Tango Argentino > What makes AT fun for a beginning leader?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by salsera_alemana, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. After lurking for some time in the AT section and reading your threads about the incredible connection between two people in AT and after hearing a girlfriend saying the same thing, I finally convinced my husband that we take some AT classes (it is my Xmas gift). I have been wanting to do this for a long time but he always says that the music gets him depressed. He is salsero from the heart, he is Latino and he is a natural and good dancer. He also understands the music and the lyrics and if he can enjoy the dance, he will look great!

    That said and reading about the difficulty of AT, especially for leaders, maybe you can give me some hints and tips how to make it a more enjoyable experience for him so that maybe he will enjoy the dance. If I want him to continue after this class, I have to do what I can to make it an enjoyable experience for him.

    I love seeing tango and I love the sensuality and passion of it. I also enjoy the music.

    We are bloody beginners, have no clue about AT. We dance mostly salsa, cha cha and merengue.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. FTL

    FTL New Member

    IMHO, first and foremost would be love and appreciation of argentine tango music since most if not all revolves around that. Increased exposure to AT be it music, movies, workshops, group lessons or even a milonga will be a good start.

    It's nice to have a slow and passionate dance like AT if one is in a romantic mood, and latin dances if you feel playful.
  3. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I'm a huge believer in finding a good teacher who can help make things fun for the two of you.

    Realize that you have options. If you/he finds the old music depressing (which I could especially see, from what I've heard about the lyrics), keep listening and find new stuff to dance to. Maybe you'd like the more modern, nuevo style of dancing, and to dance to alternative music. Hell, my teacher and I have danced AT to salsa music before...because it was playing louder and drowning out our music. With AT, all things are possible. Or, maybe you like the old-fasioned, nostalgic traditional songs.

    Find time together listening to all different kinds of AT music, and find what you like. Talk with your teacher/prospective teachers, and make sure they understand and are willing to work with you. Not all teachers will.

    If he already knows salsa, and can lead it competently, I assume he can lead with his center. This should be invaluable. And, never underestimate the power of knowing how to find the beat.

    As a suggestion... Have a nice dinner. Enjoy a nice bottle of wine. Turn down the lights--or turn them off and light candles if you can. Put on some music that moves the two of you--preferably slow. Close your eyes, wrap your arms lightly around his neck, and have him wrap his arms around your waist. Stand tall--he is proud to be given the responsibility of taking care of his woman, you are proud to be woman he's chosen to take care of. Press into each other slightly, connect through your upper body, and just enjoy the moment. Voila--el abrazo. Now, have him just start moving with the music, and follow where his weight goes. Have him lead salsa steps/patterns, but adopt them to the rhythm and mood of the music. Improvise, if he's up to it. Follow his body. Voila--tango argentino.

    The lessons give you vocabulary, and will enhance your technique so things look prettier and feel better.

    But, fundamentally, AT is about music that moves you, security from/for your partner, connection, and improvisation.

    One word of caution, though. Be sure to blow out the candles before you find your way upstairs to your bedroom to finish off the evening. ;-)

    (Edit to add: If that's not a fun evening, even for a beginning leader, then I sure as heck don't know what is.)
  4. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Being able to dance with someone. I'm not a big fan of sitting out a lot. BUt you have each other, so you can have fun even if you can't do it quite right.
  5. We'll see. We have no choice here in Jacksonville, I found only one couple teaching AT and they are 1 hour drive from here. That's it! Any other place we lived before would have been better to learn AT. But, as you know: There is a time for everything! And I did not have him convinced until now. I really hope they are good teachers, that will make all the difference for him. He himself is a good salsa instructor and thus is very picky about lessons he takes.

    That is a good idea. I have been listening to the Buenos Aires tango radio station (2x4) to get a better idea of tango music and I noticed that there are different genres of tango. I really like the balada-type tangos with lyrics (e.g. the famous "El día que me quieras") and I assume that he will like those. I am pretty positive that there will be something he likes. He loves baladas and boleros (we have close to 1000 CDs of only Latin music of all types, he loves music!), he is a great leader, he understands (and plays) music, so timing and leading will not be an issue. I just have to find ways to make it fun and interesting for him.

    As I said, not an issue at all.

    Good idea. Yes, he is a good improviser and very creative.

    Sounds great to me. But I am not the problem here :) Yes, the music does move me!
  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Sounds like he'll have quite a leg up.

    If he teaches, then I'm sure he understands that dancing and learning take time. Hopefully, that should mitigate some frustration.

