Tango Argentino > What do Women Want?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by larrynla, May 26, 2009.

  1. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Certain people jsut can't "hear" the music, so to speak. Like you Peaches, I grew up with musicians, so I can't really say whether it's something that has to be taught, or can come naturally, but there are certainly some people who just don't get it. Follows do it to, and I try to keep the dance on beat (and phrased, if possible), but sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. I try to concentrate on other things, enjoy good frame, or an attentive follow, etc, and do my best to ignore fact I'm having to dance off the beat. :)
  2. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    Dancers can be taught to hear the beat

    I grew up with music in our home and had musical training from an early age. It was an asset when I began teaching social dancing. I assumed that everyone knew how to listen to music and hear the beat to dance.

    This is important in tango where the man directs the dance and improvises in the moment. He has to know the music in order to be inspired by it. The music tells him what to do in that moment. If he's not connected, he is only going through the motions and thinking about steps.

    I won't dance with men who can dance with the music. If a man is off the beat, it is the woman's option to get him back on it. She can delay her step and get him with the music quickly. We dance the music, so not being with it defeats the purpose. Some men don't realize they aren't with the music. If women continue dancing with them, they never learn.
  3. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    The question I have is, how does a follower go about doing this in such a way that it does not become a battle of wills or force? I ask because I have tried this from time to time, and generally I am met with more force from the guy to physically try to *make* me move when he wants (off time). It would seem to work if the guy is sufficiently advanced to where he can spare a bit of brain power from not crashing to devote to paying attention to the follower's feedback. Before that point, or if the man is disinclined to acquiesce to her request of more time, it just seems like it would be futile.
  4. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    And that brings up the question I placed in a different thread "Is bad tango better than no tango?"
  5. Temza

    Temza Member

    At my regular milongas, there is a musician who cannot step on the beat. Even to save his life. I just find it so bizarre. Admittedly, I've never heard him playing. Can anyone explain this to me? Maybe hearing the beat and making your feet hit the floor at a particular moment are two different abilities? He's sort of a friend so I have to dance with him but it's so frustrating and tiring.
    I also know a woman who won't hear the beat, at all. is this some kind of a disorder, like colour blindness?
  6. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    I have a hunch that a 'musician' could possibly start the momentum of his step with the beat instead of ending it on the beat. I say this because I, a musician in my past life, had that problem. It took two weeks and someone finally explaining it clearly to me, to land on the beat with my foot on the floor, before I 'got' it.:oops:
    If I were you, I would plain out tell him this...it's impossible to ignore once it's obvious.
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I'm not a musician, really, but here's one take on it.
    I am fascinated with the idea of dancing more than one rhythm at a time, but have been unable to find a class in African dance, where it is quite common. (The class I was going to take was cancelled, because of low enrollment.)
    I briefly considered drumming, as with a drum kit. But then I realized that in drumming, you are in one place, and in dancing you either can, or do move around. So, learning on a drum kit wouldn't help me out with the physical part of training my body to move in the sense of dancing.
    It's rhythm, or rhythms, yes, but connecting those rhythms to specific movements is also important.
    Does that make sense?

    As far as training goes, here's something from the US (Skippy Blair) that is applicable, (paraphrasing)
    We are guilty of planting weeds when we teach patterns without relating what we teach to the music, and assuming people "Just want to have fun..
    Be careful of the seed you plant: no matter how much you water the seed -
    if you plant a weed, you grow a weed.

    And yes, people can learn. Cultures such as many places in sub Saharan African have rhythmic movement ingrained the play of childern and in many activities. We are exposed to rhythm and movement even in the womb, or not.

    For me, milonga danced as a "one step" is probably the best place to have someone practice "stepping on the beat".
  8. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

    I dance ballroom for years and never had a problem dancing on the beat that is until AT. What the hell was that music and where's the beat? I was under the impression that in Argentine tango you could interpret the music any way you wanted. I danced slow to fast music I danced fast to slow music I was great of course I had no idea where the beat was. I think a whole lot of men dance the way they do because they think the same way I did, it's tango and I only need to dance to my feelings not to the beat.
    Thank God for Maestro Raul Cabral, BsAs 2003 basic group lesson. This man is a genius, in a matter of minutes he demonstrated how to hear the beat and how to step with the beat. He made it so simple in explaining if you dance slow to a fast song you still step on the beat, just every other beat. What a revelation in my tango to not only hear the beat but also the rhythm.
    Life is beautiful.
  9. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    I am a musician, and have taught many musicians to dance, and some of them just can't step on the beat to save their life.

