Comfortable Close Embrace?

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#82
Maybe I need to have another cup of coffee, as I'm not clear what you are trying to say (I'm slow in the morning).

I did understand (and liked) the blog post you linked to, though.
actually I'm going to join you; griping about teaching is off topic and boring...

of course its just a Catch 22; if you teach then you can't be a milonguero; and if you're a milonguero then you don't teach..poor El Pibe SARANDI; giving the benefit of his experience of dancing, and sacrificing his honour as a milonguero :rolleyes:
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#83
An uncomfortable embrace

sO Susan Miller is teaching escenario? I dont see any argentine teachers exporting apilado in any form; I think they are generally too concerned with getting people able to do basic stuff (an aside; the poor buggers who have me as a follow so learn to be grounded; they get my weight even if there's not much of it; ;) )
No she doesn't teach escenario, but like many teachers looking to earn
a living she teaches her own interpretation. She is generally credited with
coining the description "Milonguero" as a dance style when at the time
it was a term for the lifestyle of the men at the milongas. I seem to recall
Cacho Dante discussing this point in the Practimilonguero interview.
So let's not get stuck on that.

I have to admit that to me she does not appear to be a good example
and I have heard criticism elsewhere of what she teaches. I have no
personal knowledge.

I never have had the experience of it being restrictive; you just move with the woman; all sorts of turns are possible; the ladies feet cross, instead of doing ochos, and its perfectly okay on the dance floor.

isnt that the essence of estilo milonguero ; with minimal change to the torso position?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvv0vzuZi4U
Minimal change in the embrace, preferably none. All the movement
comes from within. So we agree to that extent. I cannot ascertain
your lean but mine is only as far as is necessary to maintain connection,
space and movement. And it varies accordingly. Maybe yours does too
in practice.

Susana Miller looks too rigid, somewhat awkwardly off balance and
her head is negatively interfering with the chest connection.
She is too busy with her feet and legs, they are not "free". In other words
she is far too concerned with that dance as a performance.

Bringing this back to the thread topic, she actually looks uncomfortable.
And note the toned outstretched arms - her right, his left - a visual
indication that this dance is not chest lead in the embrace but a dance
in a hold. The confirmation is in the way Osvaldo holds Susana into his
right arm to the extent she is actually twisted off centre. Whose fault
this is we cannot tell, just that this is the way they danced this dance.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#86
I think I agree with what you are describing, no matter what it's called. I don't understand why you think it neither appropriate or even possible. I think it's both. I think I dance that way.
I was describing a "real" apilado which people here regard erroneously as
a slightly exaggerated lean with lots of forward force. That is restrictive.

This is apilado, according to Cacho's own definition.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgWMs0rAcJk
He probably never bothers to discuss whether there is leaning or not. There is strong connection of the chests - that's where the lead comes from.
No problem with this at all. Feet much closer than Sebastian Arce's contrived
one foot separation and you can see how the space varies. In turns you find
yourself taking a foot out of your partner's way without thinking (because
you've had it stepped on a few times), form following function.
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#87
I think I agree with what you are describing, no matter what it's called. I don't understand why you think it neither appropriate or even possible. I think it's both. I think I dance that way.

This is apilado, according to Cacho's own definition.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgWMs0rAcJk
He probably never bothers to discuss whether there is leaning or not. There is strong connection of the chests - that's where the lead comes from.
yeah, one clearly needs a good beer gut to dance apilado; no wonder they dont have to lean, only the woman does to make contact with his chest.
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
#88
...No problem with this at all. Feet much closer than Sebastian Arce's contrived one foot separation and you can see how the space varies. In turns you find yourself taking a foot out of your partner's way without thinking (because you've had it stepped on a few times), form following function.
Complete agreement. I get my feet out of the way often, or apologize to my partner for not giving her enough space.
 

bastet

Active Member
#90
While I would disagree that having one's arm outstretched indicates that the lead is not coming from the chest, I really never have liked the look of Susana Miller's dancing. However, I promptly remind myself that it's not how it looks, but how it feels, and that's a question I don't know the answer to at all. It doesn't look like I'd be comfortable dancing that way and Cacho's dancing looks more comfortable to me, but I don't like his left arm either. It seems like it would be easy to press inwards on the partner too much and create tension, but again, that's only the view from the outside. From the inside, it could be fantastic. I'll probably never know.

