Tango Argentino > Watching Yourself Dance to Improve

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

  1. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I do like that one better. I don't know if I would be tempted to take instruction from them based on it though. I've already had a fair amount of instruction in milonguero and I'm finding that I need to rely on it LESS not more. So many leaders now really don't want the follower that heavy on them (as we discussed in another thread, the concept of leaning as an illusion vs being actually dependent on the other person for balance)

    As for how they are dancing milonguero, if I emulated her, I would be reinforcing habits I've been trying to break for some time, such as high shoulders, raising the left shoulder to get the arm around my partner's neck even when it isn't necessary, leaning on him too much, sticking my butt out, arching my back, and possibly over-adorning (I had to watch this one without sound, so I don't know if her embellishments fit the music, but without music, it looked like she was moving independently of his lead and he was having to wait for her extra steps)

    Many people who might not be the most showy looking dancers are wonderful teachers, so I won't judge their teaching as I have no knowledge of it. But this is not a couple that I feel to be a good example to copy by watching a video and trying to look like them. I think that would have the potential to lead to habits that would have to be addressed later if the follower wanted to dance with a variety of leaders, because what she is doing will ONLY work with leaders who dance exactly this way.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
  2. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    If your shoulder is rolled forward or pushing independently (or forward of) the side of your body, then it's not really a style thing. Regardless of style, your shoulders aren't leading, your body is leading. Your shoulders just happen to be connected to it. So whether you are in a V or parallel, your shoulder needs to be in line with your body or it interferes with the follower's connection to your torso.

    The arm wrap.... if it's not pulling her right side towards you, then it isn't a problem.

    Until you get too close to the base of a follower's breast, then I assure you it will be a problem! I know many followers who don't want a leader's fingers to pass from being on her back to being on her side, especially high up. Certainly you shouldn't pass the vertical "middle line" of her side, but even that is "thin ice".

    Pretty much all of us have had at least one instance of a leader being deliberately inappropriate. We're fairly sensitive to that possibility, even when it isn't what's occurring. Just be aware of it, that's all.
  3. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Noelia certainly would drive me nuts wriggling like that together with
    many other things she does and doesn't do. I despair when I see so
    many people chase after places at events where they are teaching.

    But it's worse than that in this context. As a model she could be being
    copied by TomTango's partner, from the poor restless posture of her body
    through to the stressed legs and the lack of centering. As the OT has a
    preconception of the style he wishes to adopt it may be his fault of course.

    I agree - first learn to dance together as "vanilla" as possible.
    The purpose is to dance in an embrace and form follows that.
  4. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I just want to add that people try to emulate performer by watching them.
    It's not the problem if they are advanced dancers so they are able to adjust those videos to themselves.
    They see outer image of dance, but the inner i.e. mechanics.

    Noelia and Carlitos have style of dancing where she is the happy puppet (puppy) and he is the puppeteer.
    He doesn't shine at all like Pablo did, but they have communications of that kind of dancing.

    Here is nice demo of Carlitos and Noelia to Coqueta by OTV

    Try to nice notice changes to rhytmical and melodic sections.
    And how the embrace is tender and how they use their feet.
  5. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I hope you meant to say:
    They see not only the outer image of dance but also the inner i.e. mechanics
    She might appear to be like being the happy puppet
    but in practice she is not at all. She does plenty herself.
    Ok since you asked for us to look at their feet!

    Noelia is hardly ever centered unless Carlitos slows it down
    so really little choice but then she busy "doing things".
    Worse she is very often two-footed going from one two-footed
    position to another without passing go - without collection
    or, more correctly, centering. She drags her feet too and
    she would be a very heavy or slow social dancer.

    The embedded image is worth study - it shows clearly her
    dreadful posture which would be utterly condemned by an
    Alexander Principle adherent and anyone knowledgeable
    about posture and back damage. Not only that her butt
    is stuck out because of her tilted back pelvis which severely
    limits the extent you can spiral the body and dissociate.
    It's easy to try and thus prove it for and to yourself.
    No wonder she has to move her body within the embrace,
    she is all too tense to dance the Argentine way.

    Carlitos doesn't help either. He embraces too low and
    he doesn't centre much as well. A regular couple is almost
    always misleading to watch to since they practise and
    rehearse together and have an understanding and
    accommodation way beyond what you can expect
    to experience in the social dance of changing partners.
    The skill required is then something else.

