Tango Argentino > Determining skill by watching

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by twnkltoz, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    ... as you said Temza: teaching people to dance musically.

    I love Amenabars book and I love his teaching. He really put me kicking!

    When I am listening music at home I don't sing so much because it doesn't give me any feeling/feedback but I wave my arms and body because it expresses the musik for me better and helps me to fine new layers in musical structure. At milonga I keep my body and arms more quiet! ;)

    It has been interesting to read the different opinions in this humming thing. It seems to go together with what kind of dance you are looking for. I am laughing quite a lot at milongas but when music starts for my dance I concentrate/listen on it as totally as I can for that time being.
  2. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Interesting that your comment is about a Vals and not a tango.
    Musicians are playing, not moving, while listening;
    dancers are moving while listening and not playing.

    Whatever that means it doesn't seem very tango like.

    I downloaded Amenabar's his example chapter and video.
    His video starts with two dancers moving to different parts of the music
    separately and then sort of together but handing the dance backwards
    and forwards between the two of them. But it isn't social tango, seems
    to me his teaching is more appropriate to choreography, choreographers
    and the visual tango arts.
    Why wave your arms and body about when this is about a tango connection
    with tango music? There's nothing wrong with experimenting alone but
    the way and the what of doing it can either be detrimental (ok not helpful)
    or beneficial to future partner dancing. So why not move your whole body
    freestyle and allow you legs/feet to follow your body and the music?
  3. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    This waving arms/upper body training is entirely for developing musicality in me, to create an intense bond between my inner and the music and to HEAR more. To use whole body is too rough. With arms, hands and fingers I can express much more detailed the sounds I hear, variation in length, dynamics, emotional load and so on...

    Somewhere in life I lost my childhood ability to memorize/recognize music but when I SEE my hands doing same kind of movements as for a while ago I understand that here I have the part A again! It seems to stimulate my totally rusty musical memory and give me back fragments of that ability. It helps me also to hear more - even my musically well educated friends start to use their body when they want to sort out a difficult part of music.

    I feel that as a leader I need a strong own musicality so it can get my body to move as well as my follower's.
  4. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    Ameanabar doesn't teach dance but exclusively musicality in his book. Though some steps are needed to test/show the phenomenons :)

    I understand his idea here is that a couple doesn't need to take all the steps simultaneusly but some of the musical elements can be expresed by follower and the next notes by the leader but the whole song is still a shared experience.
  5. Temza

    Temza Member

    a lot of Argentine leaders in BA hum the tune while dancing, some of them might ask politely if their humming bothers the follower. I love it! I hum with them in unison, and they like it too.
  6. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Thanks for an interesting insight. I can't help thinking though that what you
    are seeking is a conscious and thinking ability to hear the music whereas
    in (social) dance what you need is a sub-conscious, almost intuitive ability.

    I never lost the musical interest, it never has been on a technical
    level, but I'd lost the ability to move and discovered it again through
    the medium of other dances before tango. My experience is that there is
    little reason to separate the moving from the musical and both can be
    acquired together. That doesn't teach you to dance in partnership but
    by bringing your best of musical movement to the partnership you can
    concentrate on finding out what can and cannot be done together.

    So it's a non-dancing professor of music teaching musical appreciation
    to dancers?
    It's an academic tango of the performing visual arts and of choreography.
    What I've seen in the example is an unhelpful distraction.

    They are dancing open, there is no (physical) connection, they move, then
    she dances alone, they move and she dances alone again. he is little more
    than a support mechanism. She grasps his upper right arm. they have toned
    left (man) and right arms as another support frame. He doesn't seem to be
    leading though it is a choreographed demonstration.

    The tango of my preference is the shared dancing of the senses and the
    music together in the moment. As is often the case here, your idea of tango
    and mine are not the same.

    It's perverse that tango, once criticised by ballroom onlookers in lands afar
    from Buenos Aires as being too close, too sensual, even too sexy, has been
    physically desensualised by Argentines themselves in order to sell a
    diluted visual expression of tango overseas and to bring in tourist revenue.
  7. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Well I'd never know that of course - maybe they can because of years
    of familiarity which we don't have. When I've fallen into the trap myself
    I found that my own humming/singing distracted me from hearing and
    responding to other layers of the music. My experience is that if you hum
    the melody, the melody is likely to what you dance, or otherwise it may
    become a somewhat mechanical dance of the underlying rhythm.

    We are generalising somewhat here and different songs may provoke
    different responses of course. However the question was about followers
    singing, not leaders which is likely to be a different dynamic altogether.
    I liked LadyLeaders suggestion that followers singing/humming (alone)
    might be a form of musical back-leading!
  8. Temza

    Temza Member

    very well may be. but the fact is that quite a lot of leaders like followers to hum, so I don't see the reason stop doing this. of course, if i'm not sure in my leader's reaction, i will hum in my head
  9. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Of course you can do whatever you wish, especially if the leader is
    humming/singing/distracted himself, but here's a personal experience.

