Tango Argentino > Is there a good explanation of Naveira and Salas' tango analysis?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by plugger, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    Partly a retro evening then! :)

    (please note, I had an error in the line - should be .... C/C cross opp ....)
  2. plugger

    plugger Member

    "The only reason for mastering technique is to make sure the body does not stand in the way of the soul's expression." — La Meri .... and AndaBien!

    So often the body, and for that matter the mind, does get in the way.
    Also, as John Em noted, there's a limit to what teachers can do. It's a poor student who doesn't try to solve issues on his/her own. There's also as a limit to how much detailed, individually focused teaching the student can afford.
    I agree there's no substitute for dancing experience and a good teacher. Books are usually worthless for learning to dance. A simple turn described with foot diagrams becomes inscrutable. If you try to simplify by having separate diagrams for each partner, the reader has to imagine them put together. My own verbal descriptions of moves used in past lessons are as baffling as chicken stratch a few years later.
    I don't expect a lot of practical help from an analysis of tango and its possible moves. Still, it's an interesting subject, and from time to time there I might find possibilities that are new to me.
  3. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    We all have different capabilities, and learn in different ways. Just because something is worthless to one person, doesn't mean it's worthless to someone else.
  4. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Interesting, and long, article about coaching. (Skip way done past all the personal experience of the author - mid 2nd page).


    "They studied with DeLay for a number of years, and then they graduated, launched like ships leaving drydock. She saw her role as preparing them to make their way without her."

    I think part of the role of a teacher/coach is to prepare a student to do their own learning.


    ' “The great challenge in performing is listening to yourself,” he said. “Your physicality, the sensation that you have as you play the violin, interferes with your accuracy of listening.” What violinists perceive is often quite different from what audiences perceive.'
  5. shrek

    shrek New Member

    I've been trying to understand this (because I'm working on improvisation) and have just finished reading the first book by Mauricio Castro and found this thread on the forums. I just wanted to run my interpretation/simplification of it in my own words past people who already understand it to see if I've got it. So, well, here it is...
    With my partner and I ready to take a step (implicitly we're either in parallel or cross systems depending on whether we're on opposite feet or the same foot) then I can choose two equivalent descriptions of all the possible structurally different steps we can take as a couple.

    a) In terms of crossed/open steps - the options are {open, crossed} {leader, follower} so four options.

    or equivalently (and arguably more useful for improvisation)

    b) In terms of direction/movement - the options are {left, right} {linear, rotated} so also four options.

    [This is wrapping up front and back crosses into 'cross' just to simplify things]
    The second part of the book covered changes of direction which:

    a) in step terms are when you (or follower or both) take two open steps in a row or two crossed steps in a row.

    b) or equivalently in movement term is just a change of {left, right} which I find easier to think about.

    But does this mean that for example:
    i) The normal walk is a change of direction?
    ii) I've normally thought of changes of direction as linear, but e.g. if I changed direction in any part of a double giro (or whatever it is called - where we are both giro'ing at the same time), then would that also be a 'change of direction'.

    and am I understanding this all correctly?

    Thanks for your time
  6. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    i) yes. Each step is like beginning a giro on a new circle.
    ii) No. It's the same direction. Vertical is a direction. Up to down and down to up is the same direction. If you're double-giroing and decide at some moment to run the other way, it's still around the same circle.
  7. borisvian13

    borisvian13 Member

    I'm sorry but that doesn't make much sense to me, firstly because it's not clear what you mean in part b): What is left/right? Linear/rotated with respect to what? And that's not the terminology is Castro's books anyway.

    You might want to look at my posts above in this thread, I've explained some of the equivalences...
  8. borisvian13

    borisvian13 Member

    Here is b) is just the definition of a change of direction and a) explains the different ways it can be achieved, so that's not exactly what I would call an equivalence.

    i) Yes, you can think of the normal walk as a change of direction, but for that you need to think of the change of direction not linearly but as happening within a giro. Then all open steps are structurally the same, so you can think of the open steps in the normal walk as open steps which are part of a giro.

    ii) Yes, certainly if you both do giro and you change the direction of your giro, that is indeed a change of direction:D. Again, always think of the change of direction as a change of direction of a circular movement, that's the key. Otherwise one can't visualize the situation properly.
  9. borisvian13

    borisvian13 Member

    Now I see that newbie is interpreting your second question in a different way. He thinks that you're asking: if I change the direction of movement in a 'double giro', is that a change from opposite directions system to same directions system in Castro's terminolgy. If that's what you're asking then answer is clearly no, you remain in opposite directions system.
  10. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Shrek, I haven't read the book, but I know how to dance and how to improvise. Just saying - maybe you are making this way too difficult, and way too analytical.

    The way I see it: at any point in the dance your partner is standing on one foot, doesn't matter which. From there you can lead her to step: forward, backward, sideward, or ocho in either front or back. That's it.

