Tango Argentino > Why do you choose the partner you choose?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Lois Donnay, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    Of course. But there are some follows who lean unbidden, who hang off their leads, etc. Those I avoid. And I have danced long enough (almost daily for 9 years) that my eye can usually discern if there is a lean or only an illusion of one when I watch others dance. I can similarly, not always, but often, tell when a lead is comfortable with weight sharing and has either initiated it or is at least happy with a follow's desire to share weight, and when he is dealing with unwanted weight.

    If I am just walking with a "simple" tango walk in parallel feet, my heel strike coincides with the initiation of my weight transfer, which creates the body lead for a follow's weight transfer. I can clearly lead the weight transfer in many other ways, but there are some follows who short step, even if I am leading a long step in a simple tango walk, that is, I have not yet transferred my weight and am still pushing forward. So, although as a follow you may not think in terms of the lead's heel being planted, as a lead, I certainly do. Whether I walk heel first or toe first, it is when my heel hits the floor that my weight transfers. Unless I decouple my body motion from my weight transfer, that is when I expect the follow to "land" her foot. Not before.

    This actually brings up an interesting point. Lead think verses follow feel. For example, if I am leading a turn, I do not think "rotate my embrace counter-clockwise" or any such thing. Instead, I might think "maintain the embrace and execute a smooth, controlled, lapiz." No, the follow will not cue off my lapiz, but, hopefully, if I do this right, she feels my chest and embrace rotate. For me, this is true for many other tango movements. As a lead, I may think in terms of steps, or body position, or whatever. Indeed, that is of no concern to the follow. Her/his only concern is how the embrace feels and where it is going. With enough experience, my "lead-think" translates into smooth, comfortable movement of my embrace, and hence into "follow feel".

    Thus, and I apologize for any misapprehension, when I spoke of "heel strike", that was my "lead-think" for weight transfer in a simple tango walk.
    Zoopsia59 likes this.
  2. JoeB

    JoeB Active Member

    I'm going to see it, closer and closer when I go to ask, and I don't like having an urge to go ask the DJ to play Time Warp instead.

    Ever tried getting enough base and powder for three clowns out of a gray suit vest? If I want to dance with Bozo, I'll go to the circus. I can't afford dry cleaning every time.

    Nah; I like long hair too much. I'll put up with it pretty much anytime except up my nose when I'm trying to sleep.
  3. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    Unfortunately, or not, oh 'tis true, 'tis true.

    I just love it when leads 'teach' follower technique in the milonga. Don't you??

    This last point is oh so good. Way back when I was first learning, there were several follows who were, to put the best light on it, mean to me, as they were also to other incompetent beginners. Their attitude slowed me WAAAAY down, and it was only because I had the good fortune to find a woman willing to partner with me, who by the way was much better than I, that I got back on the floor.

    While I'm certainly not an excellent dancer, I am now at least a good lead, and follows seem quite happy to dance with me. To this day, I have still not worked up the courage? interest? whatever, to invite either of those two to dance. Same goes for some of the other leads they slighted. They get to do at least their share of sitting, waiting, uninvited.

    RiseNFall likes this.
  4. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Just curious, how does it usually work when you dance with someone: do you first see what your partner does and do "corresponding male movements"?
  5. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    From a follower point of view, often the reason I pick the partner I have for their ability to lead. I don't particularly care about their individual talent, but more about their precision in the body language to allow more advanced figures... Even if we're only starting on basic stuff.
    Mladenac likes this.
  6. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    What do you mean by "individual talent" in that context? Tango is a partner dance...
  7. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    Mostly along the lines of showing off. Rather have a man who's better at basics.
    ArbeeNYC and All Sales Are Final like this.
  8. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Ah, I see, thank you.
    Trying to show off without good basics and connection with the partner... personally, I would not use words "individual talent" for that. Maybe sarcastically, for most frequent offenders. :)
    MaggieMoves likes this.
  9. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    By the way, is the topic about invite at milonga or about the regular partner with whom you dance in the AT classes?
    I kept my class partners for years, though they were usually chosen by the teacher. Dragging a follower to me and telling her "You'll dance with him".
  10. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    There was avoidance in classes i went. So there is no way that someone was pushed into dancing with someone
  11. Mostly yes but in milonga situation it can sometimes be difficult, when bodies are pressed close together due to the number of people on the dance-floor I cannot really see what she is doing, have to guess.

    Studio situation is easier, as you already know what the teacher has asked you both to do. I am working on it though.
  12. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Interesting. Could you explain how you make that guess? What kind of signals do you go by? And what happens if you guessed wrong?
  13. koinzell

    koinzell Active Member

    The only person who knows how good you are is the person you're dancing with...
    Lois Donnay likes this.
  14. rain_dog

    rain_dog Active Member

    That's awesome and amazing.
  15. Why?
    Lilly, thanks for your concern. The problem is that things can go wrong when a woman has learned different "stuff" from the "stuff" I have learned in class, or vice versa.

    In our little community the girls (it always seems to be the women) like to do various flashy things and I wouldn't know what to do if I found myself dancing with one of them. For example, at a recent milonga one girl overturned a small drinks table with the heel of her shoe. Now I have no idea what the corresponding male motion to that would be, I mean of course I realize the actual upsetting of the table was not part of the plan as such, but presumably raising a female shoe to tabletop height is an intentional, known tango move and has some corresponding male action, maybe kick out backwards to counterbalance, the point is I don't know and would be lost if someone did it.

