Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Mario7, Feb 27, 2010.
Removing the qualifiers brings Jenny's statement in line with my own opinion.
And, I'm pretty sure that it's been around a lot longer than that. Any time I point out that so and so did such and such say, in the 20s, the nay sayers will say, "Well, it was a preformance." Apparently in bygone decades people did not attempt to do things they saw in performances or on film, unlike today; which is absurd.
bringing together my response to a lot of threads recently:
why is there such an obsession with giving things labels?
does it really matter? words are not the meaning they are descriptive toggles, entirely arbitrary -well yes obviously romance languages and a lot of English etc has roots in latin and a fair bit of greek for nouns and adjectives but how did the latin/greek arise?
words have a lot of power, but only the power we invest in them ourselves in the context of experience and our personal understanding. Tango is a word, it describes a dance done to a genre of music and the genre of music itself (even the use of tango describe such a specific genre is possibly suspect in the grand scheme of things).
the music of canaro, pugliese and piazzolla are pretty different, but they are all still tango, so why if we allow freedom in music, can't we have freedom in dance?
Fom now on I shall only refer to what you call "tango" as yufcurd. It makes as much sense to me and the confusion of me trying to define yufcurd will be exactly the same.
As seems to be the case lately (and, I really don't know why), this thread slips in and out of superfluous retorts, and loses its point. IMHO, Mario has, in one sense, a point. All he really wants to know is if there is a way for persons to better label what they are teaching/dancing so that one would better know what to expect from them.
The answer is, "No. Because AT has evolved/is evolving like everything else in life. There are purists who believe that it shouldn't much like all of our parents have said to us, "Well, back in my day......" And, it is all tango."
There is also a really great argument for....
My ongoing complaint.
Something else to keep in mind is that when tango had to compete with newer music such as rock n roll (yes, even in Argentina) in the fifties, young people began to stay away.
Also keep in mind that "tango" as music changed dramatically over the first century it's been around. (Someone argued recently that tango hasn't evolved becuas no one had been moving the music forward for decades.)
I've been going to the same practica for darn near 10 years now. Except... The music played is pretty much the same. OK. But by now I know it so well, that there are things in it that I want to express. But, I have a problem in finding women who share my "vision" of tango to this music. People come and go fairly regularly.
I recently watched a short film about famous "jazz dancers" Frankie Manning in which he says something to the effect that when I hear something in the music, I want to go ...... .
In AT you are tethered to a partner, and a lot of times they don't want to, or can't, go there with you.
I also believe increasingly that the tanda format is self defeating in our culture.
Maybe it's hard to believe, but the same music year after year, the same "high stakes" do I want to dance 3 - 4 songs with this person... Even a changing of style within the embrace...
Quiet rant, I guess, that's hopefully a bit pertinent.
Ok, this is somewhat over the top, but i think this is deep down the core of all the "true tango" debates:
It is a leaders obsession because dancing with followers who dance differently, with a different baseline technique is not fun. And she decides what she does with my marks - i can neither force her into apilodo nor can i force her to be off-axis suspended. So i will adjust my vocabulary and embrace and dance things that i don't like to dance, and even worse that i am not good at. And she will tell all her friends that i am an awful and unpleasant tango dancer. So its essentially a ego thing.
And in a way it is somewhat unsatisfying that as a leader the route to having fun at milongas and being able to dance with more than just one or two other people is to learn how to fake all the styles that i don't enjoy dancing instead of spending time on developing deeper and more subtle techinque in the style i actually like dancing.
EXACTLY!!! I am with the same realization and so I have now chosen to develope exclusively thru practice partners (more than one) ...I love the music and what is possible in the style of my choice (see below) and that is enough for me..way far, enough!!! So, if I have a couple of dancers at the milonga that fly with me...I will have two to dance with..and maybe chance a third if someone looks good.. I advertise almost every week for practice partners, and dance every day, below is my ad.