Embrace is pretty much the primary factor for me in a dance (some of those comments in the blog post linked to earlier are mine) and I always say a person should take time to learn to have the very best possible embrace for whatever style they are dancing, and most people will find it comfortable. I'm always able to work with a GOOD embrace of any sort, but less so with crummy ones.

I guess there is something to be said for this. I am lucky to have a (very very) patient fiance who lets me fiddle with his embrace and tweek it. (One day I'll finally discover the secret of those delectable Argentine trained close embraces I've encountered.) Generally, one of the first things the ladies comment on is how nice his embrace is.
 
#91
Social dancers don't teach - they dance.
Professional teachers should teach - and my experience is that tango is full of social dancers teaching. Hmm.
You would say that of course!

But context is all, and I am talking of a social dance which requires
teaching of simple straightforward techniques and then a lot of practice.

Teachers want to teach, these days for money. Instead of six lessons
for women as preparation for dancing, it's more like 60 and then endless
continuation. And I am generally critical of dance teaching based on much
personal experience.

The history of English dance teaching is not a good one in my opinion.
Standardising social dances for teaching and competition has been mainly
commerce driven for 100 years and the resultant dances are rarely an
improvement on the original. Ballroom's adaptation of (argentine) tango
is the most apt here but ballroom jive is also stylistically far from
its social roots.

Professional academia and the tourist marketing that is behind the World
Tango Competition is having a similar effect on current argentine tango,
this time from within the country of origin.
Hmm .. that can stir up a hornet's nest. I like your outspokenness ;)
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
#92
Methinks it's jsut a style difference. It's very interesting that you really don't like it, because you don't seem to make any effort to avoid it. In fact, it's just about the opposite; you match that strong forward intention every bit. It's incredibly pleasant...for the follower anyway. ;)
How can you avoid it?

I can do it, I just don't like it, because it feels like walking through a swimming pool.
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
#93
Seems you can't NOT do it! :)

Er...I dunno how guys avoid it, but plenty of them seem able to. It's like they're simultaneously trying to get as far away from the girl as possible while still maintaining the "embrace." Annoying as hell.
 

Subliminal

Well-Known Member
#94
How can you avoid it?

I can do it, I just don't like it, because it feels like walking through a swimming pool.
Could be more than just the style? Maybe it's the grounding? AT followers are generally taught to remain solid and stable through the movement. And if the leader is neutral, do nothing. You can lead more than one step at once to get them moving with extra momentum, but it requires a very specific impulse. This combined with apilado would probably feel really weird if you dance multiple styles.

On the other side, when I am dancing with BR followers, it feels like the brakes have been cut! :-D
 
#95
The type of tango that feels the absolute best to me is when I feel like we are smoothly gliding over the floor almost like air hockey. When there is a frictionless sense of complete relaxation and the moves seem to do themselves without me having put any extra strength into them. It's a feeling as if I am floating on a cloud and things are passing us by as if we are looking out of a train. This feeling can only be achieved by not sharing weight. Resistance/lean means that I can't get that feeling because I am always having to activate my muscles and can't achieve that relaxed feeling that I strive so much for in tango.

Lots of lean or resistance is like a tango bear hug to me. It feels good once in a while, but it feels constrictive and I can't really dance very much like that (maybe one tanda) without craving that sense of relaxed "floating" that I get from non-leaning tango. Lean used to give me more intimacy, but now that I am more sensitive and can feel her whole body, the lean/weight actually blocks her and feels less intimate to me now. Back muscles activate with lean and activated muscles block communication. Without lean, I can feel her hips and even legs through her back, but lean blocks this connection.
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
#96
Could be more than just the style? Maybe it's the grounding? AT followers are generally taught to remain solid and stable through the movement. And if the leader is neutral, do nothing. You can lead more than one step at once to get them moving with extra momentum, but it requires a very specific impulse. This combined with apilado would probably feel really weird if you dance multiple styles.

