Tango Argentino > "Cadencia" revisited

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Mario7, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    The meaning of the word 'Cadencia' has always provided food for thought in Arg. Tango.
    I remember swapping an English class for a Tango class with Arg. dancers/teachers and they also were perplexed and asking for a translation of the word 'cadencia'.. my advice to them was just to keep that term in Spanish and show examples of it's meaning...
    I'm not saying that I'm an expert on this nor even that I have the real meaning of the word nailed down. But that being said, what 'cadencia' means to me is the attitude and handling of the whole body of the dancer during the dance... that the dancer reflects, sings, interprets the music with his/her whole body...not just from the waist down.
    For an example, I am positing this video of two Japanese dancers... I used to think that only Argentines have cadencia but have been persuaded that this is just not true...here are two dancers from another country and I have not yet researched enough to know if they've been to BsAs...they certainly look it... dig the cadencia!
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    From sources undefined..

    Cadencia - A deep check and replace, usually led by the man as he steps forward left. Useful for avoiding collisions and making direction changes in small spaces. May also refer to a subtle shifting of weight from foot to foot in place and in time with the music done by the man before beginning a dance to give the lady the rhythm he intends to dance and to ensure that she will begin with him on the correct foot.

    Google translate (an excellent tool - I've gotten translations of entire blocks of text - a book on tango I came across in Patagonia - for example) gives "cadence" as the English equivalent of cadencia. And that is defined as "2. The measure of beat or movement, as in marching or dancing."

    Much of what I thought was unique about our current "Argentine Tango" (the term has been used over and over again for different forms of the dance over the decades) is in fact common to many dances; something I found out in reading many old books on dance. There is, however, lots of mystique about our current AT.
  3. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I follow Mario´s definition. Of course, Steve and Google also explain the term "cadencia" in a technical sense. But there is another meaning and Mario put it in words. "Cadencia" is a key word for tango as "sabor" is one for salsa.
  4. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    To me, Cadencia simply means moving with Rhythm, Style, Cadence. Similar to a guy strutting while walking down the street.

    There's more than one way to do it.
  5. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Immediately thought of this...

    Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
    I'm a woman's man, no time to talk

    But, maybe not. Or rather...

    But now it's all right, that's okay
    You may look the other way
  6. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I know DChester will hate me for saying this, but its like the Tom Waits song "Walking Spanish"
  7. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    I did not enjoy that video. There was no cadence; they were all over the place rhythmically going from one preplanned step sequence to the next. They did not start or end with the musical cadences. (And the way he groped her into the embrace was like a dog slobbering all over a bone.)

    Anyway, cadence refers to how one starts and closes musical sequences. The movements should always follow the musical cadence.
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    i think the point about the discussion is that cadenzia does not mean cadence

    cadence [ˈkeɪdəns], cadency
    n pl -dences, -dencies
    1. the beat or measure of something rhythmic
    2. (Linguistics / Phonetics & Phonology) a fall in the pitch of the voice, as at the end of a sentence
    3. (Linguistics / Phonetics & Phonology) modulation of the voice; intonation
    4. (Literature / Poetry) a rhythm or rhythmic construction in verse or prose; measure
    5.(Music, other) the close of a musical phrase or section

    [from Old French, from Old Italian cadenza, literally: a falling, from Latin cadere to fall]
  9. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe if someone else was singing it.

  10. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    How can you say this without an equivalent translation from the Spanish?

    So here's a translation of CADENCIA:

    feminine noun
    1. rhythm, cadence
    Copyright © 2006 Harrap Publishers Limited

    Seems it is indeed the equivalent of cadence.
    And another:

    cadencia [cah-den’-the-ah]
    1. Cadence, fall of the voice. (f)
    2. Cadence, number, measure, flow of verses or periods. (f)
    3. In dancing, the correspondence of the motion of the body with the music. (f)
    • Hablar en cadencia -> to affect the harmonious flow of rhythm when speaking in prose
    There's no need to analyse Cadence/cadencia
    and make another unnecessary mystery of it.
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less.'
  12. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Alex Krebbs describes it thus:
    <Though hearing and executing are the two major components of musicality, most people recognize that there is a deeper and more intangible aspect of being a musical dancer. Alex recognizes this quality and believes it plays a major role in the dance. “Part of being musical is not just putting the music into your feet and your legs. There’s what the Argentines call cadencia, which is the twisting and lilting. It’s the way the whole body reacts to the music. The whole body is sort of a musical palette rather than just the feet or legs, which tend to be the major emphasis in tango.” If hearing and executing are the height and width of musicality, this quality of cadencia is the depth, the third dimension that makes a dancer truly musical.>

    joy in motion website..
  13. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    "Words mean exactly what I want them to mean."
    — Lewis Carroll

    It's like arguing over what "Mojo" does or doesn't mean.
    dchester likes this.
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Interestingly, that quote from Alex was brought up back in a 2010 thread. And the names in that thread look familiar.

    Someone wrote,
    Someone else wrote
    which cracks me up!

    Robert Farris Thompson missed this definition of the word (a search of the book shows that he didn't use it at all) used by "the Argentines."
    opendoor likes this.
  15. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

  16. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    bordertangoman and dchester like this.
  17. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    good advice, the Argentine teachers & dancers I've encountered run into the same problem, even those with excellent English. The problem is that the dictionary definitions & especially English translations don't capture the connotations the word has in the Argentine tango community.

    I like the analogy used in http://joy-in-motion.com/index.php/articles/comments/cadencia_surfing_on_the_waves_on_the_music/

    because I think of it as rocking in the boat formed by the embrace on the waves of music.
  18. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing, Joy! I like the following best, because it´s breathing a little bit of zen..
    Only slightly agree with
    Now it´s been a long time without latin, but intuitively I would prefer `to fell` (cut down) rather than `to fall`.
  19. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    I really like this from above:
    "when I dance I feel very strongly how my partner and his unique energy are essential to my experience of cadencia with the music. I feel my partner’s subtle, honest, beautiful expressions and responses, and they elicit the same in my own body. And when we are very deeply speaking to each other, it’s like we have a shared cadencia. I can no longer tell his contribution from mine, nor do I want to."
  20. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

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