Help! Newby lost in tango

#21
Jenny,
If a leader LEADS the weight change, you follow. If he does not, you don't change you weight, even if he does change his. A leader might step double and triple, make crazy cha cha embellishments with his feet, whatever, while leading you ONE single step. And you are supposed to make one step, because it's what was led.
The follower follows the lead, not the leader's feet.
Thanks, I understand the point now. But I feel that I was not taught how to actually do it. My teachers often said to follow the leader's chest/upper body, but that's a visual lead. And I guess I'm not sure if the leaders in my classes were being taught how exactly to separate their own steps and weight changes from the ones that they led.
 
#22
Thanks, I understand the point now. But I feel that I was not taught how to actually do it. My teachers often said to follow the leader's chest/upper body, but that's a visual lead. And I guess I'm not sure if the leaders in my classes were being taught how exactly to separate their own steps and weight changes from the ones that they led.
Visual? Not only/always... is that what the teacher said?

Of course, to figure out how it's done one would need a proper lead, and/or a teacher who can lead , and explain in understandable language how the follower is supposed to react to the lead. (btw "lost in translation" is a common problem with visiting teachers, unfortunately).
 
#23
Visual? Not only/always... is that what the teacher said?

Of course, to figure out how it's done one would need a proper lead, and/or a teacher who can lead , and explain in understandable language how the follower is supposed to react to the lead. (btw "lost in translation" is a common problem with visiting teachers, unfortunately).
The teaching issues are not primarily with the visiting Argentine couple that I referred to. The issues refer to local (and fully English-speaking) teachers. They did not say "only" or "always" follow a visual lead, it was more an issue of omission. They simply did not spend much time teaching other kinds of following skills. I felt like they had their hands full teaching the leaders.
 
#24
Oh, I am sorry. By "lost in translation", I referred to the situation where the visiting teacher presumably said "do not follow", and it was apparently understood as "thou shalt not follow the lead while performing (a) certain move(s)".
I believe there was a misunderstanding, possibly due to the lack of common language. And since the teacher is gone, it is impossible to go back and clarify. Which is unfortunate.
Sorry again, my own English writing skills are not advanced by any means, either. :notworth:
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#25
the followers are supposed to 'just follow', be sensitive to weight changes and not overthink it, yet on the other hand we're supposed to memorize which moves require us not to follow at all?
At the risk of sounding egotistical...me?...:rolleyes:...I wish that you had been in my workshop this past w/e. Many "light bulbs" (aha moments) were happening as dancers understood my concepts of never follow your partner...follow the movement of the dance. I probably shouldn't say that and not get into it, but..,the reader's digest explanation is....

If you feel a lead to take an unwanted step, then possibly the leader needs to refine his skills.
For the specific step that you were referring to preceding ochos atras, the man should be able to dance contra-tiempo w/o the lady even feeling the step. The well known Argentine teacher, Eduardo Saucedo, calls this the invisible step. I call it the sneaky step.
 
#26
Oh, I am sorry. By "lost in translation", I referred to the situation where the visiting teacher presumably said "do not follow", and it was apparently understood as "thou shalt not follow the lead while performing (a) certain move(s)".
I believe there was a misunderstanding, possibly due to the lack of common language. And since the teacher is gone, it is impossible to go back and clarify. Which is unfortunate.
Sorry again, my own English writing skills are not advanced by any means, either. :notworth:
Your writing is just fine. More to the point, is that the Argentine teacher had to give me that piece of instruction because in five months of tango lessons with local teachers, I had never been taught how to follow an ocho properly.

I wish that you had been in my workshop this past w/e. Many "light bulbs" (aha moments) were happening as dancers understood my concepts of never follow your partner...follow the movement of the dance.
I wish I was there too, Angel HI. I had better find another teacher. So far my experience is that my local teachers somehow expect the ladies to magically know this concept without them actually explaining or teaching it. Then they try to lead me and get a baffled look when I follow the wrong things.

