Tango Argentino > Ugly feet

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Peaches, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. kieronneedscake

    kieronneedscake New Member

    Yes, I know. That's why I mentioned it. I think it the visual manifestation of the wrong approach to using their legs.

    Whether pointy toes while reaching has anything to do with it remains a mystery to me. Glad I don't totter around in heels... :nope:
  2. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    don't know if this has been answered yet but sometimes a lead may feel something like what I think you are saying, even when the follow hasn't moved and it may be that she is dropping her hip on the extending side. I think you could extend a certain amount (based on how much energy you feel from the leader) and after that it will feel like pulling away.

    Embellishments work for follows if we keep them at the level of the knee and down...then a lead is less likely to notice anything...at least...my other half says he never has any idea when I am doing things and this is what I do.

    I don't know how much following you do, but I always recommend learning that end of the dance if you want to make suggestions about it to someone in a practica. I don't really think it's possible for a lead to understand what follow techniques are just from leading them or vice versa. That's one reason I learned to lead...so I'd feel like I had a little cred if I'm going to make suggestions to a lead about what I am feeling from him and what was causing it. Just my opinion tho.
  3. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Perfectly! I was just hung up on the part "no change of the torso", because for me the initiation of the next step is a change of the torso :)

    Ahh, the beauty of studying tango - for every single thing anybody believes to be true there is somebody out there who thinks the complete opposite.

    In the end i think the only thing we can do is to try to learn from everybody, and to see what is true for our own dancing. There are lots of things i have learned by taking classes from people whose style i don't really dance like myself - by understanding the purpose of their technique i get a better understanding of what i am usually doing. I find it utterly fascinating how tiny decisions cascade into a completely different look and feel of the dance. Sadly enough there are not many people who understand or have thought about the structures underlying their dance.

    A lot of the milonga i dance comes over a few degrees of seperation from people who have studied alongside with and from omar vega, and this whole "dead leg" is something i have started to experience after working on my milonga. As a leader in milonga i have to utterly trust my perception of the followers steps - i don't have time or space to fix things like i do have in tango. And after a while i started to want to feel that degree of comfort and trust in tango, too.

  4. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    pretty feet - dead legs

    Just to clarify the Omar Vega story - his "example" with the reaching legs & pointed toes was more like a parody, he even ended it with an exaggerated ballet looking pose. Another thing he said, which goes back to the OP's question about pretty feet - the mirror is not your friend/partner/companion (companero) , don't dance with the mirror!

    Zoopsia - yes, there were some "lost in translation" comments that he made, the one about the "dead legs" and this one about the mirror being among them (which may be one of the reasons why they stood out in my mind).
  5. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Er...I know the mirror is not my partner, and I don't dance for the mirror. Usually I can't see much beyond my partner's neck, or I dance with my eyes closed, or I let my focus go. But now and again I catch glimpses...and I don't like what I see.
  6. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    it's not changing weight without the torso (ie- leaders trick of switching to cross system) but of being able to move the free leg without changing the rest of her body (ie- lapis, taps, toe flip ups, ankle hooks and other such adornments) so her weight stays on the standing leg until being asked to move, but is allowed to play until being asked to do otherwise or in the case of adornments that can happen while in motion (like taps or ankle hooks) without the leader having known she did them (keep it low).
  7. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    I think that was his point!
  8. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Re dead leg - seems he meant, stiff as in like rigor mortis, then. And generally he was trying to press home the point that the leg needs to be relaxed, not stiff as in ballet etc

    Probably a point about trying not to do things with your feet that are deemed pretty in other dances, like pointing the toe, which are 'not' 'pretty' when you're doing tango.
  9. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Don't be so down on yourself :friend: Can you not compare yourself with how you were when you first started, and how much better you are?
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Oh, yes, I can. And I do. Sometimes.

    I'm actually relatively pleased with where I am. It's not perfect, but it is better than it was a year ago, and way better than where I've started. I know I've come a good way.

    But I also know that I have a long ways to go. It seems that whenever one aspect of my dancing comes together and makes a Great Leap Forward, shortly thereafter everything goes to hell in a handbasket. heh. But then it comes together again, better than it had been. DH assures me this is a normal learning process.

