Degree of closeness and figure frequency

LadyLeader

Active Member
#1
I have noticed that the degree of how deep the embrace is has a clear impact on the content of my dance. I started also wonder if this could be used to form a dance situation to something I like. To use it as a tool.

When I am in the deepest close embrace where my ear is near her ear I can hardly do any figures. Only the most common steps have space and the needed precision to be used here.
When my template/forehead corner meets her the range of figures are very much richer and more easily performed.
The third case is when only my hands and arm has a contact with her. For me it feels that this dance is all figures.

[This could be seen as milonguero - salong - nuevo but here i am focusing on figure frequency]

Have you had a similar experience? More difficult to find variation/figures when in very close embrace?

If someone is dancing very vigorously have you tested to create a deeper embrace? Could that calm down a wild dancer to a more acceptable level?
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#2
It depends on what you regard a figure. When dancing "milonguero" my focus is at my feet (cadencia), when dancing "salón" there is the opportunity of doing a lot of fancy stuff in crossed system. But I find my tricks downstairs in parallel system equally deserve the label figure than those upstairs in crossed system.
 
#3
I find that most of the "figures" could be done in close embrace with no problem. Sometimes I open the embrace a bit if I know it will work better and then revert back to close embrace.

I am not sure who said it some time ago (perhaps Pablo Veron) but that comment rings in my mind often.
Since I don't have the actual quote, I am paraphrasing:

A good dancer is not judged by the acrobatics he does, but by the way he walks...
 

newbie

Well-Known Member
#6
For me it works the opposite. The more intense the embrace, the larger number of figures is likely to happen. Not sure about the syntax of the previous sentence but you get the idea. On the opposite if the music is indifferent then I will invite an indifferent follower, embrace her indifferently and will lead very few figures.
 

Mladenac

Well-Known Member
#7
For me it works the opposite. The more intense the embrace, the larger number of figures is likely to happen. Not sure about the syntax of the previous sentence but you get the idea. On the opposite if the music is indifferent then I will invite an indifferent follower, embrace her indifferently and will lead very few figures.
Are you sure that you have the same definition of the embrace as OP.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#8
I have noticed that the degree of how deep the embrace is has a clear impact on the content of my dance. I started also wonder if this could be used to form a dance situation to something I like. To use it as a tool.

When I am in the deepest close embrace where my ear is near her ear I can hardly do any figures. Only the most common steps have space and the needed precision to be used here.
When my template/forehead corner meets her the range of figures are very much richer and more easily performed.
The third case is when only my hands and arm has a contact with her. For me it feels that this dance is all figures.

[This could be seen as milonguero - salong - nuevo but here i am focusing on figure frequency]

Have you had a similar experience? More difficult to find variation/figures when in very close embrace?

If someone is dancing very vigorously have you tested to create a deeper embrace? Could that calm down a wild dancer to a more acceptable level?
My experience is more that I don't want to do fancy figures when in a great embrace, (not so much that I can't).
 

LadyLeader

Active Member
#9
As a person I am more for variety than the deep in a subject. Quite early I decided not to dig deep in an academic subject but studied Science, Asian languages and Social sciences. To add one more area; my income came from a non-academic exam in economics.

This is also visible in my tango. One of my broadening projects is the ongoing Tango50 activity. What happens when you are training a large number of figures simultaneously?

So far I think the best corresponding process is gardening. I see a figure as a plant and i follow how it grows stronger and shows different qualities. Only a few of them will reach the pista as a whole plant and the others will be just cut flowers or greens in a bouquet.

I am now working with 3 followers and a fourth is coming on board. None of us are among the high level dancers in our community but we have been dancing between 9-20 years each. The variety of different figures reveals the skill gaps but the recovery has been amazing. Usually we say a few sentences and test. The result is not the most beautiful thing but it is on the track and we have created a better flow and a more satisfying tandas.

I think the biggest threat for the project is a good DJ. When dancing with a experienced follower to an amazing song the enjoyment level gets easily to 100*. I just cannot start to do figures because the enjoyment will drop to 30. It is too big difference! IMO this is the problem the followers are addressing when they say: Less figures and more walk! The figures are too weak, not mature enough to give the maximum satisfaction.

My hypothesis is that i can tender my figures and get them strong enough so they can ride along when we are on intensity level 100. Today i cannot see what is realistic to expect but i will continue the experiment!

Today these 50 figures still need support - Uninteresting music is helpful, middle deep abrazo is helpful, adventurous followers are fantastic because they can take some roughness when new things are growing.

