Dancing Argentine Tango at a ballroom social

I saw a beautiful scene today, an old couple dancing Argentine Tango during a ballroom social. They were lovely. They weren't overly good, nor were they too bad, but they were obviously enjoying themselves and there were ochos and ganchos flying all over the place. There were a few odd stares from those unfamiliar with the style and certainly by those only au fait with rigid ballroom tango, but a few erudite eyes obviously picked it.

It got me thinking whether I'd have had the guts to dance AT in that sort of place place, in the midst of die-hard ballroom dancers, most of whom look with great disdain at AT, if they recognise it at all.

I reckon I would have, had there actually been anyone else who danced it there, but I'm wondering how many people would dare swim among the ballroom sharks (of which I'm one, by virtue of attending a ballroom social)!

It's kinda like daring to do ballroom salsa at a street salsa event (eek!) or street samba (which is incredibly cool) during a samba song at a ballroom event...
My gut feeling is that it shoudl be possible to dance Argentine Tango in a way that a ballroom audience would recognize as "good dancing, in a different style".

However, what you usually see is AT danced in a manner that shares a lot of the traits seen as negative in the dancing of relatively ignorant ballroom beginners. It's not clear that all of these ballroom negatives are actually seen as positives in the AT community, rather than just being things that aren't considered as much a priority for correction at intermediate levels as they would be in a ballroom competition setting, since AT puts primary stress on other dance qualities.


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Last Friday I went to the studio party, and one of the guys asked me to dance tango. He started with regular tango that I knew, but then he started mixing in some argentine tango (which I don't know that much about). He's a really good leader, and I just followed the best I could. I think the dance was a success, because he asked me to dance a triple swing and a cha cha later on in the evening.



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If I knew how to dance Argentine Tango, I would not be fearful dancing it at a ballroom social.

At the studio I most often attend social dances, there is one couple that often attends that will use AT. They stay in the middle of the floor allowing others to be able to travel around them, and dance with class and style. A good example of fitting in with a ballroom atmosphere.


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I agree with jon, almost any serious ballroom dancer I can think of would be appreciative of real AT.

Just as a side observation, in all of my travels and research I've noticed that really good dancers all appreciate each others' style and dancing and don't seem to feel a need to belittle or demean what they don't themselves do.


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MadamSamba said:
most of whom look with great disdain at AT, if they recognise it at all.
That's certainly not the case here; there's a lot of AT done at the ballroom dances and scheduled classes every week.
Ditto what SDSalsaGuy said. Kudo's to the "older couple" for being on the floor to begin with, and more so for being able to execute an AT. We should all aspire to be competent senior-citizen-AT'ers.

Condescending onlookers display their own ignorance, either in not being schooled enough themselves to recognizing an AT, or by sneering at something they themselves probably cannot do, or simply lacking social maturity. Of course if the dance was about showing off, then naturally the rest of us have to do the judging :wink:

One scary thought though, I don't know MadamSamba's frame of reference here; "older couple" could mean 30 something on up, depending on the *observer's* vintage... :twisted:
Chris Stratton said:
My gut feeling is that it shoudl be possible to dance Argentine Tango in a way that a ballroom audience would recognize as "good dancing, in a different style".
etc. etc.

I agree with everything that Chis says. The only thing is that unfortunately I haven't had the chance to see AT danced in a ballroom context. I'll try it next time myself :)


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Another person who does AT!! A month or so ago it seemed that no-one on df did it!! :eek:

Anyway, the reason I started AT recently was because I asked this lady at a dance social to dance a tango and she wanted to do AT, so insteda of dancing she taught me the AT eight count baisc. I definitely intend to do AT at the next dance social. In fact there is one this coming Friday. :)
Okay... let me see... sure there are always going to be "purists" among us.... those of us who just do salsa, or just lindy, or just WCS, or just standard, or just Latin, or just ArT. But I like this forum because there are so many of us who won't accept just one style to dance, so it doesn't surprise me that there are many people who are trying to do it all.

That being said, so I had a party a few months back where I was one of six DJ's playing music. I was responsible for the ballroom music over a 90-minute set. Anyone who knows me and my tastes for music and dance know that I will encourage anyone who wants to dance multiple styles for certain songs. So a few tangos came on and the various ArT people (waiting for their set which came on after mine) joined in while others were doing AmT or IT. The music may have been a bit slower than what they were used to, but the pieces I had definitely had a "crossover" feel that ArT people could dance to it. Same thing with a set of cajun waltzes that I threw in that night (for the cajun/zydeco crowd that was also to follow my set on my floor while the ArT people had the floor below).

I personally don't like to see anyone left out, and I have maybe one or two people in our club that has knowledge of ArT. I may buy one disc of ArT to mix in for the next couple of dances... just to see.

That being said, it was very cool to see them dancing while everyone else was dancing around. It wasn't "showcase" style that you'd expect from ballroom, but sometimes it's compelling to see people dancing subtly.

I keep promising the one couple here at Duke who specialize in ArT that I would take their classes, once I get some time. Of course, the issue is that I don't have that much time. :( Or at least for now.


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There is yet a practical problem: tango is much slower than ballroom. I once tried, in a ballroom event, to dance a vals in the argentine way, while all other couples were dancing it in the viennese way. (Somehow they were all wrong, because the song was "Amor y Celos", by d'Arienzo...).

So I was doing one step while they were doing three. The painful result was like stopping in the highway, and after 30 seconds of being walked over by all the people I decided that "In Rome, do what romans do" and changed for viennese style.


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You could have done the val in the middle of the room newbie, couldn't you?

I agree with SD about respect for other people's dance styles and all. :)
I don't enter into the "this style" or "that style" of dancing. To me it's all dancing and whether you do one style or the other doesn't make you better or worse.

We have our weekly studio socials and one of the better leads came one night and got me up for a merengue. Very different to any merengue that I had ever done, but fantastic all the same. He apparently has been doing a lot of club dancing, and decided to try some of his club moves out on me! :shock:

I love AT (though some street dancers would probably frown at the style taught at our studio ). When a tango comes on we have a choice of either ballroom tango or Argentine. If the lead can do Argentine, I'll choose that over ballroom tango, any day. :D

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