Tango Argentino > Watching Yourself Dance to Improve

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

  1. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I agree mostly with all this but my preference is a ball of the foot landing,
    and I believe there are good reasons for this confirmed by my own experience.

    However before commenting further, and like you I had never seen this thread
    previously, I would like to know who from all the videos available TomTango
    is aiming to emulate and why. Why do I ask? Because my approach to what
    I have seen would be quite different to anything posted here so far.

    That said, the improvement is clear but I think the solutions to freer
    movement and even better responses together to the music lie elsewhere.
    And it starts with a reset of posture, embrace, movement and stillness.
    The downside is that it might generate some very conflicting arguments.
  2. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Nice social dancing and musicality.
    Now there are styles regarding foot/heel strike.
    I am heel striker except when I use double beat, or marking high notes.

    What I miss here is lack or upper body movement.
    This is related to your posture. You are to plain and your ribcage is locked.
    Just take small breat in your upper lungs and you will be freer in your movements.
    I will watch later for further movements.
  3. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    What I also noticed is stepping on outside part of right foot (male) when going backwards, and generally parallel feet.
    And on the follower side landing on the center of the feet, feet should be slightly outward when stepping.
    It increases stability (both men and women)
  4. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    That's something I noticed in this video that I wouldn't have realized just dancing. I need a straighter leg when going backwards (though I like suspended back steps in general), and definitely need to work on my exit from a dipped cross. Is that what you were talking about? I thought my normal walking steps seemed pretty smooth in the video.

    I've tried both heel and ball leads when walking. I prefer heel leads in general, but switch to ball leads for certain movements. Very slow movements or certain circular movements in particular. Any place where I need to go very slow or have a lot of foot turn out.

    I'm currently trying to learn the style of Carlitos and Noelia. Their musicality really speaks to me, and I love their close, flexible embrace.

    I'm all for periodically resetting posture and embrace. I'm in the middle of that right now. I'm just fixing an anterior pelvic tilt with stretches, exercises, and going for the "turtle back," i.e. expanding both your upper and lower back. Once I have that down, I'll go back to focusing on being tall, having my shoulders down and head over my spine (which was a little lacking in the video).

    Honestly, I thought I had too much upper body movement in weight changes, but I think I see what you mean. Part of it is I didn't choose many movements that required big dissociation because these types of songs don't bring that out of me. But on my giros to the right, I think I could use some more twist.
  5. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    You don't practice disassociation when going aside your parter, when you are aside your partner there is no twist.
    You should be always twisting if going aside, and that in the long run will help you in some advanced elements.

    As we commented last time leading and following is still insecure, lik on big springs.
    This song is a little bit rhythmical, try be sharper on the beat. Don't hang out so much on the melody.
    Change it a more. ;)

    On 0:07 it's too agressive lead and I wouldn't lead it with a shoulder down.
    on 0:37 you should've turned more to her.
    0n 1:04 there is something strange going. She has strange bend in upper body to next step.
    on 1:17 rotate your right foot more inwards for better disassociation and stability
    And on several occasions your right foot is turned inwards

    And about your right side embrace.
    Always have her on your biceps, and she had nice hold from cca 0:24 until 1:02 when lower her hand.
    There is tendency to lock you so your right hand has limited movement and you don't control the embrace any more.
  6. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Tom, I commend you for being brave enough to post a video of yourself, not just once, but twice! I watched the 1st one again and then the new one without reading all the new comments from other posters. So hopefully my remarks aren't being too influenced by what others have noticed. BTW, I am primarily a follower although I know about the body mechanics of leading.

    I see DEFINITE improvement! There's no doubt about it. I also am impressed with how much musicality you showed even at the beginning and it's still one of your strengths.

    Its a shame that your head and shoulders were cut off for so much of the video, because you can't really assess someone's technique looking at them only from the lower ribcage down. Many times, what is happening with the legs and feet is a result of what's happening up top. Pointing out problems in the lower body and having you concentrate on them won't help if the upper body is not right and is causing the lower body issues.

    That said, from what I can see:

    Your posture is better, but could still use some work. You are not hunched as much, but I still don't get a sense of you standing up tall and diagonally forward/upward. You are trying to be forward, but it seems to still be coming too much from the waist rather than from being less on your heels.

    On the occasions that I could see to the top of your head, it also seemed like you are dancing with your right shoulder pushing somewhat more forward than your chest or left shoulder. It was hard to see how much of what I was seeing was due to the somewhat V embrace and how much was that you actually do have your right shoulder rolled forward.

    I'm thinking that it is being caused by an attempt to wrap your arm further around her back than is required and you are using your shoulder to help get your hand to her side. That would make it somewhat disconnected from your torso/ chest/ ribcage/ whatever. At times, you actually have your fingertips in her armpit, which I would hate, personally. In fact if your fingers start getting anywhere near side-boob, we're going to have words! I suggest you relax that a little and don't worry about getting all the way around like that if it is at all pulling your shoulder forward.

