Dancing with rhythm vs. with melody

#61
My .02¢...

It is the nature of every art form, or in this case a social dance form, to change, develop, and adapt to new surroundings and ideas. Failure to do so usually results in its extinction. It is fine to prefer (or only dance in) close embrace on a crowded dance floor to 1930-50s music. I enjoy doing so. But that is not all I enjoy. It is entirely possible to enjoy - and connect with your partner - dancing to Piazzolla, Gotan Tango Club, Orquestra El Arranque, Bajo Fondo Tango Club, etc...

If tango is a "feeling that is danced", one can dance the feeling in more ways than are imagined by some hard core "traditionalists".
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#62
I thought this line of argument had reached its inconclusion.

I used to skate on an adult skating session that was a mix of speed skaters, ice dancers (practicing set patterns), figure skaters doing freestyle (including jumps and spins) a few guys in hockey skates practicing quick maneuvers (no sticks or pucks) as well as a few senior citizens just trying to get some exercise without getting seriously injured.

Despite the fact that these disciplines all have very different ways of using and traveling around the ice, it all worked out just fine.... that is until a low level speed skater and a low level ice dancer got into a tiff and ruined the whole thing. The rink staff divided the things up so that speed skaters and other skaters were not allowed on each other's sessions anymore and the only way we got to see our friends was to either take up their style of skating, or stop by their session and visit off ice.

No one
was happy about this except the speed skater in question. The ice dancer still had to share ice with freestyle figure skaters, so she still got huffed up all the time. (It's interseting to note that the more advanced skaters in any of these disciplines had no issue with the way things had been) One couple was a speed skating man and figure skating woman, and they could no longer skate at the same session, throwing their schedule into chaos. It was especially hard on the seniors who had relied on this daily activity for socialization.

Speed skating, ice dancing, hockey, freestyle figure skating and recreational skating are all FAR more different from one another in how they move and travel than the various forms of tango, plus the ramifications of collisions are far more serious. Yet we shared the ice and all got along, making many friends and even having interdisciplinary races and games we invented. It was not that the styles could not be practiced together... it was that two individuals could not practice together.

I'm jus' sayin..... :cool:
Nice try Zoopsia!

Your whole scenario sounds like a potential for disaster and injury.
And there seems to me to be a natural limit of the numbers that can
be present in such a mixed session. The more there are the more
cohesive in behaviour the participants would have to become.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#63
My .02¢...

It is the nature of every art form, or in this case a social dance form, to change, develop, and adapt to new surroundings and ideas. Failure to do so usually results in its extinction. It is fine to prefer (or only dance in) close embrace on a crowded dance floor to 1930-50s music. I enjoy doing so. But that is not all I enjoy. It is entirely possible to enjoy - and connect with your partner - dancing to Piazzolla, Gotan Tango Club, Orquestra El Arranque, Bajo Fondo Tango Club, etc...
You say it is the nature of every art form to adapt and change to current
circumstances. It is for that reason why tango traditionalists insist on dancing
to the traditional music which influenced tango's own development
to what it became. That is the way the dance of a feeling to its music will survive.
It is a unique dance form of its time worth learning, dancing and maintaining.

Lindy Hop was more or less lost in this adaptive way only for some who knew
and recognised the quality of the dance and its music to connect with some
who remembered and the dance and its music was revived.

The obvious answer to Piazzolla is that he didn't claim to write for dancers,
he wrote new Tango, and also fusions with jazz, for listening. Some of the
other bands are Tango by name only.

But yes, you can dance something to them and there has to be a connection
in any partner dance for it to work. Different music, different dance,
different connection. And you can enjoy it too. But if I want that sort of dance,
for me there is better different music and other more appropriate dances.
But this difference of opinion about mixing tango styles on the dance floor isn't
about stopping others doing that, only about the resultant incohesiveness
on the dancefloor.

If tango is a "feeling that is danced", one can dance the feeling in more ways than are imagined by some hard core "traditionalists".
Yes if the music is right, which usually excludes Baja Fondo
and quite a few others.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#64
Your whole scenario sounds like a potential for disaster and injury.
Sounds like it, but through basic manners and consideration, wasn't.

