Tango Argentino > Watching Yourself Dance to Improve

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

  1. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I am often amazed at the erroneous imagery used by teachers;
    it's as if they are under pressure to demonstrate their cleverness
    to insatiable students craving slick and easy answers.
    It seems to have worked for you and that may be a case
    of "ignorance is bliss" - no insult intended. But for every
    person who is happy with the analogy there will be another,
    like me, who knows full well that fan/auxiliary belts don't
    work as described and thus such explanation is pointless.

    You just shouldn't purposely arch your back at all, any curve
    such be the natural one of your skeleton.
    The trick is the one being pulled by the teacher claiming
    this erroneous imagery to be an aide and it's a false one.
    There is most certainly not equal tension on both sides
    of any pulley, driving or driven! I could but I'm not going
    any further with the dismantling of that explanation.

    I prefer to concentrate on the actual properties of the body
    and more specifically on the dancer feeling their own body
    and the result of appropriate exercise. In fact I often say
    that if you cannot feel your own body how can you expect
    your senses to feel the movement of someone else's body.
    Teachers would be much better if they gave students helpful
    and real exercises to improve their normal posture and core
    for normal life as well as preparation for the dance.
  2. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Except that is IS insulting.

    In fact, you are being insulting to both me and to the teacher in question. I don't understand the point of adding that kind of trash-talking comment to the discussion. It's just inflammatory, presumptuous, and yes, INSULTING. You can make your case without being dismissive and derisive of other posters, their posts and the teachers/dancers they mention.

    The analogy helped me immensely to understand what I was doing wrong and what I needed to change, so there was nothing erroneous about it from my standpoint. Not being a mechanic, I didn't focus on the true physics of fan belts, and instead focused on what I needed to change to dance tango.

    ALL instruction given in private lessons is (or should be) student specific and geared towards whatever THAT student needs to do to improve. In my case, I wasn't deliberately over-arching, I was simply not using my muscles and body correctly. I wasn't even thinking about how my lower back and abdomen should be used. I wasn't ignorant or searching for easy answers, nor was the teacher trying to be slick and present easy answers. He gave me imagery that worked for me and still does even though, if anything, I am even LESS ignorant now. The fact that he wasn't a mechanic either doesn't make him a bad tango teacher any more than the fact that I am not a mechanic makes me someone who seeks easy answers.

    If I wanted easy answers, I would have given up on tango over a decade ago.
    Mladenac likes this.
  3. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I'm often amazed by people who think that their view of things is the only "truth", and every other way is erroneous.

    However, I'm not impressed by people who insult others, and then pretend that adding "no insult intended", changes it from being a insult. It does no such thing. Please try to disagree, without being disagreeable.
    CaliChris10, Mladenac and Zoopsia59 like this.
  4. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    So you've never heard of the common expression "Ignorance is Bliss"?
    It's a generalisation that I really shouldn't have to explain, nor its usage.

    It isn't insulting but I clarified that knowing how sensitive you are,
    taking offence where no offence was intended. And If you are now
    offended there's nothing I can do about it. I write from my experience,
    it's the only experience which is relevant directly to me. It isn't
    inflammatory to say that something is plain wrong or is a bad analogy.

    I think I more or less agreed with your situation.
    He may not be a bad tango teacher to you but he would be to me.
    And his analogy is not necessarily right for the OP either.
    He was not absolutely right any more than you or I are absolutely right.

    As fas as I am concerned you yourself have taken an inflammatory point
    of view, over personalising something to the extent that you have managed
    to overlook my more positive conclusion.

    In conclusion, you may like that analogy and find it useful but I don't.
    Its inaccuracy makes it inappropriate and I prefer something that
    relates more directly to the body, its abilities and limitations.
  5. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I haven't said anything of the kind.
    I haven't insulted anyone even if Zoopsia has taken offence
    at what is in fact an inoffensive saying. For clarification, which
    sadly seems to be needed, it merely means that you can accept
    without question whatever you might be told if you have no knowledge
    or experience on which to base an assessment of the validity of
    the information you are given. I think Zoopsia has proved my point.
  6. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    "Ignorance is Bliss" IS an offensive saying when you are calling someone else ignorant. It doesn't matter how much it is a familiar statement (and yes, I have heard it and used it) Calling someone ignorant is insulting and more importantly unnecessary in a discussion. You can disagree without getting personal. There is NO reason to make negative personal comments to posters in these discussions. NONE.

