Motivations for studying Tango Nuevo

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by kieronneedscake, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    Just had a jolly weekend learning from Paul and Paras from Utrecht. I would describe their dancing style as "bonkers" but they know their stuff and did a good job teaching it to a predominently salon tango crowd. It was fun and informative.

    Anyway, they kicked things off with a brief discussion on why those present were interested Neotango/tango nuevo. For my own purposes, I now study it as a matter of broadening my horizons and learning a second "language" in order to dance with others schooled in that way. Back when I didn't know what I was learning (it was all tango), I picked up some lovely things that are transferrable across all styles.

    What struck me as interesting were some of the things people suggested as their reasons for being there: (horribly paraphrased)

    "More freedom"
    Some other phrases involving freedom of expression as well as motion
    "Breaking the rules"
    "Being outside the box" (and getting into another one - Paul's response)
    "I like how it looks"
    Some comments from the teachers then reflected the promotion of the woman's personality and mechanisms of self-expression.

    What caught my attention was this apparent rebelliousness in people, but I couldn't work out what it was people were rebelling against. I couldn't see where the freedom was being denied as such, except in the inability of local leaders and followers to deliver dynamic (and of course risky) tango moves.

    In my area dancing is generally quite permissive, nobody will be frowned upon for dancing a particular style or for experimentation. Many followers are encouraged to find ways of expressing themselves in the dance (although most do not).
    Teaching in the area is generally quite pro-follower, and actively fights the tendency for men to dance through muscular dominance.

    So, two points for discussion:

    What are people rebelling against that they should feel the tango they have been taught is denying them freedom?

    All things being equal, why would you choose to study tango nuevo instead of the broad umbrella of classical salon tango? What is it that is really good about the style (beyond the opportunity for extroverts)? How is it that so many should choose to go nuevo instead of chasing the stereotype tango that first attracted them to the hobby? Face it, when you say tango to people in general, they usually think of ballroom strutting and powerful dancing.
     
  2. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

    More freedom" …….to take up more floor space
    Some other phrases involving freedom of expression as well as motion
    "Breaking the rules"
    We can forget about line of dance, floor craft and generally respecting other dancers.
    "Being outside the box" (and getting into another one - Paul's response) Don’t have to work at learning traditional tango any longer can do my own thing and call it “nuevo”
    "I like how it looks" …especially the baggy pants and tennis shoes
     
  3. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Kieron, I think there is no rebellion concerning dance styles!

    The rebellion started with the music, first, and then an aprobiate dancing style followed. So, f.i. Nuevo dancing was the reaction upon Piazzolla and late Pugliese, and Neo was the reaction on hiphop music.

    OD
     
  4. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    But you see, HBBoogie how these are very negative views of the style. I sincerely doubt people think like this when they are considering taking the classes.

    In particular, most of the views I listed came from women, not from the men who would be most liberated by disregarding floorcraft and dancing big. Also, the group was pretty much all 35+ years old, and therefore somewhat more mature than the typical nuevo crowd we come to glare at (I am not generally a fan of nuevo dancing).

    Thanks Opendoor, I am inclined to agree that any rebellion is an illusion, but that didn't stop there being a sense of rebellion in the room. Curious hmm?

    Lest we forget, a dancer can still hog the floor and ignore the dancefloor etiquette without learning a new style of dancing. The last big on-floor collision I saw (in London of course) was classical tango.
     
  5. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Re: rebellion

    ..mmh ( wonder) how old am I ?

    I don´t want to let the steam out of this style strife, but.... another explanation:

    I´m not sure, yet, could it be, that these "rebellions" were not kicked off by people(dancers), but always by a younger generation of tango teachers, that were seeking for a new niche of income. May be it´s a question of offer and demand, but in this case, the offer was first.

    Here in Hamburg, the first generation of tango teachers taught Nuevo/Stage in town. As a reaction, the second generation (i.e. my first teachers) began to teach Milonguero. What is my reaction actually, I changed to Salón...
     
  6. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Perhaps they just want to be thought of as rebels.

    Mavericks Are Cool.

    Apparently.

    Ahhh, now this is interesting.

    One obvious point about nuevo tango is that it's a stationary dance based around rotation - whereas salon style is a progressive dance based around walking.

    So, it's reasonable to assume that you may want to learn nuevo in situations where you don't get a chance to progress much. One obvious use for me is that I can do nuevo tango in jive venues; whereas if I tried to walk around the hall salon-stylee I'd get lynched.

    So, broadly, in other environments or occasions, nuevo gives an opportunity to dance in situations where you can't progress.

    Because it's "sexier" - or, visually more appealing.

    Salon tango is about how it feels, nuevo tango is about how it looks.
     
  7. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    It would seem to me people would want to learn what is called "milonguero" style here, since it's main function (in North America at least) is dealing with smaller spaces and that implies plenty of circular, in place movement.