    I often say form follows function, in this case the function seems
    to be to attract interest from the permanent student community,
    hungry for lessons, by being different. On that basis their form
    is successful but I prefer form to follow the function of dancing.
  6. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Now I see didn't finish the thought.
    Advanced dancer see mechanics also.

    There are times when she is lead, and time where she is on her own.

    Then watch her dancing milonga and you will how "slow" she is.

    I was referring to open position of feet for stability and circular change of direction.

    Have you danced with her or know anybody who danced with her so you know how tense she is?
    I haven't danced with her but I know people who danced with her and female taking classes.
    Her pelvis is not rotated downwards, and with upper body she gives support.

    Misleading are people blinded by one tehnique that want to apply that to everything.
    If you take top athletes in certain sports you will see variety of tehniques with personal preferences.
    There are Noelia's impromptou performances on YT and I don't see here having problems.

    I am staggered how many generalization I noticed from 3 minute video.

    Various forms demand various functions, I wrote about top athletes.
    When I come to festival or marathon I need to adapt to various dancing styles.
    If you have a hammer every solution looks like a nail.
  7. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I think you just made my point which definitely contradicted yours.
    That's moving the goalposts. Milonga is very different.
    Slow dances are the the more difficult and for me Tango as evolved
    in BsAs, and danced by many, has a different solution to any other dance.

    Oh it certainly is, or are you trying to say my eyes deceive me.
    I have never danced with Noelia, no wish to either, but I have
    danced with many who dance something similar and I don't like
    them. Even my partner was somewhat similar in posture and
    two-footedness when we met. Now she is dancing quite differently
    I don't think she would want to return to her old ways.

    Impromptu and performance is somewhat contradictory.
    With Carlitos? Or maybe some other regular partner?
    You noticed or I noticed? In my case my experience does
    enable me to see and understand what I am seeing from
    inside the dance.
    That's a very inappropriate and rather pointless statement.

    And, by the way, we are all entitled to make choices.
    You make yours, I'll make mine.
  8. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Oh no, nobody _teaches_ this, but there are quite a few teachers that use this method to get specific effects, and a lot of followers who use it. The thing teachers say is usually something like "and here the leader needs to open up the embrace to give her space to move, and the follower has to take responsibility to maintain the distance where the leader has set it", and where you feel it with followers is when they hold onto your tricep, shoulder, and spine. Basically i have been taught that the leaders embrace should never constrain the follower, but implicitly also (again, that is something that is not usually said) that in some moves the leaders embrace supports/stabilizes the follower, and the followers embrace is for connection and sensitivity and decoration. Some teachers don't use the leaders embrace for support and stabilization, but the followers - which makes a lot of sense if you want to give the follower maximum freedom in their back and hips. It means that the follower works slightly differently with the energy and structure provided by the leader.

    I have the impression that they do this a lot - his embrace is for decoration and sensitivity - very soft, no mechanical coupling at all, and she provides the stabilization herself if neccessary. Again, this is not what they talk about when they teach, but nobody talks about the interplay between the embraces and who stabilizes whom, and whose footwork is responsible for keeping whom in balance and so in - it is all implicit in the corrections and feedback you get, but only rarely taught by itself. I am really sensitive about these things because i do some MA, and while there is is all about breaking balance and structure and not maintaining it there is a similar problem - millimeter differences in the angle of a push can turn a clean throw into a muddled mess. These things are called "low percentage techniques" - where everything needs to go just right to work, and then the effects are spectacular but if not it just fizzeles - opposed to more forgiving techniques. We are looking at performances of very skilled people showing things they consider worthy for as a demonstration of their skills - so there is a lot of "low percentage" stuff there.

    It might not be helpful to the OP, but i was trying to point out that a lot of the things seen in a performance require somewhat specific technique to work that way.
    Mladenac likes this.
  9. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Well, i mostly agree, but the OP is studying tango by himself (and if i understand the situation correctly he has no teacher nor a social dance scene to work with), and i think they are a difficult couple to emulate, exactly because they very subtly shift through different techniques without changing their outward appearance a lot, and because when she "is on her own" she often uses him for support, so she is not really on her own, but the flow of the energy is reversed. If you have a hammer you can talk about how one uses a hammer, but if you watch somebody using a leatherman it is hard to talk about how to use a leatherman, because the pliers work differently than the saw and the saw works differently from the screwdriver.
    Mladenac likes this.
  10. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member


    I would like thank you for the constructive comments.

    We have various inspirations and I tried to find what could be useful in their current situation since they are fond of them.

