Tango Argentino > Show tango is not REAL tango?!

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by larrynla, May 6, 2009.

  1. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Oh, don't be sorry. On the contrary, it took that much of a learning curve because AT is now my ONLY dance. I've since stopped all of my other dances as I find them boring and contaminate my tango.

    You should try it sometime so you can experience what were talking about.
  2. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    True, but the level of connection in AT is quite different. Its something to be experienced to be appreciated.

    You should try it sometime.
  3. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Yet another lecture by Larry-knows-best. Thanks for enlightening us with your knowledge. When will come the next lecture? We're so impatient.
  4. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I've done a lot of salsa dancing, and I agree - it is very different. Salsa is inherently far more visual than AT, there's very little internal connection going on most of the time.

    In AT, I think it's quite possible for a follower to have the best dance of the night with someone who simply walks her around the room to the music, with no embellishments.
  5. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Perhaps you don't understand the different level of complexity between a relatively-straightforward dance like salsa, and AT.
  6. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I have gotten raked over the coals here before for arguing the same thing. This paragraph should be bronzed and hung in every non-Argentine studio one can find. Thanks for the post.
  7. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I thought the meaning to be quite clear.....

    And, here is the bottom line re all dances but applicable to this discussion......
  8. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Amps, you know that I respect you, and we agree on most things, however, I feel that this is nto entirely the fault of yours nor the virtue of AT. The issue here is that BR is just 99% of the time taught and danced poorly, especially at the social levels. A short story.....

    Most persons know that I moved to BsAs to learn AT at the advice of Rudolfo Dinzel, who, w/ Gloria, became one of my intial teachers. He is the one who gave me the nickname El Criollo. He said it was b/c of how naturally and quickly I seemed to understand and pick up on the nuances and cultural meanings/feelings of AT. When asked why, I said that it was b/c of my intensive BR training. Of course, they adamantly disagreed, :) but I knew. However, I had not been trained BR in steps/patterns; I was completely movement trained.
    Again, this is extremely unfortunate. Even the AT dancers in BsAs dance more than AT. Hope I'm not boring you...another short story......

    At a workshop, a dancer said to me that I was so good at this (AT) that it must be my favorite dance, and he was shocked when I said, "Yeah, mostly, but on either given day, it loses out to int'l foxtrot, and my second is salsa". He said that he didn' understand b/c BR is so stiff and stuffy and no real connection to the partner. I took him into a dance position (knowing that he was good enough to do this), and said, "Close your eyes, and follow me". I danced an int'l fox once around the floor. When we finished, he said, "That is BR!? Wow, I never knew. It doesn't look like that". Now, I'm not filling my stroke bucket here or somethign like that, I'm simply saying that every dance is a conversation between the partners and a relationship between dancers and music, and just like you wouldn't say that mac and cheese is now your only food, or these pants are the only ones that I wear, AT should not be your only dance.

    And, this was unnecessary.
  9. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    i've had better connections with horses than most people. Too much sniping and snobbery about how AT should be. The dance is organic, the people in BsAs are probably not dancing the same way they did a century ago ( my source: Juan Carlos Copes in an interview); variations occur between districts; so its inevitable there will be differences in other countries. There seems to have been a sense of showmanship between BsAs clubs and inventing one's own moves (Farr-Thompson)

    whistles nonchalantly
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    If you are following this thread as it develops, you might want to go back a page and see the post from jatango that was caught but the filters because it had "links" in it (new member and all that). More testimony about what goes on in BA.
  11. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I tend to agree with Peaches, AMpster and others in regards to social dancing.

    I knew someone recently who was learning tango. He was an excellent WCS dancer, and every time he would go out to a milonga, no one would want to dance with him. And he got a big chip on his shoulder about it, reminding people he knew that he was a really good dancer so why wouldn't people dance with him...but that was WCS, not tango. A lot of people seem to think that just becasue you are great in one dance doesn't make you an automatic expert in another.