    I'm actually very comfortable where where I am, and the realization that it's not perfect and it's just going to take time to get to where I want to be. ...that said, patience is not one of my strengths, and I want my feet to be pretty NOW, gosh darnit!! LOL.
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I probably should have said "No change in the torso relative to the leader"
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think he was also meaning the way the free leg can change the way the follower feels weighted to the leader if she allows the free leg to shift her weight somewhere other than where it should be. I can see how that would feel like the leader has to contend with some "dead weight".

    You wouldn't have to have the leg stiff or even fully extended for this to happen (since its really a problem of the axis, balance and how well the follower maintains all that), but its probably hard to avoid it if the leg has reached past where it should and especially if it's in the air. I imagine a very strong dancer could do it, but most social tango dancers don't have that level of muscle strength or control.

    It also takes some flexibility in addition to the muslce strength (more in the back than the legs) I know that if I'm not holding on to something, I can't move my leg back in the air and hold it there straightened without something changing in my upper body.
  13. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Normal... but REALLY REALLY Annoying!:cry:
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    The problem with pointing the foot is that it raises the heel. If the follower reaches the correct amount based on the lead with her foot pointed and knee straight, that means she's likely going to end up pulling away from the leader in order to get her heel down. (unless she's one of those who never puts her heels down at all... lets not go there) If she has only the tip of the big toe making contact, she has to move further just to get her metatarsal down to begin transferring weight.

    Yes, this is the voice of experience. I've had to retrain my brain NOT to extend with a pointed toe for exactly this reason. Thank you Marianna Galassi for pointing this error out specifically and re-training the way I reached back.

    Prior to that lesson, I knew I had a "pulling away issue" ("she's there, then she's not" from the leader's standpoint) but I didn't realize it was this one simple thing. I had been scolded about pulling away at a certain point in the step, but never told WHY it was happening (just told not to do it:rolleyes:).

    One well regarded teacher even tried to tell me not to put my heels down at all, because it typically resulted in this yin-yang effect (not just me... it was his general instruction) Until Mariana, no one told me how to fix it by simply changing the position of my foot as I extended. (still having to remind myself though... I did ballet style movement much longer than I've been working on this tango improvement. Even skaters point their free foot as much as possible given the constraints of the boot)
  15. New in NY

    New in NY New Member

    Marianna is an excellent example of a follower with beautiful feet. Every move she makes is gorgeous.
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    See, now, perhaps there is where personal style and breaking the rules comes into play. Perhaps.

    I generally don't reach back with my heels. I step back--from the hip--but with a slightly bent knee and my toes touching the floor. I don't really point my foot, it's sort of relaxed, but the heel is definitely up when I step back. No, I'm not always on my toes...unless I want to be for some reason, in which case it's a (semi-)conscious decision, and I'm OK with that. Usually it's a rise and fall sort of deal, or some deliberate styling, or something. Point is, it's not a bad habit, it's deliberate. And, regarding the slightly bent knee, no, I don't knock knees with my leaders.

    Any-hoo. Point is, I don't pull away from my leaders, either. So I'm not convinced that A always leads to B, in this case.

  17. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    If your knee is not straight, then you would be able to get your heel down by straightening it, so having the heel lifted wouldn't be as much of an issue. You also say you aren't pointing with your foot, so you aren't doing what I was doing. I was POINTING. ie: stretch in the top of my foot, edge of the big toe on the floor... not even the metatarsal down. Without a really flexible achilles, its damn near impossible to put your leg in that position and then (without moving) get your heel down without your upper body moving slightly backwards. It basically amounts to reaching too far back for the leader's eventual step. As a result, you either have to pull away or lean more on the leader because you can't get your weight over your foot properly.
  18. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    And she is just a JOY to take lessons with. I can't sing her praises enough.
  19. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Oh. True. I guess I homed in on the "toes touching the floor" and "heel up" part of your post and responded to that. I never thought about it this way, though.

    Perhaps I should spend more time thinking about what I do... :rolleyes:
  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Oh, good lord, YES!

    One lesson--feel like everything clicks, I make a Great Leap Forward, and end up feeling on top of the world.

    Next lesson--What dance am I trying to do??? How do I follow? How do I walk in heels? What have I accomplished with all of the $$$ spent on lessons??? And then walk out wanting to either scream, or cry, or both.


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