I attended this session 5 days a week for several years and there was never a collision. Not ONE. Even the altercation between the ice dancer and speed skater was not the result of a collision. It was a theoretical argument (in the lobby) about right of way that turned very nasty and afterwards they started being deliberately inconsiderate of each other on the ice, thus creating danger where it had not existed. (much like the arguments we have here are actually not on the dance floor)

And there seems to me to be a natural limit of the numbers that canbe present in such a mixed session. The more there are the more cohesive in behaviour the participants would have to become.
I've been to rather crowded sessions that were free-for-alls, and no one got hurt. The more crowded it got, the more aware everyone needed to be. I've actually been to MANY milongas that were LESS crowded. And I've been to crowded milongas where the problem dancers were using traditional style movements (no nuevo, large, or fantasia movements) but with no ability to adjust a pattern they learned or some other issue that made them a navigation problem,

It's easy to blame a style for creating all the problems (or a mix of styles) but the fact is, it's almost always individuals who create problems. Having everyone doing the same style is no guarantee that things won't become problematic, and having varying styles does not automatically mean that there WILL be problems. I've seen scary stuff at ballroom competitions where everyone is dancing the same dance style and I've seen nasty collisions on the ice where there are only 5 people out there all doing freestyle.

People who don't like nuevo will still complain about it even if they have no evidence that it creates all the problems on the dance floor for other dancers. Without floorcraft issues, the people who dislike it or disapprove will continue to do so and continue to bash it. We've seen ample evidence of that on this forum... So much, in fact, that just about every thread devolves into this argument regardless of whether floorcraft was ever the topic of the thread originally.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#65
It's easy to blame a style for creating all the problems (or a mix of styles) but the fact is, it's almost always individuals who create problems. Having everyone doing the same style is no guarantee that things won't become problematic, and having varying styles does not automatically mean that there WILL be problems. I've seen scary stuff at ballroom competitions where everyone is dancing the same dance style and I've seen nasty collisions on the ice where there are only 5 people out there all doing freestyle.
This is a typical chicken and egg problem. Which is it: the style or those
people who are attracted to it?
People who don't like nuevo will still complain about it even if they have no evidence that it creates all the problems on the dance floor for other dancers. Without floorcraft issues, the people who dislike it or disapprove will continue to do so and continue to bash it. We've seen ample evidence of that on this forum... So much, in fact, that just about every thread devolves into this argument regardless of whether floorcraft was ever the topic of the thread originally.
And the opposite is the Nuevoists who perceive attacks where none were
spoken, written nor intended as in the Tango Voice article. But the accusation
was made of belittlement both by Tango Voice and myself.

As one who came from a more modern/new/nuevo learning I found it
had little musical connection and I would have abandoned tango (whether
that justified the name or not) if, by happy accident, I hadn't found
something much more connected. The experience I have of separation,
and subsequently of mixed floors does means I'll continue to have my
doubts about mixing them.

Dancers of all kinds can and do exhibit poor floorcraft. While those
unaware dancers in the embrace are unpredictable in their lane swapping
and stopping, the nuevoists are predictable in that it's known they will occupy
and monopolise a lot of space so others avoid them. That means even
more space is laid waste for the other dancers.
 
#66
JohnEm


Tango was lost before, due to politics, not lack of interest. It has made a remarkable comeback these past 25 or so years, and not only in BsAs. During tango's re-emergence new ideas and experiments took place (and continue to do so), in both the dance and the music. Is there any evidence that close embrace dancing to old guard music is in danger of disapeering? Not that I can see. Certainly (traditional) tango is a unique dance form worth learning, dancing, and maintaining. Experimentation does not endanger traditional dancing's survival.

Tango is essentialy walking and pivoting in an embrace to music in a moderate 4, usually with a melancholic flavour. To me. I agree much music being called tango today stretches the boudaries to the breaking point (and beyond). But much of it is danceable in what I consider tango. The rest will die off or become a fringe, popular with a relative few, or morph into a new dance form, or just be listened to. That is the nature of experimentation. Regarding Piazzolla - I had a wonderfull dance to Milonga del Angel a few weeks ago. I have listened to several versions of this piece but never danced to it before. I deeply felt and responded to the music and its mood shifts, dancing close embrace and opening up during the dramatic bits, leading a few ganchos and boleos. (There was plenty of room to do so). My partner was happy. Isn't that tango?



