Tango Argentino > Crossing over from ballroom to Tango

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by twnkltoz, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    gosh darnit! Peach, you posted while I was thinking out my reply. :-D
  2. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Yes, dchester, I've noticed the pulling away thing too!
  3. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Good answer! Thank you!
  4. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, this is a real issue in making the change. In BR, nearly all steps requiring a weight change will have both partners change together. They have no real need to be aware of the others movement, in the sense that the timing of the step is given (from the pulse of the music), and they both knew that it was required. In AT, I have found (as a leader) needing to develop the control and awareness to be 'responsible' for my followers weight changes, independently of my own, the biggest single challenge I have encountered.
  5. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    I have found I can overlead a BR follower to stay on the foot I want. Almost like sending a reasurrance through the connection that what we're doing is a 'step' and it's ok. But it can be taxing to dance an entire tanda like that.
  6. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    You're welcome, and good luck with your lessons. :)
  7. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    They are almost bound to have that preconception, based on their experience, and it is surely for their teacher, very early on, to explain what is going on.

    My experience, at my first AT classes, was that the teacher said that there was no fixed rhythm, and that you could move any time you wanted and with any rhythm you liked. I'm certain that he didn't intend to be taken at face value, but one leader did just that, and started wondering off across the floor with absolute disregard for the music that was playing.

    I hope that the teacher meant that while the music 'usually' has a fairly straightforward pulse, the division or doubling of that pulse into steps, or pauses was the dancers' choice, and that particular characteristic tango movements, such as some version of an 8CB could be danced with one movement per beat (all slows), or very commonly have a SSSQQ pattern to the cross (if the phrasing allowed). He always danced that movement with that timing (regardless of the music, actually), but never described what he was doing in those terms, and I suspect, he wasn't actually aware of just how formulaic was the pattern he was demonstrating.

    The poor BR dancer would have understood perfectly well had the class danced the 8CB through on more than one rhythmic pattern, to illustrate the flexibility, but perhaps a tango dancer wouldn't see how that would be a valuable stepping stone to understanding the freedom.
  8. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Eventually you'll see people getting kicked... if not by that move, by something else. It is inevitable that accidents happen on the dancefloor in tango most places outside of traditional BA milongas. I'm just pointing this out as a general note... not about anything specific to that move.

    I got stiletto-stabbed in the kneecap by a very well known teacher (who incidentally I LOVE) in a class when she was working with another couple near us. Whether it was because my leader took me into their space or because she was so focused on what she was telling the other couple that she wasn't aware of her surroundings, I don't know. I actually found it rather amusing at the time, and she used the incident to stop and talk to the class about follower responsibility in movements that bring the leg off the floor (which is why I'm bringing it up)

    There is the theory that the leader is responsible for not dancing the follower into others, but the FOLLOWER is responsible if she kicks someone when her foot is OFF the floor. If you are led to step in a way that your foot makes contact on the floor with another person, then it is the leader's fault. But the follower is supposed to be aware enough of her surroundings not to raise the foot unless there's room for the move. Boleos can be done with the foot low.

    The problem is that some leaders lead these moves with such force, that it actually hurts to resist the momentum. And of course, back inline boleos are almost impossible for the follower to gauge the safety of, which is why I so hate having anyone but a few people lead me in them.

    Anyway, this has nothing to do with the BR topic, but I thought I'd point it out. If you impale someone with any sort of raised leg move, you may or may not get away with blaming it on the leader.

  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Doncha hate when she does that? :)
  10. chanchan

    chanchan Member

    According to me, the nuance means that, for example, a certain sound can be strong, can be soft, and can be something between: it is not something like on/off. When you can distinguish different grades of "softness", you can hear the nuances.

    It has nothing to do with saying that the music is happy or is sad...
    The beat could be considered like a sort of "nuance" which is usually very strong and repeated with regularity, that makes it easily recognizable.
  11. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    That is a good point. I guess my only point is that from what i've seen, the leaders are pretty careful with where they point their follower for these--such as into the corner where no one else is.
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    A further though, and hopefully clarification, as regards the "falling backwards" or "pulling away" thing.

    When I was attempting ballroom, I was often told to dance "into the man's right hand" and that body contact was not a goal but was, for lack of a better term at the moment, incidental.*

    As opposed to AT, where that's reversed. I ignore the man's right hand/arm for the most part. (It does come into play with various styles, but I'm deliberately ignoring that for the time being.) Instead, I always deliberately seek to achieve and maintain body contact...and fairly strongly, at that. I press myself forward into my leader's chest, and always seek to maintain that level of pressure. (It does vary, but again, I'm deliberately ignoring that right now.)

    *I freely admit that this is based on several years old, very very basic "knowledge" and "understanding" of ballroom dancing.
  13. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Again, we will have to agree to disagree. :)

    It's not that I can't hear the beat in AT music. Quite the opposite. I just don't ever think about it when I'm dancing. It just doesn't enter my radar. If I stop and listen for it, I hear it just fine. It is just completely unimportant to how I dance and my musicality. Shrug.
  14. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    If I misunderstood, I'm sorry, but the issue of standing with a backward balance IS very commonly asserted (even if not here), and it IS quite wrong.

