Tango Argentino > Which emotions to express?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by tido, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. tido

    tido New Member


    While dancing on my own to tango music, I notice a variety of emotions which pop into my mind then body. For instance if something made me angry just earlier, for example an argument, if it pops in my head, and I dwell on the feeling, my body reacts accordingly. With the emotion of anger, the steps are aggressive, sharp, energetic, and at times frantic. I'm wondering if In Tango we are after a specific emotion, or is it just whatever is felt in the moment or whichever emotion the music provokes, the whole spectrum of emotion?

  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    It can't be "a specific emotion", I don't think. There is too much variation in the music.
    That said, I've heard arguments, and seen people dance pretty much the same way to nearly all "tango", including fast ones, slow ones, vals and milonga.
  3. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I don't believe we are after any specific emotion. Which one would it be? To me, tango encompasses all life (all emotions), not just a specified subset.

    I allow the music, and my partner, to stimulate emotions, and I dance according to those feelings. Happiness, anger, boldness, timidness, pleasure, sorrow, loneliness, grandeur - for me, the source of my inspiration is the emotions I feel. When I am feeling flat, I put my attention into the music and allow my emotions to be inspired by it.

    I encourage you to seek your feelings and express those in your dance.
  4. tido

    tido New Member

    I don't want to get all philosophical, as its principally a dance. But I've read somewhere about how AT was developed during a specific time, when there was not too many jobs, not enough women, etc. I mean it could all be BS, but there does seem to be a theme that its all about the Argentine traditions. Perhaps its traditions are in Family? But I'm not sure how to assign an emotion to that, or maybe its just the Argentine approach. But for now I think the best way to go about it is just to experience the emotions, not judge them, and go with the flow. Should make for some dynamic dancing, :)

  5. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    AT was born in a specific time, but it has continued to develop up until now. When it was developed the were few women, but abundant jobs: that's why so many European men immigrated to Argentina. However, in the Golden Age (40s) the situation was different. Fundamentally, AT is about human emotions. More fundamentally, it's about your emotions. Anyway, that's how I read it.
  6. tido

    tido New Member

    Thank you, well said. Now I just hope I'm comfortable/confident enough to actually physically express them. Hmm.. partner trust come's to mind. Anyway good stuff.
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I find your ideas and this thread interesting. But I dont agree with what you have read about the origin of TA. In the beginning the people of BsAs had the choice of different european and caribean music traditions and dances to express their feelings and moods. But when tango became a fashion the diversity was incorporated into tango. So something like happy-tango, tango-blues, tango-romanza, tango-ballads, tango canción, and so on developed.
  8. li

    li New Member

    If tango is about the relationship/ connection, then the music and the dancefloor provide the environment for that relationship to develop. Dancing to the same music for me feels very different with a different partner - and I think it should. The music imo should inspire emotion (and in turn movement) rather than dictate it. So to look for a specific type of emotion makes the relationship less authentic.
  9. mkjohnson

    mkjohnson Member

    My emotions when I dance vary tremendously with music and partner. Everything comes into play - the tone (and lyrics if it's a vocal piece), how we are both feeling due to external/outside world stuff, how we feel to each other generally, how the "crowd" feels (are we having to dance defensively? do we have practically the whole floor?).

    For example, Pugliese's "Malena", danced with partner F., intensely nostalgic, sometimes melancholy - depends on the day we've each had.

    "Malena" on piano, either recorded Lucio Demare, or live with our own Glover Gill on piano, danced with T. - different feeling altogether. T. is not as familiar with the lyrics, but loves the music - so in combination we dance a gentle, almost soothing dance to it.

    Again, it's all variable depending on floor conditions, stress levels, fatigue, how early or late it is in the evening.

    On my own, just practicing. A lot of tango makes me feel contemplative, a little nostalgic - depends on the orquestra. Vals almost always gives me the "I feel pretty", swirly, wooshy feeling. And milonga cheers me up, gets my blood flowing.
  10. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Nicely said, mk.

