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

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

  1. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Just an observation (as I have no horse in this race). In the past, we'd argue about what tango is and is not. Now we have meandered into a debate about what nuevo is and is not.

    Is it possible that both questions could have more than one answer, and maybe most of us have simply not experienced all the possibilities?
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Well, of course they have more than one answer--it depends on who is doing the answering! :)

    As a point of reference, I think of nuevo as being a modern style of tango dancing (regardless of venue or purpose--be it social or performance, milonga or on stage), which has as its hallmarks alternate embraces (side to side, front to back, at right angles, etc.), play with axes (colgadas, volcadas, etc.), and a tendency of the dancers to arrive ON the beat instead of ever-so-slightly before it. I find it is often done to electronic or alternative music, but not necessarily; it is often big, but not necessarily; and it can be particularly well suited to stationary movements (but travels just as well).

    Like the Supreme Court famously said, "I know it when I see it."
  3. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Spookily enough I've just been involved in exactly this discussion on another forum. Small world.

    But I'll repeat what I said there - to me, nuevo dancing is based around the pivot, and traditional dancing is based around the walk.

    That's pretty much it. There are other considerations like the embrace and the music, but I think the pivot vs. walk thing is where I'd place the line. Or the circle.

    Heh. If he does, then I think it's only fair that you tell us how to do open embrace volcadas. :p
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Could you elaborate on this?

    Seriously? I did these all the time when I was taking lessons. No different than a volcada, except it's in open embrace. Put the two together, just like you'd think. Et voila! (Or is there a joke around here that I missed?)
  5. mkjohnson

    mkjohnson Member

    Mario - I will agree that Nuevo frequently confounds me and feels fundamentally different to me than traditional CE and apilado embrace tango. Not unpleasant - just different. Enjoyable for different reasons than what I look to tango for, generally. However, one of the best followers I know in our community dances both styles beautifully. Her teachers live and teach (and dance in milongas) in Buenos Aires. Learning nuevo did not undo her close embrace following skills. She's one of the most sought after followers at milongas by both close and open embrace leaders.

    Of the times that I have danced with highly competent nuevo dancers (they do exist), every single movement was led. There was frequently more time, however, allowed for me to complete a movement - allowing for more creative expression had I any to offer. The only time a leader has commented or suggested anything about visual cues or signals - it was actually from a ballroom dancer, not a nuevo dancer.

    More than my two cents...

    I would disagree with one thing mentioned above that it is the follower's job to be aware of her surroundings and space before following a step/movement too big. While that's completely true - however, it is the leader that can see behind us. Unfortunately, I never developed the eyes in the back of my head that my mother seemed to have been blessed with.
  6. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Sure, but the question asked for a simple definition. :)

    Possibly. Colgadas are impossible in close embrace; unless you can explain how a couple can be leaning away from each other and still have chest-to-chest contact. Similarly, volcadas don't work in open, at least in as much as I understand them.
  7. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    In a typical colgada, the partners lean away from each other and thus do not have upper body contact. BUT, I can easily have my partner lean away from me while we are in close embrace, i.e. her weight is largely supported by my arms, and if I were to let go, she would hit the floor. What would you call that?????

    Open volcadas work very well and I _routinely_ dance those. i.e. if my partner and I relaxed our frame, she would fall perhaps a foot, perhaps two, and then land on me chest to chest. What would you call that?
  8. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    Further clarification - execute a typical colgada. Feet are (essentially) touching and upper bodies are well away. Then, for the purpose of this exercise, imagine that the follower's body position and the leader's body position remain exactly as you see them, _but_ the feet are simply repositioned - say slid across the floor - so that the upper bodies are touching but the feet are away on the opposite sides. This is a ?????
  9. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    As requested:
    Don't say I didn't warn you... :)

    Main definition:
    Nuevo tango, to me, is fundamentally a non-progressive dance. You and your partner are moving around in a (stationary) circle. Most of the (few) nuevo movements I know implicitly recognise that assumption.

    Traditional tango, to me, is fundamentally a progressive dance. The leader steps forward, the follower steps back. Everything else is decoration. It's quite conceivable that you could have a lovely traditional tango, walking a mile along in a straight line.

    It's possible to dance progressive nuevo tango, but it feels strange. I'm not sure it's possible to dance non-progressive traditional tango.

    I also suspect this is one reason why nuevo and trad dancing in the same milonga causes friction. Nuevo dancers naturally want to pivot, trad dancers naturally want to walk. The two aims are difficult to reconcile.

    Sub-definition 1: Musicality
    I'd also say that achieving good levels of musicality in nuevo seems to me to be harder than in traditional.

    This may be because the traditional components can be chopped into far smaller (quicker) components than the nuevo components; it's not a good idea to rush a volcada, for example, but it's easier to change tempo in traditional.

    Or it may be because the type of people who do nuevo are more focussed on getting the moves looking good, than on achieving a connection with their partner through the music. Or it may be a reflection of the sequence-based teaching many nuevo teachers seem to love.

    Or it may be a combination of factors.

    On the music front, I'd also say that nuevo feels better to non-traditional music; some of the movements can't really be rushed, and so if you try dancing nuevo to traditional music, it's bound to look less musical.

    Sub-definition 2: Embrace
    I'd say that nuevo does not mandate an open embrace, but that it often looks and feels better in open; you have more space to play with, you get more leverage for the fun stuff, and it looks more dramatic.

