Tango Argentino > Molinete speed variations?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Dave Bailey, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    It takes time and experience and confidence (IMHO, IME) to have something to say back. 2 years, and I'm just now starting to do it. And, for some of us, it takes being shown or told ways in which to "speak up."

    And, of course, not every guy likes it or can handle it (or lead in such a way that I feel like I even have the opportunity).
  2. jhpark

    jhpark Member

    sometimes it's not that we don't appreciate it, but that we don't know what to do with it.

    frex, say a follow slows down a couple beats of the molinete, then uses the built up energy to spring forward/faster the last couple beats.

    if i notice this happening when I'm leading... i'm tempted to respond to my follow's slowing down by slowing down myself -- maybe she wants to do something with the extra time. but if her plan is to slingshot forward, i've totally ruined that by slowing down.

    most likely, i'm oblivious to what she's doing until after she's done it, so i only notice it by the time she's doing the slingshot, so it's a moot point. but what if i do notice early enough to try to respond? how would i know the best response?

    i guess that's the hardest part of the 'conversation' approach for me... don't know how best to respond to what feedback the follow is giving me.
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    The short answer, I think, is that there is no "best" response when you feel your partner doing something unusual. Think of it as a conversation. She says something. While there may be a "best" statement that you can make in reply to what she just said, at that point you are reciting dialogue.

    How are you?
    Good. Thanks. And you?

    Converstion? Not yet, I'd say.

    I probably miss reacting to something out of the ordinary the first time I feel it. But, if it comes around again, I try to be ready for it.
    This is the same thing that happens when you as a leader lead some next step that your partner is not used to taking. Often they will miss it. I think it's fair game to try it again at least one more time.
    What I've learned to do while dancing, is to feel where our momentum would most easily take us if we just went with it.
    I've done whole dances with people who felt like they were "inviting" me to step a certain direction, because there was less of a connection on one side than the other. After the dance I sometimes ask if they had that in mind or if it was just happening. This gives them a heads up that I am "listening" to them as we dance.
    When you find the right teacher, (if you haven't already) they will be able to explain to you how you can do changes of direction, etc.

    Just as Peaches wrote regarding being able to "speak up" as a follower, it takes time to develop the ability to listen and react as a leader. Make sure your partners who enjoy "playing" while dancing know that you enjoy it. You might also ask them if they were doing something on purpose, if they had something in articular in mind, who they learned it from, etc. (Short converstions between songs or during cortinas, off the floor, etc)
  4. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    hmm if the partner is right i let them drive forward and use the energy for a pivot or somthing similar.
  5. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    And another answer would be to let her determine the speed with which she is moving around you.
    Some teachers teach that, just as the man supplies the energy as he moves around the woman in a calecita, the woman supplies the energy for the rotation in the molinete. So, if she wants to go slow, all she has to do is go slow.
    If you get too far ahead of her with your lead, you aren't "listening".
    Rather than lead/follow think about it as if you were leading a discussion, and she's is in the middle of a sentence. Or, you can tell that she is tying several thoughts together as she speaks. It would be impolite to interrupt her, and you won;t be showing much in the way of leadership skills. So, do your best to go with where you think she is going.
    Maybe read Peaches post on the end of page 2, and MaggieB's following post to get (probably again) some follower's perspective.
  6. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

  7. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Update on this. I did a class last night - different teacher - and she did some time on the giro (molinete)

    We tried the two halves of the giro separately. Firstly, we did the "easy" bit - back on left, sidestep on right, then forward on left. This was done "quick-quick-slow".

    Then, we did the "hard" bit - forward on left, pivot and sidestep on right, pivot and back on left. This was done "slow-slow-slow".

    So, I guess there may well be a "natural" rhythm to a molinete (although obviously it's not mandatory). Although at my level, I'm just happy if I can get round it without falling over.

    So. does anyone try to match this "natural molinete tempo" to the music? Because it'd seem quite a nice thing to do...
  8. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    Ah well, the music should always be the most important thing! It helps if you're both hearing the music in the same way and want to interpret it similarly, then you tend to want to keep the same tempo. And when you both know the music really well, wonderful things start to happen ...
  9. jhpark

    jhpark Member

    hehe.... of course it all depends on where you start the molinete. if you start from a sidestep and then go to a backstep, that pivot into the backstep absolutely kills me. wouldn't call that one of the easy parts. but if you're starting with the back step, different story.

    there are so many spots to do QQS: if the music doesn't do it explicitly, it's often implied... The only time I'd avoid that timing would be during one of those lyrical bandoneon/violin lines where people tend to do calasitas ;)
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Since I don't lead, I don't actively try to match the natural tempo of the molinete to it. However, when I feel one starting, or seeming to, I pay a smidgen more attention to the music to "see" what will feel best and how I want to time things. I try to wait for every step to be individually led, but as often as not the guys don't actually lead every step, and just revolve on the spot and leave it for the girl to make something up...in that case, molinete, and I don't feel guilty about using my own timing.

