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

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

  1. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    Stand on your toes. How balanced and stable do you feel?
    Stand on your heels. How balanced and stable do you feel?
    Now, stand flat. How balanced and stable do you feel?

    If it improves balance and stability, then I would say it's fundamental to technique.
  2. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    LKSO: I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but it seems self-contradictory.

    To walk well (balanced), a person should focus on their torso and their feet will take care of themselves. Many dance teachers tell students where to place their feet, and that is sometimes a mistaken approach. I think they teach that way because it's simple.

    OTOH, you're saying to place ones feet flat-footed. No one walks that way. In a natural walk people place their feet heel first and role (is that right?) onto their full foot, assuming they aren't wearing high heels or going backward. Dancing flat-footed is what happens when you focus on your feet and forget about your torso, and your teacher tells you to focus on your feet.

    Your analysis is contradictory to empirical evidence.
  3. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Geez, I finally got it. "Roll" would be the right spelling.

    The more I learned about Spanish, the more I hated English.
  4. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I already addressed the toddler analogy.

    And BTW - Toddlers don't walk backwards much.

    I agree that the focus is often wrong in instruction. I disagree that people balance easily within the parameters of dancing tango with another person. If you are standing, you may already be balanced, but you are also most likely on both feet

    Although everyone has walked for decades, as I pointed out, they don't stop walking and keep one foot off the ground. I don't want to repeat my whole previous post, but balancing on one foot is NOT something everyone has done since they were 2 and many people, including dancers, have trouble with it. Just go up to someone on the street and ask how long they can stand on one foot without needing to put the other one down. You'll find that it isn't for very long. Our bodies are designed to balance over both legs, not one. Our walking habits involve ending on both legs, not one. Our walking also doesn't involved pivoting that much, and frankly, there is NO way of "naturally" walking backwards. We aren't physically designed for that.

    Also, it's fairly well established that people's balance gets worse with age. I could balance on one foot en pointe and with my free leg in passe' when I was 20, but now I can't balance on one foot in a low releve' and my other foot at the ankle for nearly as long. Sucks getting old!

    I agree that the torso is important in balance issues. I just disagree that no one needs to think about balance. Just the fact that they required your input means that some amount of thinking it through was required. The mistake was on the part of those who simply told you that you needed to improve your balance without assessing WHY you were off balance to begin with or helping you figure out what to do about it.

    To me, it's not an either/or thing. It's not torso OR balance... it all interconnects. Understanding the use of the torso is part of how you balance.

    In some ways I agree with you.. just thinking about balance doesn't do any good.. you have to think about what is typically causing you to lose your balance. "Think about balance" is like telling a marksman "think about hitting the target". It's not a useful instruction to correct a problem.

    Most kids slow "dancing" at a school dance take side steps, not forward and backwards steps. The whole issue of toe vs heel doesn't come up in side steps, so that type of dancing is irrelevant to the original question.

    This I agree with.. there is far too much emphasis on what the feet are doing instead of what the body is doing.

    I wasn't ever talking about that in my post. If you thought I was, then you totally misunderstood.

    I've gotten lost at this point in the discussion... we have several different topics you and I are trying to talk about... toe vs heel walking and weight transfer and balance and whether what is natural in any of those things is the best or if there is some specific way that is best or do you really need to even think about it, etc. It doesn't help that I've been interrupted 6 times while trying to write this post. I agree with some of your ideas, disagree with others and it seems to be going around in circles jumping from one thing to another.
  5. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    I only mean landing flat in close embrace while dancing. CE requires weight forward to avoid stepping on each other's feet or knocking knees, and it also makes heel-toe more difficult because the body is already tilted forward. However, in OE, the walk is more like walking down the street, heel-toe.
  6. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    This is a rhetorical question buy why would you want to stand on one foot in tango? As I see it, in CE, you move your foot as a result of taking a step. There isn't any pausing to balance on one leg. This may be something neuvo dancers do or in a performance.

    I disagree that age is causal and say that sitting behind a computer for 8hours a day is.

    Yes, I agree with you on this point. It's easy to teach dance in terms of what moves a lot (the legs) instead of why the legs move (the torso). Moving the torso force the legs to move. But moving the legs doesn't necessarily force the torso to move, except maybe in the direction of the ground. ;)

    It's rare for high school dances to be weekly so they will not have learned the skills necessary to move around the dance floor except turning in place. But if it were weekly, I bet that more complicated steps would eventually evolve, such as turning your partner, and *gasp* walking forward and backward! simply because turning slowing will eventually get boring. I guess this is currently likened to the old man shuffle... :p
  7. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I find no basis for this assertion. First, I can do a sleazy blues dance, pressing my hips toward my partner and avoiding stepping on her feet or knocking knees. Second, if I try pushing a car down the street, leaning strongly into the effort, it doesn't mean that I start walking on my toes.

    The part of your argument that I like is based on reality. The part I disagree with is based on some theoretical ideal that doesn't really coincide with reality.
  8. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Incorrect on both counts. Many CE dancers use heel-toe. And many OE dancers use toe-heel. There is no correlation between difficulty in either embrace.
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    And when you complete your step, if you are not immediately taking another step, what do you do with your free leg? What do you expect the follower to do with hers?

