Tango Argentino > Ballroom style

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

  1. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I am going to speak in ballroom and latin terms as those are the ones I am most familiar with obviously.

    No Posture is not easily described. "Stand up, don't slouch" is about as good as it gets. Some teachers talk of "tucking" the hips, I think that is ridiculously. Some talk about frame connection as originating in the sternum, some talk about the hips. Some students lean forward and need to be told to lean back. Some lean back and need to be told to lean forward. Some teachers talk of "stacking the blocks", last time I looked, my body is not very boxy.... How on earth do you describe on paper not to slouch when everyones slouch is different?

    Embrace, yes it is easy to tell when it is wrong, but how do you describe it perfect from the beginning? And as for ballroom and latin, there are descriptions for our Frame which would loosely equate to your Embrace, including dance positions closed, promenade, counter promenade, fallaway.... and the Latin books describes changes in the frame such as "man slides hand down ladies arm" But beyond that what else can be documented as strictly and as general as possible for everyone to agree on?

    Musicality... well we have time signatures for Silver + American and International Foxtrot. It is 28-30 measures a minute. Each step is ascribed a value, Slow = 2 beats. Quick = 1 beat. And = 1/2 beat. Pretty much every AT person I have spoken with scoffs at the idea of assigning ANY value of timing to a step, instead insisting on Feeling the Music. So there really isn't much to document for you... and what exactly IS the time signature of an AT?

    Floorcraft is not easily put on paper. Alignments are! And we do have an alignments column in the chart. I am very careful never to execute a natural turn facing Diagonal Center, unless I want to run into my fellow dancers coming down the line of dance. Alignments impart floorcraft is an easily documented fashion, but the words "don't run into other people" can't.
  2. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Works for me.

    In fact I may steal that :)
  3. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Awesome, be my guest. ;)
  4. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Nope, in AT there's much more to it than that, and it's much more measurable.

    At a basic level, you tell them to keep their intention (upper body) forward, and stay on their axis. Easy to measure, easy to assess.

    Why do you need to? Just say it should feel comfortable, and should not do ABC (e.g. tension on the outstretched arm), and you're away.

    Subliminal's post covers this one well I think.


    The point is, AT is a pure social dance. If you don't teach stuff that's vital to that dance, then a step-based syllabus is, rightly, scoffed-at for being ridiculous and irrelevant.

    Posture, for example, is vital to walk correctly. If you can't walk in Tango, you're screwed.
  5. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

  6. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Well, except the fact that cowboys went to bordellos... That's probably true.
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

  8. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I'm not even sure about that. I've heard that the gauchos pretty much remained out in the countryside, rarely coming into BA.
  9. ant

    ant Member

    Does it actually exist in BR?
  10. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Of course it does. It's of vital importance, but as in any dance, there are those who are not highly skilled, and those that don't much care about the effect their dancing has on the others sharing the space.
  11. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Keep going David - I agree with you 100%.

    Just one point to add.

    Larinda says posture and connection is impossible to describe in a syllabus.
    It is if you don't understand it, if a teacher can explain it (accurately) in words
    then it can be written down. What cannot be done in a syllabus or on a DVD
    is diagnosing an individual's posture, projection and connection problems.
    That surely is one of the points of tuition.

    Perhaps the teachers have so many different ideas because it hasn't been
    properly written down. I don't know which is worse - bad explanations or
    no explanations at all. I was once told I didn't "project" enough but there
    was no proper explanation of what was meant nor how to remedy it.
    I was on my own to solve that - thanks teachers. I know now and can
    explain it too.
  12. ant

    ant Member

    How do you think it compares to AT?
  13. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    BR dancers usually have to think about bigger scale movements, but can (usually) rely on the others on the floor moving in more predictable ways.

    In terms of the travelling dances (those that progress around the Line of Dance) eg all of the 'Ballroom' dances + Samba & Paso Doble from the Latin American fold, they are all constructed from more-or-less standardised figures that last for several steps/movements. Once the leader has commenced a movement, he will hope to complete it, and will aim (usually) to do so on the standardised alignments (direction of travel) for those movements. Not all figures do move very much from one position to another, nor do they all turn very much, but more complex figures can travel significantly across the floor, and change direction several times. In order to avoid collisions on the floor, therefore, it is necessary to be mindful of the need to have the necessary space into which to dance, and to spot the actions of others that would, potentially, bring about a collision (which could result in serious injury).

