Tango Argentino > Dancing with beginners in close embrace

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

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, indeed. They are teaching what fits in the current man/woman culture in the US.
    It's interesting to note the changes in dance texts over the decades, too.
  2. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I mean by active that she actively listens to the music, and that she is not like a bag i.e. I do not carry her on the dance floor and of course she is always late.
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I also don't think we are in agreement on what a "beginner" is...

    a first timer?
    someone who's had <4 lessons?
    someone who's had 4-8 lessons?

    I know people who've been dancing for quite awhile who still dance like they are in their first month or 2.

    What is a beginner?
    Even Mario tried to get answers based on more than one definition of "beginner" in his OP, but we continue to discuss them as though they are all the same.
  4. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    I will remember this, too. Many thanks!
  5. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    My first reaction is.. "So?"

    Maybe that sounds snide, but the resume doesn't impress me as much as maybe you intended. I've been dancing at least that long and have also had numerous group and private lessons. I also don't think experience in Latin standard is relevant.

    Its EASIER in heels. That doesn't mean heels are required. The amount of lean plays a role as does the flexibility of the achilles.

    And I TOTALLY disagree that one should dance with their heel off the floor when in flats. We had this discussion on another thread and the general consensus seemed to be that it is less stable/ grounded/ whatever and that leaders have a hard time feeling the follower's position and weight when she is standing on her toes. I know a few followers who dance this way when they take off their heels, but they have VERY strong feet. I wouldn't advise the average follower to dance all night with her heels off the floor.

    I'll stick with the instruction given to me by Rebecca Shulman, Angeles Chanaha, Mariana Galassi. Mariella Frangenillo and others. I'm pretty sure they know what they are talking about... (even though they don't teach Latin Standard. ;) ) It works for me and improves my dancing. I've only had ONE teacher tell me to dance without putting my heels down. EVERYONE else has instructed to get them down regardless of the shoes.

    This is all pretty unrelated to the OP, so if you want to discuss it further, mayb we should take it to the thread already begun for follower technique as relates to heels and toe dancing...
  6. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Leaders are also usually worried about stepping on their partner. So its important to give them instruction on the correct way to initiate movement and to have "purposefulness" in their movement so the follower moves out of the way. I think starting them this way gets some of the "wishy-washy" out of their moves right off the bat. If they are wishy-washy, then the whole thing falls apart pretty quick.
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Not so rare around here. So I disagree that it is disasterous. That seems a rather extreme view.

    That said, I encourage anyone I teach to take from others as well.
  8. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I agree that when its bad, its horrid. Luckily, not that many leaders around here use it, and those that do are NOT horrid!

    My personal view is that there are certain things one HAS to do correctly in CE that one can "fudge" in OE. So waiting too long to introduce CE allows bad tendencies to become ingrained habits that must be unlearned. I think this is why some of the dancers I know have had much more trouble going from OE to CE than I had doing the reverse. Of course, there is one bad habit that small CE women can develop, and that is not keeping their own balance as well as they should and depending too much on the leader for stability. But once they open up to OE, they have to fix this pretty darn quick.
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Are you suggeting that followers who do CE don't learn how to follow?
  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I haven't traveled for tango all that much (but I have been to B'Aries) I do my best to learn as many different styles as possible. I want to dance, not sit watching. I'll dance whatever the leader leads, although I am better at some things than others simply because of the amount of time I've spent doing them.
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Even a follower in simple CE should be doing this. This is not a CE vs OE thing, nor a "active participant vs surrender" thing. The follower needs to be listening to the music and also not be a dead weight regardless of style or level of "lead hijack" she is doing.
  12. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    As I wrote in another post, there are those who want to show off. That is fine when you are 30 and are able to do it. What does your wife want?

    Surrendering is not taught in the USA by the majority -- steps are what people want to buy, not feeling.

    Women who want to tango with Argentines in BsAs will learn to follow or spend lots of time sitting out. Word gets around about those who want to take charge.
  13. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Perhaps this is another thread entirely but I guess I've always considered it to be more important that we expressing the music, not that one move is better than another at doing that. That, of course, almost automatically begs the question that one embrace is better than another if you think you can only have 3 dimensional dancing in a particular embrace or only if every move possible is available to you.

    Perhaps it's just me, but I tend to think of people whom I dance with that can make a smaller set of vocabulary fill and express an entire dance if they need to and make it exciting often as better dancers than those who feel like they need a 4 page file of them to get through a song. (Type of embrace being irrelevant to my opinion here.)
  14. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    When I was dancing in my 20s I thought the more patterns the better, but I realize now that is a mental evaluation: a bigger number is better than a smaller number. Quantity over quality. Now I understand that I can put more expression and nuance into the most simple steps. Trying to get expressive with a triple-sacada/barrida sequence is challenging. Being expressive with a side-step/pause/side-step is easier, and there are unlimited variations on that sequence.
  15. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    She wants to do it all (connection sometimes, as well as fancy steps). I really don't think it has much to do with showing off, though. She's just the "free spirit" type. Sometimes she will happily do the surrender thing, but every now and then . . .


    She's a much better dancer than I am at this stuff, probably because she had a ballet background as a kid (either that, or I'm just not very good, so I go with the ballet excuse). I do occasionally tease her and tell her I have more rhythm than she does, though. She's actually a lot better at doing quick steps, then some people who have been doing tango for a lot longer (and younger than her). She likes dancing fast stuff with me, a lot more that others seem to. She also says that she likes vals with me the best. I guess she likes some of my turns.

    BTW, she likes a lot more alternative music than I do, (I'm rather selective about what alternative stuff I like, but I really do like some of it).
  16. ant

    ant Member

    Hi Gssh

    I met the teacher I had in mind when I made my post above and discussed your post with her.

    Her response was that in an ideal world she would start teaching using CE. However in the UK she feels that in a standard beginners class most of the people attending are using 90% of their courage just to come to the class and she felt that it would be wrong to take the other 10% in the first lesson. In other countries where the issue of personal space was not so sensitive she would start in CE.
  17. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I did an "embrace" class on Sunday - for beginners (notes here).

    I tackled this problem by simply telling them about it - about the differences, and about the challenges / benefits of both.

    I then sprent 50% of the time on open embrace, and 50% on close embrace. Although I did, admittedly, start with open embrace.

    I think it's reasonable to teach both, because it's reasonable to dance both, depending on the style of music you're dancing to. What's not reasonable is to ignore the "other" embrace, or to pretend that - for example - walking in open embrace is better than in close.
  18. ant

    ant Member

    From your notes this seems to be your second lesson and the approach you have adopted seems to be the same as the teacher I spoke to.

    My own personal experience was that that CE was never taught or mentioned in the school where I learnt.

    It will be interesting to see when you observe your students start to use CE consistantly from choice when dancing in practicas and/or milongas.
  19. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Yes - although the lessons are not linked, I'm deliberately keeping them as standalone. And several of the beginners on Sunday were total novices - this was their very first lesson.

    From observation, and admittedly from a small sample of students, they seem to be very comfortable in CE when dancing with each other, but less so when dancing with people they don't know.
  20. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    a few years back i wouldnt have mentioned close embrace until people could actual move around a room together and do the basic stuff; I tried it a couple of times and you just got bad dancing and a lot of toes being stepped on; now I do a combination;d do the stuff first in open then when people can do it well, and balanced and not relying on eaach other then take it into close embrace, but now some of the people are bues dancers so CE is less of a deal but they still need to shift their posture forward.

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