Tango Argentino > What's Oscar's embrace in this video?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Mario7, May 4, 2008.

  1. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    Oscar Casas + Annarosa Cappelletti are dancing a slow tango in this video
    and so I think that it's actually the way the couple would dance to this song.


    What interests me here is Oscar's embrace and the fact that there appears
    to be lots of leg/foot room to do whatever comes to mind, for him.
    Could someone (who is certain) name his style of embrace? I am a bit confused between the differences of; Close-embrace, Abrazo-Milonguero, "V" embrace, Apilado, half open, half closed, etc., all in the close embrace arena.
    When I had my practice session with a very advanced follow, she insisted that my close embrace come straight onto her..shoulders parallel with some small weight sharing at the sternum. The problem was that I just couldn't seem to step outside and walk around the embrace/ I was stuck parallel footed, straight on and it felt like a straight jacket.
    O.K. I'm not sure where I'm going with this..it's just that; I want the connection, more than anything else except musicality, but I also want a
    feeling of freedom and room to move..any and all comments are gratefully sought..I just hope that we can be in agreement on the exact naming of the embrace that Oscar is using and do you think that it is what will give me what I'm looking for?
    I still have no one to practice with and the live trio, who played at the milongas here, has gone to Europe. So, I'm stuck with only YouTube to study but I will be in Phila. at the end of may...like landing in Tango heaven!:cool:
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    It looks to me that what they're doing is a pretty straightforward salon-style embrace. Or, depending on which terminology you want to use, a V-embrace, each on their own axis.

    The way I think of it is this:
    • Milonguero--very compact, shoulders parallel, the most traditional
    • Apilado--a subset of milonguero where neither dancer is on their own axis but are, instead, sharing weight
    • Salon--seemingly the most common, each dancer firmly on their own axis, a V-embrace when in closed; can be done in open, but the moves and steps are still very traditional
    • Nuevo--nontraditional, generally open embrace, with moves incorporated which take the leader and/or follower off their axis, a lot of emphasis on counter-balancing one another
    There's also other styles like canyengue and Villa Urquiza (sp?) which I really don't know much about.

    The kind of interesting thing to me is that these terms seem to describe both the embrace and the style of the dance.
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "The problem was that I just couldn't seem to step outside and walk around the embrace/ I was stuck parallel footed, straight on and it felt like a straight jacket."

    The key to "crossed feet" whether in apilado, or any embrace, is that you and your partner are both rotating your torsos to face each other. In other embraces you can get by without doing this. In apilado it is crucial that you do this. In the other embraces you can feel that the connection has changed / been weakened, but you can still keep dancing.
    So, if you move to the left of the woman (that would put her on your right). you should rotate you upper body to your right. If she rotates her upper body to face you, you can maintain the chest to chest connection.
    If have found it helpful at times to practice turning my upper body back and forth, slowly, without a partner.
    When you get good at this, you can vary the amount of twist in your upper body to move your partner, and her legs of course, closer, to yours. The woman, too, can use this to more or less lead the man to step "into" her when she wants. Without the "tight" connection, however, you can't go there as easily.
    Then there is the technique of simply rotating your torso to lead steps or weight changes, changing from parallel to "crossed", and vice versa.
  4. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Mario, if he would close his shirt .... ;-)
    Its ordinary salon-style danced in a V-frame (right to left cheak). Oscar does not look very elegant but (for followers) he will feel good. Check out for Gustavo Vidal on youtube to compare.

  5. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    Thank you very much for your kind replies...please, bear with me, I'm almost there!
    ..how would you call/describe this embrace used by Alberto Dassieu in this dance??
    This is a Vals..they are not facing the same direction..they still seem to have plenty of leg/foot room although I'm guessing that this is not a "V" embrace..[also, Oscar (above) is reputed to be a Milonguero but a "V" embrace sounds like it's more for show tango?]..just guessing.. Alberto is Milonguero too..his embrace looks more so..imo


    Lastly, here is a beautiful dance by Nene y Maria..both milongueros..and the embrace...more straight on??
    I would love to hear them all compared..mil gracias.
    Different song a slo tango instead of a Vals..but similar embrace to Alberto's?
  6. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Mario, this is probably not going to help you one bit, but I have to say it. I understand that your question is an honest one, and that you are seriously trying to learn. I am not making light of your concerns, but all of this talk about what embrace is, and which one goes here or there is a bunch of B***S***.