    With tango, the leader really hasn't much obligation beyond keeping an eye on what is going on in front of him, so that he can 'keep up' with the ronda, without undue inconvenience to the couples behind. If a space opens up, he should aim to move forward into that space, and always be mindful of the gentle movement of all the dancers around the room. He can choose steps/movements, in the moment, that will make the best use of the available space (although space utilisation may not be the primary reason to choose any particular movement).

    By comparison, BR dancers have to plan with care. They can combine the standardised figures of the particular dance, along with a variety of connector or continuity steps, in an almost infinite number of ways: lots of figures have long lists of precedes and follows (ie the figures that can come before and after), and so almost every couple on the floor will be dancing something different at any given time. This requires careful observation of the couples around you. It is necessary to acquire the ability to see what others are doing, and where the figure that they have committed themselves to will take them, and when. Your own intention has to be assessed for practicality, and sometimes you can proceed, as intended, but other times you have to change your plan very quickly, or adapt a figure, or its alignment, to make sure that everyone can dance without being obliged to stop, or collide. Such changes may result being left in a compromised position, from the point of view of continuity, and additional skill is therefore required to recover and lead another figure.

    In essence, the tango dancer chooses what to lead step by step, while the BR dancer chooses to lead a small group of steps (but perhaps as many as 15, over several bars of music), which are relatively standardised. The skill comes from selecting those figures that will be both enjoyable to dance, suit the musical phrasing, and make good use of the floor, without undue inconvenience (or danger) to other dancers.
  14. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I'm very weak on the whole anatomy thing (which is a problem, I know I should know more about it), but even I can certainly identify some rough ideas about posture. I don't think it's impossible to identify what should and shouldn't happen in writing.

    In fact, I already have (and yes, I know the posture on the main pic is not quite right...)
  15. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Actually- a nice embrace is actually really really difficult to convey just from observation. I have video and photo of myself and my partner from the last couple of years and though visually the embrace hasn't changed, the feeling of it has, over time. Improvements were made, and I can can't see anything different from pictures or video, but it is different than it was. One teacher changed the energy of my partners embrace last year, and it's not a visible thing at all.
  16. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    It might come across as scoffing, but if you think of the movements in AT as being able to be led to any timing, then you understand where they are coming from. The better leaders I dance with can take any step they lead and fit the timing of the lead to the music pretty much at will. That's what these people mean by not holding AT steps or motions to particular timings. For example, if a syncopa shows up in the music, and they happen to be leading a crusada which they might normally lead as a QQS (1 3 1), they can change the timing of the lead to fit it to the 12 41 of a syncopa. (Works best with cross system crusada.)

    Subliminals post is gives the usual methods students are taught that they can use (half time, regular time, double time, syncopas, other non standard accents, melody versus rhythm..etc...) then they have to learn to apply it the right way to the music.
  17. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Yes, a description of the embrace is difficult to write down but it can
    be done. However it can only be a starting position best described
    as lucidly and accurately as possible.

    Once again it's the diagnosing which is personal and individual.
    Just as in normal life you never perceive yourself as others do
    it's virtually impossible to know exactly what your partner feels.
    What is comfortable and reassuring to one partner is a too strong
    an embrace for another. The confidence and experience to modify
    the embrace partner to partner takes to time to acquire. And it still
    can be wrong.

    I'm guessing that your partner received that beneficial advice
    in private tuition having danced with the teacher. Fine tuning like that
    often isn't visible - social tango isn't a visual art, it's a dance of feeling.

    In fact I made a suggestion to a practice partner the other day as a result
    of dancing with someone else. To my surprise and her great credit
    she responded instantly and an already good connection changed
    dynamically for the better. And that wouldn't be visible either.
  18. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    A good description of the embrace could be written down, as could a good BR frame, although a BR frame is a lot more standardized than an embrace will ever be (I hope).

    I think the point was made earlier that no student is expected to learn to dance from reading a syllabus. A syllabus is a list of things to be taught by a teacher, present in the room.
  19. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Don't they teach reading for comprehension in UK primary schools?

  20. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I agree and that's already been covered.
    This thread has drifted into this topic of written explanation as a result
    of Larinda' comments. But then this thread has drifted a long way from
    its starting point already.

    Perhaps we should now explore if AT should be documented at all ;)
    But even if we did and could agree on an outcome (that would be a first),
    the documenting of various sorts and of widely divergent quality is
    already done.

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