Tango Argentino > Dancing with beginners in close embrace

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Mario7, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    Please excuse my specifying C.E. but my opinion is that beginners should begin with C.E. anyway. This opinion has even been expressed by some Nuevo teachers and so hardly controversial. I also am narrowing this down to the more experienced leader's dance with the beginning follower.
    What I am trying to elicit here is a personal-experience type of posting on the specific skills and tacts that will work well with a beginning dance partner in the social dance (milonga)..in other words; without stopping to 'teach'..I would also appreciate any distinctions made between the 'first time' beginner and the beginner who has completed their first series of classes ... Hopefully, this thread will help me begin to dance with very inexperienced dancers who have a desire for the dance.:applause:
  2. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    No. Of course not. Quite.

    I would have found close embrace to be deeply, profoundly alarming if it had been my first experience of AT. Even worse if it was my first experience of partner dance. Even now, with unfamiliar partners it is a struggle to have to be so physically close to them, especially when there is often an element of physical effort as well.

    By all means introduce it, but with great sensitivity and care, and remember that it has its own set of technical difficulties at a time when the learning is already difficult enough. There is no reason to expect a raw beginner to love CE as much as you do or have the same attitude towards it. So take care what you are inflicting on them.
  3. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I would think that with a first time beginner, a practica setting would be much better than at a milonga. You'd mostly likely need to explain a few things to a new beginner, IMO.
  4. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    although I am not sure exaclty what you are asking;

    there are small relaxed milongas where I would dance with a near or total novice but others which if say too crowded, or too much sticklers for etiquette. ( ie snobs) but i know teachers who would discourage beginners from attending milongas until they had three months experience.

    I wouldnt dance close embrace with a novice unless they had very good posture/balance and groundedness, and again taking on board whether they feel comfortable in close embrace.

    if I caught you teaching on the dance floor in one of my milongas I would ask you to leave, close embrace or not. (Buenos Aires Codigo #12; No teaching at milongas)

    but as DB has pointed out there are many practi-longas around...:(

    Of course if you are asking this question you probably ought not to be dancing with beginners as you might put them off. I get alot of that people who say " i tried dancing tango but i had this awful experience with a man/woman who...blah blah blah..."
  5. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I no not agree that beginners should start with CE. I prefer to start them with OE, so they begin to understand basic concepts of tango while controlling and learning about their own balance/axis. Only after that do I begin teaching them apilado. This applies to classes and private lessons.

    At milongas I can dance with total beginners in a CE (not apilado) and give them a decent dance using only forward/back steps, side steps and pauses. A LOT of dancing can be done with only those steps, including plenty of nuance. But, I think it takes an experienced leader to understand that, and be able to deliver.

    Actually, I think a complete beginner is often easier to dance with than one who has finished an 8-week series. Total beginners have no mental concepts interferring with their ability to physically follow. After a beginner's series followers frequently are all "mental" about their dancing, and it takes them months before they get back to feeling the dance, rather than thinking it.
  6. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Re: beginners in CE

    I do agree, so what´s the point? :cheers:

    (think we do not agree about the ending, which is the open embrace, because it is by far the more demanding and intricate variant...)
  7. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    ....it seems that further explaination is needed...:rolleyes: (thanks to the Tango devide)
    Well, I don't dance open hold. I only dance close embrace. Recently, I've found occassion (they asked) to dance with beginners at a social dance. I guess I felt morally bound to eventually figure this out and do it... that is what my question is about. Of course, I could always stay dancing only with those that I know can do it.
  8. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    To be a missionary on the dance floor would leave a bad taste.... and would do a disservice to your ideas.

    But to be authentically in your way of dancing and interpreting music is the normal way.
  9. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    It takes two to tango, but it fairly well takes a whole community, also. I don't know if you have a moral obligation, but I do think dancers should make an effort to support the community in which they dance.

    I also find some personal satisfaction in helping devoted students to learn.
  10. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    why do you feel morally bound to do something you dont enjoy and/or cant do?

    surely you are advocating traditional Argentine tango values and by this ethos no-one should attend a milonga unless they have a good eighteen months practice?

    i keep shifting beginners in and out of close embrace in my classes; keeping their axis and balance has nothing to do with the embrace but their strentgth of core and their understanding of what is required to follow;(equally true of leaders)
  11. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    If a beginner is up to 1yr experience that I would dance CE.
    B/C in school I attend CE is done after 3-5 months.

    A lot of follower find CE at the beginning very demanding.
    So putting to soon in CE is pointless.
    Leaders and followers should get proper basics in OE to dance properly CE.

    I don't need to offend you Mario7, but it seems that you are close minded.
    Dance OE and open your mind.

    I used to help beginners but I know that I am not qualified for that so I stopped and it's quite demanding for me so I'd rather dance.
    Maybe I say sth about what is really noticeable and point that they look for the instructor.
  12. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    It seems to me that tango life is (or at least was in the Golden Age)
    simpler in BsAs. If you wanted to learn/dance social tango it was in the embrace.
    Variations there may have been but social tango meant dancing in a hug.
    If you didn't like inviting your partner to share your space and he/she
    didn't like sharing similarly then you didn't learn tango. It was your choice.

