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

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

  1. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Oh, I agree- though doing a gancho without disrupting the lead is not something i have seen very often. I am all for followers doing whatever they want if they don't disrupt the lead, and i am trying very hard to be good about recognizing when a follower "asks" for some space for something that will disrupt the lead. The scariest embellishment i ever experienced was a follower who threw herself into a voleo when i really, really didn't expect it. I only almost lost my balance, and we only almost went to the ground, but it was certainly very memorable. Gssh.
  2. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    So going back to the original nature of the post:

    For a beginner, what makes it fun (at least for me) is this:

    The lead initiates an action. He waits for the follow to accept. He gives her time to execute her counter-action in harmony with his. The pattern repeats, and morphs into a dance of ask, and accept. Lead and follow.

    It's much like an interpretation or parallel for life itself. You follow because you trust your leader. You lead because you respect your follower, and trust that you both move in harmony. It's talking without saying, invitation and acceptance, exploration and discovery. It's intimate but not lewd. It's two being as one. One body four legs.

    Heavy, but cool :cool:
  3. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Err... I don't think so, sorry. As described, there's the "Basic 8", which is a useful teaching pattern, but I don't think this is commonly danced as a pattern in social dancing.

    "Patterns" are generally seen as bad, I think, presumably because they can lead to anticipation, which leads to anger, which leads to the Dark Side, or something.

    Argentinean Tango is the most lead-and-follow dance I know of. So yes, the leader needs to lead :)

    But the follower can of course input into the dance conversation, in terms of embellishments, decorations and interpretations, along with the standard feedback that should be in any partner dance.

    Oh yes...
  4. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Embrace the Dark Side

    (it will improve your tango!)
  5. Hola tangueros y tanguera,

    I would like to give you an update on my/our AT.

    We have had 2 lessons now and learned: the 5 and 8 basic steps (don't know what the correct tech term is but you know what I mean), forward and backward ochos, a combination of backward and forward ochos and the molinete.

    Me: I love it! I turn on the tango station on batanga every evening while I cook dinner, put my dance shoes on and practice my steps in the kitchen. the radiotango station does not seem to be working anymore, at least when trying to tune into it all I get is a beeping or shreaking sound.

    My husband: He has no problem learning his steps and leading. However, he still complains about not liking the music, rolls his eyes when he walks into the kitchen when I listen to tango music.

    The first day he complained all the way to the lesson (over an hour) that it is too far "for this" and this will be the first and last time he will go there. I gave him all the facts before I signed up for the class and was surprised that he agreed because we have a good hour to drive, there are no AT classes in our city. Apparently, he did not really listen to what I said, hehe.

    So, after the first lesson at least he did not say anything anymore about not returning. Actually I had a feeling that he liked it although he would never admit that (how could he after all those complaints?). At least he liked the lesson, I believe, and he likes to learn new dance steps. However, I know he still does not like the music. So I hope he will develop some kind of liking for it, if not I know we will probably take only this class and that is it. That would be too bad because I do really enjoy it and want more!!!
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for the update.
    I think you're on to something there with the comment that he can't admit he likes it after all the complaining. Pay more attention to what he does, rather than what he says. I think some of us wrote this before, and you already know, that it takes a while to develop a taste for new things. Especially something that is as foreign, literally, as Argentine Tango.
    Maybe next time he complains about it being "too far" you could say something like, "Yeah, it is kind of far. But I really like it. And I really appreciate the fact that you are doing this with me. You kind of like learning the new steps, no?"

    When I was married a long time ago, my ex would "drag" me to the symphony, chamber music recitals, etc, and I would make all sorts of goofy comments. That was my way of dealing with the fact that it was something that was so unlike what I had grown up with, that I didn't quite know what to make of the whole thing.
    I'll be going to the opera next Saturday, all by myself. So, sometimes, even guys can change!
  7. Steve_Pastor,

    Thanks for the encouragement and advice.

    You have a good point there: Pay attention to what he does instead of what he says. I have the impression that he has a bit of fun in the class although he says he is bored. He does not want to admit that it is not all that bad. If he did not like it at all he would have complained more during the week and would not have gone a second time, I know that for a fact.

    I know he can get into this dance if he can develop a liking for the music. Actually, I do only partly understand why because many tango argentino songs are not so different from boleros (which he likes!), boleros have very sentimental lyrics sometimes and are "more depressing" than certain tango songs. Some boleristas can really whine :). I love boleros but some are even too much for my taste.
  8. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Glad to hear your update!

    Regarding the music: It took me A WHILE to get used to music. Especially the classical/traditional old tango music. My epiphany happened was when I was able to read AND DANCE to the changes in rhythm. From then on, it's now my preference.

    Regarding Radio Tango: Keep trying it. That station goes down every now and then for maintenance for a few days. Its working again.

