Tango Argentino > Watching Yourself Dance to Improve

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by TomTango, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, it certainly does. Fortunately, I wasn't devastated by it. Otherwise, the world would have been deprived of another mediocre dancer.

    Tango Distance and Mladenac like this.
  2. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I agree with you partially about being adult. There are emotionally fragile adults.
    Unfortunately some of them quit and community wasn't the issue so much.
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    There's no excuse to ever try to tear down another's self-esteem, so IMO, it's irrelevant whether it's realistic or unrealistic. For some people, developing strong self-esteem and boundaries are lifelong battles. Even for someone with those things, few people's are so solid that they can't be shaken now and then. I wouldn't judge someone for feeling insecure at times, especially in new endeavors or around nasty people. The Tango world can be harsh. There's a reason many of us feel like we returned to Jr High when we are in it.
  4. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Some people complained about community acting as brats and junior high people.
    One of the tango journey is developing emotional awareness and here a lot of our garbage is coming to the surface.
    People become vulnerable and other become aggressive because of that. It's an explosive combination.
  5. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    That I wholeheartedly agree with. That is why it has to be 100% clear - a person who is trying to do that to you is not a friend, but an aggressor. Take distance, stay away, fight back if necessary.
  6. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Sometimes there are two people being at the same time in the same community, and their accounts on what is going on would be completely opposite. One is surrounded mostly by friendly, helpful and welcoming individuals, the other by junior high a-holes who are out to get him. :)
    Both those accounts are highly subjective, because in reality there is always a mix of this and that, and everything in between. What one sees is a matter of focus.
  7. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I actually think high self esteem is rather over rated. Pretty much every jerk I ever met had high self esteem.

    Angel HI likes this.
  8. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Notice I did not say "high", I said "healthy"... I would also use the word "adequate".
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  9. Tango Distance

    Tango Distance Active Member

    Voice of newbyness speaking here: I thought your partner did well. She did more little steps and motions, and that I could tell followed you well.

    Thank you for doing so. I have been considering doing it myself. After about a year of Tango I finally asked some experienced followers for some feedback. It was humbling! It was discouraging! I didn't even know how to walk! It was really valuable, though. It has also helped refocus my Tango learning more towards walking and musicality, and less on learning more new steps.

    Why not judge the critiques on their own merit? Some of the best dancers I know can't help me, I have trouble understanding their explanations. Others are popularly ranked as average but are really good at diagnosing me and showing me how to do something better. Even some newbies have a gift for good explanations. This is a long way to say a good performer is not necessarily a good teacher, and vice versa.

    I vote you keep posting. Your videos have been a fun way to learn. I'd also like it if you would encourage continued publicly posted critiques, those have also been valuable. (Side comment: Critiques like "At time X:YZ you need to abc" are really good. General comments like "poor musicality" are not very helpful.)
    TomTango and Angel HI like this.
  10. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    One follower asked me about her technique and I as honest and she asked why I had been dancing with her.
    And I answered that I really enjoyed dancing with her. So this can be also related to Tom's partner i.e. Christian.
    I know some women with whom I really enjoy dancing and are really communicative with body.
    But when I watch them dance they have quite poor technique and it's obvious that a lot can be improved.

    Too some people it may be contradictory, one is dancing technique, other is the feeling of dancing.
    Since I gave comment about poor musicality, I can add that later explained by what meant.
  11. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Is it possible that the technique some of them use is very good for the social dance, and only poor for performing?
  12. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    It's not good technique for social dancing also but seems I am adaptive so I can dance with them.
    And I need to make a lot of corrections so the dance make sense and they are predictive so that corrections work.
    But in embrace they have really nice energy.
    Some have better technique from the outside but they lack communication (to automatic response).
    Between two I prefer first group for social dancing because it's less likely I will hurt someone.
    Beetween two evils the first one is smaller.

    What happens also that some followers (first group) bring some technique from other activity and they are managing some form of social tango dancing but it is not tango. It's enjoyable dance for me but I have more work than pleasure.
    Quite easily I can recognize style of dancing and adapt, the trick is the more adapt the less pleasure I have.
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I wanted to single this out for a Like.
  14. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    What I meant by that comment was that if someone was going to offer harsh or unhelpful criticism like "you suck," I'd ignore it unless I was really sure they were a good dancer. Any normal criticism like "your walk is slightly off beat at 2:40" is fine.

    I think I will encourage more helpful critiques in the future, based on your suggestion. While I did say I didn't specifically ask for feedback for this video, I didn't discourage it either. This comment was a response for someone defending the unhelpful and bad criticism by saying "well, the OP asked for it..." I expected some amount of feedback, just not so much of it being unhelpful and mean-spirited. Honestly I was expecting more comments on differences from the last video "your goal for fixing your embrace seems to be met, still not pausing enough with the music" Or neutral comments/questions "the first time I saw myself on video, I cringed really hard", "what's your practice regime?" You'll also notice that my previous video, dancing to Llueve Otra Vez, received only a handful of comments, of which some were specific, neutral critiques, and some were encouragement. No vitriol. Perhaps the fact that this was a performance caused people some ire?