    I think it would be difficult to lead someone who returns to having weight evenly distributed on both legs every time you pause at all in traveling.

    Followers are taught that when led to transfer weight, they do so and then stay on that foot until led to transfer again. Leaders do not expect that a follower will be on both feet when they haven't deliberately led her to be on both feet. They expect that she will be on the foot they last led her to put her weight on.. the ONE foot. Of course, I suppose it could be your habit to put your free foot down when you pause and expect the follower to do the same so that you are each standing evenly over both your legs, but I've never danced with anyone who led that way.

    I'm not saying you pause on every step to hover balanced on one foot mid-stride for no reason. I'm talking about what happens when you stop traveling. ie: when you complete a step and don't take another one immediately... when you pause. (or when you pivot/ expect the follower to pivot)

    Maybe pauses aren't part of your dance?
    Subliminal likes this.
  10. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    You're missing a core point of follower's technique, and a near defining part of the traditional tango walk. When transferring weight, in the traditional walk, the transfer of weight is complete and the dancer reestablishes their balance (or axis as some say). There is no pause, but there is definitely a complete transfer of weight, and the dancer is fully on one leg as they pass through their center. There are alternate forms of walk where there is more split weight during the step, but that walk is more associated with nuevo dancers.

    For followers, they may extend their leg as they feel the pre-lead, but there is no transfer of weight until the step is fully lead. Followers spend a lot of time on one foot or the other, rarely with split weight.

    I'm honestly baffled at this point as to what you're talking about.
  11. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Hehe, I was typing while you posted Zoopsia! Beat me to it. :D

    And yeah, good point about pausing.
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I'm baffled too. I can only think that he is not understanding at all what I've been trying to say. Basically, if a follower can't stand and balance on one foot, she's going to have a lot of trouble with tango. And positioning your body to be solid and balanced over one leg is not the same as balancing over both. It requires a carefully controlled shift in the hips. Nor is it all that natural which is why people have to learn how to do it, even when they have a lot of natural ability.

    Most people (especially men) don't walk with their knees brushing. They walk with their feet apart about the width of their hips (women less so because of the angle of the femur in the hip) In that sort of walk, you are never really solidly over one leg. It is the momentum of moving forward that keeps you from falling side to side. If you try to be in that stance and just pick up one foot without adjusting anything, you'll fall over sideways.

    And of course, TURNING while on one leg is an even bigger kettle of fish.
  13. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I had an enlightening lesson one time with an amazing follower teacher. Long story short: In discussing balance and how to use my knees and dancing on my toes and such things, she stood on tip-toe with her knees locked straight and said "Push me over". So I did. Then she got into the same position (or so I thought) and said "Now push me over" and I had to use a fair amount of effort to do so.

    The change she made was in her body, especially in her lower torso and around her hips. She was WAY more stable on her toes with her knees straight than I am even flat-footed. She had me feel the muscles she was using and tried to get me to feel it in my own body when they were doing their job.

    LSKO, this is why I agree with you that what happen in the body is FAR more important than what happens in the feet. But then you reverse course and say that the feet have to be a certain way. It seems like in agreeing with you, I disagree with you, and in disagreeing, I end up agreeing.

    In others words.. it seems you are contradicting yourself.

    If your goal is to make my head 'splode, you've succeeded!
  14. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    But a sleazy blues dance doesn't require the navigation that is present in tango, very similar to Cuban salsa embrace where the partners turn in place with little floor navigation. The amount of travel in tango around the dance floor requires taking steps. That's why there is aplilado embrace, to allow for room below the hips.
  15. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    Just because some people do it on the dance floor doesn't make it the most efficient or effective. Look at the mediocre dancers, and their technique is all over the place. Look at the best ones and they have very similar technique.
  16. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    I completely know what you are describing, but the point that I didn't know how to describe earlier was that "one body, four legs" makes it so much easier for the woman to be on one leg. That's why I said that balancing on one leg isn't necessary because you have three on the ground!
  17. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    ok. I'm stealing this video from the other thread:

    Watch it. Watch Noelia's front steps. Watch Carlitos's front steps. Notice anything? They are freely switching back and forth from toe-leads to heel-leads to flat steps, depending on what they need for a particular movement. And I dare you to call them mediocre.
  18. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    Umm... that's not social dance. They're performing. That's like Latin ballroom to tango music. If you want me to judge it as a social dance, I can't, but I did not find that entertaining and I despise that kind of dancing. I hate watching that kind of stuff because they are all over the place musically, stepping off the beat, starting steps in the middle of the cadence, not ending with the cadence. While I may have enjoyed watching this when I was first starting out, I do not enjoy watching this stuff now. And yes, that was mediocre even as a performance.
  19. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    ..says it all!
    Subliminal likes this.
  20. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    right...given the determination of the perspective, I cannot fathom a productive reason to debate it :)
    Subliminal likes this.

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