Basic manners and respect for other dancers on the floor is always important. Dancers lacking those qualities are the problem, not different styles.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#67
Tango was lost before, due to politics, not lack of interest.
Not exactly.
Not only did milongas at one time feature jazz/swing bands alternating with tango, young people preferred rock n roll at one point.
I've written about this in the forum before, providing both referneces from books (I think one was about Piazolla, and a link to a milonguero who in essense stated the same thing.)
The politics version (only partly true) better suits the idealized image of AT, however, and is the one that is perpetuated.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#68
Entrevista con Sebastián y Mariana

Actually I really did not understand much, perhaps someone is interested it this interview..

youtube.com/watch?v=pefZ04cfcPY
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#69
This is a typical chicken and egg problem. Which is it: the style or those
people who are attracted to it?
I disagree. I don't think there is any chicken/egg situation here. It only exists if you subscribe to the theory that a certain style is usually the culprit for problems. Since I don't believe that, it is always the people that are the problem.

If you think that a particular style is the problem, then you do have a conundrum of whether it is the style or the people that practice it. If you don't think it is a style issue, then either you have to ask: "Are all styles a problem or are all people a problem?" or else there is no "style vs people" (chicken vs egg) question.

the accusation
was made of belittlement both by Tango Voice and myself.
Not by me. I directed nothing to you at all.

As one who came from a more modern/new/nuevo learning I found it
had little musical connection
That was your experience. That is not everyone's experience of more modern styles. To say that nuevo (as a style) has little connection to music is a fallacy. There are certainly people who dance nuevo who don't seem to be connected to the music. But those same people often do not feel connected to the music when they are dancing anything else either (IME) A couple of the leaders I know who are MOST musical and connected to it and their partner dance primarily nuevo to alternative music. They actually become less so in more traditional styles.

The style of tango itself in no way universally prevents connection to the music, any more than any other dance form prevents musicality. Whether or not the music speaks to someone and they feel connected to it through the specified movement is very individual. A lot of people don't connect to ballet, but you can hardly say "Ballet as a form of dance is not connected to the music".

Unless NO ONE can connect to the music through nuevo movement and music, then it is the people who aren't connected, not the style of dance. The reason we have so many different types of music and dance forms in the world is because people vary greatly in their preferences and what they feel connected to (or what they feel expresses their soul)

Actually, in my experience, people who are just starting tango seem to have more trouble connecting to the unfamiliar (and "old-fashioned" sounding, complete with scratchy recordings) golden age traditional music than they do the alternative tracks that get played.

The experience I have of separation,
and subsequently of mixed floors does means I'll continue to have my
doubts about mixing them.
And my experience is different. Our own experiences are valid for each of us, but your experience is not necessarily valid for all of us.

the nuevoists are predictable in that it's known they will occupy
and monopolise a lot of space so others avoid them.
In YOUR experience. Which is not my experience of all nuevo dancers or even most nuevo dancers. Granted, we may have more space in our venues here than you might, but when it is crowded, they adapt to conditions.

So it is not "predictable or known" (universally) that they will be any such thing as you describe. You want to make a statement as though it is a universal and absolute truth and it simply isn't. If in fact, you are not trying to make that sort of statement, then your phrasing and wording is misleading because that's how it comes across.
 
#71
Not exactly.
Not only did milongas at one time feature jazz/swing bands alternating with tango, young people preferred rock n roll at one point.
I've written about this in the forum before, providing both referneces from books (I think one was about Piazolla, and a link to a milonguero who in essense stated the same thing.)
The politics version (only partly true) better suits the idealized image of AT, however, and is the one that is perpetuated.
Yes jazz and rock and roll were disruptive influences, but the military dictatorship, which began in 1955, was the death knell. Strict curfews and severe punishment for offenders were put in place, and meetings of more than a few people were prohibited. Tango halls were raided, people's papers checked, people were arrested and worse. By the 1970s people were disappearing. Seems more than a minor reason for social dancing (of every type) to cease, or go heavily underground.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#72
Not by me. I directed nothing to you at all.
You didn't and I didn't imply you did.

Actually, in my experience, people who are just starting tango seem to have more trouble connecting to the unfamiliar (and "old-fashioned" sounding, complete with scratchy recordings) golden age traditional music than they do the alternative tracks that get played.

And my experience is different. Our own experiences are valid for each of us, but your experience is not necessarily valid for all of us.
True enough, your experience here is the same as my experience.

In YOUR experience. Which is not my experience of all nuevo dancers or even most nuevo dancers. Granted, we may have more space in our venues here than you might, but when it is crowded, they adapt to conditions.

