Tango Argentino > Low vs. High boleo - leader's choice or follower's choice?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by LoveTango, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    I rarely do high boleos. High boleos happen only occasionally when I dance with certain leaders.

    One day I was watching. The leader who just danced with me was leading another lady. They made many beautifully presented and natural high boleos (note: the dance floor was nearly empty at the time, so we can leave the appropriateness out of the question). I am quite sure that the leader would have led me the same way. My low boleo didn't make me feel awkward. Usually if I missed something, I would realize immediately afterward. I was so surprised that the results from the same lead could be so different.

    I wonder whether it is the follower's choice to make high or low boleo? In other words, when I followed with low boleo, would the leader feel dissapointed since he would have expected high boleo? If it is lead, how can I tell?


    P.S., if I hadn't seen the contrast, I would have thought our dance had been near perfect (in the sense of lead-and-follow, not in the sense of performance).
  2. pwpulto

    pwpulto Member

    I think it is a followers choice. As you already pointed out the main reason for doing low voleos is a social one: making sure nobody gets hurt. A high voleo could be experienced a bit more natural. But I wouldn't be worried to much about it. The to and fro movement that the leader leads doesn't contain an indication of the leg moving up. So it could not be considered "wrong" to do a low voleo.
    So in my opinion, the main reason for you to change your low voleos in high voleos would be a matter of taste. Am I right that you found the high voleos looking very nice?
  3. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    The lead can vary but it is always a followers choice to choose the safety one! I have had an another couples boleo hitting my hip with force at a busy milonga - not good at all! It can be dangerous too; one of my frends posted a picture showing a bleeding bruise just above her knee.

    If you feel a lead for a high BACKwards boleo choose a low. The lead can be wrong or unclear so the follower misunderstands it. Choose safety!

    If a leader complains about your choise say: I felt your high boleo lead but I did not knew if there is another couple behind us and in such a case I ALWAYS PRESENT A LOW BOLEO!
  4. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    For me: I would be veeeeery disappointed, because I only really use to lead a high one if it is possible.

    Sorry did not read the entire thread, so forgive me if someone already wrote on this: There are two leading techniques for circular back boleos: the old and VU way is to lead the entrance of the boleo. The new and Naviera technique is to lead the exit. Though I belong to either world I only use the latter. The informations I can transfer when leading a boleo is the direction (ankle, knee, hip hight) and it´s energy.
  5. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    The ultimate choice rests with the follower, but the energy and the leading can actually influence what the follower thinks is possible, so I'd hesitate to blame it on the follower if a high boleo turns out to be dangerous: I tend to lead "softer" boleos when there's less room, which also means that when I *really* go for it, it's my fault if the follower mows someone down.

    Some followers, though, will not get hints. I know one particular follower who will, at the mere hint of a boleo, actually disengage from the embrace and lower herself to give her low boleo more reach. Scary moments on the dance floor (and proof positive that it's not because a boleo is low that it isn't dangerous; the only safe boleo is the one where the follower dissociates but doesn't let the foot wander too far, neither low nor high).
  6. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Great post.

    The leader must not lead high boleo in the crowd and the leader must not interpret high boleo in the crowd.
    i.e. High boleo must not be performed in the crowd
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    how about you address the OP? it was a technical question, not one of appropriateness...
  8. gniksic

    gniksic New Member

    From my experience, the lead/follow is quite clear: The rapid (but still gentle) change of direction to either side causes the high voleo. The follower simply gets that amount of torsion and energy so she has to do that (leaving the appropriateness and the quality of the lead aside for now). She might choose not to follow that if:
    a) she doesn't feel good inside (doesn't know the technique or she feels it is unsafe which both could be the leader's fault from the start.)
    b) she is caught off-balance (which could be her fault or the leader's). It is not uncommon for the leaders to overdo it with the energy in the lead or to simply direct that energy the wrong way which causes the follower to lose her stability (axis). And that's the most important prerequisite for the voleo (in my opinion... i might be missing something, though)
    c) she interprets the music her way.

    If you chose the follower that is not comfortable doing voleos then you can expect a) to happen. You simply choose not to lead them and no problem. At least you won't have a problem with appropriateness. :)
    If b) happens to a follower, it is just natural that she will extend and slow down the movement, regaining her balance along the way. No leader should feel disappointed by such a situation.
    If the follower interprets the music on her own (not overdoing it, of course), that can only make me happy.

    I would like to address the appropriateness once more, though. High voleos are dangerous, in general, and many have said that they shouldn't be performed (=lead) in a crowd. Fine. But it seems nobody mentioned the opposite situation: the leader leads a slow contra-movement during the pivot but the follower decides to do a high voleo! In that situation the leader is helpless: he can only apologize to a couple which just got hammered... :/
  9. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    She has to dissociate. What she does with her feet, though, is another matter.

    It takes active control not to let them go at all (but many followers can actually pull it off), but it takes a lot less effort to turn a boleo into a low rather than high boleo (gravity is even the follower's friend to keep boleos low).

    Your explanation makes sense to explain that the follower will follow (duh!) and execute a boleo. But I've seen no argument explaining why a high boleo is necessarily the only response.
  10. gniksic

    gniksic New Member

    First of all, all I say is my opinion based on what I have learned so far. And yes, I forgot to explain in detail why I think it's the only (natural and relaxed) way.

