Tango Argentino > Big red stop button?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Tango Distance, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. Tango Distance

    Tango Distance Active Member

    Often a piece of dangerous industrial equipment will have a big red stop button. I am in no way trying to imply a tango follower is dangerous or industrial, but where is the big red stop button?

    Most of the time, with most ladies, things work as desired. With a few follows (seems to correlate with being more advanced) I can't seem to get them to stop doing ochos or molinetes. I can change direction (step out of it), but can't get them to stop for even a millisecond to try to do a gancho or even just to stop entirely for a pause in the music.

    One funny example was a very experienced lady. It went very well, she would perfectly execute everything I tried to lead, except stopping during ochos or molinetes! (I could get a stop during walking.) Finally, the 3rd song into the tanda, I exclaimed "Stop!" She did, and I was finally able to do a token gancho. We both laughed pretty hard. I don't hear other leaders barking out commands, so even though it worked, I suspect this is not doing it right.

    Any suggestions for me? Thanks.
  2. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Unless you enjoy pole dancing where you are the pole, don't dance with them. :)
    It takes two to tango. If one partner refuses to cooperate, it won't work, and it may even become dangerous for everyone on the floor.
  3. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Just because someone is experienced does not mean they are good. They should not be going on autopilot. My best suggestion is to become more assertive in your lead so they tune in better. Try slowing down as you step into an ocho and sending your energy down into the floor to ground yourself and stop your frame. If you absolutely can't stop them, redirect them...and maybe find someone to dance with who's more responsive to your lead!
  4. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    If follows lean forward, they can be tippy to their left and right. If that is the case, and you lead an ocho, it is possible for them to become auto-ocho machines. Same with molinette. Getting them to stop may require a _very_ delicate touch, leading them to be centered on you and not flop over to the other side (ocho) or continue to tip (molinette), or tip to the other side (other direction molinette). Sometimes, all you can do is step out of it, as you suggest, and then choose to dance with women who manage their own weight and maintain their own balance.
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  5. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Normally, it's less experienced dancers who will become "ocho machines" for a brief period of time (when they finally have figured out how to do that difficult sequence, and are so pleased with themselves, that they don't want to stop).

    I've not encountered that situation with a truly experienced dancer. My guess (and it's only a guess, since I can't see or feel what's going on), is that you may be doing something subtle that might seem to you like it's insignificant, but feels like a lead to her, (as it takes a lot less to lead an experienced follower, than it does a beginner).

    A couple things to try:
    1) make sure you stop moving (especially your upper body), when you want her to stop.
    2) if she won't stop, very gradually (and continually) loosen up your embrace (while standing still) to see if she will continue doing them once you've finally stopped embracing her (the classic symptom of an ocho machine).

    Note: unless someone actually sees and/or feels what you are doing, all we can really do is guess.
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  6. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    Sometimes the follower dances in her own world not listening the lead or she tries vigorously to guess the steps. I usually try to catch her attention by tightening the abrazo slightly or speeding up my steps or slowing them down. If nothing of this works I stop moving until she also has stopped and then we do a fresh start together.
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  7. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    They are not advanced dancers.
    They are long time dancers with bad habits.

    With advanced dancer you should feel how she is listening to you and the music.
    And you should corelate every move you make with here moves.
  8. koinzell

    koinzell Active Member

    Do the ochos slowly, step by step. There are four parts, all of which you lead: pivot, projection, weight change, collection.

    A simple test, try this from front ochos: Pivot her, lead her to take a step, collect her, pivot her. At this point, followers who are pattern-oriented will step without being lead (which they shouldn't). Pivot her the other way and enter back ochos.
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  9. Tango Distance

    Tango Distance Active Member

    Many thanks for the quick and good responses. Comments are interspersed.
    I did do this a bit at my last Milonga, as it was busy I never got around to the worst offender, and just dance the last part of the tanda with some others. As I am relatively inexperienced I'm going to assume I can do a better job leading.
    That's a great idea to slow down sooner in an ocho and helped me realize I may be discontinuous in parts of my leading. I tend to wait until the last moment to lead stops and reversals of direction.
    I will try to think about her axis more, maybe I am leaning things a bad way. I think you are right about experienced dancers being very responsive to lead. I have not danced with very many very experienced people, but have noticed things seem to happen very easily, and sometimes they do things I didn't intend to lead (maybe 1 step in 10 when doing something fancier than walking), which agrees with your thoughts.
    Agreed I'm likely doing something, hopefully I'll nail it down. I like the "auto ocho machine test" idea.
    Yet another idea I had not thought -- I'll have to try signaling "something different is about to happen." About being "in her own world" now that I think about it, one of the unstoppable ladies does tend to look around and is not paying full attention.
    The lady I referenced before is generally a close embrace dancer, I wonder if she counts on the greater amount of feedback in CE. I'm Mr. Open Embrace at this time.
    I like it, tricky, a good test, and fun!
  10. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    You have good observation and that is very important to be a good leader.
    I tend to listen followers continuously and adapt their dancing.
    So when "we make a mistake" dance is uninterrupted.