So it is not "predictable or known" (universally) that they will be any such thing as you describe. You want to make a statement as though it is a universal and absolute truth and it simply isn't. If in fact, you are not trying to make that sort of statement, then your phrasing and wording is misleading because that's how it comes across.
You have added universally, you have interpreted it as an absolute truth.
Regrettably many leaders of all styles of dance seem to have no awareness
and thus have little regard for others. They presumably don't care what
others are doing on the dance floor because it doesn't impinge upon them.

A leader should be responsible for the safety and care of his partner and
any potential collision possibility is to be avoided. I'm surprised that you
seem able to ignore the consequences of the space selfish nuevoist style
on those who dance with care and more traditionally.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#73
Certainly (traditional) tango is a unique dance form worth learning, dancing, and maintaining. Experimentation does not endanger traditional dancing's survival.
Maybe, maybe not. A social dance survives by weight of numbers and
the evidence currently is that the weight of numbers outside BsAs
indicates a prevalence of non-traditional embraces and more open holds.

Tango is essentialy walking and pivoting in an embrace to music in a moderate 4, usually with a melancholic flavour. To me. I agree much music being called tango today stretches the boudaries to the breaking point (and beyond). But much of it is danceable in what I consider tango. The rest will die off or become a fringe, popular with a relative few, or morph into a new dance form, or just be listened to. That is the nature of experimentation. Regarding Piazzolla - I had a wonderfull dance to Milonga del Angel a few weeks ago. I have listened to several versions of this piece but never danced to it before. I deeply felt and responded to the music and its mood shifts, dancing close embrace and opening up during the dramatic bits, leading a few ganchos and boleos. (There was plenty of room to do so). My partner was happy. Isn't that tango?
You can call it that, I probably wouldn't. If you were doing that when I was present
I would be giving you a wide berth as there would be no predicting where
you were likely to go next. There is a much maligned video clip on
TangoandChaos clearly demonstrating the off-putting effect of brash
extrovert dancing on the more restrained.

Piazzolla didn't regard much of what he wrote as strictly tango, first coining
the name "Nuevo Tango. His masterpiece "Zero Hour" album, on which the
wonderful Milonga del Angel is found, was played with his New Tango Quintet.
By this time he was extraordinarily influenced by jazz and had both jazz
and classical musicians in the ensemble.

As an aside I first discovered Pat Metheny when he played a wonderful
and typically distinctive guitar sole on Joni Mitchell's album Shadows and Light.
I've been a fan ever since. Early in Metheny's career he played with Gary Burton,
the jazz vibraphone musician, and much later revisited the collaboration
with the very listenable album Reunion. Astor Piazzolla himself collaborated
with Gary Burton on their album New Tango.
Is it Tango - not in my book. Doesn't stop me playing and loving it.

Basic manners and respect for other dancers on the floor is always important. Dancers lacking those qualities are the problem, not different styles.
Further comment is useless.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#74
Resistance is futile

..Piazzolla didn't regard much of what he wrote as strictly tango, first coining the name "Nuevo Tango. His masterpiece "Zero Hour" album, on which the wonderful Milonga del Angel is found, was played with his New Tango Quintet. By this time he was extraordinarily influenced by jazz and had both jazz and classical musicians in the ensemble.
But this is no argument pro or against the idea of continuity. You did not mention that Piazzolla had to break with the traditional tango only for the purpose to get internationally recognized as an avantgarde artist. Tango was smiled at and regarded as kind of folklore at that days. So he burned his early works (and his former existence). Later on in his life (when he already was famous) he actually did seek for a connection to the endemic tango tradition again. It is thanks to him that he started the internationalization (or shall I say assimilation of tango as an art form). And also to Jan: Only for this reason traditional tango is still alive. Europe once was the source for the developement of tango, some years later it helped that tango entered the middle classes of BsAs, and finally the Jazz-Fusion prevented tango from dying out.

With Eduardo Rovira (the unknown opponent of Piazzolla) it was a bit different. He did not seek a connection to Jazz and contemporary music. His contribution was the fusion of tango with baroque music and J.S.Bach.


Eduardo Rovira: A Evaristo Carriego
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEIJOOAW_Jk
youtube.com/watch?v=CEIJOOAW_Jk

.
 
#76
Maybe, maybe not. A social dance survives by weight of numbers and the evidence currently is that the weight of numbers outside BsAs indicates a prevalence of non-traditional embraces and more open holds.
Many (the majority?) of people take their first tango class not because they were thrilled watching crowded milonga dancing on YouTube, but because they saw some clip in a movie or on TV attempting the stereotype of tango's "drama and passion". (BTW, even the descriptive tag line for this forum says something like that). But if they have a good teacher they will be taught the basics, including of course walking and simple dancing in close embrace. Some love it, some quit. The flashy stuff draws people to tango and IMHO that's a good thing. Will everyone choose to dance solely in close embrace once exposed to it? Doesn't matter, enough will to keep it alive.