    Regarding driving to classes/milongas: My wife and I routinely drive a distance to regularly attend. Its just a matter of enjoying it enough to make it happen.
  9. Ampster,

    Glad to hear that for some people it takes a while to get into the music so there is a bit of hope here. It did not take me long and I like it more and more. I am still not getting the hang of Piazzola, too shrill, but there are plenty of other songs that are highly enjoyable for me as a fan of Latin music.

    Driving distance: My husband and I have been driving long distances for good live salsa concerts for years. His point was: Well, he would understand driving so far for a good salsa concert but not to take a class (add: in something that he is not very fond of yet).
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the update. Not sure how I missed it, earlier.

    About the music...I'll echo what Ampster said. I didn't care for it at first, either. It wasn't until I got into the dance enough to be able to enjoy the old-timey, old-fashioned romance of it that I first liked it. (Not when I started doing it decently, mind you. But when I was able to close my eyes and lose myself in the absurdly simple steps I was being taught.) But at first it drove me nuts. Then i came home from Argentina, and all I listened to for months was traditional tango music, as a way of extending the magic of the trip. After a few months of literally listening to nothing else, I discovered that I actually liked it.

    As for Piazzolla, yeah, I found it harder to get into. For me, though, I've got so many versions of stuff that it's only now that I'm realizing what all is Piazzolla. For most of it, I don't even have old versions. So, I've gotten to know and like the new stuff, and now liking the originals is easier.

    As for the distance thing...I don't know what to say. I drive 70 miles one way for lessons and dancing. Maybe just keep emphasizing how much it means to you??? My gut feeling is that At takes longer for guys to get decent at, compared with other dances, so maybe just keep counseling patience...

    Or, since music seems to be the biggest hang-up, maybe he can choose some music that he likes to be able to use in lessons? (As in, eliminate his reasons for disliking the dance if at all possible.)
  11. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Me too. To add to that, In my experience, I actually REALLY started liking it when I could express my musicality by listening to and interpreting the constantly changing beat and rhythm. This is true of the traditional arrangements.

    The nuevo/neo arrangements, I find to be easy.Thay have a consistent beat and rhythm.

    ...and I though I was bad :cool:

    Yes, definitely! Myself included. In my case, the steps were easy, its internalizing the music and making it intrinsic to the delivery of the movements that was hard. :confused:

    This was what made leading REALLY fun for me as a beginning leader. Being able to vary my movements and getting my follower to go in synch, based on the rhythm of what is playing.

    AT really, really, really, really(...did I say really?) takes so much more patience in relation all the other social dances. The patience is greatly rewarded though by having such a rich Tango experience.

    It's that one "thing" here that we describe as "That Tango moment."
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Interesting. I find the old stuff to be easier. With the new stuff there are so many layers of sound--do you follow the steady beat, or the syncopated thingy in there, or they melody, or play with the lyrics?

    Fortunately for me, though, I'm just a follower so a lot of the decision (at my level) is taken out of my hands.

    These things happen when you live in the boonies.

    It seems as though a lot of gents never get to that point. I know of some very good--technically--leaders who never get to varying the dance according to the music. It's sad, and very frustrating.

    But...I heartily thank them, because I like not having that responsibility.
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "Interesting. I find the old stuff to be easier. With the new stuff there are so many layers of sound--do you follow the steady beat, or the syncopated thingy in there, or they melody, or play with the lyrics?"
    My first significant exposure to AT was Sally Potter's "The Tango Lesson". [SIZE=-1]Later I bought "Soul of the Tango: Yo-Yo Ma plays the music of Astor Piazzolla". I guess no one told me you couldn't dance to that stuff. If they did I wouldn't have believed them, because there they were dancing to it in the film.[/SIZE]
    Just yesterday I was interpreting the shifting intensity of some thing or other with a woman who had only had two lessons. She got some of it, and some of it baffled her. Like when the music rose, and just sort of suspended there.
    I guess you could say I was "dancing over her head". But you know what? Maybe, just maybe, she'll think, "hey, we aren't just doing steps".
    I dance to lots of simple music, which is good. But I love a challenge, too. And I love the freedom of being able to be in any part of the music.
    For the women I would would say, once you know the music well enough, and have good enough technique, you can start to do things like... "Here comes a slow part, and I really love pausing there. Hey, Bud, I'm increasing the resistance in my walk right here. Get it? I'd like to pause here when the music does."
    Non verbal communication.
  14. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    inspiring words; this aspect of musicality is hard to teach. How I dance is pretty much instinctive. I like slow pieces very much. I recommend La Cholulo from the Waking Life soundtrack because it has everything; slow movements; fast; a nice driving beat, pauses. I thing its becoming my theme tune.

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