Tango Argentino > Help! Newby lost in tango

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

  1. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Thanks, I understand the point now. But I feel that I was not taught how to actually do it. My teachers often said to follow the leader's chest/upper body, but that's a visual lead. And I guess I'm not sure if the leaders in my classes were being taught how exactly to separate their own steps and weight changes from the ones that they led.
  2. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Visual? Not only/always... is that what the teacher said?

    Of course, to figure out how it's done one would need a proper lead, and/or a teacher who can lead , and explain in understandable language how the follower is supposed to react to the lead. (btw "lost in translation" is a common problem with visiting teachers, unfortunately).
  3. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    The teaching issues are not primarily with the visiting Argentine couple that I referred to. The issues refer to local (and fully English-speaking) teachers. They did not say "only" or "always" follow a visual lead, it was more an issue of omission. They simply did not spend much time teaching other kinds of following skills. I felt like they had their hands full teaching the leaders.
  4. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Oh, I am sorry. By "lost in translation", I referred to the situation where the visiting teacher presumably said "do not follow", and it was apparently understood as "thou shalt not follow the lead while performing (a) certain move(s)".
    I believe there was a misunderstanding, possibly due to the lack of common language. And since the teacher is gone, it is impossible to go back and clarify. Which is unfortunate.
    Sorry again, my own English writing skills are not advanced by any means, either. :notworth:
  5. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    At the risk of sounding egotistical...me?...:rolleyes:...I wish that you had been in my workshop this past w/e. Many "light bulbs" (aha moments) were happening as dancers understood my concepts of never follow your partner...follow the movement of the dance. I probably shouldn't say that and not get into it, but..,the reader's digest explanation is....

    For the specific step that you were referring to preceding ochos atras, the man should be able to dance contra-tiempo w/o the lady even feeling the step. The well known Argentine teacher, Eduardo Saucedo, calls this the invisible step. I call it the sneaky step.
  6. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Your writing is just fine. More to the point, is that the Argentine teacher had to give me that piece of instruction because in five months of tango lessons with local teachers, I had never been taught how to follow an ocho properly.

    I wish I was there too, Angel HI. I had better find another teacher. So far my experience is that my local teachers somehow expect the ladies to magically know this concept without them actually explaining or teaching it. Then they try to lead me and get a baffled look when I follow the wrong things.

  7. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    ...huge problem. I find this often, unfortunately, not only with ochos, but with many things. The step is taught, but the mechanics are lost.
  8. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    That sounds like, well, a bit strange, unless it was just a case of poor communication?
  9. timbp

    timbp New Member

    I have very little experience in AT (but 4 years experience in a lead-follow dance), but as a lead I would not be happy if you followed advice to "don't follow" a certain thing (what if I decide to lead that certain thing?).
    Having said that, in a social dance one makes allowances, and if it becomes clear that a leader expects you not to follow something, then perhaps you would not follow that particular thing in that dance or with that leader (but can you identify that particular lead, or would you end up not following leads he intended you to follow?).

    My teachers (group classes only) have spent some time with me (as with the other leaders) ensuring I can lead a weight change when I intend to (without leading a side step), and that I can change my own weight without leading the follower to do anything.
    It seems to me your teachers are not teaching the leaders properly (and then wrongly teaching you to compensate).

  10. timbp

    timbp New Member

    I'm sure I've read in other posts that you are also learning West Coast Swing?

    I did a lot of WCS classes throughout 2006, starting with a weekend of workshops with Jordan and Tatiana. One thing I got out of those classes was the importance of keeping what I do with my feet separate from what I communicate to my partner (unless of course I want her to follow my footwork).
    I certainly never learned to do that fully, but it was something I remembered and carried over when I started AT. So when my teacher started telling me to change weight without my partner knowing (even in close embrace), it was a concept I was used to. Unfortunately, I am no good a breaking down what I actually do to achieve that.
    (And I probably shouldnt' tell you anyway, as you're a follower. Leaders need to know where your weight is, so it's not a good idea for me to tell you how to silently change weight.)
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    To follow an ocho break it down into three movements: a step and a pivot and another step. If the leader understands this as well it should be clear. Don't step until you've finished pivoting and don't pivot under your free leg is next to the standing leg.
    Also you rotate your hips more than yor shoulders- the power steering effect where a small lead to pivot( by the leaders chest ) results in a larger turn at your hips and consequently your feet. I hope this helps.
  12. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    The moment the Follower hits the floor, she is following. She only ceases to follow when she is back at her seat.;)
  13. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    The "don't follow" advice: I think I can relate to that advice. When I am leading that is. I can always tell when a follower is just going through the mechanics of the dance compared to the one who is not just following but is actually "feeling" my lead and translating that feel into her own dance. A bit like the piper and the snake.
  14. Me

    Me New Member

    You know... that is one analogy I do not think my tango friends could handle. :doh:

    Or maybe they would try to handle it. Ahhh!
  15. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Oddly enough, I can follow well in WCS and in that dance, it seems clear to me when the leader wants me to move and when he is just doing his own footwork that I should not follow. I've also taken workshops with Jordan and Tat, by the way, although not where they taught that skill. However, my local WCS teacher was really excellent in teaching strong lead-and-follow skills. I've not had the same luck with my local tango teachers, and whatever skills I have from WCS don't seem to translate sufficiently for following in tango. WCS leading is primarily about compression and leverage - very roughly this means expanding and contracting between an open and a more closed position. Maybe certain tango moves use this idea, but not most of them, I don't think? Certainly not ochos.

    True, I think. In no way am I resting all the blame on leaders since I know I have a lot to learn. But I will say that I can follow ochos fairly easily when their weight change is not noticeable.
  16. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I did not write that! Jennyisdancing did.
  17. jeng7400

    jeng7400 New Member

    Lost in Tango, Cont.:

    So in Class #2 last night (yes, I willed myself to return), we reviewed all the complicated stuff we did last week (and no, the instructor's explanation didn't shed a whole lot of light) and then we proceeded to a new move, in which the lead walks on the outside of the follow and then leads her into a cross-step. If I remember correctly,, the steps go something like this:

    Lead takes 3 walking steps (left, right, left). After third step, lead turns shoulder slightly to right, creating space for the next step, which is right foot forward on the outside (right side) of follow, left, right collect (at this point the follow crosses in front with her left foot in front of right foot, I think). Then lead straightens frame and changes weight to right foot, follow uncrosses, and they continue happily ever after down line of dance.

    I still feel I haven't learned the "basics" and concepts of AT, but I will continue to plow along this class with the help of a friend who has taken AT before and has agreed to show me the steps outside of class.
  18. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    cool...BTW jeng, I hope you don't feel I hijacked your thread. I do think that my concerns were relevant to yours, as a discussion of learning proper leading and following skills. You said the instructor's explanation didn't "shed a whole lot of light" and I can relate to that. It appears many instructors are teaching the steps but don't explain why it works, or how to employ good leading or following to achieve it.
  19. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Short of private lessons ( = $$$), a good plan.

    I love my indy studio, but sometimes the owner will lump advanced beginners into intermediate classes and then teach patterns at an intermediate level. Great for the ABs who can pick it up quickly, but trying times for those who don't (like me).

    The bad thing is it can be quite frustrating but the good thing is it makes me aware of what's out there. And eventually when we get back to it, it's not totally new. Sometimes the "what the heck was that?" suddenly clicks into place later.
  20. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    This is the Basic 8 Count step.

Share This Page