Argentine Tango..looking to dance everyday and won't give up in SMA
I'm looking for a second woman who wants to practice dancing the authentic Argentine Tango more than once a week.
Please have some experience and a matching physical stature; She should be over 5'3" and weigh under 155lbs.
I will teach a beginner if she is VERY interested and will practice twice a week 1 1/2 hrs ea. time.
Here are some videos of the dance.
This first link is a site dedicated to what the social dance is all about.
The link below is a video of my favorite dancer Eduardo Masci
Here's another video of master dancers:
Reply if interested, posted by Mario.
Hmm - "EXACTLY" was not really the reaction i was aiming for - because that leads in the end to fragmented communities where we have different sets of dancers that are no longer able and willing to dance with each other, and the width and variety of tango, and its community is what makes this dance so interesting.
I was more wondering about how to get the whole ego thing in check - i am at the moment working on dancing with followers whose styles i don't enjoy, and adapt to them, and find good dances there - and it is not easy. There is a whole continuum of approaches, and i think that i over time became a bit of an extremist - i figured out what i liked, and i went more and more into that direction. I don't think this is a good thing - with every step to the extreme i lost part of the community . So now i am thinking a lot about how to navigate this - because for me tango is a social dance, and having a permanent partner, or a few permanent partners who do exactly the same thing as me is not very social.
Well, you have a point there but I'm not in this to adjust to other people's cultural timidity and that's what I call it when a class is taught close embrace dancing (according to the teacher) and then no one dances really close embrace...I may just go to BsAs and stay there if this continues.:doh:
Agreed, that this can be an issue, but there are a few things that can be done to help deal with this.
1) Be a little more like JanTango and go for quality, over the quantity of the dances. Don't hesitate to sit out some tandas that don't fit your style.
2) Work on expanding (a little) what your comfort level is.
3) Get good enough at your style, that more people enjoy dancing it with you. (Although remember: No matter how good you get, there will always be some people who won't like your dance.)
I am just curious, has it really happened? From my observation, negative peer reviews have never had any significant weight among the followers.
When asking non dancing folks, those movies where associated with tango. Nobody I talked to mentioned any documentation, except it was aired the day before at prime time. “Tango lesson” is a nice fairy tale and Saura’s movie an interesting art movie, however I consider neither as representing for tango in general.
I think it is only fair that the customers nows by it’s label what is in that box before they buy it. I label my Milonga and general alignment of teaching ”Traditional Tango” to set it apart from “Nuevo”. It’s not a perfect label, but it was the best I could think of.. “Tango Auténtico” sounded too bumptious, Retro-Tango has a negative connotation for me. If anybody has a better idea, I'm alway open to suggestions.
Real stage performance is hardly ever taught to or requested by European students – unfortunately. Otherwise they would not mistake the Milonga for a stage nor would they like to perform hard work in their free time.
I assume you mean the 1880s. Otherwise I totally agree with you.
If your interpretation of the music entrances your students they will be convinced, at least at that moment, no matter what other people say. To me it is next to painful to see a couple entangled in slow movements, when a lively Foxtrot is played. They call it their personal style/discovery and there are many folks who will applaud to that.
I’m very happy that you seemed to like my Milonga. Unfortunately, I did not found time to talk to you for any longer time. Drop in the next time you are around.
You are right, Tango in Berlin is far from being dead and, yes, there is still a high number of Milongas around. If you compare the situation of today against the situation 12 years ago the number of visitors per Milonga has strongly decreased, the same has the profit. In the past it was easy to gather 100 people every given night of the week just by putting up the label Tango. Remember the Kalkscheune, big place and you were dancing so close that you could pull up your knee to the chin without dropping, the same at the Walzer. Of course, this development has some reason and those are usually connected to human beings, but I don’t like to point my finger at specific persons in public.
