Tango Argentino > Distinguishing between types of hyper-active following

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by gyb, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    I got a comment from an experienced leader that my L arm should apply a little more pressure (towards myself), to give more of a hug feeling. I don't feel comfortable doing it. I usually just let my arm lightly rested on leader's shoulder.
  2. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Right. All leaders (followers too, I'm sure) have their preferences. I have certain followers who feel to me like a tailored suit. Other leaders don't particularly like how they feel.
  3. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    This position - of largely supporting the weight of my own arm while it is raised above my shoulder girdle so as not to create pressure on my partner's shoulder or neck- would very quickly become torture for me, especially with a taller partner.

    I have been told to keep the underneath of my L arm firmly in contact with the whole of my partner's upper arm so as to pick up the lead more effectively. So I do. Until someone tells me different.
  4. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I can see how that would be true.

    If you are dancing a VU style, where much of the lead seems to come from the leaders R arm/shoulder, I think that would work out best.

    I think the connection should be where the lead comes from, and that sometimes changes with certain leaders. (They call it dynamic). If my partner begins connecting too much on my upper arm, then I have to begin leading more with my upper arm. That's not how I do it.
  5. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Every now and then, my wife reverts to this behavior. It's very annoying. I haven't figured out if I'm doing anything that causes her to react that way, or not. I'm just glad it doesn't happen too often.
  6. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I think some followers are a bit quick/jumpy because they have to be with certain leaders who maybe don't lead soon enough or clearly enough.

    I've noticed a residual effect sometimes with my favorite partners if they have just danced with particular leaders. If I dance with them right after one of those leaders, it may take them half a dance before they settle down. I usually try to wait a tanda before I dance with them again.

    The opposite is true, too. If I see a follower dancing with certain guys who lead well, I'll try to dance with them on the next tanda.
  7. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    The reality is that everyone is a little different (except for those that are a lot different).

    I may not even want the same exact thing, if it's a different artist/type/style of tanda. Basically, if I'm going for the connection, I'd like to feel (at least some pressure), and if she's tall enough, head contact adds a lot to it. Now if it's something more lively (or expressive), I'll want to vary the embrace, depending on what we are doing. A lot of the time, there are some followers I prefer for certain types of song (someone who knows how to embrace, for a "connection song"), while others for different types of songs.

    The more styles you can adapt to, the better it is. It's shame that more teachers don't give classes on embraces and connection.
  8. ant

    ant Member

    I don't mind OE or CE depending on how the follower wants to dance but I think the key to a good embrace is a stable axis.
  9. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    I absolutely agree. At the moment, all I'm interesting in is establishing a gentle but positive and connected embrace before doing anything else at all. I want my shoulder, head and neck position to feel relaxed and natural as part of this embrace and the same for my partner.

    I managed this last night with a guy who has probably only been dancing AT for a few months. He only knows how to embrace and walk - it was a delight. So simple - tune into each other and walk.

    I couldn't help but contrast this with other, more experienced and accomplished dancers, who seem to see the embrace as something that is done to the follower so that she can become an instrument that facilitates - or not - his dance. They rush me into series of complicated steps without apparently noticing that the connection has been lost. Instead of it being "our dance" I feel like I'm reduced to a component of "his dance".

    When I feel this with a partner should I tell him? What's the protocol for asking for embrace adjustment - in a practica or a milonga?
  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    There is a theory that if your upper arm is further towards his neck, the weight won't be as much of an issue as when it is out towards the edge of the shoulder. If his neck is in the crook of your elbow, the downward weight isn't all that heavy especially compared to having it out on the corner of his deltoid muscle. (the hard part of dancing with your arm around his neck is to avoid pulling his forward, not so much pushing down)

    Of course that theory falls apart if you dance with someone who has neck problems.
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    My goal is to be the "go to" follower that a leader would seek out regardless of the music. Not someone to avoid for certain styles or music. I want leaders to feel that no matter what we dance, they were glad to have the chance to dance with me and will look forward to doing so again.

    However, I only have one leader on my list of locals who I feel this way about, so I can understand that leaders experience the same sort of preferences. Even some of my favorite leaders are simply not as enjoyable for certain styles or music. If my one tanda of the night with them turns out to be that, I feel kinda gyped.

    It's a rare leader who is adept at almost anything that might get played. So I imagine it's a rare follower too (although in general, I think followers end up developing more versatility just out of necessity.. that doesn't mean that they don't have any "specialty" though.)
  12. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    At a milonga, this type of guy is not interested in your suggestion. Just grab a hold and go for a ride, though it may not be a nice ride. If it's that bad, don't dance with him again. At a practica - hard to say. If he thinks you are practicing with him, he may not want to hear it. If he thinks you are both practicing with each other, then go ahead and say so.

    When I hear the music begin to play and I want to dance to it, I begin connecting with it while I look for a partner. As soon as I find a partner, I begin connecting with the dance floor and other couples on it. Lastly, I face toward my partner and gently make that connection. Then I begin to dance. I try to dance for the sake of all three things. There are some guys who apparently dance for the sake of the steps they can do, and I think they are missing out on something very nice.
  13. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    In a practica, I would just say something outright. Or you could be a little subtle... "This step works better if you focus on the connection and balance of your parttner."