    Then JohnEm made a comment book long and I got carried away with his comment.
    I will try to control myself better.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  11. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    There is a rectangular formed by shoulders and hips and that rectangular is neutral when Carlitos has collected his feet. To me your right shoulder is slightly forward even in that neutral position; so your rectangular is not neutral but the upper right corner is bend forward.

    Carlitos shoulder line is also moving quite proportionally so the both sides are at same distance from the neutral position (but on opposite sides). To me it looks like your left shoulder is placed far more back.

    Do you have possibility to watch the yt videos in slow motion in your region? (the speed control is behind the gear button) It was easier to stop the video in different positions to check what was going on in Carlitos back or between him and Noelia when the speed was 0.25 of the original.
  12. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    For that feature you need to use HTML5 player in your browser. ;)
    Steve Pastor likes this.
  13. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
    Mladenac likes this.
  14. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    Here two videos from a different angle to be able to follow the changes in abrazo!

    We are here mostly talking about the technical side of Carlitos and Noelia performances but it is not the reason people are mesmerized by their performance screaming their throat sore before and after the song. In my world technique is not their best quality but it serve them well enough when they create their dance, so their dance will be alive.

    For me a much more important thing is Carlitos timing, the way he is connecting his/their movements to the marks in music.

    There is also Carlitos ability to pick songs which fit their movements, songs which cooperates with their way of moving and makes the performance shine. It is not to pick a song you like but to pick a song which fits you. Here he is a real genius!

    I suggest that you pick a playlist of 3-5 of your favorite performances/songs to work with and do solo training . Listen to the songs - do not watch but listen to the songs and at least drum with your fingers or step to the music. ( I would do it for weeks to get a new understanding of the music.) When you know how you will dance the music it will be interesting to check what they hear and where do you hear differently and choose to step differently. Don't learn from them directly but develope your own musicality inspired by them!

    This or something else addressing more directly the musicality which is your and their strongest ability could boost your development greatly!
    Mladenac likes this.
  15. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    I have quite the same situation and I need to get out as much as possibly of the workshops I can access every now and then. Therefore I started to train myself . . .before the workshops. . . on the moves on my workshop schedule.

    Most of the teachers are using the course material in their performances so i started to harvest the youtube videos updated lately and experiment with them so I was better prepared for the coming workshops. I run some of the moves together with my partner on the ws too. If you are lucky you get something you know roughly and you have easier to form the questons how to refine the principles. In any case you have learned a lot on the way.

    I participated on Pablos ws in February - If you send me a private message about the content of your ws we could check if there is a match.
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think LL and I are saying the same thing. She is noticing your shoulder's position in neutral and how it relates to your hips. I was noticing your shoulder's position when moving and how it relates to your ribcage.

    But it's the same observation really. Your right shoulder looks to be forward of the plane that your follower needs to feel in order to connect you easily. It is bent forward from above the ribcage.

    If this is something about your body that you can't change, then that's a different subject. Most of us here aren't young limber show dancers and we have body issues that we have to compensate for based on age, musculoskeletal issues, past injuries, etc.

    But if it's just something you are doing without realizing it, then you might want to take a look at it.
  17. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe Tom can explain how
    works, and what it's supposed to accomplish. I've been curious about that!
  18. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Following this discussion i have rewatched OPs video, and - and i apologize for that - i think i like OPs dancing less now. There are some little things that i thought were just small technical ideosyncracies/ personal movement culture that i now see as muted echo of Carlitos and Noelias dance which makes me suspicious of them - if they are practiced, and not a consequence of the technique they might be misleading the OP. As i said before, i think they are a brilliant couple - so this is not a criticism of their technique at all - but they are pushing tango technique as much to the extremes as the couples that do tango show dance with jumps and everything. To do that they have to be flexible in their technique - it is not as flashy, but it is not all that different from a showdance couple doing a lift. This is why i consider them a difficult couple to emulate - their strength is their musicality, how they play with each other and the music, and how they seamlessly and basically imperceptibly shift the responsibility for the balance and the control and who sets to pace in the dance around between them. They are not (and i don't think they claim to be) exemplars of a pure style. If i had to characterize them i would probably say that they are dancing something like nuevo if nuevo had its roots in milonguero and not salon. (and i have a great appreciation for that - i think there is as much room for play and pushing boundaries there, and it is much less explored (and in a (different and quite amateurish) way this is where i am exploring, so i find them very interesting). But i think looking at their performances is not a great starting point to develop ones own tango - their classes are, but that is not really what we are dealing with.