    Peaches' answer, though, I believe a wee juxtaposed (we can talk of that later),
    is an OK answer to how most non-Argentines want to think of the embrace.

    You need to understand a couple of basic things. 1- Every teacher is going to have their own sense of what is right. Many teachers are going to tell you that you must do it this way or that way. I always tell students that this is what works for me, and why, and perhaps it will be different for you (something that I "know" many top Argentine teachers say as well). 2- In Argentina, they do not distinguish so much between the embraces. Until the popularity spread of AT about 18 years ago, they didn't pay much attention to the differences between styles. They did exist. The styles have always been different, but they all were simply just tango.

    It wasn't until the American and Euro social and ballroom dancers ventured into AT that the traditional breaking down of nuances became an issue. Social and BR dancers were/are accustomed to learning by syllabi; listing dance by steps, patterns, figures, and techniques, all taught in nicely organized lessons of one hour each. It was/is inevitable that AT be put into the system. Now, this doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's just the way it is, and will, probably, always be.

    However, please know that there is so much more to dance. Until the worldwide exposure to AT, the Argentines knew this, and tango was simply their social dance...not this overly technical place your sternum 6" to the right of his/her left ventricle in line with the inseam of the pant as it matches up with the label in the collar of the ....
    *very loud scream*

    You can dance. I know that because of your interest and dedication to learning. When taking lessons, even if it is one of mine, forget this nonsense, and learn to feel what feels right in order to achieve that which needs to be done. Of course, there will be proper vs improper techniques...that is to say, a more correct way to accomplish what needs to be danced. But, all of this talk of you must do this because it means this style or that is hogwash and marketing, and only serves one purpose...to give us something to teach that makes us feel unique, important, or different.

    Me, ...I just teach dance. If it is the same as someone else...great. If it is different than the next teacher...great. I have had too many classes from too many great teachers who have said to me, "Don't do what I do. Take what I teach, and make it work for you, because that is when you are going to find what AT means to you".
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Re: vids

    Dear Mario7,
    a milonguero does not inevitably dance milonguero-style ! Milonguero-style is a new artificial term. It was invented by some teachers in the succsession of Tete to have an own brand, to be recognized distingtivly and to suggest, that it deals with the original way of dancing tango. Other teachers which definitly dance milonguero style would call their style club or solon, for the same reasons.
    I think it is very important to change the abrazo and the angle etc according to the music style or period of formation. Some dancers change the embrace within a piece, which is called liquido, then.

    At least (to my mind) all vids refer to a kind of milonguero-style: Alberto with canyengue-like knees, right to right cheek, but with a salon-like V-frame angle . Nene dances more upright more elegant, but the couple shares the same axis, as well.

  8. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Mario- Here is the most milonguero embrace I could find on youtube offhand. This one is the most parallel (no difference in distance on the left or right side of the torso connection, unlike a "v" embrace) and the dancers do mostly remain firmly connected in the abdomenal area, which I also don't find in a "v" style embrace, but as people have said, it is good to learn how to do what you need to to accomplish what you are trying to dance and there are times when you may want that. I, however, have found this fully square on style to feel the most "connected", to me, and I think its a good thing to know what is possible to do in all the different embraces so you can choose for your mood, music and partner what will fit the situation your are dancing in best but I certainly wouldn't neglect this style for the times when you are looking for really nice physical connection.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4CebSBIsTU (best lighting!)

  9. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    This (above) is some of the best advice I've seen.

    Mario, to supplement what has been already said, there are several ways this can be accomplished.

    1) V-embrace - It's a-symmetrical, which makes going outside left easier, but makes going outside right more difficult.
    2) Disassociation - Rotating you chest (and above) to the right so that the follower shifts over to the right, which makes room on the left.
    3) Apilodo embrace - Using more lean (or weight sharing) to create space.

    Like has been already said, you have to experiment (at practica) to find out what works best for you (and of course, your follower).
  10. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    What a nice mixture of helpful/insightful comments..they give me a much better all-around idea/philosophy of how to approach the embrace. I feel that I have a much clearer picture of where/how I'm going now...mil gracias everyone!..
    ps. from what little I know/experienced, I am aiming for the Shastro hold...hee hee, true!
  11. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    It's a standard "Close embrace."

