Tango Argentino > Why some women are not asked to dance

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Ampster, May 1, 2007.

  1. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Another quibble:

    Not inconsequential I think - just not so strict, not so much in phrases. Traditional AT music is continuous, it almost forces you to walk. It's quite possible, and enjoyable, to simply walk with rhythm for an entire track of traditional music.

    Neotango music seems to be more interpretive, there's no "must walk" imperative, it allows for a different type of interpretation. I think that, in time, nuevo tango dancing may evolve to become a stationary dance - there's often no need to walk, and no musical imperative to do so.

    Personally, I find neotango more natural to dance to, but I think that's probably because I'm more used to that style of dancing than anything else.

    EDIT: Good God, 718 posts...
  2. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Very, very good (oh so true) points. At the River Tango at the weekend I was in the throws of a heated debate about the Global Economy with a male banker friend. He then pointed upwards signalling my attention to look away. Two guys were standing in front of me asking for a dance. So no, this sitting pretty, with upturned chin, looking "available" is not always the case.

    Question to Men? Could it be true to say that like in our every lives (that is outside the bubble of tango) that a man backs away from a woman that appears to come across as desperate? And so this could be equally so in tango?
  3. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Interesting points, but a bit generalising as though Neotango was all the same; Narcotango fits your description; but if you take something like Rankins Cadillac by Mood Area 52 it pace changes from a tango tempo and speeds up to a fast milonga style speed.

    i would say its more a choice between working with rhythm or flow (and moving between the two). Rhythm seems to be easier for most people as though the don't know to flow or maybe are afraid to? I also think there is a gap in how to make the most of Tango- Vals which should be flowing and moving along the floor
  4. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Looks like you already did...
  5. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Why dance with someone if you're not going to follow that person's lead?
  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Because often in AT, the man directs the step to be lead, but the timing can be up to the woman. Well, she can suggest timing; the guy does not have to take her up on it, and many don't. She can slow things down and draw them out, or not. It's still dancing with your partner, and still following his lead, but we are allowed input.
  7. BlueSkies

    BlueSkies New Member

    I think you may mistake my meaning. Let me describe what I try to achieve when leading. (I'm a fairly new leader, so I don't always achieve this ideal).

    When I invite an ocho, the follower has the opportunity to execute that step according to her own choice of tempo. She can take a very slow step, a fast short step, or if she likes she can cause me to move by taking a larger step, giving me extra energy and suggesting an increase in pace. She can decorate, accelerate, decelerate, according to how she interprets the music. While she does these things, I follow her and my attention is completely on maintaining my connection with her movement. She is in charge until she comes back to the balance and returns her attention to me. Then I invite another step. The follower is not "failing to follow" in these cases, she's taking involvement in the dance. Some leaders will not allow the follower the time to complete her step in her own time, which is what I mean by "being shoved", a physical equivalent of saying "Oi, I said go there, now get on with it".

    As for "playing" with the lead, this is why I think this is an advanced skill and the lady needs to know when it's welcome, because it is also not "failing to follow", though it is challenging to the leader who has many things going on in his mind, especially if he's inexperienced. I might for example lead my partner in a large rotation, and feel her bring her foot in contact with mine as she comes around, offering a sweep to continue the rotation. Or if I block her, she might "cheekily" step out around the block rather than over it. These things are subtle and cleverly done so they don't disrupt my lead, they offer alternatives and shape the dance as a mutual expression of the music / connection between us.

    I have encountered followers who think that involvement in the shaping of the dance means going off hard left when I invite a step to the right. Those are not pleasant dances, physically and mentally exhausting and totally destructive of the connection. This is the "not following" case, the equivalent in conversation would be one partner saying "Shall we go here?" and the other turning their back and walking away.

    The involvement I'm trying to describe is the opposite of this "random not following", it builds up the connection through a dance that is created and shared by both dancers. In conversation, one of us says "Shall we go here?" The other says "Yes, and how about a bit of this along the way?", or "Oh yes, I'd love to go there, but ever so slowly!!!"

    Of course, all this is just my opinion and based on my limited experience, but I do adore those dances that are mutually created, the whole feels far greater than the sum of the parts.

  8. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Honestly, men - especially British men - are never going to be that good at reading signals. A lot of us will assume subconsciously "she's sitting down, therefore she doesn't want to dance".

    Stand up! Or make it obvious that you're dying to have a dance.

    Ummm, dunno. Again, men usually don't think "she's desperate" or whatever - they usually think "Ooh, she's got big knockers" :D
  9. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Ha, ha, ha :-D
  10. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    OK, this may put me in the dog house. My current philosophy (which is very much a work in progress), is that I lead steps, and invite embellishments.

    When I first started taking up tango (not all that long ago), the teachers I had said things very similar to what you described above. As I was new, I accepted what I was told as gospel. FWIW, most were American women. As with many beginning leaders, I had some difficulties in my leading.

    At some point, a visiting teacher from Argentina (a Leader), came and gave a workshop to our group (he was absolutely great), and then announced he would also host a special leaders workshop next week. I might have been the first one to sign up (as I knew I needed big time help).

    One of the things he covered in his leaders class was how to lead in a way that the woman had no choice but to follow. There was no mention of it being an invitation. He talked about it being gentle, but forceful and decisive. Basically, he said some things quite different from what I had been previously told.

