Tango Argentino > Is Tango Danced on the Falkland Islands?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by UKDancer, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I don't understand why so many times, when one of us expresses a deep affection and longing for apilado, or even the "close embrace" style of the milongas in the crowded milongas in central Buenos Aires, it is taken as telling people they should only dance that style.
    bordertangoman likes this.
  2. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Looks (at least from what I can make of the descriptions) like you all have a scenes with much less of a continuum between apilado and non-apilado dancers (and with non-apilado associated with an embrace that isn't ccompletely closed almost all of the time. I dance on my own axis most of the time, but I do immensely enjoy a follower looking for contact while we move. I'd be hard-pressed to answer if I were dancing 'apilado' or 'non-apilado' during those tandas -- where do you draw the line?

    Perhaps if there wasn't that dichotomy between teachers of the close and less close/flexible embrace you'd be less sad for the 'loss' of apilado.

    Personally, I think that there are as many styles as there are couples and that it's all a dialect continuum (and if there isn't and there are two opposing 'schools' on anything, that it's usually the result of a less organic community where teachers tend to make the individuals cluster within the continuum more than you'd normally see in a richer ecosystem).
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    While many people define apilado as giving the appearance of weight sharing, my functional definition is that there is actual weight sharing to the point that one or the other of the partners is beyond the point where they can maintain balance alone.

    And, yes, there is a continuim, but the weight sharing end of the continuim disappeared over several years as certain teachers either changed what they were teaching, or stopped teaching altogether.

    AT in Portland has become less popular, (at one time we heard after every festival that they had set a new record attendance, not any more) and I wonder if it doesn't have to do with adapting to American tastes that are more aversive to close body contact.

    It almost seems like an oxymoron to say that it became less popular as it tried to become more popular by appealing to "local" tastes, but it makes sense in a way. That way is some tech stuff. People don't know they want it until they see it. I certainly didn't know anything about apilado until I felt it. And to add context, when my first instructor unexpectedly moved towards me to do close embrace the first time, I reflexively moved away.
  4. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    To me, it's not hard to draw a line at all. If you are on your own axis, it's not apilado. If you have a shared axis (and lets not argue definitions), it is apilado. There are shades of gray in how much the axis is shared, but there is a clear line between shared or not shared. In one, you can maintain your own balance, and in the other you can't.

    I have found some partners who toggle between shared and not, but to me, that just flirts with shared but does not commit to it. For me, apilado is a commitment to being in a shared axis. The entire dance has a shared axis. You enter into it and you don't quit until the music ends.

    For me, the two dances are entirely different. With a committed apilado embrace, the connection is in the chest. If it's not in the chest, because the commitment is not there, then the connection must be in another location, usually the arms or shoulders.

    It's clear to me what it is, and it's clear to me that I find a much more satisfying dance with apilado. YMMV.
  5. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    HIGH FIVE!!!
  6. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Because for the past 3 years most of the posts have been people harping about apilado and dancing close embrace in BsAs and how that's the only true style. Everyone else who dances another style has been driven away from the forum. Except for a few of us who dance all styles.

    This forum is hostile to neuvo/modern dancers. There is a whole tango community out there that is underrepresented and probably will never come here.
    bordertangoman and UKDancer like this.
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    I do get it, though. I left DF for three years because it was hostile to me personally for a couple of reasons. Why go somewhere online for recreation/an ability to decompress, when all you get is a faceful of [poo]? Hmm Maybe I should take up tango nuevo and talk about it here. I ain't skairt no more. :D
    bordertangoman and Subliminal like this.
  8. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I have not noticed that, except for one poster.