The general change is not a bad thing, as it forces Tango-providers to reevaluate their concept. This might lead to improvement of service and quality, which is very good, or to very low prices or both. Compared to other places Berlin has pretty low prices already and I have mixed feelings about that, as you can imagine. Strangely my Milonga gets a better payback when asking for donations as if I ask for the common entrance fee (around 2-3 € in Berlin for this kind of place). Nevertheless, it would be great if every Milonga would come up with a concept that makes it very special, so the dancers have an exciting variety to choose from.
I’m glad that Chicé is offering his Milongas again this year, but it flew by my attention. I looked up his side and his Milonga is clearly described as “[being with] traditioneller Musik, Tandas und Cortinas”. I think it’s a good thing that everybody is sharpening their profile.
In theory, the Walzer tried an “improved” concept when reopening last month. To me the new concept looked very much like the old one. Obviously it has failed on last Friday. But in every end there is a new opportunity.
PS.: While Sonja is an excellent chef for vegetarian dishes, the tapas were provided by the family of Laura la Risa, the proprietress of that venue.
To be honest, i don't know. Thats why i labeled it as an ego thing. There are a few followers that noticable avoid making eye-contact, and a few of them i know that i have never danced with, but then they just might not like my style based on watching me. But this is more about dreams and fears, than what really happens, i think.
I am mostly musing about the "why" for this need to define the "REAL" tango, with "REAL" tango music, and i think it is based on this dream of the perfect milonga where every tanda is perfect tango bliss. And real life is not like that, so we wonder how to fix it, and so we end up with this whole list of things that are wrong with milongas:
People who dance differently from me
Music that is different from what i would like
Other leaders getting into my way
People that i want to dance with not dancing with me
People that i don't want to dance with dancing with me
and so we create this story that we would have a wondeful time at a milonga where everybody dances real tango, the dj plays real tango music, people have proper floorcraft, and the codigos are followed in the proper way. In reality even if we could create that place it would probably a disappointment - utopias don't tend to survive contact with reality . Like dchester points out the first and easiest thing to work on if there are social problems is me.
I can only speak for myself as a follower. I don't think I have EVER refused a dance because another follower told me the leader wasn't any good. On the other hand, I never refuse anyone unless they are one of the 2 or 3 people who I know are going to cause me actual physical pain.
I also rarely (if ever) tell another follower that a leader is bad. What's bad for me might be great for someone else who meshes with that leader better.
What DOES happen:
I or another follower will have a bad experience with a leader and we will mention it more as a question to other followers. As in:
"I find it very hard to make a good connection with so-and-so.. do you have this problem with him?"
or: "You always look so good with Leader X, but I can't follow him to save my life!"
or: "He and I must not hear the music the same because the interpretation and flow never feel natural to me".
or at the very least: "I really like Mr Milonguero for tango, but I really prefer Dudely Waltzright for a tanda of Vals and I don't enjoy milonga with either of them!"
These comments usually illicit responses that range from "Me too!" to "Really? I LOVE dancing with him".
I have occasionally gotten this response when I say someone looks good with a particular leader, but I struggle with him: "Oh, he's a terrible leader, but I've gotten used to him" (BTW - that's something I would NEVER say... I certainly find a more charitable way to express it!)
So to sum up, I'd say that more often than badmouthing a leader to influence other followers, followers talk among themselves to determine whether the experience they already had was shared by other followers who HAVE danced with him.
I don't see much reason to discuss a leader with someone who hasn't ever danced with him (except maybe to recommend him!) I'm also not going to bother asking about someone I haven't danced with in lieu of accepting his invite or just watching him for a bit with different partners. There have been leaders I've really enjoyed that weren't popular with a friend, and leaders that another follower LOVED that I was underwhelmed by.
Sorta like teachers... :wink:
And it's not unreasonable for a potential customer to ask that a product he's considering buying is accurately-described.
That level of jargon simply won't work. Partially because the labels are controversial, and partially because it's a meaningless label anyway. I mean "Traditional" to where? And when?
