Tango Argentino > Help! Newby lost in tango

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by jeng7400, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Ha, ha, ha. Ich bin und baaaaad Mutterficher. Lovin' it-tah. :uplaugh:
  2. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Excellent point.

    Whenever I've thought that something was unleadable, and needed a "cue" or visual signal, it turns out that the move was "unleadable by me at that point". With enough practice and work, almost everything becomes leadable, on almost any follower.

    To me, that "unleadable move" assumption is the same sort of mistake as when we think "Huh, XYZ (advanced dancer) can follow this, but ABC (our current partner) can't, therefore it's ABC's fault". Whereas, the truth is that XYZ can only follow our lead because she's a great follower, and is compensating for our poor lead. So, in fact, it's our fault - the better a lead we provide, the more we can lead on a partner of any experience.

    In fact, I don't believe I've ever seen an unleadable move in a Tango dance - including shows.
  3. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Having spent a nice evening at a milonga on saturday dancing with followers from three lessons to as many or more 'tango miles' than myself, there is a point with some followers that you have to ascertain what they will follow and find the limits of their knowledge. Inevtiably to do this you do something that doesn't work then come back.
    Since most of the time I take responsibility for 90% of what my follower does I will apologise and carry on dancing; I see it as part of the improvisation process ( The Show Must Go On and all that sort of lark)

    As to the Unleadable Moves how about the one where she steps onto your thigh......

    What a woman will follow is down to their experience. I can get beginners to do more than they think they can but some places they seem to have gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac and things which are commonplace to you may be unknown to them even though they are perfectly good dancers ( try leading a follower to sacada you:beginners are more likely to do what you lead but more advanced dancers will do everything possible to veer off)
  4. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there are no unleadable moves - clearly some moves are choreographed-only, or could be. It'd be relatively easy to come up with an unleadable move, I imagine, even in AT. Aerials are an obvious example of moves which are always at least partially unleadable.

    But I don't recall seeing a move in any show, where I thought it was unleadable. I'd be interested if anyone's got any clips of dancing with unleadable moves, though.
  5. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    I think it is quite common for regular couples and tiny communities to develop their own leads that do not translate to the greater tango world, just as performing couples have leads for some of their outrageous show moves that are unlikely to work with anyone else.

    Exhibit 1: Cesar Valasquez and Carolina Gonzalez

    As far as I can tell, they improvise the majority of their performances, but deploy set-piece moves within it, with lifts and some rather daring stuff that he must have leads for, but are not intuitively followed except in a "hang on and enjoy the ride" sense. A generic follower will not be able to follow those crazy things, because they do not have the years of practice, familiarity and trust built up between the performers.

    The leads for conventional steps, weight changes, crosses, volcadas, barridas, giros, saccadas and a few others I can't think of just now can be unleashed upon followers of almost any experience when they are "in the zone" and relaxed. They work because there is only one possible interpretation of the motion. (This is irrespective of whether you *should* lead those things on unsuspecting beginners)

    Colgadas it seems to me are a special case. Sometimes followers can be tricked into surrendering their axis outwards by making it feel like an interrupted step, but in the majority case, a follower needs to be taught and understand that the outward expansion is different from a mistake/change of embrace/step. They must also understand that the method in which they move themselves is pivotal to the success of the maneuver. If you'd never seen a colgada, could you follow it?

    Strangely enough I have also found that ganchos work best for me with people who are not thinking of ganchos, eg. practicing mano a mano.

    Lest we forget, there is also a thing called "brain" that the follower has, allowing them to interpret a lead differently, while still following it. Emergent tango behaviour is one of my favourite parts. Chaos theory applied to tango.

    F: "What just happened?"
    L: "I don't know, but it was good."
    F: "Do it again!"
    L: "I don't know how."
  6. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Yeah, but to me, that's not a lead, it's a signal.

    To explain, in my - possibly warped - dictionary:
    • A "lead" is a invitation to move, which can be interpreted by any follower who uses the basic technique of following.
    • A "signal" is a Secret Squirrel code, which only works on followers who know the secret code.
    Possibly my terminology is poor, but the difference to me is that a lead is something anyone can follow, a signal can only be understood by a small group of followers.

    Yes - that's what I mean, nicely put. Although I'd put the caveat of "They work when led well because there is only one possible interpretation of the motion." :D

    Dunno - presumably the same thing applies to volcadas?

    If you didn't know (as a follower) that off-axis moves were possible, would you be able to follow them, or would you assume that you were doing something wrong? I think you might be able to follow them without knowing about them, but I'm nowhere near good enough a lead to know for sure.

    I'd like to think that a good enough lead can achieve anything. In my experience of leading, I can now lead non-AT dancers into ochos without worrying about it, which I couldn't do 18 months ago.
  7. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    I discount volcadas because the leader is in the way, and constantly present. To get you follower off her axis, you simply have to inch away from her while still in the embrace, and she leans whether she wants to or not. A volcada is more of a mobile version of that. If she goes with the flow, and the lead is spot on, it happens without prior knowledge. By way of evidence, I have seen plenty of follower abuse from reprehensible leaders getting their victims to do volcadas in spite of both the leader's ineptitude and the risk to the follower's back.