    I may ignorant of the physics of belt systems, but I am far from ignorant about Tango, and implying that I accepted an analogy only because I am "ignorant" is silly, especially if thinking of it that way improved my dancing.

    Clarification isn't needed on what "Ignorance is Bliss" means. We know what it means. It means you think the person was ignorant.

    I think you have just proved mine. See, that thing right there about "how sensitive" I am? Unnecessary. Personal. Comment.

    Disagreeing isn't what's inflammatory. The problem is trash-talking the PEOPLE involved when you disagree. IE:

    "demonstrate their cleverness to insatiable students craving slick and easy answers."

    "The trick is the one being pulled by the teacher claiming this erroneous imagery to be an aide"

    These are not respectful statements. You can disagree on the topic without being totally disrespectful to other posters and the people they are posting about. You can have no respect for the viewpoint itself and still post with respect for the people involved.

    I stated right in my post about the analogy that it might not be a good correction for the OP, especially if it caused him to overcompensate, since he is already doing a "turtleback" thing.

    And I'm ok with that. You didn't need all that other crap about tricks, cleverness, ignorance, sensitive, slick/easy answers, etc. Those were all personal statements about people that you don't even know.
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    In the interests of community, let that be the last word on this.

  8. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member


    I know how that goes. If you end up going, send me a PM a few days before the event, and maybe we can say hi in person!

    That's a neat analogy. There have been so many times when a teacher is trying to explain something with biomechanics I'm just not getting, and a simple analogy clicks everything in place. After you started consciously trying to keep your stomach from flopping, how long did it take to train your muscles to keep everything in place?

    Thanks for the encouragement LadyLeader! I started with being enamored with nuevo movements, and studied with Homer and Cristina. I respect their dancing immensely, but just like you've I've found my inspiration changing as time goes on.
  9. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Tango is only a medium for personal development.

    Do what inspire you most at that time and when you go to international meetings (milongas, festivalitos, festivals, marathons, encuentros, ...)
    you will be very adaptable to various followers.
    And the most I got from tango is how to find myselft in different situations pleasing others but not losing myself.

    Express yourself through tango. There is technique for every follower, choose them appropriately. :cool:
  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I'll let you know...


    Just kidding... I actually didn't think so much about my stomach not flopping. I made a conscious effort not to contract my lower back muscles. I tried to let my rear end "drop". That's not really the right word, but I can't think of a better one right now.

    There's an elongation in the torso that I am trying to achieve with letting my pelvis relax downward while keeping a lifted feeling in my upper body (but not my shoulders) I've had several really good female teachers talk to me about this and I'm still working on it.

    Part of my problem is that I have a fair amount of natural pelvic tilt due to the way my femurs are set in my hip sockets. Sitting a lot for work doesn't help. So lately I've been making extra effort to stretch the tight areas to help get my pelvis aligned as well as it can be (which will never be perfect). I have to be aware of it dancing or before you know it, my back will get so arched that my axis is ruined and my dancing suffers.

    I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I don't find it helpful to think about tightening any muscles, front or back. The easy solution would be to try to "hold my stomach in", but I don't need any "solution" that encourages me to have tension in my body since I tend to be rather tense anyway without even realizing it sometimes.

    Instead, I try to think of relaxing and changing the tilt of my pelvis without creating tension anywhere. That's why I've come to think of it as "dropping" in the back rather than "holding in" or "tightening" in the front.

    I hope that made sense.. I could explain it much better in person.
  11. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    A request by a moderator was issued to drop the bickering. Apparently he did not make himself clear enough. But I will. Anyone who continues in an argumentative direction or call someone names again will receive infractions. Most people here probably don't even remember what infractions are, it has been so long since we had to use them. But let me be clear, it is a "three strikes and you are out" system.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I like that!
  13. Lois Donnay

    Lois Donnay Member

    When you walk normally, do you bend your leg? Probably not. You step on a straight leg, push off on a straight leg. If you danced like you walk, many of your problems would automatically be solved.
    Mladenac likes this.
  14. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    This advice was given to me two years ago, and while it's in the right direction, I don't feel like trying to straighten my leg while walking was all that helpful. Walking on bent legs was more a side effect of not stepping confidently enough. Being sure of where I was going was most helpful. One of those things that it's hard to work on in isolation; it tends to just get better as you dance longer.
  15. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    You are learning how to diminish your errors in a bad way.
    That straight leg will force you to be concentraced more on the step smoothness.
    For that you need to have more control of body that such walking will pleasant for you and your partner.