    What actually did happen to me one time, I was dancing with a woman who had got pretty close, probably because busy floor, so I backed off a bit so I could see her legs and what she was doing, "see what your partner does" as you expressed it in your previous posting, Lilly. Anyway she for some reason at this point decided to try out the leaning thing on me (volcada right?), I had no idea of the proper response, and this was a big girl too, pleasantly curvy but still heavy for a lean person like me to support. I just about managed it as I had no other choice, but it was a bit like being asked to hold onto one end of a stretcher while the paramedic on the other end takes a cigarette break.

    Less extreme than this, at a recent group class we were doing crosses followed by pivoting both ways, finally the woman parts her legs and I put mine between, sacada I think it is called. So some partners I danced with did strange crosses. I know the one where the man takes a sidestep to the left, the woman of course to the right, then he either switches feet and goes again with the left, or carries on with the right then takes an extra step... either way, the girl crosses her feet somewhere in there. The point is, these ladies were crossing without doing any such sidestep. I had no idea about this sort of cross because I hadn't learned it yet (I know it exists though) but I expect they had learned with a different teacher and hence done different "stuff". The point is that since we hadn't done the sidestep I effectively had no warning when they were going to cross and therefore had no idea when to go onto the next thing, the pivoting and parting legs bit. I daresay I walked straight through their crosses several times without realizing it was time to go onto the sacada piece.

    I previously tried to address this problem of making sure to learn the same "stuff" by taking along my partner to my own individual lessons, so she would see what I had covered and not covered and would not be afraid to try stuff I knew (while knowing what to avoid). But the individual lessons caused me a whole other category of worries. The disadvantage of individual classes is that the teachers get easily sidetracked and start working on items that don't seemingly have any immediate relevance. One time I had a teacher spend 20 minutes holding hands and walking round a room with me. Another time there was one who had me take a certain number of steps, then stop, then step again a certain number of times, stop again, etc. (and apparently I never got it right) without doing any actual tango. Fortunately in group classes this nonsense never happens because there are lots of people there and it would cause a riot. Also the group classes cost less, as the teacher's compensation is spread over more pupils. But the key thing is that they stick to the actual tango and don't get distracted.

    Anyway I am doing the group classes now and happy about it, but I find myself constantly at sea when women do things I haven't learned yet and I expect it will take me a while to catch up.

    Having said that when I do see what my partner does, I can do corresponding movements, that is not entirely true all the time. I mean if she starts to pivot or something, I can usually guess and am more or less correct, but there are some female moves that still flummox me. For example in the cross that I described above, the one I learned starting with the sidestep. Sometimes when you do this sidestep, a girl might seem to be kind of perched on one leg. I mean, instead of putting the other foot down at the end of the sidestep, the one she just closed her legs with, she sometimes leaves it kind of "up". In this situation I have no clue in the world what to do, have asked a teacher before I seem to remember, but I didn't understand the answer.
  16. rain_dog

    rain_dog Active Member

    It's amazing that with all the classes and lessons and dancing that you've done, the basic fundamental idea of leading and following has still somehow eluded you. It's as if after years of driving, your thought process is akin to this: "Well, the car is turning right, so I guess I ought to turn the steering wheel to the right. Oh, it's slowing down now, I was taught when that happens I need to push the brake pedal."

    It's awesome that you can still have fun dancing tango, that you can still find women willing to dance with you, and you haven't been banned from the milongas for not following line of dance and constantly running into people.

    This is, of course, assuming everything you've posted here hasn't been an elaborate and long-running trolling effort.
    aurel, LadyLeader, UKDancer and 3 others like this.
  17. Lois Donnay

    Lois Donnay Member

    I have to admit I laughed out loud reading the "one girl overturned a small drinks table with the heel of her shoe. Now I have no idea what the corresponding male motion to that would be, I mean of course I realize the actual upsetting of the table was not part of the plan as such, but presumably raising a female shoe to tabletop height is an intentional, known tango move and has some corresponding male action, maybe kick out backwards to counterbalance...." This could be a great part of a humorous article, right? A great parody. Hilarious as long as it isn't true - but I'm afraid with some of the teaching I see lately....
  18. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    I've seen this happen. A man lead a high boleo and the woman kicked my partner in the ankle with her stiletto. We had to sit down because my partner was in pain.

    The couple came around and the man lead a high boleo again. BUT this time, the woman kicked the table we were sitting with her ankle, almost knocking the drinks off. The woman was in great pain (what goes around came around) and the couple had to sit down. I'm happy to report that the table wasn't hurt.

    In the OP's case, I guess the woman did a high boleo on her own.
    Mladenac likes this.
  19. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    One possibility I could see, is if they teach the paradigm where (basically), the man proposes, the women decides, and then the man follows the woman.

    I don't subscribe to this philosophy, but some people do. It's too difficult for beginning leaders to be able to really understand it, or apply it proficiently, any time soon.

    I have to admit, his story about the high boleo taking out the table was pretty funny.

  20. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I am not concerned, just curious about how it allegedly works. No need to thicken the trolling. ;)
    Thanks for your reply. It still is unclear what signals you go by if you cannot see what your partner does. Except for trying to peek anyways. :)

    But let's say, your community is small, the milongas not crowded, and most of the time you can see your partner's footwork. Could you please elaborate, how you take care of the timing? Surely, by the time you see what your partner decided to do it could be a bit late to execute the "correspondent male steps", as some of them come a tad before the lady's footwork? Or does your partner stop from time to time and waits for you?

    And another, more important question: why do you have to do the "corresponding male steps" at all? Your partner is doing hers no matter what, and probably enjoying it. Do you suppose somebody may watch and judge you for not executing your part? Or perhaps, your partner would feel shortchanged if you did not react with the corresponding set of moves?

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