Tango Argentino > Open Embrace is an Oxymoron and Tango-fusion is Gibberish

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by tangomonkey, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I agree with the rest of your posts, but disagree partly with bold text.

    The more complex music I get the more physical I can get expressive.
    That expressiveness cannot be seen from the outside so much usually.
    But communication through listening other partner and the music can be quite complex.

    It's true that both of dancers need to be feel free in musicality and physical part.
    So the musicality vs physical part can be chosen depending on quality in certain areas.
    And the musicality is often neglected so and needs special training so we get more physical but less musical.
  2. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    Perhaps "predictable music", not necessarily reduced complexity (simpler music), is a better term?

    An interesting thought experiment, yes. Which can be tested by any couple.

    “Academic” is used as a disparaging term, obviously so when the pejorative “just” precedes it, a slur against intellectual curiosity, something not to be bothered with or so abstract as to be unnecessary, having no relevance to the true purpose. It's not as though the skills and artistry required to achieve the ends, an individual and shared expression, do not require considerable physical and mental effort and time to develop; those skills don't simply appear, like Athena sprouting fully formed from the head of Zeus. Some thought, being analytical (a more accurate word than "academic?) helps.
  3. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    It's always a little sad to see someone disagree with another's viewpoint
    and justify their own disagreement by exaggerating the opposing claim.

    I am not aware that anyone has made such a slur, usually the disagreement
    with so called Academic learning is about classes, universal pedagogy and
    the teaching of step patterns/choreography to a mass audience. Social Tango
    is danced socially not in a class and cannot be readily learned academically
    but by actually practising it - by dancing believe it or not.

    Such a criticsm has nothing to do with disparaging curiosity (using your intellect)
    nor with logical investgation, study, decision making about what it is you want
    to do and how to go about it. And I, for one, have done all of that. And still do.
  4. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    You misunderstand. I do not disagree with Gssh or his use of the term academic. Quite the contrary, I'm all for his thought experiments, modeling some ideas.

    As for the rest of your post, well, yes.
  5. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I don't misunderstand, I wrote disagreeing with this:
    And I will add that it is very easy to over think the whole process.

    Tango, at least socially, is not academic: it is pragmatic and practical.
    Nor is it art in the currently overused sense although it is a skill
    involving form following function that can be artful.
  6. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    What about this charming bit?

    I am not in the slightest way disagreeing with another’s viewpoint (Gssh’s in this case). Therefore, I can’t possibly be justifying my (non-existing) disagreement by exaggerating the opposing claim.

    The use of the phrase “academic” or “just academic” is quite often used to infer exactly as I wrote.

    Perhaps, probably…But it can be fun nevertheless!

    Academic pursuit can be simultaneously theoretical and/or pragmatic and/or practical. It seems as though you are using the word in one sense I wrote, that it has no relevance to the true purpose. But perhaps I’m misunderstanding you - "no relevance" is too absolutist.

    (I don’t think academic is the right word. Perhaps using synonyms, analytical or methodical or structured, convey the idea better; some thoughtful processes used to attain a desired outcome).

    I think so too.
  7. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    That’s not what I said. I said when I’m dancing at my best I am a different person. To elaborate, I am in a state of complete openness and awareness of the music, my partner, and the other couples. This state of mind and body is not something I feel during my workaday life.

    I find this unintelligible. Is there a way to test or verify the claim? I understand how the broadest emotional states of mind can be perceived and felt on the dance floor, but something like pettiness? How is it possible, even with extreme levels of empathy, to know your dance partner (or yourself) is dancing in a “petty” way? Where’s the evidence for this? You have it anecdotally, I assume, and I'm curious. (Please don't mistake my doubting this notion for arrogance or disparagement, as you readily accuse me of in other aspects in this thread.)
  8. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    We seem to be looking at this from completely different viewpoints:
    I know that and understand that but I disagree with your extension:
    And that is exactly what I dispute.

    I agree that Academic is not the right word.

    "Academic" has too many interpretations including something that some people
    actually name as "Academic Tango". No doubt those practitioners would consider
    the terminology a slur although some Tango Academies are known for turning out
    multiple series of clone dancers.