* When I say 100 it is the intensity level, my inner experience but the dancing can be very soft, very slow:
 
#10
If I dance in an open embrace, then it's to keep feet space because apilado posture does not work. It's likely to be a "charity dance" - either by me or my partner. So I dance basic steps and do not stockpile any dedicated figures for that case.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#11
So far I think the best corresponding process is gardening. I see a figure as a plant and i follow how it grows stronger and shows different qualities. Only a few of them will reach the pista as a whole plant and the others will be just cut flowers or greens in a bouquet.
Thinking about figures this way is somewhat alien to me - the gardening metaphor i use is something similar to what they say in martial arts. In silat they have the idea that actual combat is the flower ("kembang") of our practice, and it is spontaneous, individual, and will happen only one time. What we do when we practice forms and train is preparing the ground, and weed, and fertilize, to create an environment in which it is likely that the flower that will bloom is in good condition and beautiful and works. As a gardener we don't create the flower. I think of my dance similarly - every time is unique, because of the partner, the music, my mood, their mood, the ronda, the time of the day, all kinds of things. Having technique, and working on figures creates the body knowledge so that the dance can (hopefully) happen more easily. So, i want something to grow at the pista, and using cut flowers and plants i grab from the greenhouse is supplementing that.

So i would think of the reason that figures don't have the same oomph on just walking is not a question of the figure being "too immature" but them being "too mature". In a way walking is like grass- if there is any kind of soil it will grow. A lot of figures are like orchids - they are really unlikely to grow on our lawns, they need special soil, and special length of days and nights, and pruning, and so on. We can grow them in the hothouse, cut them, and stick then into the ground, but that is not the same. They don't actually grow on the soil that my body, and their body, and the ronda, and the music provides.
 

TomTango

Active Member
#12
I think when your attention is fully on the embrace, it reveals what figures you have that are truly integrated into your dance.

I view brainpower as a finite resource while dancing. Everything takes a chunk - figures, partner/embrace, musicality, floorcraft. Some situations described by brain usage:

*Open floor, open embrace - figures 45%, partner/embrace 5%, musicality 45%, floorcraft 5%. Lots of brainpower to do varied figures with nuanced musicality.

*Crowded floor, open embrace - figures 30%, partner/embrace 5%, musicality 20%, floorcraft 45%. Have to pay careful attention to those around you and the flow of the dance. Can still get creative with figures and musicality, but not too focused on the embrace.

*Practicing a new figure at a practica - figures 90%, partner/embrace 5%, musicality 0%, floorcraft 5%.

*Crowded dance floor, close embrace - figures 5%, partner/embrace 50%, musicality 20%, floorcraft 25%. Floorcraft is easier as you are in close embrace. The music is wonderful and most of your attention is on the warm, snuggly embrace of your partner. You can only dance figures that are truly a part of your dance and require no thinking to perform.

I don't think any distribution is right or wrong, just depends on what your priorities are at the moment. But you can't do everything at once, unless your skills are so ingrained they are subconscious, which is the ultimate carrot-on-the-stick for dancers.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#13
If someone is dancing very vigorously have you tested to create a deeper embrace? Could that calm down a wild dancer to a more acceptable level?
Basically my experience has been that that wild dancers don't want to go to deep embrace, so i don't think this works on average. What works for calming down a wild dancer is to give them feedback about the level of energy they are setting - i just relax, match their energy, follow them. I actively work on absorbing their energy - e.g. when they try to use the embrace to bounce themselves off it I follow them - if they want to change direction or do fast ochos or boleos they have to use their own strength, not mine. And often they calm down when they notice how much force they are using.
I used to just go ahead and match the wildness level - as the leader i have a lot of tools to create energy (saccadas, engaches, single axis turns), and speed (giros, walking turns) where the follower works much harder than me - that way i had at least fun with this, but surprisingly a lot of of "wild followers" don't seem to be actually want a dance at the level they suggest.
TBH i am not quite sure what "wild" followers are looking for - most of the time it doesn't seem to be a wild dance.
 
#14
I have noticed that the degree of how deep the embrace is has a clear impact on the content of my dance. I started also wonder if this could be used to form a dance situation to something I like. To use it as a tool.

When I am in the deepest close embrace where my ear is near her ear I can hardly do any figures. Only the most common steps have space and the needed precision to be used here.
When my template/forehead corner meets her the range of figures are very much richer and more easily performed.
The third case is when only my hands and arm has a contact with her. For me it feels that this dance is all figures.

[This could be seen as milonguero - salong - nuevo but here i am focusing on figure frequency]

Have you had a similar experience? More difficult to find variation/figures when in very close embrace?

