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

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

  1. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    And that is equally hilarious... as long as it is not true. But who knows... ;)

    "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."
  2. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    Happened to me once too often. In one case, after I had been dancing for about a year & a half or 2 years & attending milongas, I would sometimes invite unknown women & beginners. In this instance her unlead boleo before I was stabilized caused my trick knee to buckle. I was sidelined for a couple of weeks - no tango & walking with a limp. That taught me to observe a woman's dance before considering a dance with her.

    Sounds to me like the OP may have the kind of teacher I was fortunate enough to get away from in the beginning of my tango journey. That teacher was previously a ballroom instructor. He taught men's steps & women's steps, then the 2 came together in rotating partnerships to do their steps together. I was fortunate in that I was given a complimentary pass to attend a milonga & saw how different the dance was on the social dance floor. I left to find teachers that taught technique & lead-follow.
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  3. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    Years ago, on Yehoodi, there were two posters with screen names of 'Barb' and 'Thorn'. They at least had the decency to thereby let the forum know they were trolling, and many of their posts were actually quite witty.
  4. rain_dog

    rain_dog Active Member

    Agreed, but in Asaf's case, it doesn't sound like he's even aware he needs to propose anything. The women apparently do their thing, he does his thing, and somehow tango happens.
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  5. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Yes, we shall admit, he took it up a notch or two from the garden variety pattern-teaching, pattern-doing, pattern- guessing-from-poor-clues/ filling in the blank on autopilot --- instructors, leaders, followers respectively that we all encounter on a regular basis in any tango community. :)
  6. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Agreed, and it also sounds like the followers he's dancing with aren't aware of it either. Apparently they've simplified it to, the woman decides what to do, and then the man follows her. It sounds like, as long as he knows what the man's version of her steps are, he's all set.

    I'd be curious to know what the teacher is actually trying to teach.

  7. I'm not really sure how I've given the impression that I have poor navigation skills. Of course, one doesn't like to blow one's own trumpet, but actually my floorcraft is quite good. I have certainly never "run into people" as you put it. People have run into me from time to time (usually when they're doing huge steps on a crowded floor) but, you know, stuff happens.

    Once or twice at a group class (NOT a milonga) I have been forced to temporarily drift out of the line of dance, but that was through no fault of my own. It was a predicament between doing that or physically separating from the partner (which would be even more of a cardinal sin) and was therefore for reasons completely beyond my own control.

    Lilly, I'm sorry but I really don't understand some of the questions you've asked me. What would be the point of just standing there and letting another person dance? This is meant to be a partner activity where both people get involved. Otherwise why show up at all? The whole point is that both man and woman should dance together, surely?

    No, to my point above, she was dancing with a partner. Actually I have never seen anyone in our community dance on his/her own, although there is a lady in Chicago who has a reputation for doing this at milongas.

    I don't habitually troll internet forums, I have better things to do. And I don't think I've ever said anything even moderately offensive. Admittedly improving at tango is not one of my main life goals, but it is something I want to do in terms of general accomplishment, and I have the objective of becoming a respectable social dancer within 5 years. About a quarter of the way into that period, I'm glad to say I've made reasonable progress. I realize that, as you pointed out, I haven't really covered the leadership/followership thing yet (though not sure why you bring it up again since I didn't mention it here), and I'm not really good at the "forward lean" thing (find it awkward and uncomfortable, prefer to stand up straight, but I know that sometimes unnatural movements are required in highly stylized dance). Nonetheless I'm happy with what I've learned so far.

    Of course it is true. One of my main frustrations is that if I had been able to spend all my time in individual lessons dancing tango, rather than doing this sort of stuff, I'd have moved ahead farther by now. But teachers seem to keep to the subject better in group classes, as a group of impatient and dissatisfied students is not something anyone wants to have to deal with.

