Tango Argentino > Personal Space in Close Embrace

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by pygmalion, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Here's a quote from the book, "Paul Pellicoro on Tango". Good book, btw.

    What think you?
  2. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    I think this applies in all forms of dance :D
  3. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    So . . . what this is saying if we take this the opposite way . . . if a woman wants to get real close, close enough to "polish belt buckles," and the man doesn't want to, the woman wins because it is so written??? The man has no say-so in this???

    Not that man push her away, but because one person (Pellicoro) says this is how it is to be, it is now law. Don't think so . . .

    I only know of one book with written laws in it that we all should obey. Even with those laws, we have a choice . . .
  4. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    I think that it is assumed that a man would naturally want to hold the woman to him as close as is physically possible, so he assumes that it's up to the woman to draw the line.

    While letting the woman draw that line might be a good general rule, I too don't like being stereotyped like that. Nor am I the only man who can feel uncomfortable when a strange (ie, unfamiliar) woman gets too close. Most of the men in beginning Balboa and Collegiate Shag resist holding their partner as close as is needed by those dances. And it's the women who complain about it not being held close enough, because they can't feel the man's lead when that happens.

    And incredible latitude in interpretation, especially as demonstrated by followers of that book. But then that's a different rant.
  5. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    DWise! . . . regardless of the book . . . I think we're on the same page!!!
  6. Tasek

    Tasek New Member

    IMHO The rule works both ways; follows too can get too close for comfort, and both parties can draw the line.
    That rule is written that way though because of two factors, men generally being the stronger and leading party, they can just put distance between the partners if uncomfortable, whereas women as follows don't always have that option. The other factor being that it's assumed that it's always the man who are the sexual predators out there to take advantage of the fragile, innocent women. Which sometimes is the case, and sometimes not. Just societal norms don't always take reality into account.
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    There are simple answers to these age old dilemmas.
    1. Armour
    2. Spiked breast plates as Madonna once wore.
    3. Flak jackets (modern equivalent of armour)
    4. Stay at home.
    5. A well positioned tazar has be known to keep the too-close-embracer at a comfortable position.
  8. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    As others have said, I think that both lead and follow should decide what's right as far as personal space goes. I tend to not dance up close...but if a lady indicates that she wants to dance a bit closer and I'm comfortable with her, then thats fine.

    However, I went to a Ballroom venue a while ago where there was a before dance Tango lesson...and this one lady pressed herself against me like a magnet so our hips were touching, and seemed completely ignorant of the fact that I was squirming and uncomfortable. Every time I tried to move back...she just stayed there and there was no escape!!! :shock: :oops:

    Honestly, I don't think she was trying to be naughty...I didn't sense that from her. I figured it was more of a cultural thing...she liked to dance Tango up very close and didn't seem to understand that someone else would not.

    I think respect is the bottom line...don't make someone do something they wouldn't want to do, and pay attention to their body language and how they react to you.

    I don't think that "dance predators" are gender specific. I've had women get too close, or rub body parts on me quite a bit...but oddly enough, this happens more at Ballroom dances than Salsa clubs! :?


  9. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    SG, if this was at a ballroom dance it justs sounds to me like you found yourself with a more advanced dancer... all of the standard & smooth (well, at least when in closed frame for the smooth ones) dances are ideally danced in body contact...

    Mind you, she probably wasn;t all that advanced as the body contact should not be at the hips, but, especially given that you say you didn't pick up on a salacious vibe from her, it sounds like she was just trying to dance "correctly." *

    * And please do notice the " "s!!!!
  10. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    You beat me to it . . . body contact is a must in many dances. I used to get really uncomfortable in Waltz when my Pro wanted us locked in crotch-to-crotch, leg lock-to-leg lock. I exaggerating here of course, but she wanted us "connected."
  11. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    So true. My first tango dance with an advanced dancer and I was woah!! It actually shows how bad you are. The closer I dance with people the better my technique and exeuction has to be, and I'm not that great at American tango! :(

    And as long as I don't think that a woman / man wants to be close for "other" reasons, and that's what expected I will do the position as that way I learn what to do. After doing that one American tango dance with teh intermediate follow I immediately could bring other followers in a closer hold position, and thought that I was dancing a tad better. So a marked improvment!
  12. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    Treating someone as they would like to be treated is best which can be determined through communication.