    The same is not true of colgadas, since the only way to make one happen is to lean (bending at the hips) outward. What does the leader do? Push his partner away with his arms? No. If the follower does not settle down and outward, flexing from the right places, she is almost impossible to manage. When women just tilt themselves backward (plank style, a common mistake when first attempting them), the move is incredibly difficult to balance. I think perhaps colgadas can be discovered by daring followers who guess what the lead might mean, but I am convinced there is interpretation involved.

    I agree very much with the sentiment that almost all tango steps can be led in a way that is obvious to a listening follower.
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    my experience is if you lead a volcada to someone who is unfamilair with they will seek to put their foot on the floor. there is a further issue as to where the support is for a volcada: a straight back is better than a bend but this takes muscle tone and foreknowledge

    As to colgadas sometimes can work if they are expecting a pivot but you carry it further but again followers will put their foot down early
  9. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Regarding following if the girl isn't aware of the move...

    I think it probably depends on the girl. Some, I'm sure, are OK with just going with something.

    Others of us--Hello!--are not. (I'm getting better at it, but it's been a lot of work, and I've got a long way to go.) When I encounter something I don't know (or don't know that can be done), my first impulse is to try to make sense of it within the context of what I already know. With some things, like colgadas, that may mean I come to the conclusion that I've done something wrong, and am now falling, and will try to end it ASAP. The other thing that I'll end up doing is fighting the lead, or doing whatever I can to get myself out of the situation (like volcadas). Be that putting my foot down, breaking the embrace, sticking my butt out to keep myself balanced, or really pulling back...if I don't know that it's something I can be doing, I don't generally go through with it.
  10. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    This is one of the things I love about AT. :D
  11. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member


    I can just picture how you reacted when this bozo came up to you and said that.

  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    And he didn't actually just come up to me and say it.. he tried to throw it in and teach it to me while we were already dancing:rolleyes:
  13. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

  14. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Sounds like these kinds of people: (Click on the link, on the thread I started al long time ago)--> http://dance-forums.com/showthread.php?t=21315
  15. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    I'm only up to the end of page 15 but this quote got to me.....
    Take you in their arms, move you a little??????.. can you talk a little more about that???? Heather?? Peaches?? Anyone??:confused::p

    ..and it'll be like the bottom falling out and like Alice sending you into a whole new dimension. But it'll happen.

    OMG, I want to do this!:shock:
  16. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    It would be unfair to you for me to say, "it feel like this" or "it feels like that". Everybody has their own interpretation. (A bit like trying to describe the colour "red" to a blind person). Don't aim to get IT. When it's right, IT will aim for you. Believe and receive. ;)
  17. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    It's all explained here.
    h t t p://tangobeginner.blogspot.com/2005/06/what-women-want.html
  18. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    With due respect to Heather, who is right--there really isn't a way to describe it... That said, I'll ramble anyway. It would be uncharacteristic not to.

    "Take you in their arms." A good embrace is wonderful. A fantastic embrace is rare, and amazing. That, in my mind, is step one. The connection is certainly part of it, and as Heather said, you've got to stop focusing so much on what to lead next and think about the partner you're holding. Combine that attention to your partner with a fantastic embrace...heaven.

    The "move you a little" thing, to me, means simple steps. That wonderful connection can start in something as simple as an in-place shifting of weight. Not moving anywhere, not doing anything, just standing together and shifting weight. Getting the feel of each other. Mmmm... And then, from there, simple steps done well is all it takes. (But you've got to still be focused on your partner, of course.) But the point is, you don't need a ton of fancy moves.

    When it all comes together...it's just amazing. It's like a whole new world opening up, a whole new feeling; excitement coupled with relaxation; a feeling of melting into your partner and the music; a hyper-awareness of your body and your partner's body and the couples on the floor around you and the music and the ENERGY of the dance. That's the best I can think to describe it, and it doesn't come close.
  19. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I agree all around...and it is just too hard to describe. But yes, paying attention to your partner and connection (and leading from your core) I think will go a long way.

    I can give an example of what IMO, has the potential to not be nice in a leader.

    In AT, we've all agreed that its not about steps, I think. So there are plenty of option for the leaders. Now, I've come up against some leaders in classes who take what concept the teacher is teaching and immediately begin adapting it, which can be fine...or not. If the partner immediately says "well, that felt a little weird" and even if they ask and the teacher says what they did can "technically" be done, if they are just doing a move to be snazzy or prove they CAN (and it is not technically wrong) then how have they paid attention to their partner and the connection? IMO, they are now dancing for themselves and not really to have good dance with their partner.
  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    This kind of raises an interesting point...

    We've talked about how things generally aren't as good when the guy starts dancing for himself, instead of dancing with his partner. And it's pretty easy to tell when that happens. (Bastet's example is perfect.)

    But what about it from the leader's perspective? What things do the followers do that make it feel like they're dancing for themselves?

    I guess, just being only a follower, it's easy to place the blame on the guys on this. But it's got to go both ways...it just has to. What do you all feel? Is this the going off and embellishing to the point of stupidity? Is it taking an indication of a lead and going off and doing ones on thing? What?

    (And, completely switching gears... Wow...I think we've gone pretty far afield of the OP. Lol. Meh. No one's seemed to mind. It's been a good, wandering conversation.)

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