Tango Argentino > Watching Yourself Dance to Improve

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

  1. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    There are differences in our experience of a video and live performances. It is as if video picks up a different set of issues available in a performance compared to live performances.

    It seems that video will accentuate visibility of your technical faults, you can easily see them and then start to correct them but these faults do not nessesarily have that heavy impact on the overall live performance experience.

    But it is important to keep in mind that technical skills need to be just above a certain minimum/reasonable level and after that you need to focus on how you communicate your personality. The magic dance is about your personality, liveliness or charisma.

    Live performances have a crispiness and many times the performers' personality is more present at those occasions. In some cases the couple will do great on video and another one will be at their best in a live performance. It depends on if they are good at the video set of traits or at the live performance ones. How is the case for you?

    I think many performers choose their music for wrong reasons. You shouldn't just take a song you like, your favorite song but take a song which presents your way of dancing best. Test different songs, even songs you hate and check the results on a video.
  2. Chrisa Assis

    Chrisa Assis Member

    Hi Tom!
    It can be so frustrating some times, especially if you are a bit tired or something...i find my self thinking I got it and I look in the mirror and NOPE!!!haha
    But there are tow things that have helped me, especially regarding the sternum...
    1)is to look at the collarbone at lift up, i use to push it too much forward, but you don't want it to go forward, you want it going up mostly and
    2) is when I did some fitness I would find things that I can apply it, like squats, or planks, or lunges etc...
    It helped, taking it out of the context of Tango, understand how it fits to my body and how it connects to the Tango posture as a whole..!Plus it gives more time to the body to create some muscle memory...and my squats got better..!haha
  3. oguzhan

    oguzhan New Member

    you dance very well for one year. Good musicality. I can say that you shouldnt use your head to contact, touching heads must be as a result of body positions.
  4. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    There are newer videos ;)
  5. oguzhan

    oguzhan New Member

    sorry, i hadnt see them before i wrote. and i watched the new ones. Congratulations Tom, You reall got important improvements.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  6. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    And I am looking forward to see newer videos because they are going to have lessons with my first teachers :)
    LadyLeader likes this.
  7. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    Time for another self-improvement video, albeit a little late from my goal of a video every 4 months.
    Since last video, there's been lots of practice, a tango trip to Germany (might notice some things I picked up from Maja+Marko over there), and I got to perform with an professional traveling instructor, which was a huge honor (I'll post that vid if anyone is interested).

    To review my goals from last video:

    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.

    Now the video, "Santa Milonguita - D'Arienzo/Echague"

    Some relevant notes:
    • This was an after-class demo
    • Was more warmed up than the last "Gricel" video - had just taught a class and practiced earlier that day
    • Not a huge audience, so definitely more relaxed. I think this applies more to my partner than to me
    Here's my take on how I did on my goals:
    1) I don't walk as much in this video, but walking looks smoother overall. I don't see any timing issues but some may disagree. There seems to be an issue of a rise before the cross/dip into the cross.
    2) Turns! Area of big improvement. Turns generally stay level and stay in one place when I want them to. Feet are staying on the floor much more, but still could be better. Speed of turns is much smoother, but sacadas still cause minor hiccups.
    3) Chalk it up to being more relaxed, warmed up, or it being a rhythmic tango, but I felt like I was very connected to the music throughout.
    4) Improvisation also much improved, probably for similar reasons in 3. Turns were varied and interesting.

    Places for improvement:
    1) Sequence at 1:15, I rise up. Need to keep it level.
    2) Boleos could use work, specifically, back-to-front. Just smoother and more powerful.
    3) Head comes forward when switched to open embrace near the end
    4) Shoulders could be more relaxed, head more up
    5) Foot placement - thankfully no obvious duck-footedness, but there are places I could turn my foot out more
    6) Small disconnect between me and my partner that resulted in a mistake, but we flowed out of it smoothly. Not sure what to write about that. "More connection?"

    Constructive comments/criticism is welcome.
  8. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Can I also post what I like?

    Just like the earlier Di Sarli video (where I enjoyed your non obvious musicality a lot, much more than in your "brain on 50%" Troilo -- to perform on a Troilo when you're not used to it is almost temerous rather than brave) I really like the playful musicality.

    You also refuse to let yourself be carried away completely even though it's a D'Arienzo (there's a beautiful use of a living, breathing pause at 1:29, and you transition to picking up the piano solo at 1:33 quite well as well; you even sometimes pick up the violon to give you some breathing space and at a couple of moment follow Echaguë to also not rush, although you could probably have done in a few more places or even used the singer or the violons to go doggedly counterstream with the rest of the orchestra -- but especially at the end of the song you start doing that quite well and more often, which gives you that elusive "extra instrument of the orchestra" quality that's so hard to achieve).