If someone is dancing very vigorously have you tested to create a deeper embrace? Could that calm down a wild dancer to a more acceptable level?
I have had the same experience as a leader and as a follower!
And I would only add that I have noticed it also affects how I perform even the most basic of sequences. I feel that even my walk changes a bit, by how much energy I can generate based on how close I am to my partner. And when we both feel it--aka if the other person is also calming or powering up depending on the embrace--then it is the sweetest thing. It brings such beautiful variations to the dance by simply coming closer of moving away from each other...!
;)
 

LadyLeader

Active Member
#15
Basically my experience has been that that wild dancers don't want to go to deep embrace, so i don't think this works on average. What works for calming down a wild dancer is to give them feedback about the level of energy they are setting - i just relax, match their energy, follow them. I actively work on absorbing their energy - e.g. when they try to use the embrace to bounce themselves off it I follow them - if they want to change direction or do fast ochos or boleos they have to use their own strength, not mine. And often they calm down when they notice how much force they are using.
I used to just go ahead and match the wildness level - as the leader i have a lot of tools to create energy (saccadas, engaches, single axis turns), and speed (giros, walking turns) where the follower works much harder than me - that way i had at least fun with this, but surprisingly a lot of of "wild followers" don't seem to be actually want a dance at the level they suggest.
TBH i am not quite sure what "wild" followers are looking for - most of the time it doesn't seem to be a wild dance.
I think that for some followers it is about frustration over something or they maybe are under stimulated. That frustration is not necessarily only about the tanda with me but the whole dance environment leave them alone by not providing enough of some for her important aspect.

I was very slow to understand that some of these followers are actually very brave, they are strong and probably will have a fast transit to the partnering stage. In those situations I try to find moves (more complicated steps, more musicality) which get them focused on our dance so in that way they are also pushing us both to a better dance.

I have also used the match method with a specific follower. Sometimes when she came in to the abrazo i could feel how bad the day in the office or in life had been. She was a staccato kind of dancer and I used to choose the fastest track still staying in the music. Somewhere on the third song I could feel how her body started to relax and we started to dance in our normal way. Other followers are different and need something else but I am so grateful for this possibility to help a friend to get back with a tanda. It goes other way too: A follower friend told how uneasy the leaders body was and she decided to use her power abrazo. It went around him and her body was as calm and stable as possibly during the tanda. When they walked back to the table he said: Thank you! and they both know what it was about.
 

LadyLeader

Active Member
#16
I think when your attention is fully on the embrace, it reveals what figures you have that are truly integrated into your dance.

I view brainpower as a finite resource while dancing. Everything takes a chunk - figures, partner/embrace, musicality, floorcraft. Some situations described by brain usage:

*Open floor, open embrace - figures 45%, partner/embrace 5%, musicality 45%, floorcraft 5%. Lots of brainpower to do varied figures with nuanced musicality.

*Crowded floor, open embrace - figures 30%, partner/embrace 5%, musicality 20%, floorcraft 45%. Have to pay careful attention to those around you and the flow of the dance. Can still get creative with figures and musicality, but not too focused on the embrace.

*Practicing a new figure at a practica - figures 90%, partner/embrace 5%, musicality 0%, floorcraft 5%.

*Crowded dance floor, close embrace - figures 5%, partner/embrace 50%, musicality 20%, floorcraft 25%. Floorcraft is easier as you are in close embrace. The music is wonderful and most of your attention is on the warm, snuggly embrace of your partner. You can only dance figures that are truly a part of your dance and require no thinking to perform.

I don't think any distribution is right or wrong, just depends on what your priorities are at the moment. But you can't do everything at once, unless your skills are so ingrained they are subconscious, which is the ultimate carrot-on-the-stick for dancers.
Thanks - I am always happy when I can use figures! :) When I was thinking of your setup and how to distribute my %-numbers I did it easily for my practicing hours but not for a milonga because the distribution became so odd.

*Practicing a new figure at a practica - mySteps 30%, herSteps 60%, musicality 4 %, navig 6 %
When we come to the practica I have been working on the figures a lot. I know them quite well but she is having a blind date with the new ones. Maybe my lead should be on my percentage but here it is on her steps; my focus is on her.

