ABC's Definition of Tango

Peaches

Well-Known Member
First came the music-- the actions that followed ( steps) began to define the dance--ergo-- change the music-- same dance ?
That would be the question at hand.

You seem to say no. I say yes.

We seem to be at an impasse. So long as we can both dance on the same floor, don't see that it's an issue.
 
Isn't tango the only dance where the leader changes his weight to another leg and the follower does not?

For what it's worth, a lot of non dancers would recognise tango from the distinctive steps rather than the music. After all, people dance tango to all sorts of music these days. The most recognisable steps are the gancho and the sandwich.
 

atk

Active Member
Isn't tango the only dance where the leader changes his weight to another leg and the follower does not?
I don't think that works to define it, either. There are times (at least in american style) in every dance where the leader may change weight when the follower does not - and/or where the follower may change weight when the leader does not. One example of this would be entering or exiting shadow position, when trying to get on the same feet. The leader can step one extra time (as in the AM FT syllabus, for shadow spirals) or one less time (as in the AM CC syllabus, in sweetheart walks).
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Learning to dance AT at anything beyond beginner level involves learning to not follow the leader's feet, but rather his torso. I'd argue that citing a couple examples from a syllabus does not rise to the level of "this is something you can encounter at any point so you better learn to deal with it". And that, therefore, dancing in "crossed feet" is one of the defining characteristics of AT.
 

atk

Active Member
Learning to dance AT at anything beyond beginner level involves learning to not follow the leader's feet, but rather his torso.
I think that same argument can be made for any dance, though I suspect I'm not thinking about the same implications as you are. I've heard that there are no real patterns in AT, so do you mean that, in other dances, it's possible to play "guess the pattern" rather than "follow the lead", whereas that's not possible in AT?

I'd argue that citing a couple examples from a syllabus does not rise to the level of "this is something you can encounter at any point so you better learn to deal with it".
As the leader and follower become more advanced, things in the syllabus seem to become examples of how things work, rather than the only things you can do. If the leader learns to lead the component, then s/he becomes capable of leading the component (shadow, with fake) at any time. It would appear that you could encounter it at any time, with a more advanced leader.

Or, based on some posts I've read, here, it seems like you aren't supposed to socially dance AT until you're advanced. Is this assumption part of your post, which I may have missed?

And that, therefore, dancing in "crossed feet" is one of the defining characteristics of AT.
Please forgive my lack of knowledge, but what do you mean by "crossed feet"?
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
In most dances, I step on my right she steps on her left, etc.

In AT it is quite common that I step on my right and she also steps on her right. Or, I step on my left and she steps on her left.
This is sometimes referred to as being in "crossed feet".

You don't have to be advanced, or even intermediate, to have this happen. It is a concept that is introduced very early in the game.

One way to get into "crossed feet" is for the man to take an extra step. We are supposed to be able to do this without the woman "noticing". But really, she is not supposed to also take a step because we haven't asked her to do so because we've not moved our torso, which is how we ask for a step.
(It's a bit more complicated than that, but it gets too geeky really fast.)

The woman follows the man's torso in AT. She doesn't follow his feet. In other dances, as you write, you can get to the point where you don't both take steps at the same time, but in AT it happens from the beginning, and the women have to unlearn that "natural" impluse to step along with the man's every step.

Regarding patterns, yeah, they tell us there are no patterns, then they teach patterns such as the giro, then they tell us learn the pattern, then learn to change it.
But, the important thing is that learning the patterns by rote, and making that the basis of your dance, is a not very popular idea.
Improvisation is emphasized.
This is one of the reasons that there are not widely accepted syllabuses for AT. There is no one "right" way of doing almost anything.
Some of us like that a lot (even though we have our personal preferences and it creates much confusion).
 

Ampster

Active Member
Improvisation is emphasized.
This is one of the reasons that there are not widely accepted syllabuses for AT. There is no one "right" way of doing almost anything.
Some of us like that a lot (even though we have our personal preferences and it creates much confusion).
:rocker: Myself included. It's called freedom.

Any other Tangueros and Tangueras, Milongueros and Milongueras agree?
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
A moment to thank Peaches' post #132, and if I may so, my response #133, and her's #134 for getting this thread back to the point of the OP (Me). It was never about the arguments of identity and/or who owns what. It was always about what is and/or defines AT, and subsequently the issue of not generalizing tango to a mostly uneducated (about dance in general and tango in particular) audience.

The posts that have followed have been well worth the read.
 

madmaximus

Well-Known Member
A general perspective...

Can dance exist without music?

Can dance exist without movement?


IMO.
Any Dance is about movement--I think we can generally agree to that.

A dance STYLE has to have unique elements.
By that, I don't mean step patterns, but rather certain types of movements or body lines; props (e.g. fans, bamboo poles, umbrellas); and/or certain types of music with certain melodies and instruments, that when taken in part or together define the integrity or form of that dance style.

Each dance form will have only a handful of elements that make it distinctive in its own way (such as certain ways of doing: kicks, positions (of the feet, hands, arms,head, body), and dance lines, or holds).