    I don't want to give a wrong impression... the only time when I struggle to keep up is WHEN I can't work out what the woman is doing. Most of the time, with most good or okay partners, we are both just plodding along doing stuff we know. What causes me confusion is when a partner suddenly does something I haven't learned. The best example is the crosses in a straight walking line I mentioned earlier. I've learned the sequence needed to complete a cross, yet all of a sudden I find she's crossing, seemingly unprovoked, when I thought we were just walking along and I have to adjust.

    I'll give another example. If I take a sidestep to the left, collect and switch feet, then use the left again to step diagonally slightly to the right, i.e. toward the closed side of embrace, then pivot on that left foot, sidestep to the right... everyone who has learned tango knows what comes next, right? If we're doing a calesita, I now step behind myself with the left and repeat a few times in a counterclockwise direction, before coming out maybe via a quick back ocho into a cross. If we're doing a sacada or a leg-wrap, I put my foot in the according place between the woman's legs and we're golden. But it's got to be something of that sort because of FACTS ON THE GROUND, surely. Yes, it is an improvised dance and there is the option to do different things, but once you've started off a particular item, you're hardly likely to break it off halfway through and abort into something different, otherwise one partner has no idea what the other is doing!

    Yet there are women who, believe it or not, will do a CROSS at the point of the ellipsis (...) above! Why? And what on earth do I do if they do that? Interrupting a perfectly good calesita to do a cross instead... I'm really going to be thrown off guard.

    So even if I do know what the man's version of her steps are, if I have practically no warning, I'm sunk. That's why I initially said that I value partners who don't do that.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
  8. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    OK, let's say, your answer is, you do your steps because you wish to participate and do something while she is doing her steps. The question is, why do you think you should do a particular set of step as a reaction to her specific actions, when it has no or very little effect on your partner or what she is doing or the outcome anyway?

    According to you, what is "actual tango", and what does dancing tango consist of?
    Do you believe that proper walking and pauses ( what you mentioned being covered in private lessons you were dissatisfied with) are not part of it or somehow unimportant?
    And if it seemed irrelevant to your tango education, at the moment of your instructor's individual, undivided attention you paid a lot of money for, why did not you ask your instructor to at least explain the relevance of that exercises to you?

    So, if she crossed, all that changed really, she is standing on a different foot now. You can do a calesita with her standing on that foot. What's the big difference? :)
  9. rain_dog

    rain_dog Active Member

    Admittedly, I was being a little snarky, but I don't understand how you're able to navigate if you're watching your partner in order to figure out what to do. How does that work?

    As a leader, I'm deciding where we're going and what steps we (as a couple) are going to do. It doesn't always work out, and mistakes get made (on both our parts), but as a first approximation, everything my partner and I do is a consequence of what I lead. I'm the 'decider', as they say.

    If you're not doing that, how are you able to navigate?

    I'm not saying your being offensive at all, it's more that you may be pulling our (collective) leg. You can write quite coherently about tango steps, so its obvious you know more than a little tango, but you seem to have this huge hole in your understanding of how the dance works, and all of your questions and comments lead back to that misunderstanding. The question in my mind is, are you playing dumb or do you really not understand?

    This is a good example. Every follower beyond a raw beginner does not do steps unprovoked. They do steps in response to your lead, whether you intend it or not. If you didn't intend it, then you are doing something that needs to be corrected. You really need to get your head around this idea: the followers steps and movements are in response to what you are leading.

    Actually, the answer is no. There are lots of possibilities as to what comes next - it's up to you to discover and lead them correctly, and a good follower will not anticipate what comes next. It may be that you always to the same thing at that point, so your partners get used to your sequence, but it's not at all a given as to what comes next.

    Once you've started a particular item, you as the leader always have the option of breaking it off and leading something else. That's what makes tango so interesting for many of us. It requires a lot of skill and sensitivity to your partner, but yes, absolutely you can do that.

    Why? Because that's what they felt they should do in response to your lead. If your sidestep to the right is too far away from them, or you shift them with your embrace, they will need to step with their free foot, which results in a cross. If they are a good follower and they cross, it's because you led them. Now, mistakes get made, and you may have done everything well and they still cross, but that's just tango, you adjust and keep dancing.

