Tango Argentino > Man's Walk: Porteños and Panthers

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by v22TTC, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    UKDancer, you may find this thread somewhat interesting.

    The evolution of AT, and the multiple ways of dancing it, makes it hard to know where to start. Personally, I think anyone arguing that there is one right way to do just about anything is on very unstable ground .
    Their Ho is untenable. (Ho is statistics speak for "null hypothesis", in case that was never followed up on.)

    I've written this before... I think it is unfortunate that this is taught.
    On the other hand, I've had one woman tell me she could follow so well because she watched my shoulders. But then, that's something you can't do in "close embrace".

    I have been very surprised at the similarities of instruction in many dance texts (some of them with "ballroom" in the title!) when it comes to fundatmentals, and what I was taught in my AT classes. Other things are different.

    I don't think of AT as a latin dance and will give the minimization of hip movement as perhaps the main reason. The prominence of the German bandoneon in the music, and the lack of percussion are other things that are "non latin". And the dance reflects the music.
    Hey, does anyone think of Italy as a Latin country? (Really, I don't. But I'm curious, too.) The Italianization of Tango with the deemphasis of African movements was was of the main phases in the early development of AT.

    But, you know, doesn't matter so much what you call it. It is what it is.
  2. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Your link is interesting. I agree with you, mostly too (for what that's worth), and I think I could happily say that AT isn't very latin, while being, obviously, Latin American.

    Funnily enough though, the thing I would take issue with is the percussion point. The 'Bang Bang Bang' of the children's records that pass for neo-tango aside, I find Golden age music incredibly rhythmic, and until I started to listen to a wide range of tango music, I would never have believed that the combination of instruments making up a tango orchestra could play so percussively. The piano is, anyway, a percussion instrument, but the real character comes from the bandoneons and the violinists' use of the heels of the bow. A revelation.

    'Latin' music seems to need a whole battery of instruments to make anything like the same impression. I rarely play the latter, except to accompany dancing, but I play tango all the time, although oddly enough I have no interest in the later 'concert style' music. If you couldn't dance to it, it doesn't interest me. But then I dance for a living.
  3. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Ah, common ground at last!
  4. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    In case I missed it somewhere in the thread, which I admit to scanning, not reading thoroughly, would you list what dances you feel fall into the "ballroom" and "latin" categories?

    I have danced Salsa with no contact, but as soon as the leader wants to indicate something specific other than just doing the basic forward/back thing, he has taken at least one of my hands. The same has been true for chacha.

    I don't count dancing as two independent units who are both using the rhythm, but without the leader actually leading specific moves for the follower (which is what happens with many salsa dancers I know) I would call that individual freestyling within the set rhythm parameter for a dance, not lead/follow.

    I know several bachata teachers who all emphasize that the hands/arms convey quite a bit.

    I have also heard these distinctions in East coast swing.

    I'm not an advanced ballroom dancer at all, but I've never seen or heard anyone around here advocating no contact with the leader's left arm. :confused:
  5. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Jive is part of the Latin family of dances? I thought it was part of the Swing family....:confused:

    Ok... clearly I don't know what Jive is, I guess.
  6. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think it only matters what the studio offering it calls it.

    It seems that often when a studio offers AT as one of their "Latin" dances, that is an indicator that it may be taught by someone who does NOT have a strong background in AT, but rather someone who teaches other Latin or Ballroom dances and has learned some AT steps.
  7. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I'm writing about the standard ten dances (in 'International Style'): Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Foxtrot & Tango (Ballroom) and Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Paso Doble & Jive (Latin)

    Salsa & other club dances lie outside that group (although many principles would be the same). My comments are mainly directed at the ballroom styles (& BTW, you all keep posting about ballroom - I didn't raise the subject!).

    I am not suggesting that you would dance, either socially or competitively without hold, but that it is an excellent practise skill, which improves the development of lead/follow from the torso, which is where it should come from.

    You may never have encountered the approach, but then none of the styles you actually mention are 'ballroom' dances.