    I don't mean any offense, and I'm sure your daughter is a lovely dancer, but I suspect one reason she was able to go to a salsa club and get dances right away is because she has the look of an experienced dancer in that style due to extensive training, and it's just my assumption from her lack of social tango dancing expereince but I would doubt she has the same look about her for tango. I can tell you from experience that someone can tell pretty quickly when dancing with someone if they have other types of training that are predominant in their dance and snobbish though that may be, it happens and affects whether people ask other people to dance.

    It happens a lot, like Peaches said, when you are new, and you need to get to know people and a totally different scene first.

    About showing off....fancy moves or show tango or whatever else you may call it....

    this is just my opinion, but it also seems like many people think showing off only applies to extravagent moves and those are the only interesting ones and anything else is deadly dull and boring and we must plod along like sheep at crowded milongas. I guess if you haven't learned how to make small movements interesting, it probably does end up that way.

    I would like to make the assertion that subtle moves can also be quite involved, but that you are "showing off" to only your partner, rather than taking up large amounts of space in ganchos, lifts and boleos. It would be an audience of 1 if you will, rather than an entire room of people to entertain.

    Micro-movements and small rhythmic movements add a lot of interest in the dance, can be quite hard or subtle to lead, and so keep the dancers engaged and "listening" to one another in a confined space, yet aren't particularly showy (though most experienced dancers will see it and understand what it takes to lead something subtle).

    For myself, I am equally as impressed when I see a complicated set of movments done well that would be considered flashy as I am by incredibly subtle sets of movments that don't take a lot of space, but requires skill to have executed.
  12. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    yes- that Kung-Fu page was hilarious in a terrible sort of way! Only becasue I see exactly that happen so much where I live.

    and I agree that although I have no problem with showy moves as in Nuevo and improvised (I actually dislike watching staged tango routines), it has it's place.

    Unfortunately, there seem to be less and less people teaching that their students still need to know both if their preference is showy...or you end up with a tango scene like in my area- with Kung Fu tango as the norm because hardly anyone has learned the types of movement appropriate to small or tight settings nor how to make the little they may know of it varied enough to be interesting.
  13. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    To bastet and others,
    Yes, I have seen where a dancer of one dance form carrys over the forms nuances to another dance form. i.e. The Schwimmer girls (cousin Heidi and Lacey) both tried to break into int. latin. The judges saw that they could not shake the w.c. swing styling and were judged accordingly.

    However, there are rare exceptions. You see, a lot of it is pyscological. H and L identify themselves as w.c. swing dancers and that is really hard to shake off. My daughter does not identify herself as any specific dance form dancer. She has learned (because of my coaching and managing her dance program all her life) to switch her dance style, off and one like a light bulb.
    Now, she/we get a lot of criticism for it, (A dance form and the world it belongs to, can be very jealous and posessive) but that is the choice I have made for her. We have discussed it many, many times...and she is cool with it.

    She just started going back to her first mom and pop dance school when she was 2 1/2, to take some hiphop classes with her best friend. She is so beyond the dancers and the instructor....but she is having fun and it excercises that "light bulb switch".

    P.S. Angel Hi, once again, ....a wonderful post.
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    An older man sitting at a table with a vey young woman... Peaches got this one right. If no one knows who you are, you are very likely to be left alone. Who knows what is going on there, but you?

    Have you and your daughter learned about eye contact as a way to ask for and accept a dance, known as the cabezeo in the Argentine Tango scene?
    You should also keep in mind that in AT it is tradtional to dance an entire "set", known as a tanda, of music with your partner. Generally the three or more songs in these "sets" are in the same style and speed. So, if you hook up with someone and it is going really badly, you have to either "be rude" and break it off, or suffer through. I don't know of any other dance where this is the case.

    Whenever I start checking out a new scene, I always start with short forays. As I learn more about things, and decide I like being part of it, I spend more time.
    If you can find an AT practica, or practice, you will find a more relaxed attitude towards these things.

    I think people are being a bit hard on you here, but you seem to be taking it well.
  15. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    I appreciate "micro-movements" as well. At the Milongra that we attended, there was one follow that I noticed that had exceptional footwork via her "micro-movements". I made sure to bring it to my daughter's attention and she appreciated it as well. She (daughter) is a highly trained dancer, ...she is quite capable of recognizing the subtle movements in dance.

