Tango Argentino > Don't impress her with your fancy steps! Impress her with your...

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Ampster, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    um, that would make you a competitive ballroom dancer!

    i seldom find that someone dances for the same reason as everyone else in the room. that necessitates the observance of dance etiquette.
  2. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    this behavior is not limited to AT; i also dance ballroom, salsa, WCS, lindy/blues, etc. and have seen this type of thing at these dances as well. it's actually not limited to dance, either.

    it's a typically guy thing to think that doing the fanciest moves, etc. will impress a typical follow because it's the kind of thing that's important to a guy. then there are others who might be prompted to act this way to mask a sense of insecurity. to use a clinical terminology, all symptoms are overdetermined, that is, there's usually a reason beyond the obvious ones. so i don't see that there's not much to be done other than to hope that folks who run/organize/administrate dance events make an effort to ensure that all present - especially newcomers/beginners - understand and observe basic dance etiquette. hence, when some "experienced" dancer starts giving instruction, they'll understand that the person isn't advanced at all when it comes to being a social dancer - and hopefully not personalize any implied criticism.
  3. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    It still stings though. I'm not tanda-worthy. :(
    No one has wanted to dance more than two songs with me yet. At least I'm up from only one song before, so I suppose I should take heart in that. Still kind of sucks. At least with other dances, it is normal and expected to dance only one song, so there's no negative connotation with it. Tango codes make it glaringly obvious when other dancers find you inadequate.
  4. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

  5. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Awww, geeze, Jen, I'm not tanda-worthy either, I'm sure. But I've only been to one "informal" milonga and nobody was dancing tandas anyway and people were verbally asking to dance. The purists would have been having seizures at that one.

    If you're ever in Chicago, I'll be happy to dance a tanda with you. ;)

    "tanda-worthy". I like that. Can we apply that to Latin and ballroom as well? :idea:
  6. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    :D Aw thanks Nucat!

    They don't use the cabaceo at my local milongas either. And the music really isn't played in sets. But people do dance three or four songs with their partner if they are happy dancing together.
  7. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Originally Posted by MaggieB [​IMG]
    You all do realize that the custom in Buenos Aires is to say THANK YOU to your partner if you are finished dancing with them? That does not have to be at the end of a tanda.

    Re the post by MaggieB, I am incensed by this anyway. Yes, it is the custom in BsAs. Well, damn-it, this is the U.S., and far too often are feelings hurt or misunderstood because we should not be trying to imitate this custom. It doesn't fit our culture. Excuse the rant, s'il tu plait. :confused:

    Re your post, I have seen you dance (not AT). AT expertise aside, you have nothing to feel badly about. Further, as I travel around the U.S., I find it custom to not dance a prescribed 4 dances in tandam, but from 2 - 4. So, JID, you have arrived...keep doing what you're doing.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah...tandam...I made it up.
  8. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    In keeping with the spirit of the original post...

    There's a new lead (has done 3 years of lessons and very little actual dancing) who tries to hang out with us lately. He tries out all these fancy steps with a myriad of follows. When he tries it out with women who are more advanced and can follow just about anything led, good, bad, or otherwise, they oblige.

    Then he asks them. "Is that OK?" Or, "Is that better?" Because he asked, the women say something politely along the lines of "Acceptable."

    Our "friend" asks the leads how long it took us to get to where we are in tango, and our common answers are along the lines of "A couple of years." It takes a large investment of time, patience, and lots of practice. Not taking lessons, but dancing.

    He says, "I don't understand why so many women want to dance with you. You're not doing anything special." Our common answer, we try to keep it simple as much as possible, maintain "the connection," and lead things very clearly, to the rhytm of the music, and very resolutely.

    He tries dancing again with the experienced women follows, and asks them, over and over again, "Is that OK?" Or, "Is that better?" Finally exasperated, each one of them answer along the lines of "Concentrate on the connection, master 'The Walk,' and keep it simple."

    His answer to the ladies: "But simple is very boring." :doh:
  9. larrynla

    larrynla Member

    One answer to that is "Simplicity hides a thousand complexities - it's only boring to beginners."
  10. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Exactly. The same foolishness as counting the number of possible "moves" you can do in tango and then comparing it disparingly to salsa/ceroc, because they have a lot "more"..... (hey I did that too at first ;) )
  11. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with my son last summer about his band (and music in general). He's always striving to play more complicated (difficult) stuff, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

    What I told him though, was that there are two different aspects on how to achieve greatness. Certainly, one of them is to being able to play difficult stuff that not many others can. However, the other is to play simple stuff but make it sound special.
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    There's a great movie called "Impromtu" about the romance of Chopin and George Sand.