    I've been thinking recently about whether it's best just to react to the music rather than to the words of the tango. The words of a tango are often sad and so tend to make you sad also. Is that something that you want to project to your dance partner?

    Take the fabulous "En Tus Brazos", for instance. It starts off with some staccato multi part music and then breaks out into a wonderful wonderful melody. And when it comes the first couplet is very romantic :

    "Yo me cague en tus ojazos
    y me fui a caer en tus brazos"

    "I felt myself drowning in your eyes
    as I began to fall into your arms"

    (or something like that - my Spanish is only so-so)

    All very romantic! But by the end of the song the lyrics have become sad and melancholic. The woman has left and the man feels like he wants to die rather than lose her sweet embrace.

    Still, though, the music is rich and romantic. And IMO it's better to take the romance of the opening couplet and run with it. Who wants to get sad and melancholy at the end? And how do you dance "sad" anyway??
  11. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I go for the connection.
  12. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Which means what in this context? :confused:
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    One interesting challenge I was given when taking lessons was to try to dance different things including, as I remember it, summer. Yeah. It was quite the challenge and sometimes I was just totally at a loss.

    What comes to mind with this example is to start with an intensely weight sharing embrace (already there is a problem because you can't do it by yourself!), a firmer "holding on" to my partner, and lively, joyous movements. As the lyrics/mood/and music, too I would guess?) become sad and melancholic, I would try to lessen the amount of weight shared. By the time the song ended I would be barely connected to my partner: weight pulled away, and little tone in the right arm. Steps would go from springy/joyous to "plodding"/ dejected; posture from erect/proud to dejected/stooped.

    All of this doesn't have to be too obvious, since we aren't talking performance here, but there it is. It would be rare to find a partner who "gets it", though.
  14. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    To me, this whole "expressing emotions" stuff is all rubbish. Sorry, it's not acting, it's dancing.

    If you don't feel an emotion, why on Earth should you try to express it? :confused:

    And if you feel something, you'll express it naturally, depending on the mood, your partner, your music and so on.
  15. ant

    ant Member

    You may not feel an emotion but you may relate an emotion to the music being played and reflect that emotion in your dancing.

    It is just another tool to help bring improvistion and musicality into the dance.
  16. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I wasn't suggesting that anyone should fabricate an emotion, or pretend to have one.

    Music can stimulate emotions, the same as lyrics, or just the sound of someone's voice can. If a dancer wants to convey emotional expression, and not all of them do, those things are good sources to evoke emotions.

    Music makes me feel all sorts of things, and I like to let my dance be influenced by those feelings. On the other hand, I see lots of dancers who are apparently un-influenced by the emotions of the music.
  17. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Right. If the music makes you feel it, you can express it with how you move and even how you connect with your partner. Even if you don't "feel" it as an emotion, you are still more connected to the music if you "dance it".

    Balanchine – 'See the Music, Hear the Dance'
  18. tido

    tido New Member

    By everyone's responses I understand there is an opinion that emotional expression is very dynamic with many factors affecting the what emotion is provoked/felt. And yes to be authentic the emotions have to be yours, spontaneous. It may be that tango expression has changed since tango's incubation. As the circumstances from then till now have changed, but one thing is certain emotions have not changed, one thing which is constant in this. Just that the times and approach to tango have changed. Jeeze, to much philosophy here, IT'S JUST A DANCE, ENJOY IT!

    Here is a clip of Carlos Gavito on emotions, youtube(dot)com/watch?v=p3QNxm6hVYc

    Remove the (dot), I can't post links yet.
  19. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Yes I agree. Most followers would probably feel this as rejection. As if you couldnt be bothered.

    Personally I would probably focus on the rhythm. Dance to the bass rhythm or dance just to the cadence of the beat.

    Interesting. I'm sure this is one reason for the way milongueros dance. The melancholy and nostalgia would tend to make you focus on the bass notes rather than the frothy top notes.

    I'm sure it's just the sort of thing that Rick McGarrey talks about :rolleyes:
  20. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Yes yes. But are we allowed to? Heh :p

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