Tango Argentino > Toe leads for every step for the man?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by LordBallroom, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    @ hominem?? Cum equis factum est (as far as I recently heard, anyway)
    And for our non-germanic friends: in our culture the horse is a holy being (because Wotan used to ride it).
  2. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I think the question is never "is that a great degree of skill?", or "do i know enough about something that i can evaluate its merits on its own terms". The question is if something is relevant and applicable to my practive.

    e.g. here we have something that exhibits great skill, creativity, and i don't know enough about wirework to see if they are really, really good, or just middling. In this (admittedly) extreme case i feel pretty confident saying that they are not actually dancing tango - what they do has no relevance to what i am doing. Of course somebody could point out that they are great athletes and performers, and if i squint i could even make a point that they are doing interesting things with wraps, and if they were teaching a workshop i might even get something useful for my practice out of it, but that does not mean that they are actually developing their skills to be the best possible for social dancing at a milonga.

    Now most of the time when we meet teachers of a different genre than our own it is not that extreme, but i think the question of what genre they are from, and for what purpose they have honed their skills is a really relevant one - even if i am not part of their genre - especially when i am not part of their genre. Drifting requires great driving skills, but if i want to become better at city driving a class taugh by a drifting champion might not be the best coice.

    And i think this is one of the reasons that these discussions come up again and again: performance tango skills and now championship tango skills are the skills that are being explored and pushed the most - people whose livelihood depends on something do that. I personally believe that social tango skills (in their many variations) are as nunaced and deep skillsets, and sometimes i feel dismayed by the idea that some people consider social tango skill to be a subset of the more performance oriented skill, when i am pretty convinced that they use at least partially incompatible technique.

  3. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    heel leads good, toe leads better! All parts of the foot Are Equal. But Some Are More Equal Than Others.

    No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all parts of the foot are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?
  4. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    About tango championships (TC) and technique:

    TC is only an entrance to professional tango dancing i.e. becoming maestros and I mean travelling and teaching.
    The bad side is that some of them push their own style that are inapropriate to the dance floor.
    There are many great maestros who have never won any championship. With great knowledge and experience of social dancing.
    These are dancers who have years of dancing on social venue and eventually start performing. ;)
  5. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    It's your opinion and my experience states different. Good for what?

    How do you differently express normal beat from double beat, and accentuated weak beat.
    I hope you differently express tango, milonga and vals.
  6. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member


    my experience is that toe works well for side step as your foot reaches and lands first.
    Quite obviously it works for back step.
    What I see here is at times Alejandro's heels stay off the floor, othertimes its a very flat step.
  7. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    An interesting comparison would be to the side-step technique of BR tango. There, the weight is taken on the inside edge of the foot (effectively of the ball of foot). It requires more ankle articulation than a toe reach, but provides more stability.

    I know the topic is about leader's walking, but I'm also interested in views (from followers, mainly!), about the relative merits of followers stepping backwards with the foot straight: taking the weight to the front of the ball of foot, or of rotating the ankle somewhat (how much?) so that the heel is closer to the floor, with the weight also being taken on the inside edge of the ball of foot. It allows for a longer 'reach' (where that is desirable), but offends some purists. Views?
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    A female visiting teacher emphasised for the follower turning out the foot (by hip rotation).
    I am encouraging my followers to do this.
  9. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I don't know that I've ever really thought about it. Generally speaking, I trust my feet to take care of themselves and spend my time thinking more about how I'm using my hips and knees. Shrug.

    That said, I think I generally turn out a bit. For the first thing, I do this naturally, and actually walking with my feet straight (either forward or back, normally or dancing) takes much more conscious effort. I feel like can walk much more smoothly backwards if I turn out a bit and, purists be damned, I think it looks much better. I don't like seeing women who look like they're always trying to keep their heel on the floor, because it looks too much like shuffling. I don't know what I do when walking forward. Again, it's not what I'm generally paying attention to (which is really being mindful of driving the forward steps).