    Typical movement that people associate with "Nuevo" dancing take up large amounts of acreage on the floor, even if it is in place.

    I do appreciate the more dynamic feel I tend to see in what we think of as "Nuevo", but I think a lot of people get in to it because they see the visual "sexiness" of the styling and it interests them.
     
  8. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Ooops... duh. I missed out the other main reason - the music.

    If you're dancing to non-trad music, nuevo dancing makes more sense.

    Amazingly, I'd written a piece about this topic here recently, and yet I still managed to forget about it. Memory like a... thing with holes... :D
     
  9. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    I went through a phase of just wanting to dance traditional tango. I think this was good for me in that I got immersed in the culture and traditions of tango forming a good antidote to the styles of dance I had previously known. I think that this was a very necessary process given the profound gulf in culture between tango and, say, modern jive.

    I also felt strongly that nuevo tango music was mindlessly boring and uninventive compared with more traditional tango music. I've eased up on this position, but only a bit. Let's say I'm open to being proved wrong. Also, music played by creative and eclectic DJs at events such as the Tango Mango has opened my ears a bit.

    I think circumstances have had a big influence. Most of my earlier learning in AT was with leaders competent in traditional styles to traditional music, so they were positive experiences. Nuevo tango dances were often characterised by formlessness, lack of technique and lack of musicality so they were not positive experiences. But that was just my bad luck - I think dancing in a nuevo style makes more demands on a dancer's technique, not less, when done properly. It is not a cop-out from learning properly, just different. Having had the chance recently to dance with skilled leaders in a nuevo style I begin to see the attraction.

    Circumstances again - on my few visits to Negracha's, the traditional-style upstairs room has been so unbearable in terms of over-crowding and scrum-like floorcraft that I've had no option but to resort to to the freeflow of the nuevo-room downstairs, and found that I quite enjoy it. And yes, taking up more floorspace, ripping up the rule book and forgetting the line of dance is certainly part of that!

    As a follower, I like the liberty of being free of the technical and personal demands of the close embrace, in other words, being completely in control of my own axis, and nuevo styles are more likely to give this opportunity. I like the openness and expansiveness of the movements. However, I think that traditional styles give more opportunity for musical interpretation to the follower.

    Finally, any dance style that reduces the necessity for wearing a skirt has to be no bad thing!
     
  10. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    Very good point. However, I have only seen a few talented people adapt their styles dramatically to suit music i.e. In general, nuevo dancers seem to dance primarily nuevo to classic tango and vice-versa.

    So, intellectually I agree. Empirically I think that it is not a reason for studying the style, but an advantage of being able to dance it.
     
  11. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Wow. Can you possibly get any more stereotypical and offensive?

    Christ on a cracker.

    Let's separate the dance style from the people who do it--badly. Why the insistence on equating one with the other is beyond me. I find it infuriating.

    Anyhow.

    I like nuevo. I also like more traditional dancing--call it milonguero or salon, whatever.

    I find it technically challenging. It uses a lot of the same concepts as more traditional dancing, but extends them in a way that I find more difficult. It's got this way of showing up flaws in fundamental technique that doesn't happen so much with salon.

    There are times when it fits my mood. There are times when I like the somber traditional tango music and want to dance to that. There are other times when I want to go all-out crazy. Nuevo is good for that. It's a way to feel playful.

    It fits better with certain types of music. Sometimes traditional is good. Sometimes electronic is good. Sometimes there's a completely alternative song that just catches my fancy and makes me want to get up and DANCE!!! The beauty of AT is that the very nature of it makes it suitable as a dance vocabulary for so many kinds of music. And usually, when it's alternative music, I just like the way nuevo feels with it more than I like the way traditional dancing feels with it.

    More vocabulary. Why not? I didn't get into this to be limited. It's something different, something extra. Why not learn it? It's all interesting. And learning it makes me, I think, a better follower.

    As for rebelling... Generally, this doesn't even cross my mind. I'm not dancing to make a statement to anyone else. I just don't have that kind of time or energy in my life to give that much of a damn about anyone else. Other people can, for the most part, bite me. But...but... ... When I start reading posts and responses by people who have such a narrow view of what AT is, and who have lists of rules about things that are or are not done, and start making proclamations based on bupkes about the right way of doing things, or who cannot or will not respect anything other than what they like, and who seem to feel they have the lock on what is real and what is not... Well, that makes me want to do anything and everything in my power to rebel. Through tango. Makes me want to dance it in cutoff shorts and a t-shirt, to alternative music, in sky-high heels, in open embrace, doing nuevo moves. And call it tango. Just to piss people off.

    And, I highly agree with the idea that anything that means wearing less skirts and more pants (alhough I call b.s. on the idea of women having to wear skirts or dresses...whatever, get a hobby) is a good thing.
     
