Tango Argentino > Where's the BEEF?? or is it LEAD??

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Mario7, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    A recent post by a New Age Tango apologist;
    ""Everything about nuevo is lead. That is why I do insist that, within the right crowd, i.e. those who get the joke, nuevo _is_ social tango. No patterns, no choreography, no step sequences, etc. Every step, every motion, etc is led. And if I _do_ relax my lead, allowing the follow to give voice to her wishes as well, we both follow, we both lead, we really have a conversation, and none is rehearsed.""
    Yeah right:rolleyes:
    Please let me add my experience to the above myth; I took 30 classes from a famous Argentine Nuevo instructor/performer. I was told that I would learn the 'structure of tango'...what I got was the basic 8 for several classes and then when I graduated to the next level, I got (20 classes) a chorreography of the giro with sacadas. Of course no one mentioned the "C" word, we were just expected to memorize our steps without forgetting any...like three sacadas to each complete revolution of the giro... these classes were high energy and hard work (1 1/2hrs)...counting to the traditional tango..one thru eight beats...nothing relaxed and frequent criticizm from the instructor for working on these sequences sooo long and not yet 'getting' them. :cry:
    (cont. in next post)
  2. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    At one point, half way thru the classes, I asked, but when do we get taught the embrace??? the answer: you HAVE the embrace!..:confused:..OH, I thought that this was another series of open hold classes and we would get an embrace later...of course an embrace never came in any series of classes that I ever took...only in a workshop specified for that. Anyway, after 30 classes I had to leave for several months and when I came back this is what I found:...those who were taking at least two classes a week (women) and who could dance a decent close embrace before the classes, had their close embrace and close embrace walk diminished to the degree of almost a complete destruction of it...they could NOT dance close embrace well. They stumbled and were torpid and clueless...those who didn't dance close embrace well before the classes, were like a pile of bricks on the dancefloor...I would ask, "are you sure you want to do this style of dance?"...they replied; "Oh Yes, please! I need to learn it.".... oh well.:-?
  3. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    OK...here's my take on; ""Every step, every motion, etc is led. And if I _do_ relax my lead, allowing the follow to give voice to her wishes as well, we both follow, we both lead, we really have a conversation, and none is rehearsed.""
    If I nod my head to the right and sort of sway that way, you do a left pivot and start a giro around me...I will sacada your trailing leg and then we will do the which-a-ma-callit where I then sacada your right leg, etc. etc.... if you miss my (LEAD) and do something else, then we may have a moment of confusion until I figure out that there isn't any lead and you are signaling (LEAD) me that you'ld rather do a series of back ochos and then I will suggest by swaying my shoulders to the left that you....but if you....then I will..... and on and on.... this 'conversation':friend: is what I see these well tutored couples doing on the dance floor as they stare down at each others feet and with a sheepish look on their faces, stumble around with 'expressive' swinging NUEVO moves...ugh! WHERE"S THE BEEF? or is it Lead??:-?:-?:-?
  4. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I confess, I really have no idea what people mean by Nuevo Tango. Is there a video, or a simple definition?
  5. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    That would be me. And it is true that _everything_ is led. One of the difficulties is that the techniques are much more inclusive than are generally taught for close embrace. So yes, one must master all the close embrace techniques. But you add to these techniques a lot of physics. Notions of energy, inertia and momentum which one conveys to the follow. And I don't mean the kind of energy commonly taught for CE. Oh yes, that is included. But it goes way beyond that.

    One problem with much of the energy moves is that they are _very_ demanding on the follower's technique, much more so than close embrace in my opinion.

    If you want, pick something & I'll explain how I lead it. I might suggest colgadas or linear boleos if you wish.

    Sounds like AA? I know he teaches technique that way. It doesn't mean that, once you have established the technique, you don't lead everything. I have danced a fair amount with his wife/partner and everything I lead works. And I have never(!) worked through any choreography with her - just danced.
  6. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    OK, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on close embrace colgadas (IMO, linear boleos have little to no place in social dancing, due to injury concerns)
  7. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    Mario - These complaints about lead techniques that you don't understand, but are truly lead techniques and not "signals" (nodding my head to the right...) don't serve you well. You could instead ask me how I might lead something rather than simply claim that I don't lead it. And although you may think some of the things are ugly and not want to do them, that is a matter of taste, not a reflection on the lead or lack thereof.

    In this spirit, I'll start with leg things. The general lead-follow principle is physics - my follower's free leg obeys Newton's laws. Now she may amp them up or down, but she responds to the physics of the situation. For example, a rotational back boleo. What follows assumes that my follower is on her right leg and her left leg is free.