What you want is a definition of what will be taught in a class, plus some indication of the emphasis. A syllabus, in other words.
Describe your product clearly, and stick to it. Don't "label" it - labels are divisive, inaccurate and tend to become jargon.
It sounds to me like you should try to understand your personal values better. You're doing dances that you don't particular enjoy for the sake of community. Ask yourself, if you were dancing for the sake of community, wouldn't you enjoy those dances? Or, do you think "community" is a politically correct concept, which maybe you are trying to embrace because of your ego?
As for me, I thoroughly enjoy the community aspect of tango, but I enjoy quality dancing more. There are women who I don't dance with, because their and my styles are not compatible. I would like to find great pleasure in dancing their style, but I just don't. If I was new to tango, I think I should become familiar with all styles, then dance the ones I enjoyed. I have been around for a while and I know my preferences. That's how I dance.
So what would you call the style of Melina & Detlef, the couple in the 2nd example?
I've heard several Argentine instructors who have their roots in the milongas rather than as trained dancers say that the stylized way of walking is not "traditional" tango. In the workshops I've taken Detlef taught a stylized way of walking (which I admire although my primary teachers advocate "Traditional Tango").
In an upcoming workshop Melina & Detlef are doing in NYC the only reference to a tango style says "Tango de Salon", which is a really broad basket.
Unfortunately this link on tangotuscany.com to Melina and Detlef in March 2010 is no longer available.
disclaimer - the milonga workshops are more specifically labeled as milonga lisa and milonga con traspie
I like the fact that the promoter of the workshop provides video links. You can see them dance & make your decision based on what you see rather than a label.
Yeah, but then people would NEVER move around the floor and we'd have to dance in place for the entire evening!
Well, this is really a very tricky point. In Berlin many people have simply no experience to dance in small space. Most dancer consider Tango as a fun free time activity. For them fun is connected to show or acrobatic figures. For quite a long time now, this stuff seems to sell so much easier. I now try an alternative approach. I try to lure more dancers into the joy of small and playful dancing. However this is not as easy, because tiny movements are much less forgiving against sloppy dancing than big ones. Many dancers don’t want to be too critical against themselves in their free time.
As my little Milonga start to gain some popularity, it also attracts dancers who don’t share my philosophy. We have a rather tiny dance floor, nevertheless those visitors start to do dramatic poses, huge volcadas and even jumps. Obviously, that is not in my interest, but what shall I do?
So far I tried to dance with as many women as possible entertaining them by using small and playful steps. Occasionally, I might drop a funny comment when I need to get out of the way of a dancer well known to her. Maybe they get the hint.
I will not deny that I'm not always successful at this crusade. Some woman do large steps by default, as well as hight leg movements. In the end, I’m lucky, when we get over our tanda without hitting anyone or anything valuable. Last milonga, I talked to a guy who started his teaching session in the middle of my Milonga and just began his discussion part right on the outer lane of the dance floor. I explained him my concept very friendly. Then I asked him to simply enjoy the evening and keep on dancing. Nevertheless he was deeply hurt in his honor. The consequents was: I had a shadow “correcting” all my mistakes, like blocking a lane – when I was carrying in another table. Should I have kicked him out? Some of you might say yes. However, I’m convinced that all his friends would have little understanding for my action. I want to keep up a friendly atmosphere, since too much bad blood would be the dagger in the back for seducing people to dance small, and me having fun.
So for me this is a very serious question: When pushing off the dance floor is no option, what shall I do about it?
Ps.: I’m sorry if I was a smart-Alec about the food, but I’m just so very happy that Laura offers this service.
I agree completely. Sometimes I wonder if the followers could have an effect by letting their partners know, without damaging egos, that they would prefer to dance in accordance with standard etiquette. If he declined they could refrain from dancing with him again.
After all, guys are only on the dance floor when they have someone to dance with.
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