    Good dancers feel natural movement of their partners, and if you want to dance long during the evening/weekend with out getting to much fatigue you should develop the most natural movent you can get.
    And that will give you relaxed and consistent dancing so the followers would enjoy only by giving in your embrace while doing "simple steps". You will be gliding through the music.
    And when you will be comfortable with yourself you will be able to "correct" errors in the couple dancing.
    You will be able to notice what you wanted to lead and what was followed and adjust to that.
    This way you are trying to develop bad habits and good followers will notice.
    Not in your community since you are teaching those bad habits.
  16. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    Sorry, Mladenac, I'm having some trouble understanding your verbiage. Maybe we're miscommunicating?

    I meant to say that, when walking, thinking to myself "keep your leg straight, keep your leg straight" didn't get me the smooth walk I wanted. My legs also bent as soon as I stopped paying attention. What worked better was thinking "push off your standing leg, step confidently forward, push off your standing leg..." That fixed the problem, and was able to stick in my body after I stopped thinking about it. Maybe the straight leg helps some people, but I personally needed a different "trigger phrase" to fix the problem. As a teacher, I recognize not everyone learns the same way, I have to adjust to different teaching styles, and there's not a one-size-fits-all mental image that will fix everyone's problems.

    Some of the other phrases in your post are also not helpful because they're so vague. "Have control of your body" or "move naturally."

    My community are great dancers thankyouverymuch :)
  17. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    We are not miscommunicating since you told me you don't understand me. We would if you hadn't told me. ;)

    I rewatched your second demo, you did correct job regarding style and the partner.
    Since I have a feeling that you are little bit advanced for her.
    If you had stepped on a straight leg you would've kicked her.
    At 00:05 your partner is stepping first.
    After rewatching the demo I got the feeling that the contact is so light and she is predicting steps.
    Then on 02:17 that element is strangely led, it's hard to have so much acceleration without losing connection.

    What I got from "second watching" is that is a choreographed dance.
    There is a lot of insecurity of dancing although you are following the music it's noticeable.

    I would like to notice that you (both) are focused on partner's movement that music and figures.
    Since you are not there are occasional separation.

    Try to watch video on bigger screen I am sure will understand what I am talking about.

    How do you feel followed when dancing in other cities with other followers?
    Because that's what is important. Because your whole community can develop
    internal dancing language that is not widely adequate.

    I ask since I noticed some things that are nicely led and some that are automatic.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015
  18. DrewDL

    DrewDL New Member

    Hi TomTango,

    You've improved a ton! Good for you!! Your embrace became a lot clear & textured, your musicality was able to express itself even more clearly, and it was good before!

    Now, I'd say you are a "grown up" tango dancer, and you should be happy with where you are. (Not to say that we all shouldn't work to improve!)

    I know you know about this, but ... you still have a hinge in the hip, although not as bad as before. Better to have your torso vertical, rather than leaning forward. Look here ... tangoandchaos.org chatper 2, secrets "natural" (this was supposed to be a link, but it wouldn't let me)

    To give you one technique thought: At 55. seconds, she is doing a molinette to your right. The 1st time it works, the 2nd time she is a bit too far away (59 seconds), causing both of you to lean forward. This happens because she is stepping away from you, when her right foot goes back. The solution (for you) would be to step more towards her with your right foot, when her right foot is going back, to keep the distance constant.

    At this point, it's more about where you want to go in the future, as you don't have many large flaws you aren't aware of.

    Hope this helps!

    P.S. I'd be happy to talk with you about ... whatever at dwyliu at gmail dot com as well.
  19. Can anyone suggest appropriate physical exercises for tango (especially that can be done alone)? I enjoy exercising regularly anyway and would be pleased to be able to use it to improve my dancing. Thanks.
  20. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Absolutely any physical exercise is appropriate for tango. I would be especially partial to the activities that straighten your legs, feet, core, and back, draw attention to your breath and how to use it to get in the zone. In that regard, for example, walking, running, swimming are all awesome.

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