    Conversely, I'd say that traditional does not mandate a close embrace, but that it feels and looks better in close; it's easier to establish a connection, and to move "as one", when you're in close.

  10. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I dunno what it is.

    But from your description, it's not a close embrace, it's just that the chests are in proximity.
  11. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    I (an those I dance with) always dance "neuvo" progressively, i.e. LOD, exactly as rapidly/slowly as the close embrace dancers around us. It is most definitely not a circular/stationary dance and more than CE is. An ocho cortado does not progress, a puente does not progress, but my colgada does, my volcada does, etc. Perhaps I could argue that CE is the stationary dance and nuevo is the moving dance?? Moreover, I dance "nuevo" 90% of the time in close embrace. Only for a widely separated colgada or soltada or something similar do I prefer to open the embrace.
  12. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    What is your definition of close embrace? Does it necessitate leaning on your partner??
  13. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I wonder though - if you were dancing pure nuevo, in an empty studio, would you dance exactly LOD?

    Also, sorry, but saying "I don't do that, therefore your definition is wrong" is not much of an argument, you know?

    • Giros are non-progressive.
    • Ochos are non-progressive.
    • Colgadas are non-progressive, unless you can magically lean, stand still, and walk.
    • Soltadas are non-progressive.
    • Sacadas are non-progressive.
    • Sentadas are non-progressive.
    • Ganchos are non-progressive.
    • Barridas are ... etc.
    There's a common element here, what could it be?

    (As for ocho cortados - actually I'm not sure they're nuevo. To me, they're a good way to get round corners...)
  14. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I think some amount of contact is involved, yes.

    If you tie a couple together with rope, that doesn't put them in close embrace, it just puts them close together.
  15. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    By the way:
    In case of any confusion, I think this is exactly the right thing to do, in the context of a LOD atmosphere.

    I'm absolutely not advocating that nuevo dancers suddenly stop and gyrate like crazy in a milonga. You should always dance to fit in with the atmosphere of the milonga.
  16. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Oh, and whilst I'm here:
    Mario, we've all experienced incompetent teachers.

    (It's quite possible my students are doing so right now, in fact)

    That doesn't mean you can make a simplistic blanket assertion that all nuevo teaching and dancing is rubbish.

    I'd be just as wrong to state that all people called Mario make simplistic assertions.
  17. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    You have to use your arms to support her.

  18. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yup. To me it feels kind of like doing a push-up against a wall or some such. Volcada, in open...use arms for support. Done and done. :)
  19. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    First, I intended OC and puente's as examples of non-progressive CE steps. And don't CE dancers make ochos work lod?? Why do you say they are non-progressive? And don't CE dancers dance giros?? A lot (!) when the floor is moving slowly?

    Secondly, I'm confused. Every one of those can be danced with forward motion. Let's pick on a colgada. I lead a back ocho and step forward into my partner, pivot 180 in one beat and step out backwards lod That is the same time required to complete a crusada with full-beat timing (instead of double time) for the follower.

    Isn't that still progressive? I guess that I don't remotely see CE as "progressive" and "nuevo" as "non-progressive" (circular). I mean not at all!

    The differences I see have to do entirely with technique, not floorcraft or other such externals.
  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    By the same token, if a traditional dancer was in the same scenario, would they? It doesn't happen all that much in exhbitions, regardless of traditional-ness.

    Well, I wouldn't consider ocho cortads nuevo. Nor would I consider giros nuevo, or ochos, or ganchos, or barridas. That said...

    Giros--I wouldn't consider the nuevo. No, they're not progressive, but one thing that even the most traditional dancer has to be able to do in a milonga is dance on the spot...giros are one way of doing that. So, traditional is necessarily always progressive. And, giros are particularly well-suited IMO to the feeling of vals, regardless of style.

    Ochos--Again, I wouldn't consider them nuevo. There are, however, a myriad of different ways of doing them. And, yes, plenty of them can be progressive. At one end of the spectrum, there are "milonguero ochos," also sometimes called straight-legged, non-dissociated, or crossed back ochos. Those travel particularly well. OTOH, there are overturned ochos which progress quite nicely.

    Colgadas--The big swinging colgadas are not progressive, no. But I would argue that a single-axis turn is a variation on it. Not progressive, but also not very stationary, in the sense that it happens very quickly and then you can resume moving along. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgJS7UYeBbE at 2:00. Again, as I said earlier, even the most traditional dancer has to know how to dance on the spot. A CE colgada fits that bill. As for making it progressive, it can be done. See the same video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgJS7UYeBbE), at 2:22.

    Soltadas--Don't know what these are, or at least don't know the terminology.

    Sacadas--These can be done with an otherwise normal forward walk. Of course they are progressive. Likewise, they can be done with most giros. They are an integral part of...whatchacallits..."chain" in english...ah, cadenas. Very progressive.

    Sentadas--Ditto. Don't know what they are/the terminology.

    Ganchos--I never would have said these were nuevo. However, they can be thrown in as an embellishment plenty of places (provided the dancers are sufficiently skilled, which I amnot), plenty of which are progressive.

    Barridas--Again, not nuevo.

    As you said, just because one person does them does not invalidate another's definition of what nuevo is or is not. However, saying that, as a nuevo dancer, those elements are routinely incorporated...seems like that does help define what nuevo is and is not.

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