    In order to stop beating this to death, I'm outta here! ;)
  9. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    Sounds like a good plan.:)
  10. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    Although I addressed this post (post #66) in part a little earlier, I just re-read it and it’s rather upset (offended) me. I have the following to add.

    Ad hominem (from the OED):

    Of an argument or reaction directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

    Rather than counter argue my points – and I’ve made a few very specific ones in the thread – about electrotango music you chose to attack and complain about my presentation and "attitude". I do disparage electrotango music; I’ve made that very clear. As I’ve also made clear my opinions are mine and other can agree or disagree, and I do not judge them as people or dancers. I value discussion and hearing opposing views. I’m mature; those who are offended at opposing opinions and complain about the method of delivery don’t belong, in Peter Boghossian’s words, “at the adult’s table”. As Christopher Hitchens used to say when dealt with in the same manner, I’m still waiting for your point: that is, you’re arguments against my position – why electrotango music isn’t gibberish - not your scolding me for having and expressing an opinion which may offend.
    JohnEm likes this.
  11. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Music, (like dance) is an art. My personal opinion is that it's not particularly constructive to simply dismiss an entire art style (like electrotango music) as being gibberish. If you are seriously expecting someone to make an argument for why they like some art form (when you just called it gibberish), you could be waiting a long time.

    FWIW, I really like some some electrotango music, and really dislike a lot of it (with various ranges in between for some of it). I also don't have a problem saying that I dislike significantly more than I like. BTW, that's also true for tango songs from the golden era. An awful lot of that stuff is crap (to me) as well. I don't feel the need to explain why I like some and dislike others, however. We are lucky because (for the most part) the best (or most popular) songs from the golden era are what DJs typically play.

    Specific pieces of art either move you, or they don't (whether it's electrotango or any other genre).
  12. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    There is some electrotango music I like. Of course there's a lot more trad music I do like (for different reasons) but perceptional bias is a dangerous thing: time has already applied a filter to the interpretations that have survived; I'm sure a lot of music of the 30s was boring an unimaginative and didn't survive.
  13. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “perceptual bias”.

    The time filter is quite true, and it applies everywhere. In “classical” music there have been thousands of composers, yet a relatively small number are heard in concert halls today. There is a winnowing down: lesser composers’ music is ignored; the composers who have survived the time filter are those who created works of genius. And no one knows which of the composers writing “classical” music today will have their works performed a hundred years from now. But there are ways to make an educated “guess”. Music which has a certain level of complexity, expresses a range of emotions, requires a very high musical and artistic skill set to both create and to perform, and many other things…

    Electrotango fails the test, musically. I have to respect the music I dance to – that’s my burden, being a musician.
    Mladenac likes this.
  14. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    Not all music is art, and a social dance isn’t art at all. That needs explaining…but time is short right now, so, another time.

    This is certainly true, and the reason why no artistic opinions can be proven, no matter how well backed-up with evidence.
  15. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    You're ploughing a lonely furrow there and it certainly is not
    a burden other people have. Clear your mind of all the theoretical
    and listen with your ears. Just like tango you have to let go.
    Saying that, there is much so-called ElectroTango that does
    nothing for me, it's often all wrong for the dance of the senses,
    some doesn't even really qualify as Tango, what it says on the
    label, or in the title, is not necessarily actually so.
    However just some do trigger a dance impulsion.

    I agree entirely but for some unfathomable reason
    I'd like to know your probably rather more technical explanation.

    Except of course that as you say (social) dance is not art
    so what relevance have artistic opinions at all.

    I'm not so sure that music is art although I accept that some people
    perceive it to be so. "Art" is really shorthand for the aesthetic
    and the visual rather than the aural. And it is the focus on the
    aesthetic in the dance of tango which is forcibly changing it.
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I have to chime in here and say that, even though I'm not a musician, and even though it's not in AT, when the dance and the music don't go together to the level that I can feel it (ignoring phrasing, rushing the beat, etc), or not feel it; I too find that I can't let it go.
  17. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I'm sure you are correct, although a lot of music from the 30s - 50s did survive that also was boring, unimaginative, or just plain lousy (IMO). It's just that us DJs tend to play the stuff we actually like, rather than everything that survived.
  18. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    DJs and dancers are the time filter in action.