    There are (at least) two entirely different ways I can lead this. The first way relies on momentum. I can rotate my follower CCW and then stop the rotation. Her free leg continues (momentum) and creates the boleo. This is perhaps the most common technique. Note that it projects the followers free leg outside the established dance frame and is therefore should not be done on a crowded floor.
    But a second way is that I rotate her CW and her free leg remains behind, creating the back boleo. This relies on the idea that the free leg has inertia and lags the motion of her upper body. What is especially (!!) wonderful about this second approach is that the follower's leg never leaves our dance frame and therefore works very well in a crowded situation.

    Your turn. Suggest something that you see danced that you don't think is really led, and I'll explain how I would lead it socially - i.e. so that a follower with whom I've never danced, but one who has adequate technique, could easily follow it.
  8. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    Colgadas? - no problem.

    First, what do you mean close embrace? Is a pasada permitted?? That does generally break full front-to-front body contact.

    I'll do this two ways. In simplest form, this is nothing more than a pasada in which the follow is led to lean out during the time she is passing over my foot.

    If you don't accept pasadas in social dance, then do this. Lead a back ocho, say follower steps back into the ocho with her left foot. She must be able to dance with torsion (see my avatar!) so that you can lead her ocho to be slightly over rotated. Thus you still maintain upper body contact. Place your left foot by her left (so her foot will not 'kick out'), and lead her to collect her right foot so that it is now positioned with her right heel against your left foot. This gives you space to step forward across her body (in front) with your right foot. Although you have not separated, she is leaning away from you and if you let go, she falls. Colgada.
  9. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    I will disagree. A linear boleo need occupy no more space than an ocho. The idea that the follow is required to kick for the ceiling is outlandish. In a crowded situation, the linear boleo might move her foot only a few inches. The follow has responsibilities for how she reacts to the lead indication and should have enough sense not to kick her neighbors. If that is what she wants to do, I don't want to dance with her!
  10. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    dchester - The comment I originally made in this message was stupid, but I don't know how to delete it entirely. So now it is even stupider :roll:
  11. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure where you get off. It is very very real. Absolutely not a myth.

    OK, so you had a bad experience with one bad teacher. Not all good dancers are good teachers. Or, another possibility, the choreo was used as a backdrop for teaching technique. I don't know, because I obviously wasn't there, but that is a frequent (and valid, IMO) approach to teaching. If you're going to practice, say, exchanges of weight and going off axis you've gotta practice it with something.

    Nuevo is a very social style. It does not have to be big. It does not have to be disruptive. It does not have to be stationary. It is, and I cannot stress this enough (even though I have the distinct feeling I could scream this from the rooftops until I was blue in the face, and those who don't want to "get it" won't get it)...ENTIRELY LED. It is not, as you seem to think:
    There is no "signalling" involved. Things are led. The man leads the woman, just as in close embrace/apilado/salon/whatever you want to call it, by controlling her axis, her rotation, her direction of travel, and her free leg. No more, no less.

    Might I suggest you open you mind, take private lessons with a GOOD nuevo-style teacher, and learn and understand this technique (which really isn't anything new and earth-shattering--it's an extension of the same techniques used in close embrace, applied in different ways) before criticising it. Not liking it is one thing. Criticising without a clue is quite another.

    And equating one teacher, and one series of classes, to the entirety of the style is yet another thing.
  12. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    I always got the impression that Nuevo Tango originated somewhat around the 1990 from the following idea: “OK, now we have danced all steps used so far. Lets take them apart into their elements and see if we can rearrange them into something new” So people like Naveira and Salas started to look for unconventional ways to combine Tango moves and interpret the music. While this is an interesting challenge, their is one difficulty: You better have a good grasp on those elements so you know what you are doing. Those people “inventing” nuevo already hat the experience of a good traditional lead. As more newbies were intrigued by Tango Nuevo, they didn’t want to take the detour of learning traditional Tango just to to dance something different at the end. To live up the expectation of those customers teachers of Nuevo have to build some kind of bride from level zero to those Nuevo figures, which are mostly situated on a more advanced level, without appearing to be traditional. Obviously, some master this better than others.

    For “shady” teachers it is much easier to hide among the Nuevo crowed, since most dancers have already a pretty defined image of traditional dancing and teaching in their head - among the Nuevo crowd mostly anything goes: their teaching is not bad just new. The same goes for dancer unwilling to work on their skills, their dancing is not bad, just their individual new style.