    In relation to that, your partner doesn't seem to know what to do with her left arm. I can't tell (because of the cut-off framing) whether it is something you are doing or something about her own technique. She often seems to be using her hand to either push herself (or you) into a better place, push against you for stability, or in some other way use it more than than should be necessary. She dances a fair amount of the video with her left shoulder higher than her right which curves her torso.

    The combination of these 2 things suggests you are trying to impart a fair amount of the information about your lead through the right side of your body & right hand on her right side, and/or that your partner is trying to get the information primarily from your right side and can't figure out how to position herself to do so. I can't tell by watching the 2 of you whether you are trying to do a flat-on close embrace or a V shaped close embrace. I can't tell by watching you what style you are trying to dance, and that's a problem. You seem to be incorporating postural elements of both styles, and that may be the source of some of your problems. It almost looks like the 2 of you are trained in 2 different styles and not meshing them well.

    (more in another post)
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Your partner is still having to/choosing to dance with her right shoulder pushed behind her. Your left arm/hand position is not conducive to dancing a flat-on embrace, but she also doesn't seem to be comfortable opening into as much V as she would need to do. She would have to turn her head somewhat more towards you as well.

    If you are attempting to dance more of a milonguero style, you need to adjust your left arm so that she can bring her right side to you. If you are going for a V, she needs to adjust to being in a V (which may be awkward for her if that full wrap of your right arm is pulling her right side to you at all).

    I think you might both benefit from relaxing your elbows and pointing them more at the floor, and checking to make sure neither of you have any forward (or backward) rolling of either shoulder happening. You should each get your body connected to the other person and let your arms be wherever is natural AFTER the bodies are connected. The arms shouldn't have to make it work. RElax them a little. Or even take them away completely to see what happens. (My first teacher made people dance without our arms quite a lot... it's pretty eye-opening!)

    My suggestion for her left arm would be rotated with her palm facing herself and placed gently on your tricep (and of course, the elbow DOWN) so that her arm sorta parallels yours. Your right hand could be on her right shoulder blade rather than so far past it. Then your upper arm would be more 90* from your chest which would keep your shoulder back and down. This would work regardless of whether you are trying to dance parallel or V.

    For your other side (your left, her right) it depends on what style you are hoping to do.

    I guess I'm trying to say that there are several things I can't tell from this video:

    What style of embrace you want
    What style your partner wants
    What is "her" and what is "you" in the problems.
    How much your head and shoulders are causing problems

    I also see a fair amount of "plopping" into the "period at the end" move at the end of a phrase, but I think when you get more comfortable with your posture, that might resolve itself. I think you are bending your knees excessively to compensate for what's happening up top.
  8. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    What I saw was the follower landing on the outside of her foot for many steps, not the center.
  9. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that, you're on your own as far as I am concerned.
  10. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    My reaction is somewhat similar - i personally don't understand their dance well. To me the relationship between their chosen technique, their chosen embrace, and their chosen vocabulary is somewhat opaque. But then it is always really, really difficult to understand people who dance differently than ourselves.

    As a suggestion that might or might not get you closer to the dynamics they are using: I have the impression that their technique is based more on nuevo concepts, while you are using more milonguero concepts. Try dancing with a outward energy - even thought the bodies are close the energy is almost the reverse of milonguero - it is outwards, with the with the leader and follower anchoring themselves on their partners backs - the leader by offering a strong embrace that the follower can lean against, the follower by looking for/anchoring them for the leaders spine/axis with their left hand.
  11. Weird Sister

    Weird Sister Guest

    @Gssh Ooh, interesting. What kind of transparency are you looking for? Are you looking for an intellectual or emotional understanding of their dance? If the former, how does it infom the latter (if at all)?
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    If this is the couple you are referring to, I have to say I'm not a big fan. I wasn't familiar with them until I googled them following your post, but I spent the first 3 minutes of this video wishing she would relax her shoulders (especially the left one) and then giving up on the video. She's got so much happening in her shoulders and back that I would think it would drive the average social tango leader nuts. Even as a performance it was distracting to me to see her lifting her shoulders up to her ears and curving her back.

