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

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

  1. gniksic

    gniksic New Member

    I could have misunderstood, but if you are comparing the whole-leg-boleo and the below-the-knee-boleo, I will rephrase what I said before, because I believe it applies to linear boleos, too:

    I believe that if the follower's "free" leg is really free and relaxed, then by increasing the energy of the lead we can only increase the final height the follower's leg will reach as a whole. At the end the foot swings some more due to the conservation of angular momentum and the fact that the leg is relaxed. I don't understand why the follower would choose to allow only one half of her leg to be free (apart from the obvious lack of space and the potential danger a free leg can pose, but I believe we're all aware of that). It seems to me that it takes effort (=tension) to keep the thighs together during a high-energy boleo, linear or circular. I believe this tension could cause discomfort to both dancers (but not necessarily).

    I.e. my question is: is there a special way to "lead" the follower into making a boleo only from below her knee, or is it a matter of her choice and style?

    My opinion: her choice, because I only see the whole-leg boleos around here. We've been taught that way and I lead only those (the circular way).
  2. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    To throw a wrench in things, I've learned them (circular boleos) 2 ways.
    One way (by teachers I consider more "Nuevo" for lack of a better term) is what one of my teachers calls an "attitude" boleo, where the whole leg is involved and the thighs aren't together. The other, from my traditional style teachers involves keeping the thighs together. There seem to be a lot more what I call Nuevo-ish (no style mongering intended) dancers in Europe, which may answer the question of why you see that style boleo more often over there, perhaps...but that is just one mildly uninformed persons guess.

    The upshot of the lead was the same, if I recall, but the styling of the follwer's body/leg reaction was taught differently. I dance them both depending on my leader and the style he is leading, crowd conditions (if allowed at all) though most of my training is with the traditional styling of them and that's how I tend to do them most unless dancing completely open.
  3. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    I've seen other ways as well. To me, the essence of a boleo is the dissociation at the waist, and what happens below is an element of style. Birkit from the Netherlands is someone I've seen doing wildly dissociated boleos where even the feet stayed collected, yet I can vouch for the fact that for the leader they felt exactly like other more regular boleos.

    Of course, if you dance strictly with a parallel embrace 100% of the time, you won't be doing what I call boleos, not ever (though you may dance something similar, i.e. an interrupted ocho milonguero, possibly with a punteo as an embellishment). But others may also see that as a "boleo".
  4. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Do you mean the same from the leader's point of view or the followers? My POV is strictly from the followers:

    I think it depends to some extent on the style the follower is employing and how flexible her hips are. I know a follower who does gorgeous boleos of the "kick your opposing elbow" variety, which often (I assume she's led) travel from that position in back to an equally high and beautiful front boleo. In the back position, her thigh is parallel to the floor or higher.

    I personally can't do that no matter how I'm led. My thigh does not raise behind my hip because my hips are too stiff. To raise my thigh in back, I must tip my pelvis forward a corresponding amount. If I try to let the thighs and knees come apart for this type of boleo, it just looks half-arsed and sloppy. So I typically keep my knees pretty close together and the raised "whip" is from my knees down. (of course, we know that the whipping action stems from higher up and from the pivot, as you said, but that's not what I think you are asking about)

    In other words.. I don't raise my thigh. But other followers frequently do. The amount of energy from the leader doesn't decide that. (luckily around here, leaders don't use excessive energy for that type of boleo, so the follower CAN choose)

    It helps that I was first taught to do boleos without raising my foot at all, and the free leg knee tucked in slightly behind the supporting leg knee, keeping them together. I have to say that some of the followers I know who do beautiful high boleos, always do high boleos.. a few of them, I don't think I've ever seen execute a boleo with their foot on the floor, although I know the leaders they dance with do not use force that would prevent them from keeping their leg lower.