    In the US and Europe tango seems to be made so much more complicated with
    its variations of hold and its introduction of fantasia/nuevo to the social scene,
    some of which was clearly the result of argentinian show dancers responding
    to the desire of people to learn what they were doing.

    You surely aren't under any moral obligation to dance with beginners who
    aren't learning to dance within the embrace. If you cannot accommodate
    the not untypical reaction of Madahlia and dance open then beginners
    from those classes are not for you. Why fret about it?

    You can already see from the posts what a wide variety of opinions there are.
    You've decided what you want your dance to be, be true to it and make
    that the best you can. Trying to cope with the results of other teaching methods
    and solutions is likely to just compromise your own dance.

    So now you have yet another different opinion.
  13. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Does this mean that they find OE to be easier (or require less skill)?

    I find this interesting. I actually agree with the first sentence, but not the second. If someone doesn't like OE, why would doing it make them more open minded? I generally don't dance with people who do OE, (unless they are a beginner, or something), because I don't enjoy it much. However, I couldn't care less if others dance in OE.
  14. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I agree with you, we should not make proselytes! But, just asked, dont you find that some pieces require OE? I hate to commit myself to one style, only. I want to decide spntaneouly how to interpret the music.
  15. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I haven't (yet) found that I need to go to a true open embrace to express myself, but I can accept/understand that others might. For me, changing from more of an apilado style embrace to a Villa Urquiza style embrace is what I strive for (depending on the music and the partner).

    I will admit that some followers will open up the embrace (some) when doing figures, and I certainly will accommodate their wishes, when that happens.
  16. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    1. THE SKILL
    It requires less skill definitely to dance basic step, ochos, parada, cross, giros.
    Lead is acquired by rotating torso. Follower have visual contact with chest so they can recognize what is led.
    Also flaws in walking are allowed, and follower does almost normal back step. Slightly using the ribcage just to prepare a leg.
    Followers receives linear lead by her left arm.
    Maintaining balance is simpler, not talking about nuevo staff.
    Lead is completely led by torso. And full body contact is required.
    Arms at beginning are only for embrace, later are used when initiating giro, or when playing with free leg.
    Followers when walking backward should extend their legs up to ribcage (just bellow breasts) and when walking backwards they should use their heels to push back. Heels in CE are mandatory or to walk like you have heels.
    If leader and follower does not have proper walk embrace falls apart and you have rebounds. In OE is not so important.
    In CE precision of movement is accentuated.

    And when it's hot it is easier to dance OE.
    Some girls said that CE demands more concentration than OE.

    It can be quite intimidating to have CE with person you just meet if you are a beginner.
    Personal space may vary in certain cultures.

    The more he can adjust to the follower the better dancer he would be.
    "If you have a hammer, every solution seems like a nail"
  17. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    BTW dancing OE and CE, with transition gives you more possibilities than just CE.
  18. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    OK, I guess I need to clarify some more things..I'm a 'natural' dancer..I have always found it easy to dance...(until AT)..anyway, at the time I discovered AT, it was the music that rivetted me and the close embrace really amazed me..I felt that I had walked into the twilight zone..I was stunned, in a Fellini movie!...so, I decided to pursue this dance. Before this discovery, I was not interested in dancing at all...but found only Salsa interesting to watch.
    Now, taking the above into consideration, can you see how maybe I'm just plain not interested in dancing without a close embrace? Also, open hold with a beginner, without figures and fancy steps looks dumb and feels dumb...imagine me mostly walking in open hold..do we look at our feet? ...past each other? What am I missing?...more possibilities to what? ...feel frustrated? It's my opinion that open hold dancing is to show off steps and figures, while I'm more into purring and feeling -it's a different ball game. I know that some will take issue with everything I write.
    It's this kind of completely missing each other that tells me that there simply should be another forum that incorporates my dance...if 'close embrace' won't do it, maybe a 'Milonguero' forum since all the other A.T. titles seem to be usurped by 'modern' tango...even the term 'Milonguero' is now being co-opted ......
    I know that no one wants to hear this arguement again and neither do I...If I don't find someway to segregate the threads that I start so that it stays relevant to my dance, I may have to quit threading...of course, lot's would like to see this occur, too.
  19. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Use chloroform maybe. Or Rohypnol or something. Because beginners will struggle and keep you at range.
  20. ant

    ant Member

    As I understand your original question was how best to dance with complete beginners. This is a completely different issue to how you would like to dance. When I dance with a complete beginner I assume there are a number of problems that need to be overcome in order to give them and me a pleasant dance. I have found almost all beginners will not be able to walk properly, they will not be able to pivot and they will have no idea about connecting with me. If you go into a close embrace before you address these issues, firstly you may turn the follower off AT completely and secondly you may give yourself a back injury.

    I think that the advise Andabien gave regarding how to dance with a complete beginner is exactly what I would do but in OE, until you have established a connection.

    And make sure that the follower is properly on her axis after each step before you lead the next step.

    As regards where you look. Maintain your full attention within the partnership. Don't allow it to wander at all. Concentrate all your intention at the centre of the followers chest.

    I also feel you may be doing all the ladies a complete disservise. I assume once again that these dances will be in a practica associated with lessons?

    In my opinion you should think of the ladies only. Either attend or find out what was taught in the lessons and just practise that content with them.

    I am sure you they would much happier doing this.

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