    Sometimes women have too much energy on particular days, so they don't really follow.
    Than what you learnt as tango is not tango. Dancing becomes something different.
    It might become riding a bull, it's not a norm but my experience.
    There is so much energy in a follower that is impossible to tame her.
    So what to do in a such situation, try do to damage control.
    Listen how she dances and stir her to safe positions on the dance floor .
    I know it's a bit extreme situation to autofollowing ochos.

    What could be an excercise you could do?
    Change dynamics of your lead according to the music and watch her following.
    Maybe she want more experience so she is creating her own.
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  11. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Lol I'm generally a good follow but sometimes I get overly excited. One of my favorite leaders (who is often very complimentary about my dancing) once asked if I'd had too much coffee that day (I had). Another favorite regular laughed after a song ended one time and said, "you were like an undisciplined puppy on that one."
  12. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I am a bit cautious about this exercise because it does not address what i feel is a crucial component: while the pattern of movement is as pivot, step, collect, pivot this is (at least in my opinion) not the best way to conceptualize the dynamics of leading. The lead is more "pivot into step" "step into collection" "collection into pivot", i.e. as a leader i have to have arranged what the next step is going to be way before it actually happens.

    I feel that the key for doing a gancho as an adornment in a moulinette is to lead it in time, which is before the follower has comitted to her step (there are times when as a leader i can take a follower out of a comitted step, ocho-cortados and boleos are god examples). So to get a follower to stop/hesitate on a split base to give the leader time for a gancho requires to lead this the moment the follower leaves her current base. i.e. if we think of the situation as "collected, front step, split base, continuing the front step, collected" the lead needs to come at the moment the follower leaves the collection. Anytime later and they will usually have already committed to the next step and it will be difficult for them to control their impulse. Similar if we want to stop - when the situation is "collected, front step, stop" the lead needs to start be directly after they leave the collection.

    (a caveat: this is based on my personal preference/style - there is a different school of thought were followers are not supposed to gain momentum/commit to their steps and attempt to come to a complete standstill/neutrality every time they collect/reach a base. Both methods have pros and cons, and it probably depends on what the prevalent style in your community is)
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  13. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    You didn't mention if you dance close embrace. I find better communication when I dance close embrace than open. (I avoid "open" as much as possible so I watch before I roll the dice and invite a woman to dance.)

    You didn't describe the woman's frame. If she's pushing very hard with her right arm (giving resistance), you shouldn't be surprised with the result. When a woman "gives resistance," she is resisting the lead.
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  14. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    Have you asked the other leaders if these followers are getting wild regularly?
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  15. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    I tend to keep them busy enough, this way they have no opportunity to get wild.
  16. Tango Distance

    Tango Distance Active Member

    These good responses have me thinking of some things I had not before. Another thought is the follower wants to finish a figure. I can usually "interrupt" a figure to stop, but there is something about rotational motion that they want to keep going. Maybe it is more to think about or actually more momentum.

    Mladenac and twnklotz: That is true, some days it seems like it must have been free double expresso day and they are trying to set a molinete land speed record!
    The timing does seem to be crucial, a little too soon and they collect, a little too late and they move to the next step. I think I'm being too sudden and will try spreading out the lead to stop into a "slow down gradually." I like your post, I hadn't thought the slow down could even start the step before.

    Tangomaniac: I'm only open embrace, my one foray into close embrace didn't go so well. My class is supposed to teach it as some point. I can visualize that close embrace would have greater communication and it would be more obvious wanting to stop, plus the motions are less wild and easier to stop from a pure momentum standpoint. I'll have to pay attention to arm resistance, but I think the follow's right arm goes noodle to allow continued motion.

    LadyLeader: That's a good idea. A variant would be to ask the instructor to stop them in a molinete and (a) see if he is successful and (b) if successful, how he did it.

    Newbie: Interesting thought, keep them busy enough to stop! If they don't know what to expect maybe they would be ready for anything, including stopping!
  17. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Oh, dchester, you must be so spoiled. I must agree w/ TD... so sick of ladies who consider themselves "advanced" enough to do these things, and will highjack the opportunity every opportunity that she gets. I lead one ocho, and when she finishes doing a voleo, attempted gancho, triple Salchow, and a back-flip, then I may continue. It's annoying as hell.

    Many good suggestions as to dealing with it, though are already posted. Best one, IMO, change her weight and balance.
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  18. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Just thought that this was great, and deserved repeating... perhaps in several discussions.
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  19. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Yeah... I've led several ladies who have been dancing tango longer than I who are like dancing with fish. Sometimes I feel like the old man and the sea by the end of a tanda.
    ocean-daughter likes this.
  20. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Thank you :cool:

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