    Even when I don't backlead myself through a molinete, if the guy's timing doesn't match mine/the music, I find it kind of annoying-ish.
  11. Me

    Me New Member

    First I'd like to say, thank you for the update! I am very interested in this discussion.

    I don't know if you mistyped it but I bolded some problems with the timing.

    Again, I'll just say that I disagree completely with assigning slows and quicks to any of these steps. There is nothing natural about this rhythm. Tango is walking. We don't go QQS as we walk down the sidewalk unless we trip over something.

    The woman ochos in molinete because she has to in order to maintain the embrace. None of these steps should be called faster or slower (IMO) unless some sort of specific syncopation is lead (ie Vals - back open, front open (1 and, 4 and)) or the lead chooses to use the added benefit of ocho (generating momentum) to speed things up/slow things down.

    I know you have had two instructors now teach a set timing onto the molinete. My advice to you would be to adapt as you need to, especially since your other classmates will be dancing this timing. Just know that if you took that timing elsewhere not everybody will agree with you, especially if you told them your tempo was a widely accepted form of 'natural' or 'correct.'

    I hope some of my ramblings help!
  12. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    hmm I keep hearing the Theme tune to the Magic Roundabout. I have to say that my inclination is to let the molinete speed come from the music especially if its vals.
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "We tried the two halves of the giro separately. Firstly, we did the "easy" bit - back on left, sidestep on right, then forward on left. This was done "quick-quick-slow".
    Then, we did the "hard" bit - forward on left, pivot and sidestep on right, pivot and back on left. This was done "slow-slow-slow".
    So, I guess there may well be a "natural" rhythm to a molinete (although obviously it's not mandatory). Although at my level, I'm just happy if I can get round it without falling over.
    So. does anyone try to match this "natural molinete tempo" to the music? Because it'd seem quite a nice thing to do... "

    Here's an example of "natural molinete tempo" that doesn't match your example.
    This came into my head as soon as I read BTM's reference to vals.
    Waltz = 123 123 = qqs qqs

    So, let's just suppose that you hit that slow as you expect a back step.
    To be with the music, you would expect a slow step.
    The next two notes or "steps" in vals are quicks.
    So the next two steps: a side, then a forward step, would both be quicks, if you want to match the music.
    If you stay in this circling pattern, a slow follows the two quicks.
    Your pattern calls for a side step next, so this side step is a slow.
    Now two quicks.
    So the back step is a quick, followed by a quick side step.

    Last time we went through, we hit the back step on on a slow.

    Maybe "natural" equals to the music.
  14. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I was with you until you got to Vals / Waltz. In particular this statement you made really confuses me.
    Waltz = 123 123 = qqs qqs
    For me, in a Vals, one slow (usually) equals 3 quicks, whereas in tango, 1 slow equals 2 quicks. How many beats are you counting for the slow in your example?

    I normally count Vals as: 123 456 = qqq qqq (6 quicks) or 1-- 4-- = S-- S-- (2 slows). 6/8 time if you are a musician.

    From there you can do things like 1-- 4-6 1-- 4-- = S-- S-q S-- S--

    (of course what I wrote may be even more confusing).

  15. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I love it when we talk time signatures and such! (HA!)
    In one sense, you've caught me on a tech, but I try to explain a bit more.

    Here's a url that talks about taking a longer step as the "first" step
    Here's some text from this site.
    Timing Cues
    3/4 time signature: Three beats to a measure, each beat gets one count (accent on counts 1 and 4)
    Total counts: Six
    Rhythmic counts: 1-2-3; 4-5-6 or 1-2-3; 2-2-3
    Weight changes: Six (in two measures; on each whole count)
    Duration of steps: Slow, quick, quick (both halves)
    Note that although they are "counting" 1-2-3: 4-5-6
    they are nevertheless stepping "Slow, quick, quick".

    "Dancers take a longer step to also accent the first count of the music." And logically the longer step is the "Slow".

    "The waltz is recognizable by its stately posture and a wavelike rise-and-fall motion."
    The "fall" comes from taking a longer step. The rise comes from taking small steps for the quick quicks. Taken together you get the rise and fall. (Ballroom, I think, emphasizes this, where in country western waltz, it's there but not as noticeable.)

    When I thought of waltz, I just started out with the Slow. But the Slow is followed by the quick quick.
    It's like the Circle of Life. Hakuna matata. Well, maybe if you aren't a musician.
    Ok, so I started at the "wrong" place.

    If you are dancing quicks all the time, wouldn't that be like 3/3 rather than 3/4.