    The musicality in the Di Sarli a few pages back was even better to my Di Sarli loving eye (the interpretation of the Di Sarli end of phrase piano at 0:43 is a _real_ beauty, especially since it follows a really unhurried dance), but I suspect that you could effortlessly show it off in a Di Sarli again today. This is very different musics to dance to, and D'Arienzo/Echaguë doesn't leave much time for interpretation that is not almost entirely raw instinct.

    Please post another Di Sarli, because I really need some videos of people dancing _to_ Di Sarli (I've recently seen a few performances by pros _on top_ of Di Sarli that left a bad gash in my soul).

    OK. Since no one is probably interested in discussing musicality ;-) and since you also wanted some constructive feedback...

    There were two sequences that felt a bit "rehearsed" rather than given in by the music, at 1:06 and 1:17, and your partner doesn't grok what you were trying to do. You're also rising --and no longer grounded-- and almost tripping over your feet and losing the embrace, so you haven't completely mastered those things (walking backwards is tricky -- and those followers have to do it all the time!)

    The giros are much more stable, fluent and compact (and you keep the embrace effortlessly stable as well now, even though the music is quite fast) though you could still make them slightly more dynamic by dissociating more and starting with the shoulders with legs lagging a bit (as discussed somewhat earlier). There's a lot of progress even on that front, but you're not entirely there yet; by now it wouldn't necessarily make you a lot better, but I think it might make it easier for the follower to really spice up her dance --now you're not always leaving her a lot of time.

    Some of the leading for the front boleos for the lady have an impulse and a timing that doesn't help her really rebound with a lot of energy (or on the contrary smooth and softly).

    don't look that bad but I think that there, too, it's your responsibility to allow her to really shine. Now from time to time all she can manage is is a kick that's slightly too timid, and I have the impression you're partly to blame. I'm not going to comment about the different boleo types since the music's speed makes it harder to see exactly what effect you were after.

    Luckily on this music it's not jarring at all -- if she would do the timid kicks as if she meant them to be just like that it would work (and I have no doubt that on a Di Sarli you'd have much less trouble leading them schmoothly and with schwung -- as I said getting the timing right on D'Arienzo/Echaguë is very tricky, though it's usually even harder when Biagi is involved).
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  9. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I liked the video. I felt like at some moments you were not grounded enough/too far up ( perhaps due to the feet or some other parts of the body not relaxed enough), which resulted in disconnect with the partner as well.
    I would also add slow downs and pauses, so the whole thing does not feel that much like watching a sewing machine sew, albeit it is sewing quite pretty, actually. :)
  10. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Tom, I purposefuly did not read your own analysis, but it seems that you touched on all of those yourself. You don't need us at all to criticize...

    You're even harsh on yourself where I would personally not be. But then I'm not a nit, especially when I like the way someone interprets the music ;-).
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  11. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Hey, I thought he pretty much nailed it from 1:43 onwards. He was probably a bit nervous or overeager (or not yet in the flow as much) before that...
  12. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Very kind of your teacher's part. Did he perform too afterwards?

    I don't like the fantasia part (more or less around 2:00 or 2:15 and on). The abrazo was consistent until there, it gets sacrificed for no obvious benefit, the steps not becoming significantly more showy or fast.
  13. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Quite. I like the musical interpretation best in that section, but it could all be done just as well in the embrace that was used at the start (and while I don't mind a dynamic embrace that changes, it's true that I prefer it when there is some logic to the changes) -- something that Tom actually demonstrated well in his earlier video on Di Sarli's "Llueve Otra Vez".

    But to be honest there's nothing inherently wrong with the other embrace either (if you ignore the slighty clumsy transition, probably because his follower was also slightly puzzled by the change). Except perhaps the slightly drooping head (but he indicated that he was aware of that as well).

    I saw it more as an attempt to show onlookers that you could also dance to this music with an embrace that was slightly more open than something to "correct".

    I wouldn't exactly call that "fantasia", though. I reserve that term for stuff that would be out of place completely on a milonga floor.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
  14. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Especically nice improvement at follower's part of dancing.
    She doesn't seem shy and is actively participating in dancing.
    Although I would like to see any non flat shoes.
    Changing heigh during the dance (general issues with flats)

    at 1.05: when you are going backwards there was unclear lead (more torso lead)
    There were some not mutual boleos completely done, maybe I write later

    Nice and smooth turns. You (both) got really nicely and in "close" embrace.
    Less cheating by release embrace could be better but this is also really nice.
    I know that they are different and tricky to perform.

