Tango Argentino > "Decorations" / "Embellishments" / "Interpretation"

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Dave Bailey, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    It doesn't worry me, exactly, I just don't like feeling hemmed in. Especially when floorcraft is poor, which means the leaders are not making it safe!
  2. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    I'll echo Madahlia's feeling... not everyone is as considerate/ skilled as you clearly are, Ampster :friend: ... even if one's partner is, other people may not be, can set a girl on edge a bit from time to time, worrying about the loonies on the floor.
  3. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Hmm, how do you know the man is just 'waiting while she gets it out of her system'? Presumably he gave her space and time to do it, so why shouldn't he wait till she's finished? I take it that you feel it's not in keeping with the music.. or the focus is too much on her? Two to tango and all that?

    My DP wants me to always do more twining and ardornments in general. I told him that tapping during back ochos is my signature adorno and he wasn't even aware I did it! On the other hand, I see what you're saying as complicated wrapping and twining, I feel more of a challenge, just because it's more intimate, I think, I'm a little hesitant at times as you're never sure how much opportunity the leader wants to give you, I don't want to do any 'hogging' or 'getting it out of my system'. Ochos are my baby and as long as it fits in with the timing, I can do what I want :D
  4. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Actually, that happens a lot to me.

    Well, it's usually more that she's grabbed the space and time, and I just let her do so rather than wrestle her for it.

    Some followers simply want to do the "fancy stuff" - lots of adorned ochos / boleos, you name it. Sometimes you simply have to go with the flow, even as a leader.

    But I'd class that as "interpretation", not "embelishment / adornos".

    Well that's pretty much the entire point of adornos, isn't it? If your partner becomes aware of them, you're doing them wrong.
  5. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    SO the opposite of a hair-do then :lol:
  6. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    If the leader is standing there yawning, or checking his watch.

    You'd think, but that's not always the case. Part of this gets into different philosophies again. Some people say (like Graciela Gonzalez did last weekend) that the leader should never give the follower an opportunity to do anything other than what he is expecting her to do ("old school", as I call it). While others say that it's OK for the follower to "have a conversation" with the leader (although to me it often comes out as back leading, or even worse, an argument rather than a conversation).

    Sometimes, I will "invite" an embellishment, but sometimes a follower will simply decide to "take over" for lack of a better word. Unless she is really good at it (which some followers are), I find it mostly annoying.

    IMO, you are doing it right!!!

  7. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    The vocabulary we are discussing makes it seem that they are things to look at. However, adornos, decorations, might be simply for the sake of dancing, whether anyone sees them or not. Some people just like to dance with their feet. One of my favorite partners is a foot-dancer, as am I, and we have quite a nice little conversation with our feet.
  8. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Its not that different from getting ready to go out in the first place...

    If the leader gets a beer, picks up the remote and sits down in front of the tv saying "let me know when you're ready to go..." while you're doing your thing, you're taking too long

    If by the time you are ready to go, he now ISN"T ready, and you have to wait for him to get his mind back on what the two of you were going to do, you went way past embellishing and passed over into adornification.
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Some little adornos CAN be for the partner to feel. I do a little thing with one leader I dance with (for some reason, I can never make it work with anyone else.. it just grew naturally out of his own style and the lively feeling he gives even when moving small or not at all) I make a tiny arc forward with my free foot and touch his supporting foot. He is SUPPOSED to feel it... its like a little foot "kiss on the cheek".

    However, he also knows it won't prevent me from moving in any direction and that it won't slow me down. In that regard, its no different from any other embellishment that he doesn't know about, except that he gets to feel the contact and know I've done it. And its actually pretty small and quick (since he's a milonguero close embrace dancer) and I'm not sure anyone else has ever noticed it when watching.

    I don't STAY there, because he's leading me to my next step.. its a brief touch on the "quick" just like most embellishments. He usually leads a backstep or back ocho from there, so it has a nice continuous feel to it. (ie... my leg doesn't stop moving) But as I said... to make this work, the follower has to be able to move that leg quickly because you are coming from the collected position you just hit after a step and making a forward reaching adorno prior to taking a backstep. Step, collect, arc forward touch his foot, complete backstep (passing through collect of course)... all on quicks

    That's alot of movement to fit in between steps without disrupting the lead.
  10. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    *Snort* pre-cise-ly :D

    Classic line from me "Is my hair ok?"
    Response "What were you aiming for?" :rolleyes:
  11. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    hbboogie - I like this analogy :D
  12. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I wouldn't know... :(
  13. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member


    I think you've hit the nail on the head, when you say it's more to do with philosophies. So, the broad philosophies could be

    1) "I lead, you follow, I'll give you an opportunity to do something here, and what I anticipate you will do will be.... xyz and I'll be put off my stroke if you don't do that but what the hey, it won't take long ..."
    2) Me man, you woman. Ug. I carry you off to my cave... er, sorry, I mean, round the line of dance.
    3) I don't want to perpetuate the patriarchal autocracy on the dancefloor, therefore, I will break gender stereotypes and do little decorations myself and I expect you to match me, I want you to have an equal (if different) role in this dance relationship. We each have room to breathe... it may end where one of us isn't so keen on exactly how it ended up.. but what's more important is that this is a two-way street. Also, as we gain experience, our communication will improve.

    Okay, I get the drift from you and Dave that it's annoying if the woman overdoes it... but is it not also equally annoying if she leans on you too much, leans back, keeps falling off her axis, presses on your arm/ shoulder too much, needs to be physically moved by you instead of moving herself... and all other poor following skills? Is poor execution of adornments especially annoying and why?