    I'm not sure what you mean by a "straight-leg" boleo (I assume you don't mean a boleo where the knee never bends, right?). If you are referring to what I would call a back "in-line" boleo, then it does usually involve raising the thigh. Otherwise it really doesn't go anywhere. I rarely get led in these and I often resist them when I am unless I am dancing with a leader I know well, and trust to gauge the available distance (despite his foreshortened view) correctly. Even though my leg won't go high (not like those girls who can kick the back of their head) they can still be a menace if I do them because unfortunately, the leaders most likely to lead this type of boleo unsafely are the same ones who do it with such force that keeping my leg down can hurt me.

    Does that help with your question?
  5. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    See my post.

    Personally, I think boleos should be led so that the follower always has the choice of keeping her leg low and even her foot on the floor. I was taught that the follower is responsible for knowing what's happening around her and keeping her own foot down when there isn't space for her to raise it.

    I know that's not what others may teach, because then it means that to some extent, the raising of the leg in the boleo is "artificial" (ie: not completely effected by the leader's force) A follower is not supposed to "do" a boleo... it's just supposed to "happen".

    However, in real life as opposed to theory, followers shouldn't be led so that the leader is choosing how high her leg goes because there may be factors that he can't account for (like maybe she's not warmed up yet for that head-kicking thing) Keeping my thighs together may be awkward, but not nearly as painful as having someone jerk me this way and that in an attempt to do something "impressive" which results in my leg getting thrown forcefully beyond it's range of flexibility, and my muscles and joints pulled as a result.

    I love tango, but I need to be able to walk the next day. Boleos aren't worth limping over.
  6. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Yeah... what she said.
  7. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    Interesting observation about myself: I notice that I do frequently return to "thighs together" position, more frequently than many other followers. "Thighs together" feels more natural to me, as part of the collecting. Could this be why my high boleo is mostly limited to below knees.
  8. gniksic

    gniksic New Member

    What I forgot to add is: "I don't understand why the follower would choose to allow only one half of her leg to be free, given enough energy to do that boleo and wanting to do it that way."

    Then we are in agreement. I didn't say that leaders lead the boleo. They DON'T, in my opinion (shouldn't, even). They supply the energy for it and give the direction. A follower who choses not to send her leg sky-high just won't do it. And it's fine. But there is nothing that the leader can (or should) do to influence the height, except providing that amount of energy and the impulse/lead.

    What changes in such situations with my lead is this: I see a follower doesn't do high boleos the first time I dare to lead one (never during the first dance, as someone already said) -> I reduce the amount of energy I pump into the boleo just so I wouldn't cause her discomfort (that extra energy has to go somewhere; my assumption: into the tension of the muscles around the pelvis and the thighs) -> we continue doing the boleo with her foot on the floor, i.e. what I called the "slow boleo" because it usually is.

    So, your situation, being unable to raise your leg high, somehow wasn't clearly covered by my post...
  9. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    Same here. :)
    That's what happened, except I wasn't doing it consciously.
  10. salthepal

    salthepal New Member

    Yes. They both come as a result of a lady's free leg, which should be free from the hip (or above the hip) down. The difference in the lead lies in the upper body.
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I don't understand your answer.. You answer "yes" to Dave's question of "is it the same movement?" but then go on to say that there is a difference in the upper body in the lead? (which implies it isn't the same movement for the leader to do one or the other) Maybe the heat here is making it hard for me to figure out what you are saying.

    You also seem to be ignoring the followers who have responded as to why their leg isn't free from the hip for this move and why it's a matter of personal preference whether the boleo involves the thigh (as in the "attitude" position described by myself and Bastet as something we've seen) or happens from the knee down as quite a few of us do it.

    There is no "should" that dictates which style is correct. It really does come down to the follower's style, flexibility, and preference.
  12. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    I disagree with this statement. There is a way to lead a low boleo with higher energy.
    Maybe it's not taught often, but it can be done.

    I also don't get the first statement either. Supplying the energy and the shape IS a form of lead...
  13. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

  14. gniksic

    gniksic New Member

    Fine, but it's hard for me to visualize that kind of boleo or the amount of energy required. Do you have a video example by any chance? I would appreciate it. So far I've seen only the kind of HE boleos that I'm describing. That's why I am answering to your next question this way:

    I lead the change of direction, but not the boleo itself.