    (And if enough dancers enjoy dancing to electrotango some of it will survive too.)
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
    sixela likes this.
  19. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    dchester was commenting on music, which is an art form, not the dance.

    "Art" can mean those things, but not exclusively. I agree with this: there is an increased focus on the aesthetic (visual beauty).

    The term “art” is used in so many ways, it’s meaning should be defined by anyone using it. Art does mean visual art (eg, painting, sculpture) but the term is also is used to identify other specific creative categories. The phrase “the arts” is an umbrella term, and includes music, dance, theatre, literature, and others. (Interestingly, musicologists mostly study what people call “classical music”, but in the academic world it is called “Art Music”.)
    sixela likes this.
  20. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I agree with you - i know that "physicality" is not a very good word here, especially when looked at in terms of being expressive - we are dancing, so by necessity everything we do is physical and communicated through our bodies - i am trying to find something to describe aspect of dance where we enjoy the technical skill aspect of dance movement in itself. There is a lot of aspects that are fun even when practicing without music - extra tiny fast steps, extra long steps, single axis turns, series of walking turns, the "snap" of a great ocho cortado, a great embrace, and so on. And there are people who are amazing at them, and a utter pleasure to dance with, and some of them are not that interested in the music aside as a metronome to support the timing.
    This is enjoying and emphasizing a different aspect of dance, the joy of motion, the enjoyment of ones own body, the enjoyment of the partners body, and i think it leads to different choices in technique and vocabulary and music.
    "musicality" is such a great shorthand for putting emphasis on using, expressing, and enjoying the music and i was looking a equivalent for it.

    I like "predictable music" - it matches with one of the idea that i have encountered in communication theory - the predictability-novelty dialectic. Basically what they are talking about is that humans enjoy the tension between predictability and novelty both are required to make an experience pleasant. So music is interesting if it is (numbers are made up) 80% predictable, 20% surprises. A leader is enjoyable if they are 80% predictable, 20% surprises. A follower is enjoyable if they are 80% predictable, 20% surprises. A dj is enjoyable if his music selection is 80% predictable and 20% surprises. and so on, and so on.
    (this is a different conceptualization than flow - chakramurti (sp?) thinks that things are best if we do something that is just at the edge of our abilities - but you could probably think of "just at the edge of ones abilities" as more difficult than routine (i.e. not completely predictable), but still manageable (i.e. not complete chaos), so it might not be that incompatible)

    So if we take dance as a whole we have to find our surprises (or difficulty) somewhere. One of the avenues would be to try to find it in the play with the unpredictabilities and predictabilities in the music, and then our vocabulary has to some extent get out of the way - it is difficult to do enjoy the music in the moment if we do chains that would require us to predict our experience of the music a dozen steps down the line things. So vocabulary/technique that has immediate payoff, and does not set up too much about the next steps helps. If we look for it in the play with the unpredictabilites and predictabilities of our bodies then we want to do things that are strongly conditional and reactive to our prior geometries, and create new and surprising geometries, so music that is very much in the moment, and does not set up phrases and repeated segments, and sudden breaks and so on helps.

    Well, overanalysis is a problem - a lot of tango issues could be solved by dancing and being open to what we experience while dancing, not what we want to experience, or feel we should experience. But a message board is basically per definition an academic venue - we can't actually dance here, and if we answered all questions with "go out and dance more" it would get pretty boring, soon.

    I think i told this story before, but i'll just do it again ;) - i think it is important to see the difference between what dancing is, and what thinking and preparing for dancing is. The image i use is something i learned when studying indonesian martial arts - they say that combat is a unique, personal, one-time only thing that is dependent on a million circumstances and can neither be repeated nor predicted. It is the flower (kembang). Studying martial arts is gardening - we can't make the flower grow, we can't control the weather, we can't control what the plant is like - what we can do is till the soil, taking care of weeds, fertilize - lots of hard work than has very little to do with the flower, but makes the blooming possible. We just have stay aware that we are not trying to become ploughing masters, or fertilizing masters, or weeding masters - we want to have beautiful flowers.
    There are lots of different things that can help our tango bloom - and academic thought experiments and going to the gym and becoming intimately familiar with the music and practicing elaborate show routines are all good and valid tools, but the risk is forgetting that none of them are tango.

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