    This is another example where if you understood how lead and follow works, you would not be confused about this.
  10. Lilly, surely the answer is obvious. The male and female steps are designed to fit perfectly together, with the neatness of a fine carpenter's dovetail joint. So long as we each do what is expected, and in ensemble with the music, we will come out of it at the same time and in the same place and ready to go on to the next move. If I don't do the "particular step" as you put it, it may not have an effect on what she is doing in that moment, but it certainly does have an effect on the outcome when we both finish, and a very negative one at that.

    Like anything else, if the game is going to be enjoyable both people have to play by the rules.

    But why are you asking me anyway? Surely you know this already, it was one of the first things I was taught.

    Yes I can, but the difference is that SHE is not doing a calesita now, but a cross, and if I do a calesita while she does a cross, we will come out all muddled up as explained above.

    Very good, and you're saying I ought to be too, so let me ask you this.

    What do I need to do to persuade women to "respond to my lead" as you put it, rather than just doing whatever comes into their head at any particular time (as described earlier, whether it be something I already know or something I've never learned)?

    I realize it is probably a delicate set of skills that cannot adequately be explained in a few sentences, but perhaps you can make a start.
  11. brunoalfirevic

    brunoalfirevic New Member

    If the women is even remotely competent in tango, there is literally nothing you need to do to persuade her to respond to your lead. Responding to your lead is the only thing she will ever do.

    There are no skills whatsoever that you need to have for this to happen. If she knows how to dance tango, responding to your lead is the only thing she will ever do. She will not, at any time, do whatever comes into hear head but will only follow your lead. If you stand still for 3 minutes during the song she will stand still and will not make a single step.

    That's why all of your posts sound so bizarre. Honestly, if you're not trolling us, I would pay good money to be able to watch you dance at a milonga and see what the hell is going on.
  12. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    No, it is not true. A person dancing the man's part can lead his partner to do one set of "female steps" while doing a large variety of different sets of steps, including just standing still and not doing anything at all

    For a woman, "doing a calesita" consists of standing on one foot and pivoting on it, following a rotational movement of her partner's torso. Which foot, left or right, is quite irrelevant to her partner's footwork. So if she changed the foot she is standing on somewhere in the process, due to miscommunication, lack of balance or whatever (and a cross is essentially nothing but just a weight change), you still can do a calesita if you absolutely insist. :)

    We already covered that topic with you on this forum, in so many words and sentences. You act as most of it never happened... and yet you say you are not trolling. ;)

    Lead and follow is Tango 101. It is any social dance 101, in fact, not only tango. If that delicate set of skills has not been covered in your Tango (or any social dance) lessons, you have been had, and should ask for your money back.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
    koinzell likes this.
  13. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I would rather get the answers to the questions we ask here (trolling or not), but alas he ignores most of them. :)
  14. brunoalfirevic

    brunoalfirevic New Member

    Plot twist: All Sales Are Final is actually a follower in an isolated tango community where roles have been swapped between men and women, as well as the lead/follow terminology.
  15. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Believe it or not, we covered a similar possibility on this form a while ago, too. Whatever works, right? :) But All Sales Are Final sorta took offense at the thought that he was actually following his partner...
    brunoalfirevic likes this.
  16. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Your "rules" don't seem to be consistent with much of anything I've ever heard of in tango.
  17. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    They also do not seem to be consistent between themselves. ;)
    dchester and LadyLeader like this.
  18. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I honestly have no idea how to participate in this current thread. It leaves me totally baffled and speechless (and anyone who's read my posts knows how unusual THAT is!)
    JohnEm and dchester like this.
  19. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Sometimes such events come as a blessing. :cool:
    Lilly_of_the_valley and dchester like this.
  20. Krys

    Krys New Member

    Do you mean that the rule is that for a step of the leader, the follower has to know a corresponding step?
    By example, if you are making a side step to your left, the follower has to do a side step to the right?
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.

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