*Crowded dance floor, close embrace - Here I felt that i need to divide the brain capacity to different activities - producing aware action, enjoying, monitoring on the process or incidents

Producing: figures 0%, partner 0%, musicality 0%, floorcraft 5-30%
Enjoying: 65 - 90 %
Monitoring: 5 % - my thoughts just come and go

These situations are with my ordinary partners where the dance is going on quite easily. If I were dancing with a beginner or far more advanced follower the figures would be quite different.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#17
I tried to do the numbers thing, but it gets muddled for me:

Practicing with a partner: it tends to jump from 100% my steps, to 100% her steps, i have no idea how to fit musicality in there, because i feel strongly that musicality is part of the lead, i.e. it is a force like gravity in a volcada, or impulse in a boleo, or balance in a saccada that a leader (and a follower) has to navigate. A passive follower who does not use that force is a bit like a follower whose boleos are not impulse driven, but "recognize the lead, use strength to lift leg". I think a lot of what makes lead follow work is actually the shared experience of the music giving us a channel of communication beyond what we can read directly from their bodies/express with our bodies.

I don't practice at a practica at the moment because i don't have one available :(

When dancing at a milonga - and especially when it is crowded i feel like "figures" and "floorcraft" basically merge into one - the ronda and the music defines the space i can move in, and i use my vocabulary to fill this space.
 
#18
IMO this is the problem the followers are addressing when they say: Less figures and more walk! The figures are too weak, not mature enough to give the maximum satisfaction.
Less figures does not necessarily mean more walk. But I think it's not likely that someone who could walk well would get such comments, so it does not help much.
 

LadyLeader

Active Member
#19
I tried to do the numbers thing, but it gets muddled for me: Practicing with a partner: it tends to jump from 100% my steps, to 100% her steps, i have no idea how to fit musicality in there.
My awareness is too on one thing at a time. I write the figures based on how time consuming they were during the songs.
. . . i have no idea how to fit musicality in there, because i feel strongly that musicality is part of the lead, i.e. it is a force like gravity in a volcada, or impulse in a boleo, or balance in a saccada that a leader (and a follower) has to navigate. A passive follower who does not use that force is a bit like a follower whose boleos are not impulse driven, but "recognize the lead, use strength to lift leg". I think a lot of what makes lead follow work is actually the shared experience of the music giving us a channel of communication beyond what we can read directly from their bodies/express with our bodies.
I feel that the musicality has changed the place. When I started to dance the musicality was totally on the leader so even the most unmusical leader had to be followed.
Today I agree that the music organizes the cooperation between us two, our two personal *musicalities* are woven together to a couple's musicality. Maybe the intensity of a dance could be an indicator how near the very heart of her musicality is the corresponding core of my musicality. With other words the more near our musical softspots are the more intense dance feeling it creates for us as a couple.
Now I wonder if it is a directly shared experience or an experience via music. One follower told me that she just obeys the music, what the music tells her body to do, that will be the movement she will do. She is the first follower I know prioritizing in this way and still following well.

I have a few memories of musical problems which for me indicate the equal importance of the follower's presence in the couple. With one of them there was a clear difference in micro timing. I suppose we both were on time but there was a difference on our stepping so the templates were rubbing on each other during a slower song - milonga was ok. I cannot tell who's right/wrong or who should change or adapt.
Another story is about a powerful follower, who even lead in milonga. She seems to be a rhythmical dancer and I prefer to stay with the melody whenever I find one. This difference is disturbing so much that we have had to break a tanda - we try now to learn to hear what milongas are totally in her or my type. She has a strong own musicality which can lift a dead song for me and she can at least partly influence on a milonga too. She doesn't initiate moves but adds intensity, decorations.
When dancing at a milonga - and especially when it is crowded i feel like "figures" and "floorcraft" basically merge into one - the ronda and the music defines the space i can move in, and i use my vocabulary to fill this space.
YES! I used to say - The crowd is my choreographer! The crowd creates my dance!
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#20
Another story is about a powerful follower, who even lead in milonga. She seems to be a rhythmical dancer and I prefer to stay with the melody whenever I find one. This difference is disturbing so much that we have had to break a tanda
Oh yes, this happened to me this weekend - with the only difference that i am the one looking for the rhythm and the traspie, and she is finding languid melody lines in the milonga. We did not break the tanda, but i am pretty sure neither of us had a lot of fun there. It is strange to dance with an amazing dancer and to realize that we are both not having fun at the moment, and we both feel that the other dances "wrong", but we both know it is a musicality/style mismatch and probably looks actually decent from the outside, so it is not quite bad enough for us to create a scene by breaking the tanda. We were both gracious, but i am pretty sure if we are at the same milonga again we won't try dancing milonga again - a slow waltz or some ambient-y neo tango would have been a much better idea.
 

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