Tango Argentino > What are you working on?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Zoopsia59, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    Instead of starting my own (very likely redundant) thread, I'm asking my question here, and I hope I'll get some insights. This is a newbie question, so please be bear with me if the below articulation isn't the best.

    The primary embrace type I use is a CE, very similar to what Igor Polk describes here as "Close Embrace Style 1" (http://www.virtuar.com/tango/articles/2003/close_embrace_styles.htm).

    Consider a simple turn - say one initiated from an ocho towards either direction. Direction isn't important to my question - the idea of a turn or dynamic movement is. A turn is going to result in some centrifugal force, and left unchecked, it will on it's own have the potential destabilize the embrace. At a beginner level, it's my observation that it's easy to find the embrace broken/gone by the end of the turn.

    As an aside, I never have a problem with maintaining the connection when I'm in the woman's role (dancing with men of comparable experience and skill level as myself) - regardless of whether there is an embrace or not (I often like to practice either role sans arms). In the man's role, my experiences are a hit-or-miss.

    I can actively preserve the embrace by creating a _frame_ with my right arm, and limiting the disconnection by imposing a barrier of sorts. Question: Is this a good approach? Or would it be someting to desist from, and instead prefer that the dancers (myself, and partner) figure out how to maintaing connection through dynamic movements with no assistance from a frame ?

    [I'm not asking if it's effective, nor am I asking what might work best in social situations. This is meant to be a pedantic question :) If the answer is "it depends on which respectable/reputable teacher you ask", then that's a good enough answer as well]
  2. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I would say it depends. If you are using your arm to pull your partner against you, I suggest the embrace is not working very well - it's too soft. If you are using your arm only to stabilize the embrace, I think that is often helpful.

    Try doing the giros using only your upper arm to help keep your partner in front of you. If you can do the giro without holding your partner with your forearm, I think you are doing it properly. That is, you still have enough pressure toward your partner to give her good leads.
  3. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    As long as your body-centre and your arms speak the same language nothing speaks against a temporary frame. The action of the arms can be delayed or coincident but it always should be elastic. It supports or completes the lead of the torso. As your ability of twisting, torsion and dissociation will increase the lesser your arms have to contribute to your lead.

    Figure out what works and frequently ask DPs for a feedback.

    Connection is an intentional thing, not a physical one. You will learn to lead with the chest only, with the arms only, and in the end also with no physical connection at all. These figures are called Soltadas.
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I would say that the ideal would be to maintain a constant connection without assistance from your arms.
    Now, dancing the man's role, you will often find that if you DON'T supply that "extra" support from the right arm, you will "lose connection" with your partner.

    P.S. In my view the "Frame" becomes smaller as the partners get closer and share more weight. In "apilado" the "Frame" is internal.

    P.P.S. Hey, just like in the old days most backpacks had external frames and now most seem to have internal frames. Or not.
  5. Temza

    Temza Member

    It is certainly possible to maintain connection through dynamic movements with no assistance from a frame, so, to answer your pedantic question, - yes, it's better to keep working on this, IMO
  6. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    Thanks all - I think this answers my question. It's fairly easy for me to see how it can work w/o arms while I do the woman's role - so the feasibility of it isn't in doubt in my mind. It sounds like that's the ideal I should go after in the man's role as well.

    The thoughts around separating upper vs fore arm based support (and connection respectively) is also helpful, so is the clarity around the fact that this might be a less-than-ideal behavior I'd need to concede to be practical towards mt DP's - for now.

    (Hmmm.... I need to update my sig to cover Tango as well. :) )
  7. salthepal

    salthepal New Member

    The only danger of using the arm as a "barrier" is that you might in theory restrain your movement or your partner's movements. This is more obvious for a right turn (clockwise) where your right arm, if it doesn't move fluidly with the rest of your upper body, could make your partner's movements very uncomfortable.
  8. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    salthepal - gotcha. i'm rarely accused of being too restrictive. if anything, i tend to be rather relaxed and try to restablish the connection when it breaks. i asked the original qeustion because with some partners, too many disconnections happen and it's rather distracting. while i know how to prevent disconnections with the use of my arm, this discussion i hope will give me the right frame of reference and clarify the distinction between 'accomodation' versus 'ideal'.
  9. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Some good tips here. One more thing to add... Don't forget partner awareness. What kind of giro are you leading? Is it crossing ochos? Or full ochos? If you are in close embrace with shared weight, and she does not know crossing ochos, she may be breaking to get enough room to pivot. Feel her step through the embrace and you will have a better clue of what is going on.
  10. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    I'm leading pretty mild ochos - they are better called walking in cross system on four tracks.. if there is any explicit pivoting happening, that's often because my partner is doing it out of conditioning...

    0:50 - 0:57 below is very similar to what I'm trying to do:

  11. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    That's kind of what I mean. You need to feel exactly what step she is breaking away on (9 times out of 10 it is the back step) and if she is doing it to get a bigger ocho. Feel where her hips are and stay with her such that your hips are squared up. Too much twist and/or moving ahead of her can cause her to want to pivot her hips to take a bigger step. Dunno if that's what is happening, just giving a few more ideas. I find that unless a follower has been taught crossing ochos and does them regularly, you have to overlead them. And sometimes they will still try to pivot.