    In a milonga? There are less options, due to the stigma of teaching on the floor. Unless someone is hurting you or making you feel uncomfortable, then you should always speak up.

    There is another way, that is more subtle. I once heard a lecture from Daniel Trenner on his experiences dancing with the milongueras. So what did these wise older ladies do different? For one thing, they had no qualms about projecting their feelings about the leader into the dance. For example, Daniel said that he was dancing with one of the gals, and was moving quickly to a pugliese, too quickly for the old lady's taste. And somehow magically the woman half his size became immovable, only able to step on the slow long beats. ;) Maybe only the milongueras can get away with that, but it's worth a try.
  14. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    At a practica, certainly. The trick is to focus on what you are feeling, (that you don't like), rather than focusing on blaming him (or saying what you are doing wrong is blah blah blah). Alternatively, you could also say something like, "could we try XYZ, instead of ABC?". It's a practica, so part of the purpose is to try different things. At a milonga, in between songs of the tanda you could express yourself as well (although if it's minor, I'd let it go until a practica).

    I don't know how to explain this, but some people can explain what's bothering them, and it's not in any way confrontational or annoying, while others try to explain whast's bothering them, and it comes across as whiny complaining (and it's very annoying). You want to be in the first group.

  15. ant

    ant Member

    Your ideas on the embrace has made me for more conscious when I feel a good embrace. Its been very helpful, thanks.
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    To me, that doesn't sound subtle... it sounds passive-aggressive and blaming.

    Personally I would respond better if someone said "We seem to consistently lose the connection on this... lets work on fixing that." as a way to open up dialogue and then from there talked about what they are hoping to feel. (and then they listen to my side too)

    I remember hearing some famous figure skating couple talk once about how the only way to have a successful skating partnership is to remember that nothing should ever be approached as the fault or failing of one person or the other, but rather a failure of the couple to execute the move. The coach might single one or the other out, but they should not take that stance with each other. I think the tango world would be a lot more fun if everyone had that approach.

    A teacher can correct a student as though the teacher played no part in the problem... everyone else should consider that they are part of a team, and it is the team that failed, not just the other person. Even if you don't think you bear any responsibility for a problem, we all still bear responsibility for the teamwork required to fix it.

    Disclaimer: If there is someone here who is without any flaws in their tango, then of course, they are free to cast blame as they wish.
  17. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    I guess I do - except for those days when I'm planning to be in the second group. :twisted:
    Good advice, though.

    This is tactful but somebody would only phrase it like that if they believed themselves to be in a superior state of knowledge to their partner - OK if they really are, less OK if their partner does not agree. I like Zoopsia's suggestion about teamwork problem-solving. I guess negotiation between equals would be my ideal practica mindset. Trouble is, I spend a lot of time at the moment dancing with beginners so it's harder to practise on an equal footing. I sometimes get offered suggestions by people who assume superiority over me - I can often pinpoint things I think they could likewise improve but unaccountably, I'm usually to polite to mention them.

    I can do that! I did a workshop on it, titled "Grounding your axis." I had no trouble grinding away like mad, but I can't say it really enhances connection between disparate partners.

    Often, not an option. But if pain was involved, I would have to do that. However, I'm generally talking about people I dance OK with but would like to dance even better with and also feel that we're working productively on technique as i'm stagnating. I don't think I would make any comments in a milonga but in practicas I think I need to be a lot more assertive and not let people talk down to me so much.
    A nice distinction!
  18. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Somehow in many countries and cultures (well, i COULD go into it) we've become confused about appropriate behavior and roles.
    I have heard several teachers say that men want women to be (in so many words) assertive, or strong, about their tango. And yet, I rarely hear a woman say that this is so. I recently encouraged a woman to dance how she felt about a particular song that had just come on, which she expressed great enthusiasm about. No, she said, I would just take over.

    Lead? Follow? Cooperate, maybe?

    Another woman I danced with was at times moving confidently, and I went along with her. I don't know how she perceived this, but she's been around for quite awhile and I was pleased that she had made eye contact with me so that I would dance with her. (We'll see what happens in the future!)

    Strong, assertive, but in a polite way. Easy? Right? Or not.

    I'm interested in what our "follows" have to say.
    Can / do guys handle it when you are non verbally assertive, or is it best to not go there?
  19. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    Depends a bit on his personality. Mercifully, I don't know many men who feel the need to express their masterful masculinity by means of tango.

    It also depends on how fluent his tango grammar and vocabulary are. If he can fit moves together swiftly and smoothly on the spur of the moment he will hardly mind if his follower throws in a few wild cards. If he can't do that readily he might feel confused and at a loss by her assertiveness. So if a follower wants to be assertive she should be ready to field those reactions in a supportive way so that the dance is enjoyable for both.
  20. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Its a common fault in beginners and some more experinced dancers if they atart doing paradas and shoe-shine; they break the connection.. Last night in a practica I kept telling a follower that she was breaking the connection; because of the auto-ocho syndrome and she understood and corrected it, so it was hapening less and less..trouble is she makes me giggle :tongue: :D

Share This Page