    It seems newer dancer's being taught American Tango are shown a ballroom hold and frame. Now that I am progressing through the higher Bronze Patterns my instructor has been teaching a closer hold which seems to provide better communication to my partners. As I start dancing a tango I inform my partner that I have been learning a different hold for tango, and if it's not comfortable for them I can return to the ballroom like frame. Most seem open and ok with it. One was a little uncomfortable, and we used the ballroom hold instead. Another actually commented on how much better the communication was through the closer position.
  13. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    Hmm, that's what I kind of figured...that she was just trying to dance it as she was taught to do...but I didn't find it all that entertaining! :oops:

    Honestly, I just know basics in a few Ballroom dances and I simply do them for fun...having close body contact is only something I'd do with a SO or someone that I knew very well. :?

    Not my gig...maybe someday...;)

  14. Taita

    Taita New Member


    Don't sweat it SG. It reminds me of when I was learning Tango....

    I was dancing about a month when I had my first Tango lesson. I needed to learn very quickly for a competition in 2 weeks. My teacher was a pretty, petite girl who asked me to get into dance position. So, I extended my arms and got into dance position like I did for waltz or foxtrot and stood there for a minute while she made some adjustments. She then proceeds to stand right in front of me and thrusts her hips into mine. Simultaneously, she grabbed my a** and started screaming at the top of her lungs "TOUCH ME! TOUCH ME THERE! YES!!!! YES!!!! YES!!!" Needless to say, every set of eyes turned towards us and made for an extremely embarrassing moment :oops: :oops: :oops: Fortunately, I was not traumatized and I definitely learned the lesson. Nowadays, I don't mind the body contact :wink:

    .....back to lurk mode.....
  15. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    :lol: Reminds me of when I first started dancing--I was newbie and I had been learning mostly patterns and frame and balance, and stuff you need to dance socially.

    My dance teacher, bless her heart, decides to show me how to dance tango in closed position and presses all 20 years of herself up against my hip to talk me through some steps.

    Now, as an actor, I'm getting intimate with people I work with all the time, and I thought I'd had no inhibitions left. But this girl--well, I'd developed a relationship with her that made me think of her as the little sister I never had, and....

    So she's trying to be all professional and it's just business and she's in her fast-talk mode that she gets when she wants to breeze by the awkward realities of dance closeness. And she asks me how it feels, and I tell her it feels a little awkward and that I just need to get used to it. "Because," I add, "I have some space issues."

    And she looks at me with this incredulous expression on her face like she can't believe what she's hearing, and says, "I beg your pardon?????"

    :lol: Poor kid--she hadn't been teaching for very long, and I'm sure she had been thoroughly prepped on how to deal with guys who take the opportunity to grope. But it never once occurred to her a guy would have any reservations of his own. I think her little feminine ego was hurt! :lol:

    Lucky for me I'd given her plenty of flowers on Valentine's Day, and I'm generally affectionate enough in person to get away with an occasional faux pas when dealing a girl who's used to manipulating every boy around her by just batting her little eyelashes! :lol:
  16. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Great stories . . . LOL . . .
  17. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    close embrace

    Sagitta wrote:

    I would agree. I could see these nice dancers who used closed embrace but as soon as they attached themselves to you I didn'tknow where to put my legs in order to step, so I agree it is more difficult than an open embrace. You have to be more grounded and to be able to shift your balance forward. But its worth learning because on a crowded dance floor it gives you more freedom and while its a simpler style its no less rewarding or enjoyable and I got a compliment on my navigation skills on a busy milonga. You need to turn on a sixpence! :together: :together: :together:
  18. TemptressToo

    TemptressToo Member

    I don't really like to Tango (yet) mostly because I haven't advanced much into the various aspects of the dance.

    I do however have one dance partner that does the crotch-to-crotch thing with me while Waltzing. Luckily, he's a really good lead (and like a foot taller than I) and I have little problem following him through the more intricate steps he puts me thorugh.

    Oh...and for the record, I NEVER use my looks to get what I want. I mostly use my brain and the people I'm talking to are shocked into submission (by the recognition that there's more to me than looks). ;)
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Not to be difficult, here, but two things, just for clarification.

    Closed dance position, ala ballroom, even ballroom tango, is not quite the same thing as close embrace in Argentine tango. I'll try to find pictures, to show what I mean. Close embrace, in AT, is CLOSE, as in literally (facial) cheek to cheek.

    And body contact in ballroom isn't really crotch to crotch. It's more like right side of midsection to midsection. Pretty intimate, though.

    Okay. Resume play. LOL.
  20. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    For example, here are some photos, taken from an aptly named tango site. :)
    There are also lots of social dancing photos in the photos section of the site.

    I was taught that, in AT, partners had to lean against each other, making a sort of A shape. As a result, cheek to cheek or (the way my teacher showed) forehead to forehead contact seems to be quite normal even when the embrace is not particularly close (body not in contact -- just the head/face).

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