Tango Argentino > Why is Tango danced like Viennese Waltz?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by tangomaniac, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Now one could probably make an argument that any sort of movement could be a technique, however that doesn't mean that it isn't also part of some style (which is what I thought you were trying to say).

    For me (i.e. my opinion), I worry about technique to help me do something (possibly a style, connection, stability, or whatever) better, or more consistently. IMO, things like foot landing toe first, ball of foot first, or heel first, are style preferences. Again for me, rise and fall could be the end game (a style), or it could also be done as a technique to accomplish something else (like clarity of the lead for some follower).

    It's been my experience in tango that there are a lot of opinions masquerading as facts. I'll admit that my opinions are just that. Others sometimes do not.
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    You are empirically incorrect. There is not a prof. of any stature would ,agree with your posit that, ANY specified foot postions are a preference . ,the action,of R and F, IS a techn. Now you bring "lead " in to the mix ? !.

    I respectfully suggest you check with a Pro.of your choice, and ask them what the 7 points of technique consist of ( which are by the way, established for close on 80 yrs ).. And " style " is NOT one of them.

    I really have no more to say on the matter .
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  3. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    That does only reveal a lot about the mindset of an prof and their organizations, but not a iota of the differentiation we are currently after.
  4. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I´ll try: there are organizations that tried and still try to subsume different dances from various parts of the world under one common aspect. With other words: pure constructivism.

    But the question by itself, if tango got more european or latin american genes yet is interesting. And it should be clear that without the european tango craze there would be no EDO and no estilo de salón today in Argentina.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  5. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    You are entitled to your opinion, but your post wasn't at all persuasive to me. Maybe you could get one of these unnamed profs you are referring to, and have them present your argument.
  6. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    We (that is, members of the Internationally recognised Teaching Societies) know exactly what Tangotime means when he refers to 'Technique', and it isn't an a la carte basket of techniques between which a dancer can choose to construct (or more likely) copy a style preference. Technique refers to the particular way that certain actions are performed in one of the standardised dances (mainly, but not exclusively, the Ballroom & Latin American styles).

    The technique of Rise & Fall, proper to, say, Waltz requires its execution in a certain way, and in a narrow sense, its 'quality' is measured by reference to conformity: you're either doing it right/well and in the right places, or not ...

    Of course, there is NO rise & fall in BR tango. I don't want to start an argument, but (just as stated by Opendoor) the BR tango we have today is the direct descendant of the tango craze from c1912 that swept through Europe's major cities. And so is what we currently recognise as AT. They diverged, and what is correct for one, might be a valid style choice for the other. One is standardised and the other isn't.

    I've never seen anything remotely like rise and fall (as used in BR dancing) in AT. That some followers never lower their heels is a choice (and a bad one, for the most part). Leaders can frequently use changes in height for assisting in leading certain types of actions, but that isn't Rise & Fall, either. I know it was years ago, now, but I recall a very heated discussion, here, about whether AT would benefit from having a standardised vocabulary and technique. One definite advantage, would be that at least we could debate issues with a common vocabulary. As it is, it can be very difficult to know, often, what someone else is describing, as the words we share seem to bear whatever meanings we personally choose to invest in them. Which is rather a pity.
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    The absense of a standardised technique does not implicitely mean the absense of technique in TA at all. But of course this technique is quite heterogenous. There is no genuine style-crossing argentine tango technique: VU swears by Alexander, Escenario favours Pilates, and DNI sticks to ballett technique. All of these are approved methods but come case-to-case to different solutions. But in each and every case these mentioned techniques are auxiliary tools to achieve a certain effect. The only AT style without proper technique is the milonguero style. Susana Miller tried to fix some elements but this zone is still controversy. See also my fruitless attempt in the thread "Who invented projection". In other forums projection regularly was misinterpreted as leg extension, which indeed was a style question, not technique.
  8. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    No, of course not.
  9. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know much of anything about ballroom, so I can't comment on what the terms mean in that context. I do see some people (to include both some social dancers and some performers) go up and down in Argentine tango. They don't all do it the same way, FWIW. I've been in classes from teachers who teach it as a technique for leading (AKA circular motion). I've also been in classes where it was taught as a stylistic thing (something that could be used with, or even as an alternative to CBM). It's a subtle thing, though.
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    When TT wrote,
    I had a good chuckle.

    Although AT has "pros," they aren't quite what you get in the heavily codified,precisely defined world of "ballroom." And, none of them seem to have read from the same book.
    I don't think anyone gives medals for what most of us AT people think of as "AT," so there is no great motivation for standardization.
    And that's alright with me.

    There is a sameness to the way people move in traditional BA milongas, but I'll take that - which would be looking like the music - over everyone moving precisely the same way any day.
    Musicality trumps technique.

    The closest I've come to learning and accepting a standard vocabulary is Skippy Blair's. It's very, very, helpful to be consistent with the use of words (even if I don't always like the words she's chosen). And, although Paz and Hart (Gotta Tango) seemed strange at first, I am increasingly seeing the value in their approach.

    If I had the extensive background of TangoTime, (and apparently UK dancer), I think I would just soft pedal things when talking to ATers, while pointing that I will be using the words consistently.

    Meanwhile, I'll take what's useful to me, no matter the source.