    I have a distinct preference for apilado, but I have always tried to own that as a personal preference only, and have meant to acknowledge and honor the personal preference of all other dancers. That does not include dancers whose style interferes with other dancers on the dance floor.
    pygmalion likes this.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    When it comes to the tango forum specifically, I think that this entire conversation is probably moot. It really is a lot like those converted to what they believe to be the true faith. No amount of reasoning or cajoling will convince them that their strident tone drives away more people than it attracts. *shrug*

    ETA: This is not aimed at Andabien (a very reasonable guy) or any one person. Just making a general comment about the tone of tango conversations here and in other boards I've read. Lots of tango zealots out there, some of whom do far more harm than good, IMHO. *sigh*
    bordertangoman likes this.
  10. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I can't remember anyone having expressed any such thing for rather a long time. What I do read, week after week, are undisguised attacks on the dance styles adopted by probably the majority of posters here. We are phoney: our dance isn't really tango, we have paid good money to be taught choreography (and by extension have been taken for fools), we cannot practise good floorcraft because we don't always dance in venues so crowded that the baldosa is the only space we're going to get. We fail to make the obligatory credibility-building trips twice a year to support the tourist industry of BsAs, and to check that we are up to speed with the codes of another culture and continent. We are incapable of improvising, because all we ever do is dance the basic eight (which doesn't exist, and never did), and if we're not dancing that, it will be some other pattern spoonfed to us by a bogus teacher. Never mind, that the teacher really does come from BsAs (none of the zealots do), and is making money from tango, not just funding the BsAs dream-machine.

    Just about every complicated choreographed pattern that has ever been offered to me in classes or workshops has come, directly or indirectly, from an Argentinian teacher. My favourite porteno milonga dancer of the old school, Pepito Avellaneda, produced teaching videos (many years ago, now), and they are almost entirely based on - the basic eight.

    If we dare to stand our ground, we are openly mocked:
    It is no wonder, really, that there is now far less discussion here than when I joined and that lots of posters have given up and disappeared.
    pygmalion and bordertangoman like this.
  11. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    My point is that you can be very committed and connect at the chest _without_ completely sharing an axis (in the sense that the COG of every partner is beyond their toes). Wouldn't be true if we were stick figures, but we aren't.
    Zoopsia59 and bordertangoman like this.
  12. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    hear hear..
  13. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Steve, Andabien, now you're making me curious. What style has replaced apilado (or even close embrace) in your parts?

    Right now, I think almost everything I see (from both local and visiting teachers) has migrated to 100% sustained close embrace with chest connection at least for walking, although in some styles the embrace is quite flexible in giros (a bit like VU/salón, although I apply these ill-defined terms loosely) and even a bit on ochos (since some teachers still favour a style with a lot of dissociation in the ochos, and not the ocho milonguero).
    Subliminal and bordertangoman like this.
  14. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    thanks, though I've not had time to persuse it yet.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2017
  15. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Just to clarify: I've dug up some videos of myself in 2009, and you could apparently drive a bus between me and my partner, especially during giros and the odd sacada (and that's certainly not only due to me, since I did already dance apilado with whomever latched onto me appropriately when negotiating the abrazo).

    That seems to have completely changed in 2010-2011ish, under normal evolutionary pressure (not from teachers, but from how people dance with me at milongas and what I like), except for a minority of followers (often 'showy' quasi-performance dancers).
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Posted yesterday
    bordertangoman likes this.
  17. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    While "close embrace" is taught often, there is no emphasis on, or explanation of how "committing to your partner," or, sharing weight enough that you create one axis, etc, enriches the dance, and the experience.
    Portland's best know and respected teacher is in this camp.

    And, it's that "hidden" experience that I'm looking for.
    We could get into the things that it makes possible, but perhaps it would be more fair for me to note that after BA, I only danced AT a few times here in Portland. And it's been well over a year now.
  18. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    The basic eight does exist as teaching choreography, not for social dancing.

    Pepito Avellaneda was an argentine lifetime performance dancer and teacher.
  19. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Ha ha, I only need to spot one more, this afternoon, and I can claim my £5.
    bordertangoman likes this.
  20. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Can't find the post where someone wrote about people being driven away by certain topics. Sorry, already spent too much time for a while to look for a quote.

    Let me just say, that as a moderator, there have been so many posts recently that I'm finding it difficult to keep up.

    I'd say we're doing something right.
    And Tango-L, which used to be the big dog, is moribund. (And there is probably more thatn one reason for that.)

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