    As you develop and progress with your skill (be patient), you'll find that your close embrace changes, modifies, and varies to compensate for what you are trying to do.

    There is no set standard for what these close embraces are. They are either "Open embrace" (i.e. No chest contact), or "Close embrace" (contact with chest somewhere). They are dynamic, fluid, and ever changing depending on the mood, music, and the direction you are taking it.

    Don't try to define it, dance it.
  12. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    This, and the post by dchester, support exactly what I posted. So many of us do not know that these terms are new, made up, and contrived to fit today's learning/teaching market. I mean, we all use the term, but how many of us know that there isn't such a thing as cross-feet system?

    Again, ...reread my earlier post, ...don't get so hung up on the terminolgies or what is "supposed" to be the "only" way to dance a particular style. just dance what is comfortable to the movement/s for you and your partner.
  13. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    While I whole-heartedly agree with the advice to "just dance it, don't define it" (and follow that advice, myself), there is a certain untility to be had from the shorthand of broad categories of characteristics. It can help make discussion easier, provide a useful frame of reference, and all sorts of things. Aside from a Western desire/need to classify everything under the sun, I think it probably stems from some usefulness.

    That said...yeah... Personally, the actual dancing tends to muddle whatever "style" is there, in the interests of comfort and function.
  14. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Definitely some usefulness attributes to the classification.

    In my own experience, I have found it helps me to understand what and what is not possible in certain kinds of embrace to know that there are different kinds. In my experience so far, a milonguro embrace doesn't feel the same (ie- offer the same kind of connection) as a a salon style "v" and doesn't necessarily accomplish the same things either. Neither one is right or wrong or the "only way" but each embrace has a strong point and a weak point and also even a time and place where it can be used to best advantage, unless the place you are dancing always has tons of floor space and so all embraces are possible and useful at all times.

    I find I prefer the flat on milonguro style when I want to really be connected strongly and just "zone" out to the music or there is very limited space for dancing and...and of course, the extensive connection means that some vocabulary goes away since disassociation is limited. (note Shastro and other milonguero style dancers bread and butter vocabulary of rock turn to the left, rock turn to the right, and ocho cortado along with lazy ochos.)

    Salon "v" brings back a lot of the torsion possibilites and increases the possible vocabulary you can use in a dance, but so far, I haven't found the connection between the partners to be like that of the flat on style. So again ,strong points and weak points.

    With open embrace, you've got all the possibilites and vocabulary, but some people dislike the type of connection in open. I don't, it's just different...and the huge variety of freedom of dance vocabulary is its strong point.
  15. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    And, I agree with this. My contest is with the "this hold belongs to this style, and that hold means it has to be X style BS...." I suspect what might happen here is what I've seen hundreds of times in many genres...paralysis by analysis.
  16. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    For what it's worth, I'll also explain a little more about the embrace as I currently understand it. I don't feel at all like having different names for them is overly analytic. It is quite useful.

    I mentioned in another post that if I can get 2 or more masters to have the same opinion on something, I tend to sit up and take notice.

    I have now had 3 masters independantly confirm that the flat on style embrace is different and has different qualities of little to no dissociation as opposed to the "v'" embrace. So at this point I don't feel like I can say that any old embrace is the same as any other. None of them tried to tell me at all that one was correct and one wasn't (though they all have their preference), or that using one or the other meant you were dancing a certain style (you can certainly do what seems to be the basic milonguro vocabulary in a "v" embrace). For me, they have different qualities and usefulness that stem from their strong points and weak points.

    As one master explained it in a lesson I had with him, if he's offereing me his right shoulder he's indicating a preference for a salon style embrace, and so this is going to imply certian things to me about the possibilites I can expect as opposed to a flat on style where I'll be expecting little or no dissociation and so a smaller vocabulary of elements that will be used, not because that's what allowed or correct for the flat on style, but because that embrace has limitations with respect to vocabulary since the point of it is to maintain the intense connection.

    And if you are in a crowded room and you go in to a salon embrace, allowing for the possibility of dissociation and all the elements that need it to work well, but you can't use hardly any of them because its crowded, well, why not go for maximum connection instead in a flat on embrace if all you'll be doing anyway in "v" at that point is ocho cortado, turn to the left and right becasue there's no room for anything else?

    So for me, it's more about making a workable choice for the moment and knowing what I can expect qualitatively from one embrace versus another based on their strengths and weaknesses than about right or wrong.
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