    But on the particular issue you raise, I think this may be, again, an issue more related to the ability of the BR dancer, than of BR technique. There is the related issue that in BR the followers 'poise' (the carriage of the body's weight) is backward, but only from the waist upwards, giving rise to the classic Y shape, rather than the tango A shape. So the 'hold' should feel different from the 'embrace', but it is a fault if the follower is pulling away on backward steps. The weight distribution over the feet should still be forward, even when moving back, and when the leader indicates a forward step by forward intention of the body (same concept), the followers foot should start to move, articulating the ankle so that the foot is almost vertical, and should move back, without weight, with the toe only in contact with the floor just as far as the leader moves forwards. Only at the full extent of the stride (as determined by the leader, never the follower), does the follower start to lower to the ball of foot with weight transfer.

    If the man feels the lady pulling away, she is not executing the backward step correctly, as there should be a constant pressing forward into the man, with a little resistance, making the man work for his step (if you see what I mean).

    The mechanics of execution are different, and the points of contact in the connection are different, but the underlying concept is very similar indeed.

    In one sense (don't laugh), it's a shame that tango teachers are not also skilled in styles such as BR (as some are, of course), because it can only be helpful to have a proper concept of how other dance movements are executed correctly, given that so many beginning tango dancers are not complete beginners in dance. That they sometimes have a better understanding than the teacher of something that the teacher is often criticising rather roundly is not really helpful to anyone.
  15. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Body contact is sort of incidental, and I think there may be more cross-over there than you think. Good body contact is attained by basically trying to dance in the same space--by dancing into your partner. I danced with someone a couple of weeks ago who manufactures a close embrace by strongly holding his partner to him. This results in not only discomfort on the follower's part, but also bad posture and a dilution of the lead, IMO. This is just as bad a practice in BR. However, if a man invites me into a close embrace and I go, it is soooo comfortable and nice.

    The ballroom connection is kind of a complex thing that is not easily explained. The lead comes from the man's center, but the lady feels it not only through the body contact, but through the arms--not because he's using his arms per se, they're just there and part of the whole leading system. She must remain in his right hand, but maintains body contact by dancing into him slightly. She does pull her center back when moving backward to create a sort of vacuum that creates space for the man, but they don't necessarily break contact for that to happen. There is more compression and relaxation of the frame in BR than in AT, however. That was something I've had to unlearn, just like not carrying my momentum through each step.
  16. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    There is a lot to be said for the skill of the BR dancer. The "falling away" may be mis-interpreted execution of her frame....just like unskilled AT dancers might, perhaps, lean too far forward or over-do some other technique to the point of it being wrong and difficult for the man to dance with her.
  17. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    To give your teacher the benefit of the doubt, this may have been related to the 'backward poise' issue I mentioned earlier, but it just sounds like you were being badly taught, I'm afraid. The man should never have to use muscular effort to 'hold you' in the hold, and the contact on the ladies back should always be the lightest possible.

    If anyone started to dance like that with me, I'd ask them to stop immediately. It would be the sort of fundamental issue that might make me break off a tango dance in the middle of a song and go and sit down.
  18. ant

    ant Member

    I don't agree with your principle to dance continously without recognising phrases in Foxtrot. They are generally four beat sequences generally starting on the one beat and there is generally a pause at the end of each sequence. How can the phrase not generally be recognised in these circumstances.

    As far as I am concerned I have not included any of the latin dances (re your reference to chachacha or rhumba).

    I am not sure whether we agree or not here, please refer to my post #13.

    I believe we do recognise set rhythm patterns in AT music but we do not dance a loop of sequences to them. I also acknowledge that there are different rhythm patterns in AT and we can move to different patterns when we dance which is not apparent in BR but I would suggest this is not relevant when a person begins AT.
    A reasonable question and easily answered and not something I would have thought would be a problem in a crossover situation.

    But this is not specifically a crossover issue as you have acknowledged.

    Are you saying these students were originally BR dancers?

    Agreed but again are you referring to BR dancers that cannot find the beat?
    Because if they couldn't they must have been terrible BR dancers. I would say that BR is far less forgiving if you could not find the beat compared to AT.
  19. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Of course, you are free to use the term however you like, but you should be aware that not everyone is the US goes by your definition of the word. Feelings can be considered nuances.


    Definition of NUANCE

    1: a subtle distinction or variation

    2: a subtle quality : nicety

    3: sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicate shadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)
  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    All I'm saying is that I'm not convinced that a backward balance is necessarily what Zoo was talking about.

    Or perhaps it was, in which case (like you said) it's something that gets brought up with some frequency...so to my mind there is something to the ballroom posture/poise/balance/whatever that leads a lot of AT dancers to feel as if their partner has backward balance/poise/whatever. The interpretation of what is going on might be wrong, but whatever it is seems to be something that plenty of AT dancers have felt.

    I will have to take your word for things. I don't know enough to argue differently, if even that is warranted. But there is, without a doubt, something going on differently in how BR and AT dancers move, which gives rise to this sort of repeated complaint.

    I know that when I dabbled with Standard I had fits because of the reverse sort of application of things. I was always told that I was not moving enough...to which I'd always reply that I'd move when I was told to...to which I was asked if I felt the lead and understood what I was supposed to be doing...well, yes...to which I was told to MOVE! Which just got me back to my original point that I'd move when I was told to move. It was a never-ending cycle that didn't end well (a few months later). :D

    Agreed, or at least a decent working knowledge. I can see where it would be very helpful to have a teacher that could explain to a primarily-BR dancer how to dance AT...using BR terms that were understood by the student. ...which, incidentally, is how my teacher tried explaining BR to me--by relating it to AT, which I did get!

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