    One last thought (I think) for now - although AT comes from South America, I personally don't think of it as a "Latin" dance.
  11. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    Sometimes, I think everybody is writing about the same thing, but using different terms. Also, it's difficult to have a dialogue on a list. Written communication is a poor substitute for person-to-person but this is the best we have available.

    I was taught the fundamentals of dance are 1) Axis, 2) Frame, 3) Posture, and 4) Balance. You need ALL of them. Having more of one than offset a deficiency of another.

    I thought poor balance causes rise and fall. When the woman goes into the cross, it feels like she is going to fall or she doesn't have enough room to cross, she rises. Another problem is women don't fully extend their leg when stepping backwards, instead taking small steps. Small steps lead to BIG problems, especially for ochos.

    I was also taught that the HOW is more important than the WHAT. I wouldn't like AT as much if there was a syllabus as in Ballroom and Latin.

    Then there was a discussion of technique vs. style. As long as you look elegant on the floor, does it make a difference if it's because of technique or style?

    So many times, people get in their own way because of lack of fundamentals.
  12. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    But these mentioned fundamentals are topics or subjects of technique, not technique itself. Technique is the way how to carry out and fill each topic in detail. And there are different solutions and approaches. And as long as your teacher does not know which system he actually is following, you neither will know it, of course too.
    This is the problem (and the chance) we got with a non-standardized dance as tango.
  13. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    We can argue about the number of “fundamentals” forever, maybe we reinvent tangotime’s magic eight. Tangomanic’s four points a probably out of question, so far. Nevertheless, the couple is only standing. Maybe we also need to consider, dynamics, floor craft and the all-time troublemaker musicality. Just choices of style or fundamental techniques?

    Tangomanic ocho-dilemma is a good example how style or philosophy dictates technique. Of course steps between ochos can be very small, especially in Milongero Style or Minlonga. In my philosophy they will be just the size the man has led. The woman receives his energy through the frame and allows her leg to be driven by that impulse.

    I assume therefore, that Tangomanic refers to a slightly different problem: Women save their balance by falling in (too) small back steps.

    This can have many reasons. Not flexing her knee enough, not collecting her feet while turning, leaning back or generating the momentum herself would be my top four guesses. Not to forget that this problems are often caused or amplified by a bad lead. The man don’t separate the rotational from the translational movement, they give a start but don’t define a clear “landing, bad dynamics, pushing over, etc.

    In my philosophy the basic movement, embellishments excluded, are defined to an inch be the lead of the men. In my class, the woman would be offered a training to receive the lead in a comfortable way and the man to give such a lead comfortably and secure. All techniques are aligned to that goal.

    Then, there are different philosophies were the woman and man act more individually. They need a different set of techniques to deal with the incongruent movements.
  14. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    ... concerning syllabus. I still think a dance should be danced and not discussed. If we all would meet on a real dance floor to actual perform our ideas and problems, everything would be much more obvious. Maybe on day there might be a virtual online dance floor.

    Today a syllabus seems to works only in a limited and precisely defined field. All historic, regional folkloristic, show biz or ballet forms of Waltz have been excluded in Ballroom Dancing. Rumba and Tango had to be redesigned. Pasodoble, Jive and “Samba” are mere fantasy products and don’t exist in this form outside the Ballroom World. The standardization was a very smart move business- and competition-wise, but it reminds me of collecting butterflies: Once all these beautiful creatures are arranged niclr and tidy pinned to a board, they are also stabbed to death – only the unanimated shells remain.

    When in need, however, tango-dancers don’t seem to be afraid to borrow.:D In stage tango many ideas, terms, exercises and especially drops and lifts are taken from ballet or it’s off springs. They just come in handy.
  15. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    But where if not in a forum shall we discuss. The dancefloor is reservated for dancing, only.
  16. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    I don't agree with the posited dualism. It's perfectly possible to see the shared movement of the couple as something in which both partners share much more of the role in deciding things (except the general direction, of course; someone's got to be the "manager", but there are management styles that are more or less autocratic; every organisation doesn't have a management structure mirroring the army).

    In other words, there are a lot of styles in which the woman and the man "act" (as in "provide input") individually, but where movement is _not_ incongruent because the movement is a synthesis of the inputs of both partners (who are in constant communication).
    bordertangoman likes this.
  17. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    Oh, I would be surprised, not to say shocked, if nobody followed another philosophy. I still believe that a change in philosophy will result in a change in technique and thus also in style.

    How would you approach the small-step-after-ocho-problem in your more interactive model?
  18. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    What about practica?

  19. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I like sixiela's approach because it's basically related to system theory and can also be applied to groups of dancers. but of course this would be much too much off topic now.
  20. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    I find very few women dance in an "A" frame. Their weight is on their heels so they can't take big steps. I find that the better dancers are on the ball of the foot so they can dance in an "A" frame and are in a position to fully extend the leg.

    I lead big steps to clearly communicate which foot I want the woman to step. A woman sometimes switches her weight to the wrong foot because she took a small step, which is a problem in ochos.

    As for the rest, I've given up on an universal definition of fundamentals, technique, style, projections, etc. That could be because there's no syllabus as in ballroom. I'm glad there's no syllabus for AT.

    What matters most is if my partner and I don't test each other but enjoy the passion of the dance.

    I'm not sure there could be universal agreement on that statement.

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