    (similarly how looking at nuevo performances are not a great starting point - i think it is telling how nuevo as a movement has almost vanished (its vocabulary and ideas are in somewhat muted form everywhere ;) ) . My personal theory is that this is a problem with lineage. the first generation of nuevo flourished because they all had a salon lineage, too, and it supported and informed their dance, even as they pushed its boundaries. The second generation that studied only nuevo and did not have another lineage to ground it in, lacked that support structure.)

    It is the difference between the decoration and the cake in a cake - a sometimes there is a great cake, and beautiful decoration, and the decorations will be tasty, and complement the cake (butter cream, spun caramel, candied flowers, pretty shapes cut into the cover of an apple pie, marzipan roses, chocolate covered coffee beans). Other times (the standard wedding cake ;) ) the decoration is pretty much independent of the cake - all fondant and sculptural icing, and you can choose whatever cake you want as a base. Some times when they do a cake for show there will be no cake at all under the decoration, just rice crispies or even styrofoam.

    But in any case working off the decorations will even in the best case only make the cake prettier - and performances are by their nature pretty much all decoration. For some teachers their decorations and their cake are pretty close (and i think carlitos and noelia are among those), for others they are almost independent - but not help too much in perfecting the cake. We will always end up with some of the decorations of our idols in our dance because the cake determines what decorations work, but the decorations are not enought to recover the cake recipe from them.
  19. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    Yes Zoopsia I think too it is the same observation. (therefore I quoted you)

    When I was working with my unbalanced left/right steps the rectangle was crucial for me to understand some of the reasons and find a way to neutralize the impact on the follower so I thought it could be helpful here too.
  20. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    I did that mostly for comparison purposes. I dance about 4 times a week. I do prolonged, dedicated practice only with the follower in the video, but I work on things at practicas with other dancers, and try to dance with everyone.

    I dance to all kinds of music! True, slower rhythmic is my current favorite, like OTV or Canaro/Maida or Rodriguez. I went through a fast vals phase there for a while. I used to love alternative, but nowadays I only get the itch rarely. D'Arienzo/Echague is another favorite. Follows request milonga tandas with me the most, oddly enough. For slower songs, I love late Di Sarli. Still getting a hang of Troilo/Marino.

    We have a social community of about 30 dancers (and growing!). We get traveling instructors about 4 times a year. Live music about twice a year. Besides my partner (we don't actually get to dance very much together socially anymore as we're dancing mostly with other people), I try to dance with everyone at all the practicas/milongas. I get to travel to weekend workshops at nearby larger cities 2-3 times a year, and go to 3-4 larger festivals a year, like Portland tango Fest and Tango Element (anyone going this year to Element?).

    The dancers are being mostly trained by me and a few other teachers in our community.

    That sounds about right. I'm not trying to mimic everything about his dance. His shoulders are squared up because his right hand is usually in the middle of her back or down low. To achieve a full wrap, the shoulder necessarily has to come around. I'm not pushing disproportionately with it, though, and it's not sticking into my follow. She's sitting on my chest.

    You know they're Argentinian, right?

    Wow, I am really surprised at all of the Noelia and Carlitos hate on here. Judging from how often I hear them talked about, how packed the milongas that they're performing at are, I had assumed they were loved by the majority. What attracted me first to them was their crazy musicality and intense connection. I hope you can tell from my dancing that I value musical dancing. Neither of them are puppets; I love how both are intently listening to each other and the music. It's the only way those kinds of embellishments could work. I also love how their technique is the kind that specifically supports the connection, not just technique for technique's sake (as can be seen sometimes by the veteran salon couples, or dancers with classical dance training).

    I'm sorry if I gave the impression I am trying to mimic everything about Carlitos. I'm not. For one thing, I can't see what's going on "under the hood" as many of you have pointed out. For another thing, I have no idea what he looks like dancing with dancers who don't have Noelia's form. I do want to hear the music the way they do, dance the layers, have my body be a part of the orchestra. I like looking at their videos for movements that I haven't tried yet. I particularly like their turns. If I try a movement they do and it feels good after some practice, great. If not, I wait to get access to a private lesson with an instructor I admire and get some help. Don't knock trying to learn things from a video, however. Trying to figure out things on my own doesn't always work, but even when it fails I learn something. Getting into the underlying logic of someone else's tango from watching is an acquired skill, one you can get better at. And it makes me a better teacher.

    For those of you who say "I don't want to dance like that," I would love to see a video of an instructor you really admire. What instructors are closest to the way you'd like to see yourself dance?

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