If you were doing that when I was present I would be giving you a wide berth as there would be no predicting where you were likely to go next.
Your assumptionm that I am incaple of navigating the floor and disrespectfull of other dancers would be wrong. The first few times I went to a milonga I bumped (gently!) other couples occasionally or got in their way - in close embrace. My inexperience was the problem nothing else. As has been said many times (which you don't accept), respect and manners matter. So does inexperience. I wish more time was spent in beginner classes on navigation and respect for those around you. Maybe then some of the problems you mention would be alleviated.

There is a much maligned video clip on TangoandChaos clearly demonstrating the off-putting effect of brash extrovert dancing on the more restrained.
The "Kunf Fu Tanda" clip? Watched it a couple years ago. As I recall it was a staged exhibition. Show me a clip where Naveira dances like that in a crowded milonga and I'll concede the point that all non close embrace dancers are rude, inconsiderate and a menace on the floor.

Piazzolloa:
I've listened to all of Piazzolla's work and agree a great deal is not danceable tango and that he never intended it to be. But some is none the less. In addition to the "Zero Hour" and "New Tango" recordings you mention, I very much enjoy Yo-Yo Ma's "Soul of the Tango" cd and Gidon Kremer's "Tango Ballet". Piazzolla also composed "Five Tango Sensations" for bandoneon and string quartet, which he recorded with the Kronos Quartet.

Piazzolla wrote stylized tangos.(Some danceable, many not). Many composers have done so with dance forms throughout history. For example, Bach's Allemandes, Courantes, Bourrees, Sararbandes, etc. were not for dancing, yet they capture the essence of the dance in a highly refined way. When composers start writing stylized dances, is that an indication the form is mature or dying away? Interesting to think about. After all, who dances Galliards, Gavottes, Chaconnes, …other than dance history students/teachers? More to it than that of course...
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#77
I'm surprised that you
seem able to ignore the consequences of the space selfish nuevoist style
on those who dance with care and more traditionally.
Again... you're assuming that everyone else's experience of certain style dancers is the same as yours. How many times to I have to say that it is not my experience of them? They do not present the same hazard in my community that you are insisting upon. I said it in my previous post and apparently I have to repeat it even though you quoted it.

We probably have lots more space at our venues, but when we don't, these dancers adapt to the conditions.

I'm done discussing this with you since you accuse me of ignoring something that isn't even happening where I dance as a way to keep arguing your point. :rolleyes:

 
#78
Steve

Is there a good history of tango, or even a chapter or 2, written by an real historian (a prof. or history PhD for example)? I am always suspicious when I read history written/or repeated by journalists or bloggers, or in this case practitioners of the dance (eg, Denniston, Gift).

Will search the forum for the references you mentioned.

Thanks.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#79
Is there a good history of tango, or even a chapter or 2, written by an real historian (a prof. or history PhD for example)?
The first book that comes to mind is

Thompson, Robert Farris. 2006. Tango: the art history of love. Vintage, ISBN 978-1400095797
don't be put off by the title! Had to buy this one.

You can currently look at the book here
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...&resnum=1&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false


One reason I like Thompson is the fact that he gets deep into the roots of tango. Many sources seem reluctant to acknowledge the "African" indfluence. Alberto Paz's short hisotry in Gotta Tango is a good example of that.

Number two on my list is
Tango : Creation of a Cultural Icon
Author: Jo Baim
Publisher: Bloomington : Indiana University Press, ©2007.

Jo Baim is an honest to gosh musician, knows of what she writes, and has obviously done lots of research. I'm thinking I'll end up buying this one, too.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#80
Only for this reason traditional tango is still alive. Europe once was the source for the developement of tango, some years later it helped that tango entered the middle classes of BsAs, and finally the Jazz-Fusion prevented tango from dying out.
Currently reading (gosh, I read a lot!) Guther Schuller's book on American Swing music. Schuller is a real heavy weight on the subject.

Loosely repeated, he writes that around the end of WWII swing had become so formulaic that is was bound to be replaced by something else. The same can probably be said about Golden Age tango, although on a different time scale(???).
 

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