.
 

timbp

New Member
#29
So I was, in fact explicitly told 'don't follow' a certain thing. The only way to keep that piece of information is, obviously, to remember it in your mind.
I have very little experience in AT (but 4 years experience in a lead-follow dance), but as a lead I would not be happy if you followed advice to "don't follow" a certain thing (what if I decide to lead that certain thing?).
Having said that, in a social dance one makes allowances, and if it becomes clear that a leader expects you not to follow something, then perhaps you would not follow that particular thing in that dance or with that leader (but can you identify that particular lead, or would you end up not following leads he intended you to follow?).

My teachers (group classes only) have spent some time with me (as with the other leaders) ensuring I can lead a weight change when I intend to (without leading a side step), and that I can change my own weight without leading the follower to do anything.
It seems to me your teachers are not teaching the leaders properly (and then wrongly teaching you to compensate).

Tim
 

timbp

New Member
#30
Thanks, I understand the point now. But I feel that I was not taught how to actually do it. My teachers often said to follow the leader's chest/upper body, but that's a visual lead. And I guess I'm not sure if the leaders in my classes were being taught how exactly to separate their own steps and weight changes from the ones that they led.
I'm sure I've read in other posts that you are also learning West Coast Swing?

I did a lot of WCS classes throughout 2006, starting with a weekend of workshops with Jordan and Tatiana. One thing I got out of those classes was the importance of keeping what I do with my feet separate from what I communicate to my partner (unless of course I want her to follow my footwork).
I certainly never learned to do that fully, but it was something I remembered and carried over when I started AT. So when my teacher started telling me to change weight without my partner knowing (even in close embrace), it was a concept I was used to. Unfortunately, I am no good a breaking down what I actually do to achieve that.
(And I probably shouldnt' tell you anyway, as you're a follower. Leaders need to know where your weight is, so it's not a good idea for me to tell you how to silently change weight.)
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#31
To follow an ocho break it down into three movements: a step and a pivot and another step. If the leader understands this as well it should be clear. Don't step until you've finished pivoting and don't pivot under your free leg is next to the standing leg.
Also you rotate your hips more than yor shoulders- the power steering effect where a small lead to pivot( by the leaders chest ) results in a larger turn at your hips and consequently your feet. I hope this helps.
 
#33
That sounds like, well, a bit strange, unless it was just a case of poor communication?
The "don't follow" advice: I think I can relate to that advice. When I am leading that is. I can always tell when a follower is just going through the mechanics of the dance compared to the one who is not just following but is actually "feeling" my lead and translating that feel into her own dance. A bit like the piper and the snake.
 
#35
I'm sure I've read in other posts that you are also learning West Coast Swing?

I did a lot of WCS classes throughout 2006, starting with a weekend of workshops with Jordan and Tatiana. One thing I got out of those classes was the importance of keeping what I do with my feet separate from what I communicate to my partner (unless of course I want her to follow my footwork).
I certainly never learned to do that fully, but it was something I remembered and carried over when I started AT. So when my teacher started telling me to change weight without my partner knowing (even in close embrace), it was a concept I was used to. Unfortunately, I am no good a breaking down what I actually do to achieve that.
(And I probably shouldnt' tell you anyway, as you're a follower. Leaders need to know where your weight is, so it's not a good idea for me to tell you how to silently change weight.)
Oddly enough, I can follow well in WCS and in that dance, it seems clear to me when the leader wants me to move and when he is just doing his own footwork that I should not follow. I've also taken workshops with Jordan and Tat, by the way, although not where they taught that skill. However, my local WCS teacher was really excellent in teaching strong lead-and-follow skills. I've not had the same luck with my local tango teachers, and whatever skills I have from WCS don't seem to translate sufficiently for following in tango. WCS leading is primarily about compression and leverage - very roughly this means expanding and contracting between an open and a more closed position. Maybe certain tango moves use this idea, but not most of them, I don't think? Certainly not ochos.