    And not to be a pedant, but I would call those crossing ochos or milonguero ochos. Walking in four tracks usually implies linear movement.
  12. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    yup, it's generally the back step. often the reason is not taking a larger step - rather it's taking a step away, rather than to take the back step around. i try to follow my partner once a turn is initiated, and admittedly i don't succeed very well at times....

    walking in 4 tracks in cross system in CE - is there *any* way to execute this that would _not_ be termed ocho? :)
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Being able to dance with enough weight sharing to maintain a connection is a skill that is not common. It takes a teacher who can teach it, and lots of practice. Still, there is lots of "Close embrace".

    Remember that women are trained to take big back steps. Some teacher do not have people practice anything apart, lessening the formation of habits that have to be modified when dancing with someone. (Like, those are great extentsions from the hip, etc, but you are moving away from be with each step.)

    Notice that there are no arms used during the demo. I see too that Christina does NOT appear to be on her toes. And, they have a very solid looking torso to torso connection with a noticeable amount of "forward lean" that I'm willing to bet does not vary. (This I call apilado.)

    I try my best to do my part as well as I can, hoping that my partner will use me as a reference point and respond accordingly. If I feel that she is always, or frequently moving away though, I have to decide how to respond. Many factors come into play in making that decision.
    Is it a practica or a milonga or a class?
    Did the tanda just start or is it almost over?
    Is my right arm starting to give out from having to use it so much?
    Is she new to this, and / or sincerely trying to get better, or is she likely to decide that there are enough guys who will dance with her that she doesn't have to improve.

    I've aksed some of the biggies here in Portland if there is a way or ways to get the woman to be more engaged in the connection. They try to be helpful, but if you press them they will admit that she has to do her part. One very popular teacher suggested that you simply accomodate. Of course teachers most often don't dance with the general population of dancers.
  14. salthepal

    salthepal New Member

    Maintaining a good connection is the responsibility of both dancers. The ladies need to work at it as much as the men. You have to do your best, but at the end you need to accommodate the lady.
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Yep... It seems a lot of followers (and leaders) have no idea that such a thing exists. They get taught pivoting ochos in place and will automatically start pivoting all ochos. The situation isn't helped by the leaders who don't move at all, and lead the whole thing with their arms, pushing the follower this way and that.

    The funny thing is that if you don't try to call them ochos and just start walking this way, one of 3 things will happen:

    1) She'll pivot anyway although the leader's movement is more linear down the LOD and even though pivoting makes it awkward for her.

    2) She'll get confused thinking that she is on the wrong foot to walk, and try to switch somehow

    or (and this is the cool part)

    3)She'll just naturally do a "crossing ocho" because she won't be associating the walking movement being led with her mental concept of "ocho".

    IME, the more the ocho travels down LOD, the more likely the follower is to just do it without overthinking it. If the leader gives a firm and large "straight back!" intention for her, she'll be more likely to do it without a pivot than if it's a smaller step or more gentle lead.

    It always seems to me that one of the most important concepts of following too seldom gets taught specifically in clear words.. ie:

    "As a follower, it is your job to stay in front of the leader and maintain the established relationship between your torsos unless specifically led not to."

    Somehow, followers are expected to figure that out by distilling all the other instruction down to this basic concept. :confused:

    But a follower who knows this and consciously works towards it, won't pivot if there is no lead to pivot. In fact, I've failed to pivot on ochos where the leader assumed I would, simply because he gave no lead for a pivot.

    Hey, you lead a crossing ocho, I do a crossing ocho... even if you don't know that there is such a thing as crossing ochos or that you just led one! :D
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    And that's too bad. Because if they did, not only would they have a much better idea of how people are dancing and how it feels to dance with them, but the general population would improve faster due to dancing with highly skilled partners.
  17. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Once again, I am so so glad for my first teacher, and the way he taught me. This, for me, was Day 1, Lesson 1. I didn't know squat about AT, but he started with staying in front of him and staying focused on him...don't change, stay put.

    (Don'cha love it when you realize...yet again...how awesome something was? When you realize, again, that something you took for granted was so much more valuable than you initially realized.)
  18. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Speaking of, I just found out he is in town this weekend! If he is so awesome, maybe I will finally try one of his classes. :)
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Ditto... Day 1, lesson 1, rule 1:
    "Stay in front of me and don't let the relationship between our bodies change."

    All it takes is practice without contact to drive home how simple this is. It takes so much guess work out of following... do what you have to do to obey rule 1 unless specifically prevented. You'll most likely go where you were supposed to, and on the foot that you were supposed to!

    Of course, it only works if the leaders know the rule as well, so that they move their body properly to tell you where you're supposed to be. And once again, as soon as you take away all physical contact, they have to figure it out.
  20. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    it will take me a while to figure just what this means..

    but i do reduce my giros to crossing steps in my classes

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