    Some can.

    But the ability to hear the beat, and move one's fingers and tongue and lips and arms and breath to the beat, doesn't always translate immediately to one's feet. Dancing is a much different kind of association with the music, and for people who are not innately aware of their body and its kinetics (some people are just more naturally in tune with that kind of thing than others), it is quite a separate skill to be learned.

    Once you gain control of the body, a background as a musician can help you very much as a dancer. But when you're first learning to move, it doesn't necessarily give you a leg up.
  10. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Bravo! How enlightening. :D
  11. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    Argentine tango music is NOT like ballroom

    Ballroom is taught that there is a prescribed cadence for every dance. American tango is slow-slow-quick-quick-slow; Quickstep is Slow-Quick-Quick-Slow. So when people come over from ballroom, a lot of them are looking for a cadence. Then they are told there's no set cadence, which throws off a lot of people.

    It's usually NOT taught that there are different tango orchestras, which sound different, even if playing the same composition. I find DiSarli to be the most emotional while Pugliese has the best marking..

    Washington, DC;)
  12. Temza

    Temza Member

    Thanks for pointing me in this direction. As far as I can see, nobody mentioned such a mysterious quality as the follower's 'presence' in the dance, 'input', 'contribution'. A follower can have perfect technique but feel empty and cold. I don't know how to call it. Any suggestions? Easier to describe in negative: when the follower doesn't move like an automaton.
  13. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    i know one dancer who has left me with the impression that she is bored and indifferent. I no longer dance with her;

    to quote Chistopher Wren: "Commoditte, Firmnesse and Delight" are what I look for in a follower.
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Not really, actually. I'd say there are steps with set cadences, but different steps have different timings. Not everything in QS falls into the SSQQ pattern; not everything in tango is SSQQS. It does change.
  15. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Don't know- but leaders have the same issue. I think it comes more from a person's personality. There are some leaders I dance with who don't have perfect technique- but have great personalities- and it shows in how they interact with the follow and others who just seems completly disinterested. Same for follows, some may be practicing great technical skills, but look and feel cold and disinterested.

    Dancing is more than the sum of your technical skills, you have to put some of you in the dance or it looks dead, IMO.
  16. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Well- I can only say what I was taught. There is no truly set cadence for things. A rock step can be led double time or single time or whatever, for example- just depending on the leader and the music.

    The only early advice I had on timing was that double times should come in pairs and (logically) resolve in a slow so you don't end up on the upbeat (unless you are actually trying to get to the upbeat to dance on it for whatever reason).
  17. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I guess to me, feeling "empty and cold" would seem to be about the embrace. If the follower follows well and has a nice embrace, I'm going to enjoy the dance (unless I screw up). I guess I'm not clear on the input or contribution that you are referring to.
  18. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    Being in the now

    I have read this topic listed in workshops in the USA. It's not mysterious and yet it alludes many. It can be misinterpreted to mean a woman can do her own thing in tango, taking the lead when she wants to, or stopping the man in order to express herself. I don't agree based on my experience dancing with milongueros.

    A woman can feel empty and cold if she is going through the motions which are led but without transmitting any emotion because she is connected with her partner and the music. She can feel like she is somewhere else rather than in the arms of her partner. Technique doesn't make her a good dancer.

    The key is really knowing the music, where it is going, and being in the moment with your partner. Then what he feels and what you feel are the same. The music inspires you to dance. Two bodies move as one. You are giving yourselves to each other in the NOW. No one is thinking steps or technique. Only pure feeling expressed with the music. Your presence is your most important contribution to the partnership.
  19. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Wish I had my other book with me today, where the dance instructor with 6 decades of experience defines some of this, at least in my view.
    I've bolded the parts that I agree with wholeheartedly.
    I think there's more to it, though, and it can be expressed more definately, and in physical terms. I hoep to bring that book tomorrow.
  20. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    You guys give me a reality check on this. Is it helpful, or not?

    Resistance (1) To oppose - to keep from yeilding to.
    The natural tendency to "yield" to a "lead", ratehr than to set upa natural resistance, is a real problem for new dancers.
    Resistance is NOT pushing or pulling. It is matching "reaction" to the "action" of the lead.
    Matching the resistance, from one person's "center" to the other person's "center" is the ideal.

    There is lots more, but if this first definition isn't helpful... I can save myself lots of typing.

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