Tango Argentino > Close Embrace Tango Teachers

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Lois Donnay, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. Lois Donnay

    Lois Donnay Member

    Who are the great community teachers (not traveling pros) who concentrate on, teach and/or promote close embrace tango?
  2. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Do you mean here on our forum? Or well known somehow despite not actually traveling? How would someone ever know who the great non-traveling community teachers are if they aren't in that community?

    For what it's worth, I teach in close embrace, even for total beginners. It prevents people from starting out with bad habits that they'll have to fix later if they aren't nipped in the bud. For instance, it's harder to look down in CE. It's harder to lead by pushing the follower around with your arms. It's better for developing proper posture.

    There are so many things you can "cheat" in an open embrace.

    (I'm not claiming to be one of the "great community teachers".. that assessment should come from other people, like my students and the people who dance with them.)
    Paul Filipowicz and Lois Donnay like this.
  3. pascal

    pascal Active Member

    In Paris the number of teachers peaked to 160 at some point (much less now)
    Of them, two were close-embrace. One was teaching close-embrace right from the start, the other one from the second year on.
    With this said, many of our teachers gave a sample of the thing, by instance with a whole month of close-embrace, in their four-year cursus.
    Paul Filipowicz and Lois Donnay like this.
  4. Lois Donnay

    Lois Donnay Member

    I agree completely with your teaching philosophy! I teach the same way. I ask because I will sometimes get a request for a referral in another town. There seem to be lots of teachers teaching open, stagey moves, and starting with the 8cb which I also don't like. I'd like to have a nice "database" of teachers who teach this way.
  5. Lois Donnay

    Lois Donnay Member

    Oh my, that's too bad. Usually teachers will move to teaching more close embrace once they have some more experience and spent more time in Buenos Aires. However, I have to admit, teaching open is a lot easier. You can keep people thinking that they are learning, because they are stacking up steps. It's harder to teach feeling and connection, and may be harder for some students to feel they got anything out of a class. Sp to keep students, teachers will teach a new step every week, just like a ballroom class.
    Paul Filipowicz likes this.
  6. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    In some weird way, it's true.
    My reference about close embrace is Carlos Perez (from Carlos Perez and Rosa Forte), as he was there when the style appeared.
    Paul Filipowicz likes this.
  7. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    (un) fortunately for CE lovers tango dancer need to know all of them.
    Every embrace has its purpose and knowing all if them can be helpful in adaption process to a new partner
  8. Lois Donnay

    Lois Donnay Member

    I should include salon as well, since mostly I want to NOT include people who are teaching an arm's length kind of tango. I recently had two men move here from other cities, and both had learned a ton of moves, but never learned the embrace. They had trouble dancing with our followers, who felt pushed around and didn't like having their feet stared at during the dance. They had to start from scratch. But also, I'd like to take a vacation, and would like to invite an out of town teacher to come and take over my classes. I did this last year with Ernest Williams from Chicago, with excellent results, but he is not available this year.
    Mladenac likes this.
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    How long will you be on vacation? (and when?)
  10. Chrisa Assis

    Chrisa Assis Member

    I try to teach a bit of both, give people the opportunity to see how many options they have and how the embrace should not feel like "another thing they HAVE to do" before the dance, but feel part of their dance, part of them! Having said that, I teach close embrace from the beginning, maybe not the first class, but possibly third class in, because I fully agree with Zoopsia59's comment above--you get to avoid bad habits-- plus I think you manage to break the taboos we all carry with us as we enter a dance class. We don't usually hug strangers during our everyday life but we are asked to do it on the dance floor. So in my opinion the sooner someone gets comfortable, with spending 12mins in the arms of a stranger, the better! haha
    And actually my students reacted very well to the introduction of the close embrace, aside from the difficulty of the dance in general, in a close embrace it made more sense and they felt more secure--which is another bonus, the embrace becoming a safe place for the two partners!
    ArbeeNYC and Lois Donnay like this.
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I sometimes use a modified close embrace for people who just aren't comfortable completely together yet. It's especially useful when beginner leaders haven't learned to be forward and followers are going to get stepped on.

    I have the leaders put their hands on the follower's shoulder blades with their elbows pointed towards the floor (fingers pointed UP). This always produces some bizarre results initially because for some reason, no one ever seems to know what the shoulder blades are. (hint.. they're on the BACK). He is to think of the "box" formed by his arms and chest and not let it hinge/collapse into a parallelogram at the shoulder joints.