  12. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    main reason: the music

    absolutely: the music determines the dancing: Don´t like Salón with Biagi or Caló, don´t like Milonguero with Narcotango, don´t like Neo to Pugliese, ...

    :cheers:
     
  13. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Yes, one of my favourite dancing partnerships (Chicho and Eugenia) ... I'm not as keen watching them dance 'nuevo' to trad music. But I'm not saying that's an absolute... that may be because of my perception - like trying to listen to avant garde music with a romantic music sensibility? What we really need is to get a person who hasn't seen much (if any) AT and show them nuevo dancing to trad music and vice versa and see what they make of it?
     
  14. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member


    Sounds like they're having a late adolescence/ early mid life crisis ;)

    But seriously - there aren't that many 'rules' in tango, I mean there aren't that many absolutes. So, which rules exactly are they breaking? Maybe they just don't like tango, really, deep down? I mean there are lots of reasons for doing something, for the social side, liking being around people, moving their body to music etc etc. I'd like to try nuevo because it's tango!

    They've spent too much time in silly meetings at work!

    Seems the most sensible reason given.

    Freedom: People always want more :D Maybe they (the followers I'm thinking of, here) have 'connection overload'? What I mean by that is it's a very intense dance and a particularly intimate partner dance.. maybe they perceive nuevo as allowing them to be freer with their expression as an individual (in a not as tight frame). I've done some rudimentary leading and have had quite experienced women ocho when I'm not moving my body one iota! It really made me appreciate what the guys put up with... a little gremlin inside wanted to yell 'Why don't you go to jazz classes??!' doing all sorts of things that were nothing to do with dancing with another person -- Aaaaaargh!!

    Maybe they want their cake and their ha'penny? ;)

    Do you mean they'd not studied 'salon' before they tried nuevo? That does seem like putting the cart before the horse. Otherwise, I think everyone should give all 'style's a go. It's all tango. It's all the same principle isn't it?
     
  15. LaRose

    LaRose New Member

    QUOTE: "As for rebelling... Generally, this doesn't even cross my mind. I'm not dancing to make a statement to anyone else. I just don't have that kind of time or energy in my life to give that much of a damn about anyone else. Other people can, for the most part, bite me. But...but... ... When I start reading posts and responses by people who have such a narrow view of what AT is, and who have lists of rules about things that are or are not done, and start making proclamations based on bupkes about the right way of doing things, or who cannot or will not respect anything other than what they like, and who seem to feel they have the lock on what is real and what is not... Well, that makes me want to do anything and everything in my power to rebel. Through tango. Makes me want to dance it in cutoff shorts and a t-shirt, to alternative music, in sky-high heels, in open embrace, doing nuevo moves. And call it tango. Just to piss people off.

    And, I highly agree with the idea that anything that means wearing less skirts and more pants (alhough I call b.s. on the idea of women having to wear skirts or dresses...whatever, get a hobby) is a good thing."


    Peaches I like you even more now.

    QUOTE: "I think circumstances have had a big influence. Most of my earlier learning in AT was with leaders competent in traditional styles to traditional music, so they were positive experiences. Nuevo tango dances were often characterised by formlessness, lack of technique and lack of musicality so they were not positive experiences. But that was just my bad luck - I think dancing in a nuevo style makes more demands on a dancer's technique, not less, when done properly. It is not a cop-out from learning properly, just different. Having had the chance recently to dance with skilled leaders in a nuevo style I begin to see the attraction."


    Most "instructors" and mature tangueros I have seen who dance Nuevo/Neo/Contemporary styles of Tango seems to dance traditional BA styles very well. They tend to properly match (switch) the style they dance on the music and the current environment on hand. While some so called seasoned tangueros even on not so crowded floor seems to dance al...most stationary on a upbeat traditional music. go figure
     
  16. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

     
  17. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    LOL. I'm going to have to remember that one.

    No, I'm not kidding and I don't consider it ridiculous. Issues with balance and pivoting come most readily to mind. It's easy enough to have good balance when you've got another person to balance against, even if you're on your own axis. It's easy enough to pivot correctly enough when you've got someone else to balance against. But take those two fundamental concepts and apply them in, say, overturned ochos, and existing flaws readily become apparent. Things like not having good enough control over your axis and core, like not transferring weight fully before pivoting, like generating the power for a pivot entirely through your own body and how you use your feet.

    Or trusting, enough to be taken off your axis in whatever direction the leader desires.

    Or having a completely free leg. It's all well and good until you start getting into boleos and other quirky things where, if it is not totally free, it won't happen.
    Where did I ever say I was doing it at the expense of others?!?! That's right...I didn't. You seem to have in your mind the idea that Nuevo, by definition, equals lack of discretion, lack of maturity, lack of etiquette. I'm saying that's not true. The way I think of it, Nuevo is a style of dancing, a certain focus/extension of technique, a different feel. None of that says anything about how or when it is executed.