Now, a sequence of movements that involve these highly stylistic elements can be put together in a formal accepted form--that then becomes a standard or syllabus for that style.

Or those ELEMENTS may be used in improvisation to create 'new' patterns outside of those 'acknowledged' standards.

This so-called improvisation (freedom, street style, no-style) is actually taking movement (perhaps even from other forms of dance) and imbuing it with the stylistic elements of the desired dance form/style.

So, an AT 'ocho' can be made distinctive from the IT 'swivel', if one is good enough to dance those 'steps' with each of the form's (IT/AT) stylistic elements.




m
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
Nice post MM. I believe that yes dance can exist w/o music, and your post answers the other quite well. I have taught that dance, by definition, is natural movement put to a specified rhythm, timing, and styling. When one of those things change, so does the dance. Your post iterates this in more detail.
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
Now, THERE's a question.





m
Oh dear.

Before I run, screaming for the hills I'd like to ask a question of the advanced dancers and teachers here (along the lines of what I was saying earlier)...

What do you say people are doing (I'll not even use the word "dancing," although I think it's a bit unfair to some.) when they're going through the motions without a dance's characteristic style? They're doing something. Mayhaps you're content to write it off as "walking to music," and I think there's validity to that. Aside from calling them beginners. ;)

If I may reverse my earlier trend of restricting things to AT (and get back to my more characteristic thread hijacking), what's going on if someone is dancing a box step without a clearly defined SQQ, and without cuban motion? Is this where TT's idea of music defining the dance comes in? What about the person who "dances" "Cha" without dancing 4 & 1 (as in, half, half, whole beat), but instead dances it as a triplet across 2 beats (all the same length)? And if they don't have cuban motion going? What is they're doing?

Obviously, they're doing something. And, probably, very happily doing that something. (Dance and happiness, and the idea that one should produce the other on some level--even a masochistic level--is a "thing" of mine. Plenty of people disagree. I don't care.) I just find it a bit...dismissive? unwelcoming? elitist?...to describe what they're doing as not dancing, or not dancing X dance. They're moving to music, as best as they know how...so what makes it dancing, or not?

OK, running and hiding now.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
...to describe what they're doing as not dancing, or not dancing X dance. They're moving to music, as best as they know how...so what makes it dancing, or not?

OK, running and hiding now.
I believe that the previous posts in this thread are relative to specified, more profound interests/studies. The flip side is that by my dance definition in the last post, I agree with you, completely. Of course, the operative word, and relative point of contention, is "natural". It is what makes your viewpoint valid.

OK..just for the heck of it. Given this viewpoint, however, of natural movement, even if undisciplined is still dance. I have always said that ballet, though a very impressive and worthwhile, for many reasons, 'activity' is not dance...simply because it is not based upon natural movement.

:confused: OK...running to find my own hiding place, now.




Ow!
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
Again, define natural.

I don't find squat natural about cuban motion, or a ballroom frame (yet? time may or may not tell on that one)...and there ain't a damn thing that's going on naturally when I attempt Standard. Probably a bit too much is going on naturally when I do AT. But enough about me!

Ballet? Sure, I'll call it dance. Don't know enough about it to call it anything else...except perhaps art, or sport.

Are we running the same direction, or different directions? ;-) :)
 
As far as ballet . . .

In my very limited experience (1 semester class), it seems that ballet is actually based on the most basic natural movements.

But it is so extremely stylized that it has become an artistic exaggeration of natural movement.

But the basis of all the movements is extremely simple and natural.

Just my thinking in the context of this thread.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
Again, define natural.

I don't find squat natural about cuban motion, or a ballroom frame (yet? time may or may not tell on that one)...and there ain't a damn thing that's going on naturally when I attempt Standard. Probably a bit too much is going on naturally when I do AT. But enough about me!

Ballet? Sure, I'll call it dance. Don't know enough about it to call it anything else...except perhaps art, or sport.

Are we running the same direction, or different directions? ;-) :)
I've had my head chopped about that ballet thing before...but stand by it. Re latin movement (cuban motion), I teach that, in its simplest form, it is very natural...it is the movement of going 'up' a flight of steps;
with the weight resting on one side, place the ball of the movign foot on the upper step; press down through the leg, literally lifting yourself onto a straight leg; having acheived the fullest extension of the movement, rest into or onto the new supporting hip/leg, and repeat beginning with the next step. Standard is just rolling over the foot; partially or entirely and to what degree...again, quite natural, but I understand your point.

BR frame...you said it best..."there ain't a damn thing that's going on naturally ..." Finding a deeper place to hide.....
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
As far as ballet . . .

In my very limited experience (1 semester class), it seems that ballet is actually based on the most basic natural movements.

But it is so extremely stylized that it has become an artistic exaggeration of natural movement.

But the basis of all the movements is extremely simple and natural.

Just my thinking in the context of this thread.
I'm sorry, but to use Peaches' words..."there ain't a damn thing that's going on naturally..." about en pointe, penche, or standing in a 5e. Not knocking it...just saying.....
 

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