    I was dancing jive, an open dance with physical springy tension arms and
    visual (eye contact) connections plus a rhythmical connection via a simple
    step on every beat while moving. My partner seems distracted - she could
    clearly dance but the rhythmical side was disjointed and strangely variable
    yet purposeful. Eventually I had to ask what it was she was dancing to and
    she gaily answered she was listening/dancing the melody and always did.

    Latin type dances (jives/swing, rumba, cha cha) are mainly mirrored
    pattern dances so very different to tango but I'm sure you get the message
    that even humming silently is distracting of your concentration
    on the musical variability and your partner's/leader's interpretation of it.
  10. Temza

    Temza Member

    this is not my experience. humming, silently or not, increases my concentration on the leader and the music, places me completely in the moment and screens out all external stimuli.

    we will have to agree to disagree.
  11. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Interesting comment, and I know other dancers think the same thing.

    I think of humming as a left-brain activity, that is, there is a definite sequence to the tune that the hummer must know, and the hummer must generate the correct note (or close to it) in order to hum along.

    As a leader, I admit that I am often in a left-brain mode, because I am trying to put my partners movements to the music; rhythm and melody. Other times I am in a right-brain mode, because I am responding to my partner or other situations on the floor.

    I don't do a dance that has standard sequences in it, or else, when I do my customary sequences I always try to make them fit the moment perfectly, so they are never the same on a subtle level. I like my partners to be fully in a right-brain mode, so they can pick up the nuances I am trying to provide.

    One of my favorite partners use to hum often, and when she was humming I could tell that it was distracting her from the details of my lead. When she quit humming our dance became more connected. I haven't heard her hum for years. Maybe she still does with other partners.

    I understand that there are shades of gray between left and right-brain modes, and I understand that people are probably rarely in either mode purely.

    I also understand that some leaders are mostly in a left-brain mode, in which case it's probably fine for their partners to be also.

    For me, I am very focused on the music, but trying to also generate it myself would be a distraction from trying to generate the dance and transmit it to my partner.
  12. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I remember years back about one of the differences between women and men is that women tend to use both sides of their brain a lot more than men do. Most of the original studies of left vs right brain activities were with men, and they were quite surprised year later when the results were significantly different for women.
  13. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I think some people have a greater ability to focus their attention (concentrate - is that the same thing?) than others.

    I also imagine that focusing is a zero sum equation. That is, the more you are to the right, the less you are to the left. If you are in the center, you're not doing either very much.
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    As I understand it, the functions of each side of the brain are duplicated in the other side of the brain in women more-so than men. That means that women don't need to use both sides of the brain to do "left" and "right" brain brain tasks simultaneously. To do the same 2 tasks, the typical man would have to have his brain constantly accessing one side then the other. Supposedly it also means women have a better chance of recovering more function after strokes.

    This is all based on stuff I read many years ago about neurology and it might all be proven wrong by now.
  15. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    All the information I have got so far indicates that music is activating all the brain with different subactivities. I have posted an article about a radio program presenting some of these activities.

    Rhytm experience is in left brain where gramatical and analytical processes take place.
    Melody experience is in right brain where psycological, visual and primitive language centers are. Children learn first to recognize the melody pulse and the basic pulse comes later.

    All this information can be used to analyze location and range of a brain damage as well as to be used when reactivating the deeper layers of damaged brain with music therapy.

    (Some more information at this address if you find these lines interesting.)
  16. salthepal

    salthepal New Member

    I sometimes hum with more inexperienced followers who are "thinking" about their steps too much and not listening enough to the music. With more experienced followers, I feel I can express the music with my dancing without the need for humming.
  17. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    That's interesting. I've done something similar with students (followers) when I was trying to get them to hear the slow and quick beats of the music. While I danced with them I whispered ta ta-ta-ta (or whatever) to them so they would realize that the steps I was leading were supposed to match beats in the music.

    I've also asked student leaders to do the same thing, but for their own benefit, so they would learn to make their leads fit to the beats - whichever ones they choose.
  18. poetas 84

    poetas 84 New Member

    To my experience if partners start singing and humming along while dancing, the chances are that IT is going to happen !
  19. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    That's an oversimplification, and depends on the exact mental processes involved. My wife wouldn't enjoy reading most of the 'neurophysiology' expressed in this thread, but she stopped dancing ages ago (and has a healthy distrust for cyber-socialising and on-line fora).

    On the humming: it can be good, it can be bad. I don't mind the humming of Glenn Gould on the famous Golberg variation recordings (he actually hums a voice that's different from the voices in the score), so why would I mind people humming to the music (correctly)?
  20. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    If he were humming while you were trying to talk to him, I think you would mind.

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