Tango Argentino > Videos > What would you call it?

Discussion in 'Videos' started by jantango, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. ant

    ant Member

    The conclusion I have come to regarding visiting Argentinian teachers is that their teaching skills compared to European teachers comes a very poor second.

    I think this has a lot to do with their language skills and they have needed to find methods to teach to get around that especially in group classes. I think this has led to the evolution of teaching though sequences and the sequence then becomiong the focal point and not the technique that at one time it was supposed to bring out.

    For instance, I went to a milonga class during the week with a resident Argentian teacher. It was clear to me he had relevant matereial to teach, he could easily dance all this material, he knew the best music to play to bring out the points he wanted when teaching the material but other than to show the steps he no idea how to break things down and explain what was required and compared to most Argentinian teachers his language skills are good.

    Why should one have anything to do with the other?

    The other thing I have noticed is as your dancing improves and you get more confident you then attend more popular Milongas, many of which are outside your own area. Almost by definition these Milongas are busy and have crowded dance floors. People that may have been taught using OE and/or big movement very quickly have to adjust to dance in these places. Therefore what I am noticing, very much like Zoops has said above is that people may not start off in CE but they end up there.
  2. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Jan, I drew a parallel between the conservation of nature and the conservation of cultural things in my answer above. I once was a very enthusiastic environmentalist. But by now so much around us is changing so rapidly, that I came to the insight: if a species vanishes from our planet, another will rise. And so it is with social tango: You cannot keep a goner alive artificially. People will alway express themselves in social dancing, but maybe sometimes it will be the dance x y z ... The sourdough is alive and will bear new growth, but you can preserve a premade cake mixture only for some weeks in your fridge, if at all.

    Look, where are the refugees steams, today? That will be the cradle of the next genuine social "tango" in the future!

    I posted here about the Fado Bailado. A dance born in the brothels of Lisbon, a dance with so many parallels to tango: it vanished without a trace.

    Hamburg, my hometown at the river Elbe was one bridge to Argentina for east european people. I dont want to repeat my slogan again (hope you remember it), but you cannot understand social tango without social history. And history is a process.
  3. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    We can agree that social dancing is an important part of any culture. In these times when the only contact some people have with others is by cellphone or social networks, physical contact in a social environment is important. We need a daily supply of hugs. Tango provides it.

    Tango dancing has had its times of popularity during the past 70 years in Buenos Aires. It never died and never will because the music lives on.

    I can only speak from the perspective of living the past 12 years in Buenos Aires and noticing the changes.

    Fact: The codes are changing with the influx of tourism.
    Fact: The codes are disappearing from use along with those who practice them -- the milongueros.
    Fact: Tango as a performance dance is the focus among the younger generation of Argentines.
    Fact: The way tango is danced and taught in Buenos Aires is controlled by a small group of former stage professionals and teachers. They decide the future of young dancers.
  4. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    So tango is evolving within BA, but it's actually moving closer to it's roots in some areas outside BA. (from what I see)


    But if it is the Argentines themselves that are changing it, then whatever it becomes is still "Argentine Tango".

    I don't think this is an unusual phenomenon. Cultures change from within and people from outside the culture who become interested in it often become the "purists" of the original culture.
  5. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    FWIW, this definitely is not true of my experience, also possibly I haven't had any classes with the best European teachers (and I'm not sure who they might be). I will say that most (but not all) of the European teachers I've come across, were more into the Nuevo ways of doing things. That's the only difference that I've noticed.
  6. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I basically agree with the first 3 facts you posted, and don't know enough to have an opinion on the 4th. There's no doubt that society is changing (worldwide), and thus it only seem natural that some of the codes would change as a result of this. This is true for lots of things, and not just tango. Something I noticed as I get older, is that society seems to be changing a lot faster than I am (but I still do try to consider that not everything new is bad).


    What you say about Performance dancing is true in the US as well (and probably more so here). It is the main motivator, at first. However, it doesn't stay that way for everyone. For me, and I think a lot of people, the way (and more so the order of things) we learn is quite different from how it was done years past in BsAs. However, as Zoopsia pointed out, a lot of people (like me) at some point do get interested in the embrace, connection, milonguero style, or whatever you want to call that aspect of tango (that has nothing to do with fancy steps).

    However, I will point out that the way that type of dancing (embrace / connection emphasis) spreads is by people who are good at it, dancing with people who are new to it (i.e. not good at it). That's how I really got into that type of tango (with a follower who as really into the "surrender" aspect). I can't tell you how many times I've danced with someone, who during or after the tanda said, I've never really tried close embrace before, but I think I like it. So there's hope for the rest of us.

    However, to spread the type of dancing you love, it does require a change in the old habit of only dancing with people who are "good enough" (for lack of a better term. (i.e. people need to realize that some of the tango snobbery is counter productive, if you want to keep new people getting interested in the embrace).
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi dchester, lucky you, but I do second ant. I´m through with a lot of (argentine) teachers. Sink or swim is the common prevailing method. Exception indeed Neotango folks (Neo for me is post Naveiran tango), they make an effort to explain carefully, body structure, theory of movement, alignment of hip, back, neck and joints, balance, up to names of single muscles...
  8. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    So it seems we have a fundamental difference in what the US experience is vs the European experience.. maybe... Dchester and I are in the same region of the US and have some similar influences to our local scenes. (I think Peaches is also influenced by many of the same traveling teachers) I'd like to hear from the westies. There are some teachers go make it to both coasts, but I'm sure they get much more of some people than we do and vice versa (in addition to having teachers that are exclusive to each coast)
  10. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    No I don´t think so, I am only a more difficult and selectiv person, in other words, I was a hopless and untalented case. And that I came so far now belongs to my own credit.
  11. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Things that don't make sense:

    "Oh my god! It's so horrible! The old ways are dying!"