    The disassociation if necessary because that's the only way the follower can keep facing the leader with her upper body and maintain contact after the change of direction. But by then, the leader already gave a decent amount of energy into th first turn: that energy has to be released somewhere.

    If the follower's free leg is relaxed (and I believe it should be) and if the disassociation caused her leg to move after her torso (which, again, I believe it should) then the leg (and after it, the foot) is the only part of her body containing the original energy of the first turn: it goes on and ends up in the air because of the change of direction (the leg "realizes" it should follow the waist and the torso with a delay). How high in the air? Depending on the original energy and the follower's awareness of the surrounding dancers (some followers turn the foot towards their ...khm... butt and some up in the air. But both ways still release the energy the natural way: kinetic energy into potential energy).

    Therefore: contact with the leader, disassociation, relaxed free leg (and foot) and enough energy transfered should, IMHO, cause the follower's leg to continue on its way. In the end, the follower can always choose to actively cut the voleo or keep that energy down. But she does it actively (i.e. the leg and foot are not relaxed but instead under her full control) and, also, she could destabilize herself that way because te energy release is not natural (you might be a experienced follower so it doesn't happen to you...)

    (OT: I'm a physicist, so in my head it all has to do with inertia, conservation of linear and angular momentum and energy, but I don't think you wanted that kind of explanation, sorry... :) )

    (OT2: Sorry about my English. My sentences may be confusing. I wouldn't like to be misunderstood because of that. Please tell my in a PM if something is wrong.)
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    In a circular boleo the follower has choice whether its high or low; if its linear; the movement of the leg away from the body will naturally swing up. if its inappropriate then her only option is to resist the lead and not move her free leg.
  12. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    There are ways to force a low circular boleo. Essentially the leader presses "down" on the standing leg, forcing the follower to feel like she is actively fighting him if she tries to get the leg off the ground. This is easier to do with a boleo and not a contra boleo, if I remember correctly. Haven't practiced it in a while.
  13. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Correct. But then, linear boleos (at least those away from the leader) aren't things I use frequently unless there's really lots of room.

    As for "pressing down" the follower firmly on the foot, it can be done, but the danger is that you can (especially with a follower who responds) both lower yourselves to such a point that the low boleo becomes a lot larger. And I think low boleos are also dangerous if they're overly large...
  14. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    My understanding - which may be total rubbish - is that the leader provides a certain amount of energy to the follower for a boleo; that is, boleos are always led.

    Now, the follower may then decide what to do with that energy:
    1. Damp it down partially (to reduce the boleo) or completely (to refuse it)
    2. Transfer it as is. We'll get back to that one.
    3. Amplify it - that is, enhance the natural free leg movement to make it look more dramatic.

    So, the follower has the option as to what to do with her free leg movement.

    Now, getting back to point 2: if the follower transfers 100% of the energy provided by the leader (neither damping nor amplifying), then the responsibility for the level of the boleo is up to the leader. If the leader transfers a lot of energy, there's a large boleo resulting - if a small amount, then there's a small boleo. To be honest, I think that "100% transfer" is the way to start learning boleos, otherwise it gets too complex.

    So, in my opinion, the answer is "both".

    Spookily enough, I was teaching boleos last week :) - we didn't go into the energy thing much though.
  15. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I've been taught two completely different ways of leading high vs low boleos. One method involves the amount of speed or energy used to lead them, while the other involves the leader goes up or down when leading them. However at the end of the day, the follower still needs to have enough sense to know that if it's crowded, don't do them high.

    So like DB said, both.
  16. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    I usually combine the two techniques you presented to get more clear lead.
    So if I want a low it is slow to the turning point, a slow turn and slowly back.
    In the same time i lower her part of the frame or flex my knee to get lower turning. The lowest point is during her turning and then up again.

    The front boleos I can do high because between us they are usually safe.
  17. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    Followers, could you please tell more about the boleo techinque!

    The only thing I know and am longing for is the feeling of the point when the follower has reached her maximum turn for her body. Have had that only once!
  18. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    Thank you all for your kind responses. I read them all, but will not reply individually, since I am not capable of making comments toward each opinion. :)

    I mentioned earlier that my high boleos only shows up occasionally with certain leaders. Now that after reading your responses, I reflect back. An interesting observation is that these leaders who made my high boleos happen are all much taller than I am. And at the time high boleo happens, they all involved sudden turns.

    I think one factor that I was doing low while another follower could do high boleo is that I am not accustomed to high boleos. I guess, I don't have enough reflex to bring my leg up high when encounter the same leading energy.

    P.S., I think height difference does make difference. When I dance with a shorter leader, my body feels somewhat pressed down, and the boleo becomes a sweeping motion.
  19. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    Take it easy. I wasn't in your class. :rolleyes:
  20. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Interesting that no one has mentioned the music.

    So, since dance can/should be a representation of the music, what about the music?

    Such as, was there a sudden accent or accents in the music when you saw the high boleos, vs the music being more sublte when you were dancing?

    What I would think would be something like, oh, look, high boleos that are completely gratuitous and have little or nothing to do with the music, done just for the sake of doing them.
    Or, maybe they were called for by the music, or at least in sync it?

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