Tango Argentino > Good Intentions. Bad advice.

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Weird Sister, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. I agree. But for the record, "walk with the chest out front" was not said to me only to remedy a specific issue. It was told to me at the very start and repeated ad nauseam... like I said it seems that instructors swear by it. Not only that but it doesn't seem like they regard it as "dealt with" as such, on the contrary they can't wait to bring it up again.

    The ostensible justification is that if instead I walk with my feet first like a normal person, it supposedly somehow interferes with the woman's dancing. But I've never knowingly interfered with any women's dancing and yet the instructors keep banging on about it all the same. A mystery! :)
  2. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Of course, I've never seen you dance, so I don't know if this really applies, but they might be trying to get you to lead (or indicate your intention to the follower), before you step.
    Zoopsia59 likes this.
  3. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I am somewhat with dchester - if everybody who you work with has similar advice over and over again there is probably _something_ to be debugged there. As i said above, it is very likely that the issue is probably not literally what they say - as you have pointed out this seems to contradict physics - but something they are not expressing in a way that clicks with you. Sometimes it feels like this is the main difficulty of learning any subtle physical skill - communicating things that are invisible. And the worst part is that once you get it it seems obvious what everybody was talking about, but when you try to explain it to somebody who has not had that epiphany you hear yourself repeating the same things that were not helpful, and see that the person you are talking to does not understand.

    (there is something that i think is a related problem: I am starting to believe that a lot of "advanced" vocabulary actually cannot be taught - if a dancer has a certain level of technique it will flow naturally as an extension of the same concepts, if they don't you can make it work as a trick, but that is not using quite the same technique - it stays disconnected from the flow of the dance if it works at all. Of course that is a really unsatisfactory question when somebody asks you how something works)
    raindance likes this.
  4. Yes yes. Okay so I totally agree with you that the words used to explain something tricky to teach make sense only once you have actually learned it. I have had that experience on multiple occasions learning other skills, and indeed suspected it might be at issue in this case.

    However the difference here is that the explanations proffered are not just faintly obscure or hard to get at. Taken at face value, rather, they are patently absurd.

    If it is a metaphorical explanation, not to be taken at face value, then it is a very poor metaphor if I may say so... hence my including it under "bad advice".

    I've already mentioned that if you actually throw your center-of-gravity forward ahead of your foot, then your foot is going to have to absorb a very severe impact when it eventually gets there. That's not something I'd want to get into the habit of for any reason; the repetitive shocks could definitely be harmful.

    Next there is the point that dance movement is supposed to be a stylized form of natural motion, and this particular maneuver is about as unnatural as you can get. People tell me I have a very nice "cocky" swagger in everyday life; it's one of the first things women notice. Why would I want to change that?

    Lastly, the suggestion is peculiarly unsuited to my style of dancing. I know that some people like dancing tango at a sort of "arm's length" which is fair enough I guess, although I always think it looks a bit contrary to the spirit of the dance. But I like standing nearer to the partner so that our torsos are pressed together. In this situation, pushing out the chest first is actually physically impossible as there is someone else's chest in that place, and two solid objects can't so far as I know occupy the same space simultaneously. On the other hand, if you walk feet first like a normal person, there should be no problem.

    So yes, words make sense with hindsight (and I agree it's all you can do to avoid using the same ones again with people learning from you subsequently), but these particular words I've been hearing for a year, yet still they make no sense at all!
  5. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    It seems as though fairly often on these forums, someone has a question or an issue with a particular problem or movement or advice a teacher has given them on form. There's usually a lengthy discussion trying to figure out what the questioner is talking about because movements are hard to describe in words. Maybe a video of oneself with a specific question would be better in getting to the heart of issues. ASAF, I know you didn't originally try to solicit feedback; I'm speaking in more general terms. Form correction videos seem like something this forum would be naturally good for. A sort of crowd-sourced mini-private lesson?

    It can be scary posting a video of yourself for others to pick apart, some of the advice can be overly harsh or wrong, and sorting through conflicting advice can be tough. But despite these things, I think it could be a useful tool. I've done it, and have gotten some useful things out of it.
  6. manuille

    manuille New Member

    The man should not tread the woman feet :)

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