    I just don't see that the heel lead/toe lead/flat foot thing is a big deal. Whatever works for whatever look/feel you want to achieve is pretty much fine. If one is more comfortable than the other, then use it. But whatever is done, do it with good technique. Shrug. I kind of feel like turnout is the same sort of deal. My method works for me. Who knows what will work for someone else. So long as they can achieve good technique in the end..shrug.
  10. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I think it is a good practice, but some say "No, no, no!" In print, Christine Denniston is emphatic:
    I'm not convinced, but her particular take on the dance (in her Meaning of Tango) is to document the technique of the original dancers of the Golden Age, and not of the current style of dancing, however close they are to the beating heart of the same city. More time has now passed since the tango revival than the whole duration of the Golden Age itself, so we might expect that things have continued to change, but foot turn out seems to me to be a perfectly good technique where the style of dance suits it.
  11. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    As BTM mentioned, this is very much a result of the usage of the hips. It seems natural to me (to the extent that walking backwards can ever feel natural).
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    And, see, BTMs comment about turning out from the hips seems incredibly unnatural to me. Well, OK, the way I've spent years training myself NOT to walk is turned out from the hips...but in AT, when I'm trying to keep my knees actually pointed in the direction they're supposed to be pointed, encouraging turnout from the hips just seems odd to me. I mean, I do try (particularly backwards) to open up the hip of the traveling leg, and have the step and movement really come from about my ribcage (rather than keeping my upper body completely completely still, and only moving from the hip joint down), but I've never done that with a thought to turning out my feet.
  13. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    There is such a direction? ;)

    That's what I mean, I think. I'm not suggesting turning out the hips (at least not much), but that the turnout of the foot is the natural product of rotating leg around the hip joint. If it occurs naturally (and I think it does), that's a good thing?
    bordertangoman likes this.
  14. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    here is an example. I think the turn out is fluid and not as much as ballet dancers.

    Subliminal likes this.
  15. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I agree the movement comes from above the hip.
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Ohhhh. OK, that makes more sense. All I could think of is the incredibly toes-and-knees-out way I used to walk when I was little, and how much I worked to get rid of that, and I couldn't figure how that would ever be considered a good thing. LOL.

    Sorry to have added to the confusion!
  17. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    UKDancer likes this.
  18. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    Sorry it was a joke. "four legs good, two legs better" etc are famous quotes from Animal Farm by George Orwell.
    bordertangoman likes this.
  19. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    The turn out thing is a bit controversial as it can lead to too much weight going on to the big toe/pronation.
    Not really a point of technique for aesthetics or 'good' dancing, it's about avoiding damage to your body-damaged ankles/achilles heels/messed up big toe joints.
    It's a point of preference though, if you can do it while landing on a part of your foot that won't end up damaged all power too you, but I'm not sure it should be 'taught'. I reckon at least half of non-ex ballerinas in tango can't do it without damage. Around 7 of my friends who started dancing 9+ years ago all ended up with incredibly painful big toe joints around two years ago. We all went to podiatrists/ GPs to see what could be done, and we were all guilty of pronating or had bunions.
  20. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I thought you were a social dancer and teacher.
    What relevance has this couple's dance got for social dancing?
    It's over stylised, she looks like an ex ballet dancer and with
    her feet brushing the floor, they both hold themselves vertical at best
    or they are leaning their upper bodies away from each other.
    This is a performance of extravagantly large movement,
    sadly for a crowd at a San Francisco milonga.
    No wonder newcomers to tango get confused.

    As far as turning out the woman's foot is concerned, it should be
    no more than the result of sending the free leg straight backwards
    without any turning of the hips and aiming to land the inside of
    the ball of the foot. Each foot in turn naturally ends up slightly
    turned out which helps for stability of the axis.

    None of this forced, it's a social dance for enjoyment and this video
    example and resultant discussion is confusingly talking about
    a professional and contrived dance in the context of teaching amateurs.

    The danger of over out-turning the foot is all too clearly expressed here:
    jantango likes this.

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