    My point was: I lead my favorite kind of boleos using a decent amount of energy in a circular movement, cut the movement (=lead a change of direction) and that energy gets released into a circlar, potentially sky-high boleo... but I don't move her leg myself. It is the leg's own inertia that raises it, *IF* her leg is relaxed. By the time her leg starts flyin', I'm going the opposite direction. I have no *active* way of controlling where her foot is, SHE does.

    So, put shortly, I meant: "I don't raise her leg myself, but supply enough energy for it to happen." She may choose not to. As I said, I believe this to be valid for this kind of boleo. If there is something I'm missing, I'm ready to learn. (Once again, video samples would be helpful, if possible, just to know what we're talking about.)
  15. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Your explanation is true of absolutely everything in tango, and therefore makes no sense as to why you feel you don't lead a boleo. Everything that happens is the result of the man supplying the energy and direction and intention and all of the little "signals" that convey what it is he wants...and all of that is at the woman's discretion to do or not, and every movement is actively controlled by HER. This is the same regardless of if it's a boleo or a walk. So, you DO lead boleos. (Unless, of course, she's just going off into auto-boleo mode, which I'm assuming we're not talking about.)
  16. Zsana

    Zsana New Member

    Hi all,
    I am new to the forum in the means of posting, so hello everyone. I only followed up discussions till now, to have an idea of what folks think about the technical and philosophycal aspects of AT, outside of our relatively small tango community in my area. I enjoy your calm debates and reasonings on various topics, sometimes finding verification of my ideas, other times making me thoughtful or even disappointed.

    I might be much less experienced a follower with my four years than some others around here, but hey, my skill is just as it is ;) so without the attempt to add technical comment, I would say that leaders can lead low boleos, high boleos or JUST boleos, where there is no instruction on height at all. In that case, I am able to execute any of them comfortably, and I feel both appropriate.
    So, to the question whether it is the follower's choice to make high or low boleo, I would say it depends. If the lead offers info on height, than it is not a choice for the follower (unless for some safety/health reasons) and if there is no instruction on height, then I consider it as given for the follower’s choice and free interpretation.

    As for low boleo with higher energy, I think amount of energy and direction of energy are two different things. Some leaders truly believe that when they give more impulse, the legs go up. That is just not so. One can give a lot of energy combined with a direction downwards, which will result in a low boleo, naturally.

    I would argue on the “inertia thing”. When I truly relax my leg to that point, it would just flap around without any control which is neither nice nor safe, and most likely not good for my balance, either. If the leg’s movement is controlled to make a curve of a boleo, then there is some muscle work included and the leg is not inert any more. Or does the term “controlled inertia” make sense?

    And, again, hello everyone :)
  17. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think the confusion is stemming from the way you define "boleo". My impression is that to you, the raising of the leg is the boleo. To some of us, the boleo happens whether or not your foot comes off the floor because the change of direction creates a whipping effect that we, as followers, feel in our BODY.

    So when you talk about not leading the boleo, I think you mean you don't lead her leg to lift or not. But to me and some others, there is still a "boleo" even with our foot on the floor. The lifting of the foot is not what we call a "boleo". The whip effect felt all over is the "boleo", hence the possibility of something called a "low boleo".
  18. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I'm not clear on this... the more energy the leader puts into the lead, the more difficult it is for me to keep my foot down. So I guess no one I know has been taught this rare form of lead.. :confused:
  19. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yup. We've got one guy around here who manages to lead boleos in such a way that they are almost impossible to abort/resist/keep your foot on the ground. I don't know what in hell he does, but it's effective (not painful, oddly enough). I just wish he had the sense to match his skill so he wouldn't lead the damn things (and other damn things) on most of the floors. Unfortunately, he has been relegated to my Not To Dance With list for this reason.
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    That is my experience of "high energy" leads as well. I don't understand how a boleo could be high energy and still have the lead intended to clearly be a "low" boleo as she describe

Share This Page