    Unless you are taking lessons with them, I wouldn't suggest trying to emulate them based on watching videos. In fact, I wouldn't suggest that you try to emulate hardly anyone just by watching videos until you are more advanced. It can be very difficult to tease apart what they are actually doing. Even more so if what you are watching is a performance video. Are there good teachers where you are?
    Mladenac likes this.
  13. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Tricky question :) I think both - let me pick as an example tete (who influenced me a lot) and him doing his showboating move where he put his arms out at the sides like a kid playing a plane, or riding a bike without hands "Look, ma, no hands!". There his approach to tango, his joy about the dance comes together with the fact that it shows off that the framework he used not actually need hands/the embrace all that much, and his precision as a leader and silivias skill as a follower. Him having fun, it looking cool, it being a demonstration of how his dance works, and of skill at leading and following come together. It is very coherent. Chichos dance is in some ways very similar - i feel (imagine?) that i understand how/why his dance is cool to him, and and what he is playing with, and which of the limitations of technique or skill he is pushing against.
    With Carlitos and Noelia i don't understand where their dance comes from. I can see what they do (or at least think i do), and how skilled they are, but i don't feel a theme, if that makes any sense? They do amazing footwork, and some of their turns/changes of direction are things i have never seen before (and a few of those i have stolen :) ), and the way they work with being slightly off balance is brilliant, but i don't really get where they come from - i feel that i only see the surface, but have no idea what the foundation of their dance is?
    This is probably not helpful for the OP - i have watched them a lot and they are one of the couples that somewhat baffle me.
  14. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Maybe you might like this one better?

    Pure Speculation (and this is not what they teach either):

    As i said, their dance is very specific to them - i always have the impression that there is something very unorthodox happening under the surface of their dance. I think that she actually can't relax her shoulders because a big part of their dance is that he is in her embrace - her left hand is always on either his spine or shoulder. If we think of a embrace where the follower leans into the leaders right arm i don't think she does that - they use the leaders right arm as a guide, but she is leaning into her own embrace. I think what she is doing with her left arm is closer to what usually the leader does with his right arm, giving them more freedom of movement and him ways of leading different things with his right arm.
  15. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    I think it's a stretch to say I'm not disassociating, but I agree I could do it a bit more. Remember, disassociation is hard to see when someone doesn't have a belt or some other clear demarcation of their torso.

    Really? For my tastes, I'm being a little too rhythmical. I wish I had slowed down a bit more, especially near the end of the song where I blew through some stops. Chalk it up to performance anxiety ;)

    0:07, agreed on the shoulder, disagree on the aggressive lead. That's a style issue, and one of the things I get complemented on the most is the softness of my lead.
    0:37 addressed above
    1:04 agree, that was a weird bit
    1:17 I could use a little more turn out when walking backwards, but at the moment it doesn't affect my stability at all, so it's low priority to fix.

    I'm not sure what you're seeing here. See the subsequent Noelia/Carlitos discussion for what I'm going for in my embrace. I think the shape is where I want it. Sometimes I go more square. I like the fact that my partner can change arm positions in a fluid manner.
  16. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    Thanks for the feedback! I agree, I was a little hunched in that video. As I said I'm working on a lower back hyper extension issue, so I'm overcompensating with opening up my back too much.

    The shoulder thing is just a style issue. For the slightly V embrace, see the Noelia/Carlitos discussion. I like to have a fully wrapped arm by default, but move it around fairly often when going into open, doing close embrace full-pivot ochos, etc.
  17. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Oh it's not got much to do with understanding but I was trying
    to work out who he thought he was dancing like, if anyone at all,
    partly because it was so odd with far too much that's "wrong"
    or at least rather unhelpful for an improvised dance of the music.
    What also is odd is that despite that, they actually look more musical
    than Carlitos and Noelia but I think it could be an accidental result
    of being too tentative.

    However I am not a fan of that pair, they are just the latest self-publicising
    fashionable travelling teaching couple - I have no wish to dance with
    someone who dances like Noelia so I have no wish to offer advice to
    a couple trying to dance as they do. Perhaps they need to help themselves
    by abandoning their current aim and learning by practising (and determining
    what they need to practise) the best way to dance musically together.

    Your analysis seems too complicated - have you
    been taught to dance as you describe?
  18. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    I haven't had the pleasure of learning from N&C, but I've taken quite a few classes from their students. They are very much based in milonguero concepts. The energy is inward, always pushing into each others' chests in turn. Carlitos' right arm position allows lots of pivoting. I'm a little less milonguero than them, because I switch into open on occasion.

    I know the shoulder thing might look odd; it's a very emotional embrace. I've danced with similar dancers and it's quite nice :)
    Unless we get traveling instructors, I'm pretty much on my own in terms of instruction. Noelia's previous dance partner, Pablo will be at Element in Baltimore, so I'll get to learn some things from him.
  19. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Maybe you have difficulties, but after 7 years of dancing and 15 years of doing various sport with a help of big monitor I can see very well.
    Practice that so you will be adaptable to your partners.

    Following melody all the time is monotonous and strenuous, especially slow melody like in this kind of songs.

    It's not you this time. It difficult to comment only you where you are dancing with the partner.
    Carlitos and Noelia have fluid embrace, pay attention to that.

    Be careful of your positioning your feet, it was not important on this performance with so slow music, not wonder you didn't have problems.

    With how many partners you dancer regularly?
    What kind of music you usually dance to?

    Because you sent two performance with slow OTV songs.
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Do you have any sort of social community where you are? Who are you dancing with besides your partner? Where are the dancers in your area being trained if there are no teachers there?

Share This Page