct in Latin? I wouldn't think that it was correct for ANY dance.

    I wasn't going to nitpick every little thing wrong with their dancing; I tried take a broader view. It's not as though I didn't see anything wrong with it. How about how she has to skoodge her foot around on the floor to regain balance and/or position several times? Yep... we can tear this performance apart, but that wasn't what I was trying to point out... it was that even the children I saw in BA from a famous tango school (who probably are not previously schooled in other dances) do not look like they are dancing AT.... they look like they are performing memorized choreography without much understanding of the dance or it's nuances.

    (and I'm not talking about injecting "smoldering" passion that would be inappropriate for young kids... there are plenty of things AT expresses besides that blatant sexuality. Smoldering sexual passion isn't exactly a "nuance" or "subtlety" either... that's where so many performances go wrong because they are only about that :rolleyes:)

    Even when they are technically brilliant, they don't look as though the couple dancing actually created the dance themselves. Properly executed, choreography looks as though the dancers are making it as they dance. I've never seen children look that way performing AT except when a child dances with an adult that they've had social dance experience with.

    The one thing that sets a really wonderful AT show dance apart from the mediocre is that you still believe the couple is improvising the dance (or at least that they choreographed it themselves) rather than being aware that it was choreographed by someone else and memorized by the dancers. Many demos we see on You Tube videos are still lead and follow based, not choreographed.

    So I think we agree more than we disagree. They're replicating choreography. That's what we both said. I've seen better... I've seen worse. Some of the "worse" I've seen is from supposed AT dancers, but then quite a few videos we pick apart here are of amateurs who had the misfortune of being asked to do a demo at their local milonga and someone put it on you tube. I certainly never want you people to see ME dance!

    Many people coming to AT now have a background in something else including some well known teachers. Ballet dancers who do AT have a certain "look". Modern dancers do too. We on this forum tend to be more critical of those with a ballroom background primarily because it is so often assumed that AT is just another "ballroom" dance, and we're so aware of the differences in AT and ballroom technique/posture.

    I've seen many AT dancers in videos posted here whose posture is truly awful (more of a problem with leaders) and no one makes a peep. These kids have an issue with their shoulders. Some famous leaders have a problem with their backs hunched and their heads dropped. Chico isn't exactly the paragon of posture, and in some videos, Geraldine gets an arch in her lower back that looks downright painful.

    My point is that we agree that their dance doesn't FEEL like AT. However as to whether it LOOKS like "proper" AT, we never agreed much on this forum on even the "right" technique for walking, much less anything else.

    These kids aren't dancing Argentine Tango. They are performing a piece of choreography. We can agree on that. However, even with better technique and no background to unlearn from another dance, I think that would still be the case because they're so young They would have to have been exposed to AT as a social dance in their community for any of what it's about to have taken root at their age..
  12. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you. That's all that needs to be said.

    The MODs can close this thread now.

  13. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    are you seriously asking or just being cheeky?
  14. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I suppose that would be choice "B".

    Geez, I guess nobody gets my smileys.
    (**shakes head**)
  15. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    got it... :)
    I was hoping that was it since the chat was nice and I was not here under any formal mod status but simply as a fellow DFer.
  16. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Yes agreed and too often we see these teachers with experience
    of other dance genres exploring pushing the boundaries of AT.

    Of course some in the ballroom world
    now teach their own idea of Argentine Tango.

    For example this thread started like this:
    In my opinion it's a most imperfect style.

    Some of just let it go I suspect, Chicho Frumboli (that's who I assume
    you meant) is a good example of bad posture but there is nothing about
    his dance that appeals to me. I don't know why the ladies dance with
    such a reverse arch of their lower back but many do.
    Isn't that the wrong way round? We can only infer the feel from our own
    knowledge of what the right feel should look like. If we can't agree what
    AT looks like we are all inferring the feel from different viewpoints.
    I suppose that now means we can't agree on anything much at all which
    seems about right.
    Yes - but not according to the OP.
  17. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, we do. (most of the time)
    I think last time dchester wrote to close the thread there was no smiley?
    Oh, the thread was not closed.
  18. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Well the OP isn't exactly a "ballroom dancer". They are a dancer that finds a lot of fluidity between the styles, having about as much knowledge of ballroom as they do AT, crossing over between AT, Ballroom, and Salsa.
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I was referring to the feeling generated in me as a viewer. Performances and Art in general are intended to prompt an emotional response or feeling in the viewer, not just an analytical response. So when I say it doesn't "feel like AT", I mean that it doesn't prompt any feeling of AT or emotion of AT to me as a viewer.

    What the performers feel themselves isn't something I can gauge 100%, however, the ability to project their own feeling (or a specific acted one) to an audience is part of what makes a great performer stand apart from a typical dancer "performing".
  20. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Cliquish tango dancers? Say it ain't so! :rolleyes:

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