My teachers (group classes only) have spent some time with me (as with the other leaders) ensuring I can lead a weight change when I intend to (without leading a side step), and that I can change my own weight without leading the follower to do anything.
It seems to me your teachers are not teaching the leaders properly (and then wrongly teaching you to compensate).
True, I think. In no way am I resting all the blame on leaders since I know I have a lot to learn. But I will say that I can follow ochos fairly easily when their weight change is not noticeable.
 
#37
Lost in Tango, Cont.:

So in Class #2 last night (yes, I willed myself to return), we reviewed all the complicated stuff we did last week (and no, the instructor's explanation didn't shed a whole lot of light) and then we proceeded to a new move, in which the lead walks on the outside of the follow and then leads her into a cross-step. If I remember correctly,, the steps go something like this:

Lead takes 3 walking steps (left, right, left). After third step, lead turns shoulder slightly to right, creating space for the next step, which is right foot forward on the outside (right side) of follow, left, right collect (at this point the follow crosses in front with her left foot in front of right foot, I think). Then lead straightens frame and changes weight to right foot, follow uncrosses, and they continue happily ever after down line of dance.

I still feel I haven't learned the "basics" and concepts of AT, but I will continue to plow along this class with the help of a friend who has taken AT before and has agreed to show me the steps outside of class.
 
#38
Lost in Tango, Cont.:

So in Class #2 last night (yes, I willed myself to return), we reviewed all the complicated stuff we did last week (and no, the instructor's explanation didn't shed a whole lot of light) and then we proceeded to a new move, in which the lead walks on the outside of the follow and then leads her into a cross-step. If I remember correctly,, the steps go something like this:

Lead takes 3 walking steps (left, right, left). After third step, lead turns shoulder slightly to right, creating space for the next step, which is right foot forward on the outside (right side) of follow, left, right collect (at this point the follow crosses in front with her left foot in front of right foot, I think). Then lead straightens frame and changes weight to right foot, follow uncrosses, and they continue happily ever after down line of dance.

I still feel I haven't learned the "basics" and concepts of AT, but I will continue to plow along this class with the help of a friend who has taken AT before and has agreed to show me the steps outside of class.
cool...BTW jeng, I hope you don't feel I hijacked your thread. I do think that my concerns were relevant to yours, as a discussion of learning proper leading and following skills. You said the instructor's explanation didn't "shed a whole lot of light" and I can relate to that. It appears many instructors are teaching the steps but don't explain why it works, or how to employ good leading or following to achieve it.
 

nucat78

Active Member
#39
I still feel I haven't learned the "basics" and concepts of AT, but I will continue to plow along this class with the help of a friend who has taken AT before and has agreed to show me the steps outside of class.
Short of private lessons ( = $$$), a good plan.

I love my indy studio, but sometimes the owner will lump advanced beginners into intermediate classes and then teach patterns at an intermediate level. Great for the ABs who can pick it up quickly, but trying times for those who don't (like me).

The bad thing is it can be quite frustrating but the good thing is it makes me aware of what's out there. And eventually when we get back to it, it's not totally new. Sometimes the "what the heck was that?" suddenly clicks into place later.
 

Ampster

Active Member
#40
Lost in Tango, Cont.:

So in Class #2 last night (yes, I willed myself to return), we reviewed all the complicated stuff we did last week (and no, the instructor's explanation didn't shed a whole lot of light) and then we proceeded to a new move, in which the lead walks on the outside of the follow and then leads her into a cross-step. If I remember correctly,, the steps go something like this:

Lead takes 3 walking steps (left, right, left). After third step, lead turns shoulder slightly to right, creating space for the next step, which is right foot forward on the outside (right side) of follow, left, right collect (at this point the follow crosses in front with her left foot in front of right foot, I think). Then lead straightens frame and changes weight to right foot, follow uncrosses, and they continue happily ever after down line of dance.

I still feel I haven't learned the "basics" and concepts of AT, but I will continue to plow along this class with the help of a friend who has taken AT before and has agreed to show me the steps outside of class.
This is the Basic 8 Count step.
 

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