On the other side, when I am dancing with BR followers, it feels like the brakes have been cut! :-D
Well, I dunno. For some reason Peaches says I feel very grounded.
 

tangobro

Active Member
#98
The type of tango that feels the absolute best to me is when I feel like we are smoothly gliding over the floor almost like air hockey. When there is a frictionless sense of complete relaxation and the moves seem to do themselves without me having put any extra strength into them. It's a feeling as if I am floating on a cloud and things are passing us by as if we are looking out of a train. This feeling can only be achieved by not sharing weight. Resistance/lean means that I can't get that feeling because I am always having to activate my muscles and can't achieve that relaxed feeling that I strive so much for in tango.

Lots of lean or resistance is like a tango bear hug to me. It feels good once in a while, but it feels constrictive and I can't really dance very much like that (maybe one tanda) without craving that sense of relaxed "floating" that I get from non-leaning tango. Lean used to give me more intimacy, but now that I am more sensitive and can feel her whole body, the lean/weight actually blocks her and feels less intimate to me now. Back muscles activate with lean and activated muscles block communication. Without lean, I can feel her hips and even legs through her back, but lean blocks this connection.
Fascinating - the part of your quote that I put in bold is how I feel when dancing apilado, but only with a woman who dances with apilado technique, meaning she does NOT lean on me. For me the feeling of shared weight leads to a feeling of almost weightlessness that feels exhilarating. I discovered this by "accident". My 1st teachers were Salon style dancers who were strictly about "maintain your axis & maintain your elegance". I sometimes did not follow this rule & tried to adapt to the style the woman preferred, rather than impose my (teacher's) preference. As for initimacy, I've found after learning technique, that apilado made me feel a more intimate connection to the music. I no longer "felt" my connection to my partner in the same way that I do not "feel" my connection to my arms or legs. To feel the intimate connection with my partner, I dance in salon style (but never open embrace if I can avoid it). All goes to show how much variability there is in the mystery of Tango
 
#99
Fascinating - the part of your quote that I put in bold is how I feel when dancing apilado, but only with a woman who dances with apilado technique, meaning she does NOT lean on me. For me the feeling of shared weight leads to a feeling of almost weightlessness that feels exhilarating. I discovered this by "accident". My 1st teachers were Salon style dancers who were strictly about "maintain your axis & maintain your elegance". I sometimes did not follow this rule & tried to adapt to the style the woman preferred, rather than impose my (teacher's) preference. As for initimacy, I've found after learning technique, that apilado made me feel a more intimate connection to the music. I no longer "felt" my connection to my partner in the same way that I do not "feel" my connection to my arms or legs. To feel the intimate connection with my partner, I dance in salon style (but never open embrace if I can avoid it). All goes to show how much variability there is in the mystery of Tango
I love your post, though I am still confused about what Apilado means. Also, after contemplating it, I think that even weight sharing is a confusing concept, because it's very easy to go back and forth between weight sharing and not weight sharing even in the same dance or even with every step, or parts of every step and not even know your doing it. Even a Giro can be done on the leads axis, with no weight sharing, or follows axis with no weight sharing, or around a shared axis with full weight sharing or anything in between all in the same dance. I am beginning to think that it's impossible to really communicate about these elusive concepts adequately. And for sure, I know that a wonderful feeling AT dance transcends these technical concepts.
 

Subliminal

Well-Known Member
I love your post, though I am still confused about what Apilado means. Also, after contemplating it, I think that even weight sharing is a confusing concept, because it's very easy to go back and forth between weight sharing and not weight sharing even in the same dance or even with every step, or parts of every step and not even know your doing it. Even a Giro can be done on the leads axis, with no weight sharing, or follows axis with no weight sharing, or around a shared axis with full weight sharing or anything in between all in the same dance. I am beginning to think that it's impossible to really communicate about these elusive concepts adequately. And for sure, I know that a wonderful feeling AT dance transcends these technical concepts.
This is absolutely true. I was confused about this whole close embrace apilado thing for a while, thinking it was something completely weird. Until someone told me that was what I was dancing. :D Turns out my first teacher liked the strong forward embrace, and that's what she taught me without me even knowing.

I think the big distinction actually comes from the NON-apilado people. Their close embrace is very big on you being in complete control of your own balance the entire time. No leaning UNLESS it is part of a specific movement, such as a volcada.

So maybe we can define it as:

Apilado Close Embrace = Do whatever it takes to maintain a strong forward presence. Rely on the partner connection for dynamic balance.

Non-Apilado = Stay in command of your personal balance unless told otherwise. Keep personal control of dynamic balance.
 

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