    Here are my goals for 5 months from now:
    1) Work on posture has caused me to over correct and affect my walk. Being tall doesn't mean I can't arrive on a soft knee, or stay lower on long steps. See if this affects timing issue.
    2) Turns. Many issues to consider. More dissociation. Sacadas need to be softer, and shouldn't necessarily cause the turn to speed up or slow down. Also avoid level changes by not rising to full height at any point. Keep feet on floor.
    3) Better improvisation and emotional power in performances. Likely this will come only with dancing more in front of crowds. Maybe do more demos after teaching classes. Also should be noted previous videos have been taken in a relaxed atmosphere after a full night of dancing. This venue had no private space to warm up, so we were dancing pretty cold.
    4) Also with improvisation. Increase variety of ways I start a turn.

    Any other issues can wait for next time.

    I hope I never implied I wanted to be complimented; that wasn't what I wanted. I also see that my posts need to be clearer in purpose; that's my fault. See above in response to asking for feedback. Also, yes, my partner is the same person.

    Thank you. We don't have to be moderators or organizers to influence the kind of community we want to have.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  15. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Your dancing is reflection of your partner. So I would rather see note what is goal of Tom and Christian.
    Because is really difficult to notice what you lead if reaction of follower is not that you lead.
    When I was a beginner my teacher told me what are the consequences of my lead and how to be aware of it.
    And same effect should be the same on every follower especially out of your community.
    I community sometimes we have teacher that teach their own way which is not so generally applicable.
  16. Chrisa Assis

    Chrisa Assis Member

    Hi Tom!
    This is truly inspiring, not many people put themselves through this process of taking a video and then sharing with an online or offline community saying: " All right peeps bring it on!!!" haha
    I want to start with the positive things I see..! So I see gentleness, smoothness, --I couldn't have the volume up-- but there some changes of rhythm as you you dance, changes of energy without losing control. And the whole time, I can see you are trying to work with your partner, you are not ignoring her and she is not ignoring you, you are working together.
    Not to say negative feedback, but maybe things to pay attention to, so you can take what you have to the next level...
    1) Starting from the top: Adjust your head to a more neutral position now it is dropping a bit forward
    2) Lift your sternum up a bit. Now your shoulders are coming in and chest is caving in a bit.
    Doing these first two things, you should be feeling, your neck relaxing and as if it is opening up forward. Also your shoulders should feel relaxed and sitting back. And your back muscles should feel as if there moving back down towards the floor as you exhale.
    3) As you are trying to find this, so you don't feel like a robot (lol), position head and sternum. And then breath in and out focusing on your lungs. As if your breath was one more movement your body needs to create. A movement that supports your chest and arms.
    You will feel here your core engaging all around, not flexing but waking up..!haha
    Good thing, don't stop! haha
    4) Active the legs a little bit. You keep your knees bent the whole time. Instead let them stretch and bend naturally to give you the spring to move. You will have to work in keep the feet together also so your steps are tighter and more defined.
    You should be feeling here the back of the leg providing support, try to go with that finding the line between your heel and your sit- bone, and strengthen that line, so your hips can then sit in a more neutral position. Now the hips are a bit tilted back.
    5)In terms of movement. I see there is a lot of bounce but if you find the right movement for the knees, and manage the suspension, that should solve it. I would also suggest that you start working on steps with projection, now you are mostly doing steps without projection. That is perfectly ok of course, but the problem with that is that it feels too much like everyday life, that makes a bit absent minded will performing it. try to work steps with projection, with a spot between your partner's shoulder and ear being your target, hit that target every time to define the step...
    There are some technique videos online by Arce and Achaval on that...I can't post them as I am a new member here still punch it on youtube and it will pop up I am sure..!
    Send me questions if you like!
    I would be more than happy to help out more!!! :)
    To great dances!!!
    ArbeeNYC likes this.
  17. Philip Rehnlund

    Philip Rehnlund New Member

    I think watching yourself dance is a good way to improve.
    Well the logic is you see your mistake and you can correct it immediately.
  18. Philip Rehnlund

    Philip Rehnlund New Member

    I think watching yourself dance is a good way to improve.
    Well the logic is you see your mistake and you can correct it immediately.
  19. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Watching yourself dance is good, but there are very few things we can correct immediately. Even such easy superficial things as wardrobe and hair will require some time. :) Changing the way we walk and hold ourselves takes years in some cases... Sigh.
    Good news is that even very tiny and superficial improvements go a long way as far as dancing is concerned.
    raindance likes this.
  20. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    Hello Chrisa! Thank you for the feedback. I think you really dug into the nuances of how to improve one's dance. I highlighted point two because it is really a battle point in my technique. This whole rib cage angle thing is like a pendulum for me...I go too far one way, then too far the other. Eventually I think I'll find a good point.

    Some things are immediate. Some things take time, as you could see if you watched the whole series of videos in this thread (not to say you haven't yet :) ). But that's a nice thing about watching yourself: it makes you aware of your flaws. And if you're aware of a flaw, it tends to naturally fix itself over time even if you don't apply dedicated practice to it.

    That is a very frustrating part of watching yourself dance: seeing a problem but not being able to fix it immediately. You keep dancing, knowing it's there, taunting you.

    There are many things I've learned and problems I've identified only by watching myself dance. Maybe I've heard the info in a group lesson, maybe a teacher has pointed it out to me in a private lesson...but it's only really sunk in on video. There is such a disconnect in tango between what it feels like we're doing and what we're actually doing. Video helps to build a bridge between the two. I can honestly say I am a much better dancer now than I would've been if I hadn't used video early and often on my dance journey.

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