    As far as the discussion regarding social tango and show tango, it's not a topic that is unique to A.T. The same discussion occurs in other dance forms. A.T. is not as "unique" as you may beleive. Rather than continue to beat this dead horse, (since I think I have exhausted my point), I will agree to disagree.

    Steve, I am so sorry. I wasn't completly truthful/wasn't clear on my telling of the events. Yes, she was not asked to dance. On the other hand, the average age of the crowd had to have been mid 50's. The average level of the dancing was mid intermediate. If the crowd were in there mid 20's and there were more adv. to pro. level dancers there, she would have gotten dances, I am certain.
    If we could find a Milongra with such a crowd, I am very certain that my daughter would be an amazing A.T. dancer in no time. (...and not for the reasons one may think).
    We have some coals in the fire, so,... things should be heating up for her (hopefully) by mid summer.
  16. Tango Bellingham

    Tango Bellingham New Member

    Uh, no. This is a performance - there's nobody else on the floor besides him and his partner. And I doubt very seriously he would have done the sequence at 0:43 (a figure with multiple blind backsteps against LOD) or the series of stationary giros at 1:00 - 1:18, culminating with her god-awful waist-high leg wrap, anywhere on any social dance floor. I don't think his buddies would've cut him that much slack.

    And she's just awful. [shudder]

    Yes, and the place is almost empty, it's not wall-to-wall people, and who knows what was going through his mind at the time? Was he trying to impress the young lady with whom he was dancing? Who knows? Find me a video of El Gallego or his brother El Flaco "cutting a rug", going full-out with all the fancy stuff, at Gricel or some other milonga where it's crowded. Find me a video of Ricardo Vidort or Osvaldo and Coco doing volcadas, colgadas, or big honkin' planeo/enrosque/kicking-between-the-legs and I'll concede the point.

    Agreed - I think the point some of the rest of us are trying to make that is that the average Joe and Josephine (in North America, at least) can't tell the difference between the two, or aren't taught the difference between the two, and they certainly aren't being taught what's appropriate for the social dance floor versus the stage. I've got a sufficient number of scars on my feet and legs to attest to that.
  17. Tango Bellingham

    Tango Bellingham New Member

    Uh, no. It's very definitely a snarky statement, what with the "criminals" comment and all that. Sure, we know the old guys "cut a rug" when they get the chance. But this post has the subtext of, "I wanna dance the way I want to, when I want to!", i.e., Texas bar-fight attitude, North American narcissism, etc.

    Fine, whatever - just stay away from me and partner, stay in your lane, and we'll be ok.
  18. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Since I'm the one who wrote about dutifully plodding around the room, and others have picked up on it...
    (my bolding)

    "The problem with this style, lovely as it is, is that it lacks the fascinating choreographic challenge of all the authentic styles of the Golden Age, apart from the style of the geographic centre and centre south in the early 1950s on which is was loosely based. The thing that makes this style exciting is the connection within the couple and the musicality of the dancers. Quite quickly I started to notice people finding ways of manipulating the close embrace in order to maintain an emotional distance from their partners. Most particularly I noticed people not dancing directly in front of each other, but with the follower away to the leader's right. This was certainly not my experience of dancing with people who had danced this style in the 1950s. They always were directly in front of me, as were almost all the dancers I danced with who had been dancing in the Golden Age, whatever the style.
    So quite quickly people began to get bored with this style, as they were not getting the emotional connection that made the style work, but were also not getting the chorographic challenge of the other styles.
    And I think that's about where I am.

    Here's another reason for my comment...
    The music in AT often will accellerate for short passages. One instrument will come to the fore with "double time" notes. There is a way, too, of suggesting "swirling", circular, or calecita like movement. 90+% of people continue dancing the same steps at the same speed in the same direction.
  19. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Angel no problem at all. It was a concious choice that I made, knowing what I wanted. It has worked well for me. I know that everyone's journey is different. This was mine. :cheers:
  20. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    well here's some videos of a Buenos Aires milonga with crowd and without...

    Club Gricel with a crowd:


    Club Gricel not so crowded:


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