    Even Corky could lead latin in open position (actually, he was rather good), but obviously NOT at AT. There's two things we could agree about.
  8. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Let's not go there...
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I wasn't going to mention that Argentina (especially in the 20th century) probably saw more immigration from Germany than did most other countries in South America. (as well as more from Africa? not sure)

    Maybe I'm going to reveal my ignorance here, but I've never understood why there are 2 terms: Latin and Hispanic. Is there a difference? It seems here in the US, "Hispanic" and "Latino/a" are used interchangeably. How did Latin come to mean "Spanish" anyway? It seems to me that it SHOULD mean Italian, but it never does. Or does Latin really mean "Southern European" while Hispanic means specifically Spanish heredity?
  10. ant

    ant Member

    I think you probabally unwittingly started it here, by trying to use the views of Ballroom organisations to prove an AT point. As you have now found out Ballroom organisations don't have much credability in this section of the forum, when it comes to their AT pronounceations.

  11. spectator

    spectator Member

    love you peaches.

    What was this thread about again?

    Here's a thought, I'm pretty much in the camp of what I like to call "pre-modernism" which means I have very little patience for reading pages and pages of people wittering on about irrelevant nonsense. Sadly to mangle the famous pig quote "some people's opinions are more equal than others". The wise man knows he is a fool. Clearly in the midlands this has some truth.
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    No, they are what I would call Latin Club. But you did say:

    <<<In Latin dancing, it is common to dance in open position with no contact at all. >>>

    So I was pointing out that I have danced Latin without contact, but then contact is made as soon as the leader wants me to do something specific as a follower. As long as there is no contact, we are each dancing to the rhythm, but there is no lead and follow. (IM limited E)
  13. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Which begs the question... if they are more alike than different, why wouldn't he be able to do both equally well?

    The way he uses his body is all wrong for AT... so if that is NOT all wrong for Latin, then logically, there's something quite different about the two types of dancing.
  14. spectator

    spectator Member

    Also I think Corky is awesome and I plan to fly him over to Paris to give workshops on "sensual walking" at my milonga.
  15. v22TTC

    v22TTC New Member

    Agreed - I hope that I, personally, haven't given the impression that I think otherwise (inasmuch as that matters).

    I do find this really interesting (and relevant to the topic)... but it's definitions, so there'll never be a totally right answer.

    I tend to think of 'Latin' as those descending from the Romance languages traditions (as UKDancer mentioned, also), so Italy very much so (and France and Spain... and Portugal... though Portugese has other 'strange' influences too, along with some of the Northern Spanish languages).

    With that definition (which I know many disagree with), the abscence of percussion is pretty common in some of the 'Latin' music that informed early Tango (Flamenco guitar, mournful French accordions... though it was bandoneóns that were brought over by the more Eastern Europeans, there isn't that much difference to my ignorant ear).

    I don't know how much European 'Latins' wiggle their hips - as opposed to Latin American 'Latins' - but I've seen a fair amount of inverse-Cuban motion in TA, with the free-leg's hip cocked upwards, smoothly transfered across as the legs alternate between being free and weighted.

    Dunno, a lot of TA seems to be 'inverted 'Latin'' - I've wondered if it was a reaction against the surrounding 'Latins' or something?...

    But anyroad, it is the Italianisation that you mentioned that I am drawing most heavily upon as I attempt to embody an 'as authentic as possible' 'spirit of Tango' in my own dancing - a proud, Italian stride [I've spent many years gliding about smoothly: time for a change!:)].
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Depends on what definition of "Latin" and "Swing" you're using. Or, as I like to think of it, it's the International style appropriation of what was originally a swing dance--codified and tweaked to show a given set of techniques at their fullest, often for competition.

    More simply--think triple swing (ECS) after both partners having drunk WAAAAAYYYYY too much caffeing. Et voila! Jive!
  17. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Are you jiving me?

  18. ant

    ant Member

    I suppose it depends on whether dance classifications in a dance forum should be based on geophaphical or dance criteria.
  19. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I do that - I use sheets of paper though.
  20. v22TTC

    v22TTC New Member


    Fair point, but I'm coming from: language informs worldview, which informs lyrics, music and dance - that's what the 'soul' of the dance is (which bears upon this topic); not whether hips wiggle or the frame is rigid (though these can act as indicators)... and Steve asked if some thought of Italians as Latin - a question that transcended dance categorisation....

    But yeah, if dancers (on this forum) generally mean 'Latin dances are the ones that have the Latin mechanical characteristics (eg...), which TA clearly doesn't', then I didn't know that that was the commonly accepted definition; and if that's the case then fair enough - I'll go with that for the purposes of discussions here.:)

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