How many adornos do you need?

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#42
It is also a question of the balance of the whole dance - one of my teachers told me that in BA they used to call all these adornments and figures "greens" (verdura). And if you think of argentinean cooking that is what they are - the main thing is the steak, and then there is a sprig of parsley to provide color and a bit of crunch, but it is not the main thing.

Adornments are wonderful if they are just that - frosting on top of the cake (to stay with the food metaphors :), and it becomes quickly cloying and overly sweet when the ratio between cake and frostings gets off. For me as a leader one of the steps that i am most wary of is the stepover - some followers seem to have spent considerable time on developing an elaborate choreography they plug in whenever they do a stepover, and after they have done it twice with absolutely no variation i kinda loose interest. Especially when they are not keeping their knees together, which means that i can't lead them out of it if planned something like reversing it, or using it as a turn, or something. And when they don't listen to the music - if i dance close embrace milonga and i do a tiny, quick stepover out of a turn it is not the time to go down to the floor and draw a huge circle before coming back to me.

I feel vaguely uncomfortable hearing that adornments are how a follower expressess the dance, the same way that i feel uncomfortable hearing that figures are how a leader expresses the dance. For both the qualtiy of movement makes a much larger impact, and watching a great follower walk, and crisply and precisly collect, and step decisivly and powerfully, and go into the cross tightly and smoothly is beautiful in itself. The follower can add to that with adornements, but not replace it. The same is true for leaders - sure, figures are great, but they complement a clear and musical presence, a comfortable embrace, and they can't replace it. And this presence is the clearest expressed when there is no figure, in just the walk. It is not that leaders don't need figures, but if we can't lead a walk, and an ocho cleanly and clearly and enjoyably then the figures are not going to be alive. Again, a overdecorated wedding cake comes to mind- nice to look at, but almost inedible.

Gssh
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#43
Why do them at all?

I don't mean taps and flicks and whatnot have to be thrown in wherever, but there's something kind of nice about cirlcing the floor when you're standing still, because you're moved to.
Exactly. This is the answer to the question (my bold), reenforced by Gssh's post.

Or there's always the reason that you're bored out of your skull with a particular leader and you've got to do something to amuse yourself. (To be used sparingly.)
And, this is why you are one of my fav persons, girl.
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
#44
I'm reminded of a workshop I took a last year...something about musicality, I think. (Good workshop, whatever the topic was supposed to have been.) The teacher was talking about how both follower and leader need to pick and choose, from moment to moment and song to song and partner to partner, how they felt moved to express the dance...but never to the point of letting it overwhelm the partnership and the connection.

Her point was that if either the girl or the guy was so lost in their own world of trying to do all kinds of crazy "interpretation" of the music that it'll fall apart. As she was saying this she and the guy were demonstrating both partners trying to throw in every conceivable embellishment...and she literally had both feet go out from under her and she fell flat on her butt in the middle of class. It had to hurt like hell, poor woman...but it did make one hell of a point.
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
#45
Exactly. This is the answer to the question (my bold), reenforced by Gssh's post.
Ah. My misunderstanding, then. I took your statement to mean that adornos were out of place unless they were the natual extension of the physical movement, like an extension of the lead. I just meant that one could feel "moved" (perhaps inspired is a better word) to do an embellishment, and I felt that was legit.

And, this is why you are one of my fav persons, girl.
Heh. *hugs* That comment was actually based on personal experience. I'd been watching this one guy dance one evening, with a myriad of very good follows, and things were beautiful. Then I danced with him...and realized that he wasn't leading much of anything at all. Pretty much all what I saw was the women improvising with a variety of embellishments...because there was practially nothing coming from his end. After a song or two of that, I spent the rest of the tanda embellishing to my heart's content, because I was going to get something out of that tanda. (He kind of took the stand still until you feel moved to move a little too much to heart.) If nothing else, it was good practice for me, and it gave me something to think about. Cuz god knows it wasn't his dancing that was remotely interesting.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#46
I feel vaguely uncomfortable hearing that adornments are how a follower expressess the dance, the same way that i feel uncomfortable hearing that figures are how a leader expresses the dance.