    The follower places her hands on the leader's biceps with her elbows also pointed at the floor (and fingers pointed up) with her arms on the OUTSIDE of his arms. This limits his ability to raise his elbows and use his arms for leading

    This stance gives the follower a feeling of control to be able to keep the leader further away if she feels uncomfortable or is getting tromped. The rule is that the leader cannot pull the follower to him. He has to respect the distance she establishes. But SHE has to allow it close enough that his hands stay on her back.

    It still keeps the leader from shoving her around with his arms. In order to get his hands to her shoulder blades, they do have to be close enough that looking at the floor is impractical, but their bodies don't have to touch. Unless there is a big height difference, they still have to pay attention to where they put their heads, and the leader still has to look down line of dance. It also places the follower directly in front of the leader which prevents the tendency to allow her to drift off to the leader's right. It keeps their embrace "flat on" instead of V'ed.

    I always tell newbies that there are many styles and embraces and that there is no one "right" way. I explain that I use a traditional parallel, flat-on CE because I think it is the best starting point for developing good habits and avoiding bad ones. I believe that the techniques learned and used are adaptable to most other styles, and that can't be said in reverse. I also think it is easier for most people to learn other embraces and styles after learning a "milonguero" than it is to learn a milonguero style after spending time only in open or pronounced V.
    Chrisa Assis, Angel HI and koinzell like this.
  12. koinzell

    koinzell Active Member

    Excellent. I also support this and for the exact same reasons too.
  13. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    I know quite a lot of people who would consider Carlos Perez a salón dancer in the mould of e.g. Pepito Avellaneda a lot more than a real "close embrace" dancer. Just to cite two obvious choices, he opens (quite a lot) when doing giros and Rosa never uses backwards ocho milonguero. He certainly doesn't _teach_ close embrace the way some other people do (from first hand experience). That even shows in all the Mundial dancers he's trained over the years (often quite successfully).
  14. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    That's very interesting. All the women visiting NYC from France, that I've danced with, danced close embrace. Is there another region besides Paris where close embrace is more common?
  15. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    Ok, with that clarification I can respond. I distinguish between dancing "close embrace" and dancing "in an embrace". My concept of "close embrace" came from visiting teachers: "Tete" Rusconi, Susana Miller, Maxi Gluzman, Monica Paz, Armando Orzusa & Maria Martinez, maybe a couple of others who I don't recall off hand. Here in NYC I'm not aware of anyone who regularly teaches that style. Rebecca Shulman is among the few teachers here who I have seen dancing socially in that style. There are teachers here that advertise classes as "close embrace" but actually teach within the embrace. Diego Blanco & Ana Padron, Carolina Jaurena & Andres Bravo are 2 couples teaching @ Triangulo dance studio. Jorge Torres, of Astoria Tango School, regularly teaches techniques that only work if the couple is close together within the embrace, and he stresses that point.
    Angel HI likes this.
  16. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    Albuquerque/Santa Fe NM has several. SF - Liz Haight. SF - Shahin Medghalchi. Abq - Eva Garlez & Pablo Rodriguez. Abq - Paul Akmajian. They are all close embrace all the time dancers and teachers.
    Lois Donnay likes this.
  17. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    1. IMHO, Zoops, you have nothing to be too modest about.
    2. I, too, teach what I call an elastic embrace (modified embrace, but different from Zoops'). Though my preferred dance style is what most in this country would call salon, I really dance mainly in a CE embrace that is relaxed to a semi-opened embrace when necessary. Of course, if the music warrants an apilado embrace, then that's what I do, period. I agree that it is easier to vacillate into or in/out of other styles if one is adept at CE first.
  18. ArbeeNYC

    ArbeeNYC Member

    Here, in NYC, I'd say most but not all. There are quite a few who teach a style that seems to be based on Gustavo Naveira, which swings between open and closed, closed and open. Well, all "embraces" are close, by definition. What's Naveira in terms of style? Nuevo?
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Angel HI likes this.
  20. ArbeeNYC

    ArbeeNYC Member

    Oh, there are others - Robin Thomas, Gustavo Rios, Maria-José Sosa. And they all dance socially that way. Torres, whenever I've seen him dance socially, dances a bit like Naveira, which is quite different from the "traditional" style someone like Monica Paz dances. Mariana Fresno teaches the close style as well. I'm sure I'm forgetting some as well.

Share This Page