    I would also add, as well as philosophies, there is skill level and just plain 'personality'.

    ie, skill level - your teacher encourages you to have a crack at adornments and to not be shy about it. It's going to take you two years, say, to get your technique to a decent standard, so you might as well have a go at adornments while you are doing it and gradually improve on all counts. After a year or two you might finally appreciate what all this talk of 'connection' is about, then you'll blush with embarrassment about how you used to go over the top with adornos.

    Personality - this is a man's world, "I've learnt to be a bolshy, ball-breaking go-getter, wallflowers and mousy women do not get to dance with the best leaders, I'm going to get what I want, a chance to show myself off and the man is just there as wallpaper, he get's his input from the leading anyway, he gets to be in charge." And of course there are women who just like to dance but think it's a jazz class ;)

    In sum - to dchester and Dave - do you object to women who haven't yet developed an appreciation of connection? Women who don't care about their partner? Women who don't really appreciate 'tango' as a two-way street? Or women who genuinely believe they should get a chance to show off but that from your point of view they go over the top and it impedes your enjoyment of the dance?

    Doesn't all this just reflect life? Aiming for give and take in relationships? It's never always perfect and 50/50 is it?

    As said, I always err on the side of caution and my DP wants more, more, MORE... though like I say, he's asking for more but sometimes he doesn't even know he's getting more! :rolleyes:
  14. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    You said a lot of interesting stuff, and when I get more time, I'll go into some of it a little bit more, but the only time the follower's adornments have the "potential" to be annoying, is when they force a change in the step, or in the rhythm. At least half the time, my first thought is that my lead wasn't clear enough, though. It takes me some time to realize that she's doing her own thing, rather than going strictly by the lead.

    As far as I'm considered, whenever you can get in between what I'm leading is fair game. Poor execution (per se) is not a problem for me. I'm quite sure that some of my leads aren't the greatest either.
  15. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Mmmm. Good question.

    I'd say "yes", simply because, to be frank, most women doing excessive adornments aren't aware that they need to avoid disrupting the flow of the dance. In fact, they sometimes see these actions as being empowering rather than disruptive.

    So it's an attitude thing. A woman with poor technique can learn it - and mostly she'll be aware of her flaws. An over-adorner thinks that she's not doing anything wrong in the first place.

    Hopefully that makes sense :D

    To be honest, I'm not sure why he wants "more" - I suspect you've got a better understanding than he does of what's appropriate, though.
  16. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    The biz about the lady taking off on her own while the man is forced to just wait until she is done is not about philosophy, lead/follow, or anything. It's about what's right.

    The answer is actually 2-fold. Firstly, what is an adorno, and when is it apropos to do it? Answer: it is not an addition to the movement, rather an extension of the movement. If it isn't a natural extension of a movement... don't do it. As to when is answered by the definition of what. Yes, I, too, have had ladies feel the space/time to do an adorno; do it well, and move on. I have also had ladies with the same corrctly led application to take, for example, a voleo, and then take off on a series of tapis, patadas, step-overs, media lunas (all at lightening speed), and come to rest at my foot... waiting to be praised for so patiently seeking a lead. In one city, self-praised for their tango, it happens so often that we have named the sequence after them, and expect it. Tip of the Day: This is annoying as h@##!
  17. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    I would say, that there are two groups of decorations.

    Lead Decoration:
    Decorations I lead, either directly like a saludo or indirectly by giving time and space like some movements connected to the parada, stepping over the men's food, etc. I’ll take the responsibility not to hinder, hurt anybody, and she can execute her action any style she likes. If the need arises I’ll shorten the action, for example when we stop the dance flow.

    Woman's Decoration.
    Embellishments that happens, within the pattern of dance, I’m not hindered by them and sometimes I don’t feel them at all. I don’t slow or give space, the women makes them between our regular steps. The are usually small. Taps or crossing forward during ochos would be such examples. They are more or less just for her own musical interpretation. It’s a little hard to achieve speed and balance. However, for the experienced follower they can turn a dance with a novice leader into an exciting challenge, even when he is doing the Base for full three minutes.

    Usually I don’t leave the woman much opportunity to emblish, because I like to interpret the music with a lot of changes in dynamic and direction. Beside my personal taste it’s also a security measure, especially since Tango Nuevo included those high kicking decoration. Most woman don’t seem to care to much about dance flow, musicality and their next neighbour. If I know she is fond of a special kind of decoration, I might steer towards a quite corner and provoke that embellishment. In general, I hate any movements oustside my field of vision, like ganchos, or high energy moves, like those high stopped nuevo boleos, on the dance floor. I never know who will accidentally step into its trajectory.

    Unfortunately, sometimes dancing with a woman feels like carrying a weasel in a burlap sack, some fierce beast kicking for it’s life. Wraps, ganchos, kicks all over the place, hindering me in my planned path and endangering other dancers.
  18. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I attended an embellishments class many years ago, given by Nora Dinzelbacher. She categorized embellishments into three types: those where the leader doesn't know or feel the embellishment, those where the leader does know about or feel the embellishment and it does not interfere with the lead, and those where the embellishment does interfere with the lead. She showed a step in which the follower actually assumed the lead for a moment and changed the dance. Nora explained that not all leaders would appreciate this, so be careful when doing it. To me, when the follower takes too much time, making me wait for her, it interferes with my leading. Very occasionally this is okay, but if it is a regular part of her dance I don't dance with the woman again. I probably wouldn't dance with her to begin with.

    I've danced with women who were doing so much with their feet that their whole body was moving, interfering with the connection (close embrace). I did not appreciate that.
  19. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    To me, that last one simply isn't an embellishment - it's "taking over the lead", or "interpretation / playing / hijacking".

    I certainly don't appreciate it. If you want to lead, then lead. If you want to follow, follow.
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I was waiting for the backlash from the first comment which is rather a harsh and unfair generalization, but I also found the 2nd comment description pretty amusing!

Share This Page