    I would not blame that on the Nuevo style. Once we got the Post-Nuevo-Style - whenever and whatever that will be – those people will move on.
  13. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    This has always been my understanding of how Nuevo got started, as well as how I think of it in the pantheon of AT styles. Old concepts, stretched and applied differently, creating a new look.
  14. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    One evening, over dinner and drinks with one of the "originators" of Nuevo Tango, this is almost precisely what he said. They were just trying to really understand the structure of tango via analysis, not trying to invent a lot of new unrelated stuff. The results of the analysis lead to the realization that, within the established tango, there were alternatives that were not commonly danced. He made no claims that they "invented" anything.
  15. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    In my opinion the traditional combinations of those elements are more self-evident, that’s why they evolved more or less by themselves through the years. Many Nuevo elements seem to be more unusual, as some people had to keep on looking and experimenting for them to create something unusual on purpose.

    I would say, that there is still a big gap of Nuevo Dancing at beginner’s level, as the initial steps were designed by experts for experts. To improvise full 3 minutes of dance is a wonderful experience, but quite hard for somebody having had lets say 10 classes of tango, maybe too hard.

    Sorry about the “inventing”. I was lacking a better word, my English is a little slow for a real time discussion.
  16. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    No need to apologize. Your English is waaaaay better than my high school German - which I have by now nearly entirely forgotten.
  17. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    First of all, I'm not saying that I had an experience with a 'bad' teacher, not at all....I thought that the classes were a very challenging physical experience and the teachers worked hard. What I am saying is that which you ask "were do you get off?" Well, I got off after 30 classes and my observations of the students who took 1 year's worth of classes.:doh: That yes the Nuevo 'Lead' is a myth and studying Nuevo will destroy a beginner's (2yrs dancer) close embrace dancing. Nuevo students are NOT taught C.E. first, at least not to any extent that I would call proficient...and that is 'any' extent...basic 8 and on to complex giros...oh and all done in open hold, too. ...barf. Hey, if someone takes offense at my displeasure with this style, sorry but that's how I feel about it...it's a different dance.
    I put it out here because I believe that what I posted is true. However, I will keep an open mind thru this thread, at least. If I change my mind, I'll let you know. Or, should I just keep my mouth shut maybe??:confused: Is that what you mean?
  18. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    No, I don't mean keep your mouth shut. And I don't mean you have to change your mind about the inferiority of nuevo versus close embrace apilado. I mean that you should try to gain some understanding and perspective.

    You don't have much to go on. One series of 30 group classes. Dancing with dancers with one year of experience. Well, if they've had one year of nothing but group classes, perhaps not that surprising. You talked about having to learn complex sequences, but you mentioned little to nothing abut the technique. OK, so there was a sequence. So what? Was it actually a "step monster" class, or was the sequence used as a foundation for teaching? Big difference.

    And I also mean...you are completely and utterly wrong when you say that nuevo is about signals instead of leading. If that is what you are thinking...you.are.wrong. End of story. There is not much else to discuss. That shows, more than anything else, that you do NOT have any understanding of what nuevo is and is not. I may also say something about your local scene, or the teachers you've encountered, but it definitely says that you don't understand the style. It is not about signals and choreo any more than apilado is about signals and choreo. It's about leading and following, and learning to lead and follow. Period.

    ETA: As regards nuevo "destroying" a beginner ("<2 years") dancer...I call shennanigans. Absolutely, unequivocally, not true. Bad learning, bad teaching, and bad dancing will screw up anyone. It's not the style that is to blame. There can be some issues during the process of integrating new information into old, and trying to make the body learn to adjust, and sorting out what technique belongs in what style...but the same can be said of the learning process even if it's all in one style. Why else do you have the plateau/breakthrough/crash and burn/rebound better cycle?

    Now, granted, if there isn't a competent teacher involved, anything can screw up anyone's dancing. I'm assuming, for the sake of argument, that we're talking about good, competent instruction.
  19. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    After learning from what is said here, I will watch more..sure professional show couples know the signals sooooo well that it works...I've just never seen normal dancers looking very good...like people who have NOT danced together every other day for several months or more.
    ..and sure, there's technique involved...Lot's of it!...making it THE perfect vehicle for teachers...endless classes and the students some of them never going to a milonga...I think that the classes and the style are in direct competition with the social dance (Milonga) and is a question of; Business verses Dancing. OK, I believe this and I wrote it all down....as I've said, my mind is not closed..I am listening and looking..but I see what I see and that's my two cents.:peace:
  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Well, if that's the attitude you're bringing to the "discussion," I'm done. You're not interested in opening your mind and admitting the possibility of anything you haven't already decided upon, with no information besides your biases. That's not a discussion, and I'm not going to waste my time trying to explain. Again.

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