    When I took salsa, we counted it 123 567. Some one asked, "What happened to the 4 and the 8?" The answer was that they were slows.
    And the site I found talks about counting waltz.... 1-2-3; 4-5-6. And the time signature for waltz is 3/4. (or 6/8 if you like)

    Maybe I will try to dance salsa type patterms to a waltz one night. (Stuff like that is sure to make partners crazy and try to avoid you forever after.)

    Meanwhile, the gist of my previous post is that, if you stick with that slow quick (or quick quick slow), the steps in the molinete pattern won't match the length of the repeating pattern waltz music "pattern".

    P.S. It is entirely possible to count it all quicks while actually taking one slow. If that is not the case, I would be interested in seeing you dance waltz, or hearing you play it.
  16. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    For me, 6/8 has more in common with a 2 beat bar than a 3 beat bar, but then I have also played a Chopin waltz that has 3/4 accompaniment to a 6/8 melody which really confuses the brain and shows the difference at its strongest.

    When orchestral waltzes are played, the 1-beat gets heavy emphasis, and can be exaggerated so that the other two are almost an afterthought, jammed in before the next bar, but it is very much dependent on the musicians. I recommend when tango-waltzing that you take your cue from the music (which means really listening to the phrasing and the energy rather than just counting beats).

    Personally I dance waltz tunes in tango on the 1's, and any time I want to do more, I use 2 or 3, but rarely both at once (tends to turn into a gallop if I do that). This puts me in the same camp as dchester. I also dance to the feel of the music, rather than to any predefined form that I have learned in lessons. Dedicated tango waltz lessons are rarer than milonga lessons it seems.

    Now all this q-q-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-q-q-q is giving me headache. Have mercy!
  17. jhpark

    jhpark Member

    hmm, usually i think of tango vals in 6/8, as most of the phrases seem to fit well into 6 counts and not three. so i tend to think of the notes as triplets instead of individual counts
  18. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I, too, am very interested in others' thoughts on this. However, I know that I am getting ready to incite a riot, but....:headwall:

    I believe that I understand Me's post to say that although the movement and possibly the timing can be natural, she understands a very important thing about rhythm...even though it is taught incessantly, quick-quick does not exist in dance as a natural rhythm. As in....

    First of all, dancers eventually learn that we should never learn dance by rhythms. Also, that we [should] never mix numbers (count) with quicks/slows (rhythm). Because, secondly, the music is constant; it doesn't change. However, the dancer has the option to alter the rhythm as he/she desires. This is why one can witness 2-3 couples dancing 2-3 different dances to the same song. Rhythms are arbitrary. Steve believes waltz is qqs (we can get into that later) However....

    And dchester's partner could be simultaneously saying, "slow-slow-slow, slow-slow-slow".

    Quick-quick does not exist in natural dance. It was used, initially, as a teaching tool merely to say that all forward/back steps are 'slow'; and, all side ssteps are 'quick'. Though, I have used it, as a teaching aide, I understand that it does not really exist.

    All steps in dance are slow. The only natural quick is when the feet come together.
    • Fox is not slow-slow-quick-quick! It's slow-slow-slow-quick.
    • Tango is not slow-slow-quick-quick-slow! It's slow-slow-slow- quick-slow (mentioned as it is the exception to the rule).
    • Waltz has no rhythm...just a count. That is to say that it is neither slow nor quick (understood by the above mention of dchester and partner). It is important to note that we are talking of standard waltz. Country Waltz an Vienesse both have a rhythm as they have a notable distinction between slow/quick beats.
    I know that this is going to ruffle some feathers, but think about it before going Angel hunting. It is correct. :notworth:
  19. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    You and I come to tasks every now and then. :cool: But, I think we're cool. I don't wish to hijack the thread, but the fall does not come from taking a long step. Who in the world told you that?

    Firstly, I never use this term in my teachings. I have always said, "rise and lower". I understand that rise simply means to lift the heels from the floor. Lower is to return from a rise. When I taught 'fall', I received 'fall' from the students. As I taught 'lower', it instilled a different image in the minds of the dancers, and I received a smoother movement.

    Secondly, I understand that waltz 'glides' across the floor (...the definition of the word). This is done in a swinging motion. It is this swing that precipitates the rise, and it is the recovery from this rise that necessitates the 'lower', or fall as many call it. Perhaps, this is what you meant. If so, I apologize :notworth: .

    I'm a wee confused, though, also about your C/W reference. C/W is based on shuffle step, yes (a type of triplet). Is it not fairly common knowledge that there is no rise/lower at all in shuffle steps?
  20. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I might as well get everyone ticked at me. This is not a critique so much as a helpful hint. If you really want to boil an Argentine's blood, call Vals "tango vals". They will quick-quickly tell you that there is no such thing. Just say, "vals". :p

Share This Page