    And transition is difficult to perform from a still position.

    PS. You may be also careful for recording (milk, and ...)

    I write more comments tomorrow.
  15. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Well, he asked for criticism. :) As I said, I rather liked the whole thing, and musical interpretation is a matter of personal taste anyways.
    sixela likes this.
  16. c955

    c955 New Member

    Just my two pence/cents:

    (1) While the Disparis are giving a performance/demo to emphasise the beautiful simplicity of walking in tango, they maintain a continuous overarching intention/momentum to travel forwards in the line of dance. I'm definitely not suggesting that you can't do backsteps or figures that momentarily go against the line of dance, but your overall mindset should be to keep moving forwards. I also realise your demo was on an empty floor and not at a regular milonga. Which leads me to point 2.

    (2) As a kind of side-thought, be mindful of the 'Hawthorne effect'. This is where you're conscious of someone filming you or that you're going to show the video to people afterwards. The way we dance when we're relaxed in a familiar environment can be very different (positively and negatively) to when we know we're being observed.

    Lookin' good though ;-)
  17. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    There are a lot of milonga floors on which such an overarching intention to move forward will only make you tailgate your antecessor (which you shouldn't do: it's everyone's responsibilty to try to be in the middle of the space between your antecessors and successors). On such crowded and slow forward-moving floors you usually need to use a lot of rotation to be aware of where all the other couples are.

    In a lot of demos (especially salon/Villa Urquiza style demos) couples will often stride for the length of the floor just to show off how well they can walk. That's not something you're ever likely to be able to do on most floors: if you have a lot of couples that dance that style, it gives you a peculiar ronda in which you have "islands" of people doing on the spot figures, with these islands travelling in a wave-like fashion backwards on the floor°, and people in between doing longish linear movements to catch up with the couples in front. But in my experience you can usually only travel 3-4 metres before catching up with your antecessors even on those floors.

    In other words, your mileage will vary and your mileage should actually vary to adapt to the circumstances on the floor. That also indeed holds for people holding up the floor, by the way: you're not supposed to make the ronda go slower on your own just because "that's the way it's done in Buenos Aires (tm)".

    music, by the way, doesn't tend to yield rondas with a lot of forward movement (on floors that adapt the style of movement to the music).

    °In non-engineering terms, the way a traffic jam tends to propagate backwards even though the cars in it travel forward. In fact, it's a managed accordeon traffic jam. Geeky explanation for engineering types available on request.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  18. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    I'm really glad you liked the musicality! And I'm glad you saw the same areas for improvement I did. I'll try to remember to do another Di Sarli in 4 months or so :) I think dissociation in turns will need work for years to come, but since that's been my primary focus for half a year, I think I'd like to work on something else for a while. They're at a "good enough" point.

    Thank you for the input Lilly. What specific places in the song suggested to you a slow down/pause where I didn't put one in?

    She'll be glad to hear it! Yeah, she generally wears flats when teaching the class unless the subject really requires heels. She switches to heels during the practica to save her feet.
    I don't know what you mean with the recording comment though. What should I be careful about?

    I'm glad a lot of you shared my observations about the boleos and the sequence at 1:17. Both stand out as things to work on, though thankfully don't seem to mar the demo. My (6) comment was meant to reference the clear mistake at 1:07. That was just a plain ol' mistake on a movement that goes fine 99% of the time, so I don't think I'll add that as a thing to improve.

    Some clarification on a few things:
    -We were the sole teachers for the class, which was a class on rhythmic tango musicality.
    -As it was a multi-level class, and embrace wasn't a specific topic for the day, the students chose their own embrace. This is the reason for the somewhat abrupt embrace chance near the end; I had just remembered that some people might appreciate seeing some of the demo in open. I could've planned what I wanted to show in the demo better and transition with a slide.
    -People don't usually film the after class demo here, and I had no idea someone had decided to film us this time. So no Hawthorne effect c955! When I have a say in the recording, I try to make sure it's not vertical. This is also probably the most relaxed we get dancing in front of an audience.
  19. Oliver

    Oliver Member

    dchester and sixela like this.
  20. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    That would be a consultation on the lever I do not provide for free. :D

    Congratulation again on your great and fast progress!

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