For both the qualtiy of movement makes a much larger impact, and watching a great follower walk, and crisply and precisly collect, and step decisivly and powerfully, and go into the cross tightly and smoothly is beautiful in itself. The follower can add to that with adornements, but not replace it. The same is true for leaders - sure, figures are great, but they complement a clear and musical presence, a comfortable embrace, and they can't replace it.
Gssh
:notworth:

Thank you.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#47
For me as a leader one of the steps that i am most wary of is the stepover - some followers seem to have spent considerable time on developing an elaborate choreography they plug in whenever they do a stepover

Gssh
I used to try to do something fancy with a stepover, and sometimes I still do depending on the tempo of the music. I also used to hate how often leaders led stepovers. They seemed to be the most over-used element in tango and often feels like a disruption of the flow of movement rather than a logical choice.

But I've learned to appreciate the stepover for a completely different reason. Its the one time the leader has to wait for me, so it is the best opportunity to "put myself back together" if I've let my axis get twisted or my posture fall apart or I'm slightly off balance, or any of the other things that shouldn't be happening but do happen sometimes.

I have this tiny brief moment in time that I can fix all that without worrying about what he's leading while I'm doing it. And as a bonus, I'm doing it while standing still which is SOOOO much easier (and MUCH faster) than trying to reassemble or fix my body while moving! I've gotten pretty good at making these adjustments without hardly delaying things at all, but I take the moment to correct that FIRST. Anything else only happens AFTER I've used the opportunity to fix those basic things, and even then only if I feel it works with the music and the feeling of the leader's dance.

(I also sometimes use the stepover pause to help a less musical leader get back on the beat or the phrasing.)
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#48
FAH that you mention this. When working in NOLA (New Orleans), we found so many of the ladies would arrive at this place, and immediately, without lead or forethought, stepover and go into a whole systemized choreo of WTH, that we gave it a name... "la rabieta" . :)
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
#49
But I've learned to appreciate the stepover for a completely different reason. Its the one time the leader has to wait for me, so it is the best opportunity to "put myself back together" if I've let my axis get twisted or my posture fall apart or I'm slightly off balance, or any of the other things that shouldn't be happening but do happen sometimes.

I have this tiny brief moment in time that I can fix all that without worrying about what he's leading while I'm doing it. And as a bonus, I'm doing it while standing still which is SOOOO much easier (and MUCH faster) than trying to reassemble or fix my body while moving! I've gotten pretty good at making these adjustments without hardly delaying things at all, but I take the moment to correct that FIRST. Anything else only happens AFTER I've used the opportunity to fix those basic things, and even then only if I feel it works with the music and the feeling of the leader's dance.

(I also sometimes use the stepover pause to help a less musical leader get back on the beat or the phrasing.)
YES!!!!

I love the stepover (most of the time) for exactly those reasons. It's just such a great opportunity. I also like it as a little chance to catch my breath if the leader is one of those race-around-the-floor types. (Dangit, for just a second, we're going to stand here and NOT MOVE!)

I never do anything interesting with them, really. I'll pause and step over at some point that I feel is appropriate to the music, and I might do a small flick/cross in front after I step, but that's about it.
 
#51
I never do anything interesting with them, really. I'll pause and step over at some point that I feel is appropriate to the music, and I might do a small flick/cross in front after I step, but that's about it.

Peaches I'm confused about the step over. I think it's when the leader has your foot sandwiched and he steps back and brings you forward stepping over his front leg?
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
#52
Yes...??? Where's the confusion?

Edit to add: Perhaps I'll just clarify. I've always been taught that when the man steps back to lead the stepover, that the timing of when and how becomes the woman's choice. As such, she can embellish 'til her heart's content, both before stepping over and after, and it's up to her when she wants to end that and move on, generally indicated by ceasing embellishments and "sticking her foot out," ready to take the next step. She can just step over quickly and be done with it, she can do the horrible-over-used shoe shine, or any number of other things (which I really have no clue about because after one workshop feeling ridiculous and realizing just how not-creative I am, I've steered clear).