    Once again, you are confusing the execution (when, and under what circumstances) with the style/technique itself. You're talking about floorcraft, which is not the same thing. I'm in wholehearted agreement that poor floorcraft is disruptive, and rude, and dangerous...but Nuevo, by definition, is not any of those things. Unless, of course, you just come from the p.o.v. that All Nuevo Is Bad...in which case we might as well cease the discussion because we'll never agree.

    Well then where, pray tell, should Nuevo be danced? Or, perhaps more correctly, where is it appropriate to dance it. If your answer is never, at any time...again, there's no point. But all milongas are not created equally. In a venue where there is adequate floor space where a couple (or all of them, in some cases) can be doing the biggest move imaginable without any danger to anyone else...I see no harm whatsoever. Lest you think such a place doesn't exist, I can say that I was at one this past weekend. A huge floor, maybe 6-8 couples on the floor at any time, and all the room in the world. No harm there. An outdoor milonga early in the evening when there are few couples, or later when there are lots of people but you're dancing well beyond anyone else...no harm.

    I'm thinkng of the Wiccan Rede: "An that it harm none, do what thou will."

    In other, crowded milongas...big movements are absolutely not appropriate. I won't argue that. There are leaders who just.don't.get.it, who I won't dance with because they have no concept of when things are not appropriate. But when the venue allows, it's not an issue. And they do exist. Here in the United States.

    And I'm telling you, again, that I never said anything about disturbing others. And that I'm in full agreement on this point. And that it does a disservice to everyone to not separate out the issue of floorcraft from the style of dancing itself.

    I haven't joined any group at all. And I disagree that those dancing Nuevo have no respect for the rules of etiquette, simply because they choose to dance Nuevo. I don't break the rules, generally speaking. I dress appropriately (if on the casual side, and usually in pants), and dance appropriately. I don't change all of that when I dance Nuevo. To draw that conclusion is absurd.

    And, quite frankly, I don't give a rat's [butt] about following rules that were designed decades ago, for another time, another place and another culture, simply because they are the tradition. I don't believe in following rules simply for their own sake. I believe in following rules in the here and now, when there is a compelling reason to follow them. (Any wonder that I'm an atheist? Heh.) Following the rules and traditions of another time and place doesn't make the dancing any more real, or authentic, or respectful. Following the rules that keep people safe, and keep the venue enjoyable, and that make it so that everyone can enjoy themselves...that's real, and here, and now. Wearing pants or a dress doesn't affect anyone other than me. Wearing whatever shoes I want doesn't affect anyone other than me. Dancing to whatever music I want doesn't affect anyone other than me. Asking for/accepting/declining a dance by verbal means as opposed to eye contact doesn't affect anyone other than me.

    Dancing whatever style I (and my leader) choose doesn't have to affect anyone other than me. Why? Because I trust myself to be mature enough, and to exercise discretion and restraint, and to make effective, informed, respectful choices about how I dance.
     
  18. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    over the fence

    Hi over there, first time that I cite myself ....
    I mean, isn´t it a natural process to quarrel around with that question? Isn´t it natural, that a younger generation wants to put themselves apart from the establishment. Isn´t it natural that older guys (as me) find it challenging to dance in different enviroments, and to different styles of music.

    Before I started TA, I never did dance at all, and found it silly, ridiculously, and absurd. And, now, I start to look over the fence, and watched ballet!!!
     
  19. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    When i was learning tango from from different tango teachers they werent distinguishing between between "traditional" (as danced in Bs As salons) and nuevo or anything else; so it was all tango to me. Some things like Paradas and mordidas never looke or felt right when dancing so i dance them, but leg wraps, overturned ocho and volcados all feel nice when done well, and with the right music. Then a pillock who couldnt dance but thought "traditional" was the only way to dance, started labeling me as nuevo because of my musical taste, but I wasnt dancing nuevo stuff because there wasnt any followers around locally, who were good enough. ie had a strong axis and sense of balance and able to relax the free leg, and I think nuevo dancing has a sense of "play" ( see notes on tango and play here: http://users.telenet.be/Tango-E-Vita/tango/humor.htm ) and some of my favourite dancers do just that from Sam hijacking the lead, other ladies who participate in the dance rather than just go along for the ride..

    http://www.tangodiscovery.com/TD2/English/Cds.htm I bought Maurico Castro's book and his DVDs and learnt a lot from them. So it was late on when I discovered that people were falling into either/or camps since most of the places where I enjoyed dancing were mixing up lots of different things.

    and I agree with Peaches; I dont really care whether people approve of how I dance or not; I will always dance to the best of my ability and I dont dance/not dance "nuevo" to traditional music but its more about fitting a movement to the music.
     
  20. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    Rama on a ryvita! She says what I think before I've even thought it!
     

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