Tango Argentino > "But that's how they do it in BsAs..."

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Dave Bailey, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I'm very much a beginner, but I've encountered this phrase a lot when discussing technique with some people.

    Typically, it's the last argument used in defence of something which I know to be wrong - for example "followers automatically cross on Step 5, that's How It's Done In Buenos Aires (so it must be right)".

    Anyone else come across this? What's an effective rebuttal? (Apart from actually going there myself, which time and money don't permit)
  2. dancedude314

    dancedude314 New Member

    That sounds a lot like the advice my dance instructor recently gave the followers when she was instructing AT in ballroom class.
  3. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    How about "Well, you ain't in Buenos Aires now, girl!"? :)

    Of course the truth is that there is all sorts of tango in Bs As, good dancers, bad dancers, good teachers, bad teachers, and lots that's not good or bad - just different. I was certainly never told or expected to cross automatically. But I'm sure I've used my months in Bs As to my advantage when discussing technique etc. with people who haven't been - especially when you are quite new to the dance you easily take your teacher's instructions as an absolute truth and only after a while do you realise that actually there are many different truths. I've also realised that some of the stuff I thought was correct actually probably wasn't, because I'd interpreted it wrong.

    So what should you say? Probably best to let it slide if you can, they'll realise in the end... Maybe if you really want to get your point across and have taken classes with some well-known, impressive teachers you could say "actually, so and so told me that...".

    See you in the milongas ;)
  4. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    Little addition - If you are having these discussions in class, it's always a good idea to just ask the teacher if you disagree on something. And in the milongas you shouldn't be talking about this stuff anyway, just dance...
  5. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    You have, in my experience, a number of options:

    "Ignorance is no defence"

    I'm leading and I would like you to follow. Are you willing to do that?
    So don't cross unless you feel me lead it.

    The brutal approach and a couple of times is quite enough; is to step forward to your right; she'll end up off balance if she decides to cross and you've made your point.

    I spend a lot of time teaching people how to lead a cross and how to follow it and correcting people who have been taught to do it automatically by BAD teachers.
    I don't have time for people who take this attitude.
  6. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    You're a tough one! But you are a teacher, so your partners will trust what you know what you're talking about...
  7. Tanguera

    Tanguera New Member

    I don't like people who went to BsAs and believe to be the most expert on AT. They usually end each discussion by: "You have never been there."
    When I meet them, I'm used to answer: "You are right." but then I try to avoid any kind of discussion about AT.

    About the cross: every step must be lead by the leader and followed by the follower. There's no other rule. :)
  8. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    "They were probably led to cross."
  9. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Its what I was taught (not being tough, I mean but how to lead the cross. Its a perpetual bugbear.)
  10. Milonguita

    Milonguita New Member

    I hear that often

    My teacher used to say it every lesson and every milonga, whether we asked about the reason behind a certain explanation, or we suggested alternative ways of organizing the milonga, or anything. The funny thing is, after his second trip to Buenos Aires, he starting using the same line to defend things in complete opposition to what he first taught.

    I guess that he should have made allowments for his own misunderstanding and shortcomings. We would all have been better dancers, instead of now having to correct things that we learned against our bodies' natural inclinations, just because they were "done so in Buenos Aires".

    Of course, part of the effect the line has is to make me want to see Buenos Aires even more. Mi Buenos Aires Querido... etc.
  11. CeeCee

    CeeCee New Member

    A couple of months ago a chap in our class here in London had recently returned from BsAs and considered himself to be a new expert in AT. He spread his new knowledge by telling the followers that the English teacher was no good because he didn't come from Argentina, never mind Buenos Aires. Of course the teacher wasn't too pleased when he heard these comments.
  12. Tanguera

    Tanguera New Member

    Welcome to DF CeeCee! :)
  13. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Except where the teachers (in separate classes) then disagree - for example, with the whole "heel / toe lead" debate :rolleyes:

    I guess the only real answer is to nod, smile politely, then ignore that person's opinion from now on.
  14. CeeCee

    CeeCee New Member

    Ooh, thank you very much, how sweet. Well, seeing as I think and dream about Tango ALL of the time, I thought I might and well join your forum and talk about it too.
    At the beginning this constant difference of opinion from the teachers was really annoying but now I just see it as their style preferences.

    Interestingly enough the latest teacher I had who teaches "heel" leads actually said that all of the "best dancers" in BsAs lead with the heel. So I guess that settles it then.
  15. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Welcome CeeCee! YAY!!! Another AT addict to come and talk about it!!!

    My responses..
    "Uh-huh." "That's nice." "Really." All have to be done deadpan.

    AT is a dance of evolution. I'll do it how it works for me--while I respect tradition, it's not the ultimate arbiter. Nor is being Argentine, or being from BsAs a guarantee (or prerequisite) for being a good AT dancer.

    As for the toe v. heel leads--most of the very good dancers I've seen will switch between them depending on what they're doing. I've heard toe leads make for prettier lines, heel leads make for a prettier walk, heel leads are more natural, heel leads give better stability, heel leads make for a smoother walk/weight transition. Whichever. If you can do it nicely, that settles it, IMO.

    That said, I aim for mostly heel leads...b/c all the things my teacher has said about them (above) seem to be very true. And...yet...I do use toe leads occasionally.
  16. jhpark

    jhpark Member

    *shrug*. i've heard a lot of arguments for heel vs. toe lead, and, find almost all of them unconvincing. i've been dancing with toe lead and i'm damn stable -- most of it is about pushing off with the trailing leg anyway.

    that said, i'm starting to learn the heel lead way of walking for two reasons. one is peer pressure -- i'm tired of it being the first thing to come out of teachers' mouths, and their mostly stupid justifications for it. the only good justifications i've heard so far are that it looks more natural (this is true in my opinion, though i'm not sure "more natural" is necessarily better) and that it allows your heel/lower leg whatever to be more relaxed, as you don't have to aim your foot down as you walk. my second reason is that it gives me more flexibility and choices in my dancing to learn it, so i can move between walking that way when i want to, and walking the way i like to walk when i don't :)
  17. new-ish

    new-ish New Member

    Buenos Aires is a big city with many Tango teachers and styles. If one teacher in Buenos Aires does something in a particular way, that does not mean that it is the "Standard Buenos Aires Tango."
  18. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    First of all: Hi CeeCee!!!!:peace:

    My long time, old teacher (he's 76). Goes to BsAs often. He tells me that after so many decades of AT, he's still learning.

    Anyway, he says that

    "Well, just because they do it that way in BsAs that way, doesn't mean we have to adhere to it. Granted there are rules and nuances in Tango that have to be followed and preserved. But, Tango, even as we speak is an ever evolving dance, but the character is the one constant that distinguishes it from all other dances. Whatever we do has to fit in the social norms of a particular place, but combine it with that which is uniquely (Argentine) Tango."

    So, knowing that, when I hear my partner whose been say,
    "...but, That's how they do it in BsAs" I reply,
    "Is that right, I'll remember that. Thank you"
    ... and I dance with her (the Ampster way), and she seems to like it. On we go dancing somemore....:together:

    I believe it's a matter of learning, adapting, and good delivery.
  19. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    I seem to be suffering (a beautiful kind of suffering) from the same malady.

    :cool: :bouncy:
  20. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I agree with these sentiments. Children use their toes when they start to walk and I understood that this was the "natural" way to walk even if its not "normal" or habitual. Since AT requires a reasonably strong foot to carry the weight forward over the ball of the foot and the 'caresssing' of the floor. I can't see any good reason to do it any way you please, (provided its elegant)

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