    But that's not it. Any of those individual steps can be done in infinite ways. Improvise doesn't mean to plan out every possibility. It means to go where you've never been before.
  11. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    You can dance in a very free and improvisatory way, but entirely within a limited range of all possible movements, and only occasionally find something really 'new'. Otherwise you'd have to give up pretty quickly, if you dance regularly.
  12. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    In my experience, if I can't find something new, I'm not paying enough attention, or not trying hard enough.

    I'm a little confused by your comment. As I read it, 1) it's hard to find something new, and 2) otherwise one gets bored. Does that not equal boredom?
  13. shrek

    shrek New Member

    Thanks everyone (newbie, andabien, ukdancer) for your replies. Sorry it's late here 1.30am so only a quick reply to try to explain what I meant on the first bit before heading to bed.

    In terms of steps (in Borisvan's abbreviations, post 26) in a couple we can either step O/O, O/C, C/O or C/C.

    Reading the book, as well as saying these were the only basic movements, it also seemed to be describing an equivalence between these steps and movements in a drawn out way.

    If the starting point is fixed so we've already decided which legs we're standing on, then the system is fixed. So say I'm on my left foot and my follower is on her right foot, then we're in parallel leg system. Then

    O/O we must take a 'linear' step to my 'right'.
    O/C we must 'rotate' to the leaders 'left'
    C/O we must 'rotate' to the leaders 'right'
    C/C we must take a 'linear' step to the leaders left.

    In my terminology I take 'left' and 'right' to mean to the leaders left and to the leader's right. (I think Castro does use L and R in a similar way when referring to one person moving wrt the other). Linear and rotated to mean a step where we are not rotating or we are rotating. Castro I think uses 'Parallel' and 'Contrary' directions respectively. So (left/rotated) is an anticlockwise turn, (left/linear) is a left step

    But I guess my point is that this can be turned around. So
    (Linear/Right) means we must take the O/O step
    (Rotate/Left) means we must take the O/C step
    (Rotate/Right) means we must take the C/O step
    (Linear/Left) means we must take the C/C step

    So they are an equivalence. And it's because moving to my right I have to take an open step and to the left a closed step (in this example starting position)

    And that it would be useful because it's easier to think in movements than in O/C steps. So at each point we can only structurally take a (linear) step to our left, a step to our right, a clockwise turn or an anticlockwise turn and this fully describes all the steps we can take as a couple.

    Anyway I hope that explains what my thought process was - but I'm not sure whether it's too simplistic or whether it's what Castro was describing? Have I completely missed the point? Borisvan, it seems that this is similar to what you were saying in your post 26, but not sure if it's the same?
  14. shrek

    shrek New Member

    @Andabien, I think we're trying for the same goal. If when I'm dancing I know we usually take say a step to the right at a certain point. Then I know the other three options open to us are a step to the left, a clockwise turn or an anticlockwise turn. And also these better match how I dance as I can also consider these as just a change of energy/flow/direction rather than steps.
  15. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I made no reference to boredom, but meant, rather, than if you are only improvising when doing something new, you will have to give up dancing when you have tried all the possibilities - and it won't take long.

    Far from being infinite, there is a fairly small set of possible movements, and the variety in the dance only becomes really large when you plan out great long sequences*, making sure that you change something for the sake of 'newness' each time.

    I would readily agree that too many (me included) dance within their comfort zone too often, and that looking for new combinations is a good thing, but that doesn't mean that there is no practical end to them (and that the search should just go on and on), or that such experimentation necessarily represents a satisfying dance for either of us, interesting though it is as part of our dance experience.

    *The alternative to planning (rather the opposite of improvisation) is to develop a good memory, so that while step A would be nice here, I used it (four years ago), so now I must dance step B, instead. Which is a shame, as I liked step A.
  16. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I agree that there is a small number of steps, but every step can be done with unlimited types of movements. I think you see the "step" as being the granular level of tango. I use to. My dancing took a big leap forward when I began to understand that there is a level of expression and creativity that goes deeper than a single step. My dance is composed of a very limited step vocabulary, but just as in speech, where a word can be spoken with great nuance, so can a single step be dances with great nuance. That is where I like to improvise.
  17. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    No, I don't think I do, but you have missed the thrust of my original objection to:

    That can't be a workable definition for improvisation: you can't just keep going where you've never been before, and it would require a prodigious feat of memory even to make a serious attempt.
  18. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I also like to use this approach, as well as experimenting. I learn more from playing my sax and listeneing to sax music than I've ever learnt from dance teachers.

    But now and again, like a couple of weeks ago, I spontaneously do something that no-one has taught me. My partner at the time, gasped and said "WHAT DID YOU JUST DO?" i replied "I dont know but it was nice."
  19. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Well, yes, that's what I mean.
  20. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Now I get what your complaint was. As always when talking about dance, words can be misleading. I was not suggesting that you should keep track of every thing you've ever done in tango and avoid any and all repetition. I wanted to be understood a little more poetically than that.

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