    In one scene Chopin is giving a piano lesson to a young lady (we assume she is part of the class that always sent the young ladies to learn piano regardless of potential)

    The student plays with great fervor (and little skill) a very complicated piece. Since composers of that time who made their real living teaching and pandering to the rich could not give realistic criticism and expect to have any business, Chopin's comment to her at the end is:

    "Well, you have certainly managed to remember a great many notes.."
  13. larrynla

    larrynla Member

    You made me laugh! Don't do that! It does not accord well with my great and solemn dignity.

    Larry de Los Angeles
  14. larrynla

    larrynla Member

    Each partner is unique

    Several people have said that what is (most?) important to women is connection.

    I suppose that's logical. Followers can't follow if the connection, mental and emotional as well as physical, is bad. But some could conclude from this idea that women don't like fancy moves.

    Every woman (and man) is unique. Plenty of women love complicated stuff, and showing off. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, unless it leads a woman to the same arrogance and impatience that some men display and to careless moves that endanger other dancers on the floor.

    I start slowly with every dance I do, first making and subtly testing the connection with my partner and correcting it (non-verbally!) as much as I can without being blatant and obnoxious about it. Then I start very simply and, as occasion and the music allow, add more complicated moves.

    Though I never let any of this distract me from my main reason for dancing - having fun with people I enjoy. I don't dance to improve the women I dance with. I don't do it to feel superior, nor to impress others.

    Not that my ego is uninvolved. It is just involved in a less-obvious way. I pride myself on helping the lady I dance with have a good time. I do show off, but the way I do it is to help my partner look good (if I can do that without intruding on other people's dancing).

    To do all this I must get to know my partner. In a way, this to me is much of what tango is all about - two people getting acquainted, speaking to each other with their bodies. (Only incompetent dancers use words.) It takes at least one and usually several dances to know enough for me to lead her into advanced stuff.

    Sometimes a lady gets impatient with this slow approach and says something sharp to me. If really cruel I apologize and excuse myself at the earliest polite moment and avoid her ever after. If less so I accede to her wish and lead something difficult, with what I hope is carefully gauged to challenge her but not make her feel and look a fool.

    But without the careful approach to getting acquainted that I prefer she sometimes fails to follow properly. And I'm not saintly enough to feel regret when my screw-up in judgment and technique causes her to screw up.

    Hmm. I have gotten a bit lost in detail here. My basic point is this: every dancer is different, not just from other dancers but also from themselves at a different time. Essential to leading and following well is to know your partner is unique and to try to know them better.

    Larry de Los Angeles
  15. Zhena

    Zhena Well-Known Member

    I wrote a lovely long post, and then realized I was saying the same thing as many others. So, to summarize, women like me do like fancy moves ... IF they are well led, IF they fit the music, and IF I am capable of doing them comfortably and gracefully. What I don't like is the assumption I would prefer any random fancy move to a well-led basic.
  16. Zhena

    Zhena Well-Known Member

    After getting over my beginner's tendency to offer "helpful" hints to leaders, I now find it difficult to provide ANY feedback other than a big smile and heartfelt "thank you" when a dance has been particularly good.

    So ... if someone asks "Is that OK", when can I tell the truth? (Acknowledging that the situation may be like the one described where the guy doesn't really want to hear what I so desperately want to tell him).
  17. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    According to my wife and my other tango partners who've been doing this a while, what they do is:

    1. "It was ok" is a polite non-ego-tramppling answer
    2. If the lead doesn't accept that, repeat #1
    3. If the leader persists, then the truth, albeit, politely delivered is acceptable
    Remeber, they asked.
  18. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    If it's at a milonga you should probably continue smiling, etc.
    If it's at a practica, you should try to gauge whether or not the individual really wants objective feedback.
    "Is that OK" is a pretty vague question, and proably deserves a vague answer.
    If you do offer an honest opinion at a practica, be as specific and as focused as possible.
    And be prepared to accept any consequences for telling the truth (as you see it).
  19. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

    Quote of the month! :)
  20. larrynla

    larrynla Member

    That and a happy "Yes" when he asks later to dance with you is all, and the best, feedback you can give. Actions speak louder than words.

    Larry de Los Angeles

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