    I went back to my regular group classes and asked the teacher there about this new information I learned. She told me that I probably didn't get it quite right, so I went on (and continued to struggle). At the next opportunity I attended another out of town workshop, with a different visiting male Argentine teacher. I got a chance to talk to him afterwards and I explained some of the problems I was having. His response was a simple but emphatic, "Be The Man!!!". The next opportunity, I took another workshop with another visiting Argentine Leader. In my discussion with him, he told me that some woman don't really know how to follow, so sometimes you just have to do what it takes to get them to follow.

    This is when I concluded there are different philosophies on to lead. I've since sought out various opinions on leading different moves, and then worked out my own philosophies and refined things so they work for me (however, it's still a work in progress).

    I do know this, when I am having a good day (like this past Saturday), what I'm doing works well. I just wish I had more days (and nights) like this past weekend in Vermont (at a Tango Festival). It was kind of nice having women winking at me and asking me to dance. It made me feel like maybe I'm starting to get the hang of this tango thing. Of course, next week I'll likely be mired in mediocrity once again.
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I'm experiencing this in ceroc. I may as well be leading a bouncy puppy on of those extending leads for the amount of response I get to my arm leads(with one or two followers most are okay). They don't seem to be stepping on a beat that I'm stepping on or one that I can hear in the music. Gonna learn a few arm locks I think..

    I dont get it so much in tango but thats because its slower and I pause if I have an unruly female. The first reaction I get is a look of panic as they try and guess what it is they are supposed to do and they try several different things hoping one will be right. When this doesn't work and they eventualy stop. I ask "I'm not moving. Why are you?" Usually the penny drops.
  12. tangoking

    tangoking Member

    It depends on the guy. I'm sure that some will feel that "desperation" and look past. Others are just snobs and will only dance with the elite. As for me, I try to apply the golden rule to my dancing. I know how it feels to sit when you want to dance. (Actually I may have to sit through Rhythm and Smooth at my next comp b/c there's not enough ladies going :x) So if I see a lady who has that look, then I will invite her.

    But I cannot stress enough, time is of the essence! I was taught the following dance party etiquette. If everyone follows these guidelines the party is usually excellent:

    HOUR 1: (9:30-10:30) Dance with beginners and new people
    HOUR 2: (10:30-11:30) Dance with friends
    REST OF NIGHT (11:30-1:30): Free

    Forthwith, it is essential for new dancers to the party early, and why I put it as tip #1. That is their window of opportunity to dance with more experienced people. I make a point of getting there early for this reason. At that time if a lady that I've split lessons with invites me to dance I will tell her, "Let's save our dance for later." On the other hand, if it's 12:30am, she gets the dance.
  13. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    My answer is no.
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Interesting. But if everyone follows this pattern wouldn't that mean that the newbies and beginners don't get to dance between 10:30-11:30 if they are alone and don't have a set of friends? And they are probably also unlikely to get asked towards the end of the night as people get tired or see the evening slipping away and don't want to spend it on that kind of dance.

    So as admirable as it is that you are willing to dance with the newbies, and even though it makes sense that they get asked early on in the evening so they don't get discouraged and leave, I'm not so sure that it would be best for EVERYONE to follow this pattern as you suggest. If someone else has a different pattern (say, dancing with their partner for the first hour and then moving on to newbies for hour 2) the newbies actually get to dance throughout the evening.

    If they get asked alot in the first hour and then rarely after that, they're going to still go home dejected and feel like a failure because no one asked them to dance once they got "known" a little in the early dances.
  15. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    A lot of great points there. Best just to make some time for newbies at various points throughout the evening, I think.

    I have often seen the opposite pattern, i.e. some of the experienced dancers spend nearly all evening dancing with their favorite (advanced) people, then, when the the crowd thins out later and some of the advanced folks are gone, they'll be willing to dance with beginners (assuming those beginners didn't give up and leave before that). That's also not a good approach, when the newbie has to sit on their hands most of the evening.
  16. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    What I usually do:

    • 1st Half Hour - Dance with my wife (although if one of us is having an off night, we stay together longer).
    • Next 2 Hours - Dancing with anyone: Friends, Beginners, Newbies, Wife, etc.
    • Last Hour - Seek out friends (or good dancers) that I haven't danced with.
    • Last Dance - My wife.
  17. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    It is my objective as a lead to dance with any follower at any level and make her look good. I do NOT have a schedule for newbies, advanced, etc.
  18. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    You see, I believe that you did get it right. The problem here has always been that amers, speaking generally of course, always want to categorize, classify, and pigeon-hole "everything". And, the truth is that lead/follow is as flexible and variant as language or walking.

    There is no 'one' right way to do it!

    However, there is definitely a wrong way to do it. Perhaps, an oversimplification, but d'chester is, in a way, correct...sometimes we lead, and sometimes we invite. The bane of both lead and follow is to know the difference. If a lead is led, then the follow should not go off on some tangent regardless of how minimal or grand, interpretive or suggested. She should just follow. When the lead is an invitation, the follow has carte blanche to dance away, and, yes, even lead a little, if both partners are of that level.
  19. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I, as well.
  20. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Good for you/lovely attitude.

    I guess I have the best of both worlds. If I am sitting as a Follower and I want to dance then I get up as a Leader. I return to my seat as a Leader and when I get asked I stand once again but this time as a Follower. As a Leader I will dedicate my time to the beginners/early intermediates throughout the slower tracks - keeping my lead basic they're able to follow easily thus build in their confidnce. The more challenging tracks (i.e. nuevo/milonga) are for the more advanced.

Share This Page