    If you're really concerned about it being fun, maybe ask to start with milonga. It uses the same bodies of steps, but is up-tempo, relatively easy in that it's 1 step per beat (basically), and very playful. Also, it's probably the one where you can use the most salsa/other steps.

    I know you're not the problem in this case. In speaking about "you" I meant a generic "you."

    And, if all else fails, there's always the boobs argument. As in, "Honey, if we dance close embrace AT, you get to spend the evening with my boobs against your chest." :) ;-)
  7. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    *Ahem* I need a glass of water...
  8. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Forget the water...go find your wife!

    Don't forget to blow out those candles!
  9. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    You betcha!
  10. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Dear German Salsa girl

    My advise is for your husband. Since you've said that he is also a seasoned salsa instructor, I would advice him to learn with an open mind, and treat AT as something totally new.

    Ask him to NOT compare it to Salsa as they are two very different things. It's like learning a new language. The best way to learn a foreign language is to be immersed in it, and think "IN" that language. Not think in engligh and translate it.

    I say this because when I first went down the AT path, I kept comparing AT to Ballroom. This just created a mental hindrance for me. Had I just opened my mind, and not compensated my initial incompetence with comparisons with ballroom, I would have gotten much farther and faster.

    I don't want anyone to make that mistake I made.
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    You may know that when you go to a tango milonga there are usually three broad catagories of songs that are played, usually in sets of three or four with a cortina between the sets. Some DJs will use a bit of salsa for the cortina.
    What we know as tango comprises the majority of the music played at a milonga. But, valses, and milongas are also played. Milonga is closest to salsa in spirit: upbeat and spirited. Valses usually have more energy than tangos, too. When you dance tango milonga or vals, you pretty much use the same steps, leads, and follows as you do in tango, but with a different feel. And, lots of people find it easier to dance faster, rather than slower.
    So, maybe look for beginning vals or milonga classes, or find a teacher that would be willing to start with either of those.
    When you go to a milonga, you can do your milonga and vals tandas. Meanwhile, maybe that other tango music will start seeping into your husband's soul. And perhaps he will learn that not all tangos are slow and dreary.
    Oh, and you could challenge him to find in the music places that have salsa or cha cha like rhythms, so that he can incorportate the steps he knows from those dances into what he learns about tango. Or, maybe you could find some yourself.
    Maybe he will learn to appreciate how free he can be in tango, where you aren't tied to a basic rhythm (no clave or percussion) and can dance to whichever part of the music you like, and will learn to appreciate the music for other reasons, too.
  12. Steve Pastor,
    Thank you for the explanation of the different music categories. I have seen milonga performances and I really liked it, it was so happy and joyful. I told him already that there is also joyful music.
    Is the Argentinian valse danced like a waltz or are the steps different, not normal waltz steps?

    Ampster, there is certainly a big truth to not comparing AT to anything one has learned before.

    Like I wrote before, I am not in the position here to choose among various instructors, I have to take the only ones accessible here or leave it. The course description also states milonga, that is good sign.

    I am already getting real excited and I am ready to learn all those sexy steps and moves. I (again) watched the movie "Assassination Tango" last night, I just love the way this girl Manuela dances.
  13. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    peaches, you've given me some inspiration for this weekend. i wonder if my SO would want to put some AT music on & give it a whirl at home. he's a salsero/hustle-boy who loves bolero, and we've never talked about AT... but i bet he'd get into it.

    wouldn't that be fun. i don't have much AT music at all. but nothing a little itunes couldn't fix. do you have a short list of faves you'd recommend for download? might be something salsera_alemana could use, as well!
  14. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Check out albums by Quintango, Sexteto Mayor, Orquista El Arranque,
  15. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    thx, ampster... will check it out

    have been finding some very cool electric tango stuff on itunes. wow -- just love that music. what a cool vibe.
  16. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    In that case, check out albums by Gotan Project, Bajofondo tango Club, and Narcotango :cool:
  17. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    me and my computer are blowing off steam here....... phew
  18. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    the first track on the Buena Vista Social Club makes for an excellent slow tango
  19. What about some tips on tangos that are not only instrumental, where you have a singer? I think my husband will like those better because they are like boleros in tango version, if you know what I mean?
  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    One thing to note on iTunes... Check for songs by Quintango, and also by "Quintago" i believe. Someone, somewhere, screwed that one up. It's the same group, just spelled incorrectly in their database. Maybe it's been fixed, maybe not.

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