    Milongueros guard the secrets of their craft. Dancers who aren't good enough aren't danced with until they are. Taking lessons is bad--you learn by doing. Anyone who teaches has sold out and is just selling a bunch of steps to make money.

    What a bunch of snobbish bull crap. God forbid teachers make money...and travel to do it. God forbid teachers make money. God forbid anyone has a new idea. No, instead lets all get stuck in the past and refuse to change. Is it any wonder the old ways are dying with that sort of attitude?
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    What really doesn't make sense is the first points you made. The old ways are dying, yet the practitioners of the old ways guard their craft and won't pass it along by teaching or dancing with beginners who want to learn. The few who do try to spread it (like Tete and by extension Miller, Trenner, etc) are often not considered authentic by some of the purists.

    So to recap:
    If you are a true milonguero, you won't teach and you certainly won't leave BA

    If you teach, you aren't a true milonguero regardless of how you dance.

    If you leave BA you aren't a true milonguero

    If you want to become a milonguero, you have to live in BA and spend a lifetime observing (and maybe eventually getting to dance or converse with the old timers)

    If you can't move to BA, you're screwed.

    If you move to BA and end up with the "wrong" teachers (or any teachers) you're still screwed.

    So how, exactly ARE we supposed to keep the "true tango" alive? It seems to have specifically designed itself to be eradicated! It's the dance equivalent of the Shakers

    From Wiki: "The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, known as the Shakers or Shaking Quakers, is a religious sect originally thought to be a development of the Protestant Quakers.[1] Founded upon the teachings of Ann Lee, the group was known for their emphasis on social equality and rejection of sexual relations, which led to their precipitous decline in numbers after their heavy involvement in the running of orphanages was curtailed. With few surviving members, Shakers today are mostly known for their cultural contributions (especially style of music and furniture)."

    The disappearance of the Shakers is proof that successive generations are necessary for the continuation of a culture. The milonguero culture seems to have disdained younger generations in their way just as the Shakers did by forgoing procreation.

    Left on its own, the younger generation does what it needs to for its own survival without considering the survival of the elders. Without a younger generation at all, nothing survives.
  13. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    This is interesting indeed. In my limited experience, I'm more likely to get that level of detail from Argentines, than from Europeans (or American teachers, for that matter).

    I suppose one explanation is that the Argentine teachers I've studied from, could be from this "neotango / post Naveiran" group that you refer to. I've not paid much attention to that, but maybe it's something I need to consider.
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Huh. And I've gotten incredible instruction from Argentines, Brazilians, Turks, Americans, Europeans... Except for group classes, which admittedly had a different focus (since they were intended as drop-in classes before a milonga), I can't think of bad instruction that I've had. Perhaps because I just can't remember it (NYE, lots of drinking!), but also perhaps because I usually find something of value in just about every class I take. If you listen closely, you can pretty much always find good instruction. Even if sequences are being taught, you can usually tease out the technique behind them, or see what aspect of technique the sequence is being used to illustrate. But maybe that's just me.

    Bigger point...a good teacher is a good teacher, period. Where they're from is nothing more than coincidence.
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I don't think beginners can do this. I think it takes a fair amount of knowledge of technique before you can, as you say, tease it out when it isn't explicitly mentioned.

    That's why I think technique should be given much more emphasis early on than it usually is. Later people can learn step combinations because they will have a better foundation to figure out the relevant technique when they see the combinatino.
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure I even know any European teachers... is there someone I'm forgetting that's been around here?
  17. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I'll defer to you on this. I had a fair amount of private lessons before I ever took a group class. Not tons, mind you, but more than a rank beginner. (30-40 hours private instruction)

    Do you consider following as part of technique? Do you feel that heavy technique early on is equally important for both leaders and followers?
  18. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Without doing a lot searching here are a few I've had classes with. Gregory Nisnevich is one who was good, and he was touring the US teaching with Daniela Arcuri, who is Argentine. I also had classes with Detlef and Melina. Their thing was using counter body motion as a functional tool, rather than merely as a style preference. Also, I've had classes from Veronica Toumanova (sp) and Fausto Carpino, who were around a year or two ago.

    Those are the few who I can easily remember as being from Europe (there are a couple others, but I'm drawing a blank right now. I was up too late last night).
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Detlef and Melina I've heard of, but not the others (except Daniela of course). Now that I think about it, Michael Nadochi (who partners with Angelas Chanaha) is European, but I only had a group class with him.. not any personal instruction.
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think I would phrase it the other way... technique is a part of following. THe technique of following.

    yes, I think it is important for both leaders and followers.

    I don't know how you would define "heavy technique". More than what usually gets mentioned would be a good thing. Whether that counts as being heavy on technique, I don't know. I do think one can't drill it in so much that it leaves people feeling hopeless. You can't spend a whole lesson or class saying "No, no, no" or "I've told you over and over to fix that issue!". There has to be FUN involved somewhere. But technique appropriate for the dancer's level should be part of every lesson. Underlying concepts and technique should accompany teaching of any steps or patterns.

    However, you can't teach technique to statuary. You do have to get people MOVING. So blathering on about technique is meaningless without movement to apply it to.

    At least that's MY philosophy of teaching, but I'll be the first to admit, I work better in privates or small groups than a very large class. My partner was better at large groups. He's more of a motivator who gets people excited and energized. I'm more of an empathizer who relates to individuals and their specific struggles. Both of us try to get people having FUN in a lesson.

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