Tango Argentino > Take down the Fence

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by tangomaniac, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    Robert Frost wrote in "Mending Wall" that "good fences make good neighbors." In dancing, good fences leads to LOUSY dancing, especially Argentine Tango.

    Many dancers don't realize that the fence they put up ruins their dancing and makes it impossible for their partner to dance well.

    The fence is the woman's right arm and the man's left arm. Tango is meant to be danced closely and the fence keeps the partners apart.

    There is an alignment in tango. The partners should be in front of each other, connected at the sternum.

    The woman's fence, her right arm, pushes herself into the man's armpit, which is the worst body location. When the woman wedges herself into the armpit, her left shoulder is locked. A locked shoulder can't rotate and limits the woman's ability to pivot and execute ochos. I'm short so when the woman pushes on my left arm, it feels like my shoulder will be dislocated. I have no choice but to force her arm downward against her body or let go of her hand and hold her bicep to relieve the pressure on my shoulder. Her muscles become so tight that they grip. The shoulders go up and the woman takes tiny steps because she can't move well.

    The man's fence, the left arm, is so tight he pushes the woman through ochos. Some men confuse pushing with leading. They are NOT the same. Pushing will throw the woman off her balance. Then the man will tell the woman what she's doing wrong. Why women tolerate being lectured by men who lead poorly is a mystery.

    If you want to dance well, take DOWN your fence and stop dancing with partners who won't take DOWN their fence.
  2. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Although I appreciate the motivation of this post, this
    is not as entirely accurate nor as absolute as you state.
    Not necessarily, for some dancers such stressed arms
    are used to reinforce the permanence of their connection
    and to use interdependence for stability. I would agree,
    it is not my ideal and I prefer no such stress.
    Tango is indeed a body lead dance, and not one with a "frame".
    But physical closeness or distance is not necessarily influenced
    detrimentally by the arms. However it does usually move some
    of the dance connection away from the chest. That is more
    my objection plus the general question of stress in the body.

    That is my preference too and, like many Argentines,
    I believe that is the best orientation for the most involving
    dancing, both each partner with the other and with the music.
    But there are no such absolutes and there many are other ways
    of orientating the two bodies, from a mere adjustment in alignment
    to dancing more in a Vee, which usually does involve rather more
    stressed arms and the resultant more limited dance leads to separation
    for figures such as stereotypical giros.
    She doesn't have to be wedged into the man's armpit,
    the man can prevent that by keeping his right arm
    nearer to 90 degrees to his body. Of course that results
    in the man having a stressed upper right arm
    and shoulder too. All of this hinders free disassociation
    for both partners and thus freely fluid movement
    within the embrace.

    A completely different question is about how they can take down
    their "fence" if they rely on it because they have to develop
    and practise other strategies and physical abilities in order
    to move the connection and sensitivity from the arms to
    the chest.

    You should remember that this is a dance of partnership
    and some women have the habit because their male partners
    also use such an arm lead strategy .
    Meanwhile I rarely dance with the women who cannot release
    their rigid arms. Socially that is all we can do.
  3. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    That is my preferred alignment too, but it's a preference/choice, and there's no one that can make an argument, from authority, about what it right and wrong. Based on what I see, probably no more than 1 in 10 dances that way in my part of the world.
  4. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Fences mean boundaries.
    Pushing into someone is not setting up boundaries. It is attacking another person's space. It is an example of bad fences/boundaries. Fences that are falling onto neighbors' backyard and hurting them. :)
    Mladenac likes this.
  5. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Left side of a man should be flexible so the hands can be moved to the body.
    Not rigid to be a weapon of embrace destruction.
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  6. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is a very important observation, that in tango partners' boundaries (same as in a relationship :) ) have to be somewhat flexible, not completely rigid.

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