When I'm led into one, and pariticularly if I know the music and know that there's an interesting bit coming up, I'll often stop and wait a beat (give or take) and step with the "fun" part of the music. Or I might commence stepping right away, but do it slowly and take a smidge of extra time. Or I might step over, but then do a little cross-in-front with the free foot before "sticking my foot out" to signal that I'm ready to go again (much in the same way that I'll often cross my free foot behind the standing leg before taking a step somewhere). *shrug* Nothing that disrupts, nothing flashy, just a bit of playing with the timing of the music and my body.

Does that answer whatever question you had?
 
#53
Yes thank you. I wanted to make sure we were on the same page before I made a comment on the subject. I agree with most of your original statement except for one thing. I'll pause and step over at some point that I feel is appropriate
The step over is a distinctive lead and it's totally up to the the leader as he steps back to bring the follower forward not allowing her time for an embellishment or he can pause her so she can. My point is the step over itself is lead it's not left up to the follower to move when she "feels it appropriate" Where's the confusion?If it's lead this way there is no confusion.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#54
I'm confused about the step over. I think it's when the leader has your foot sandwiched and he steps back and brings you forward stepping over his front leg?
Many of the leaders that I've danced with actually don't do the sandwich part. They lead a forward ocho (follow's right foot forward) then pivot, and interrupt what would be the next ocho by placing his foot in front of her collected feet.

Its actually a pretty easy way to turn a corner. If you aren't at a corner, as she steps over, she pivots 90 to face him. (he stays where he was) If you're at a corner, she pivots 180 and he has to pivot 90.

Of course, doing it during the ocho pattern means that either he has to be distinct in stopping her, or if the leader wants it to keep moving, his timing has to be perfect so she doesn't just trip over his foot, but feels it there before she's trying to transfer her weight to it, or moving her body forward. I've had leaders stick their foot in front of my traveling foot for a stepover, but I'm already to far into the step, and I just trip. (Either that or they mistkening think a sacada is supposed to displace the foot you're stepping TO rather than FROM. ;))
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#55
Y I'll pause and step over at some point that I feel is appropriate
The step over is a distinctive lead and it's totally up to the the leader as he steps back to bring the follower forward not allowing her time for an embellishment or he can pause her so she can. My point is the step over itself is lead it's not left up to the follower to move when she "feels it appropriate" Where's the confusion?If it's lead this way there is no confusion.
I think you are both correct...

The leader can pause and allow the follower to decide when to step over, allowing her to not only embellish, but also decide in the music when to step and set the phrasing and rhythm
OR
He can keep the whole thing moving. But as I pointed out above, if he keeps it moving, his timing of her stepping vs the placing of his foot better be perfect, or she's just going to trip over his foot.

Stepovers get taught fairly early, but I think leading a stepover that doesn't pause is a fairly advanced technique (or at least intermediate) because of the timing.

It also requires that the follower's technique be pretty good too, because the way she reaches in relation to moving her body will also be a factor in whether she trips over his foot. The leader shouldn't try it with beginner followers whose walking technique isn't really spot on.

I'd love to hear Angel's comments on this.

Edited to add... of course there is a 3rd option... he pauses to let her embellish and then leads her to step when he's gotten bored with her choreography! In my experience though, once the leader pauses to let the follow take over, he doesn't take the lead back from her until she initiates the step in her own time. I don't think it works really well for him to pause and then not let her step when she wants. If he waits too long, she may not want to do that much embellishment and SHE might get bored. (that would be me) If he goes after she's started something thinking she has the choice, he could really throw her off. My feeling is either give up the lead until you feel her moving to her step, or don't give it up at all.
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
#56
Yes thank you. I wanted to make sure we were on the same page before I made a comment on the subject. I agree with most of your original statement except for one thing. I'll pause and step over at some point that I feel is appropriate
The step over is a distinctive lead and it's totally up to the the leader as he steps back to bring the follower forward not allowing her time for an embellishment or he can pause her so she can. My point is the step over itself is lead it's not left up to the follower to move when she "feels it appropriate" Where's the confusion?If it's lead this way there is no confusion.
*shrug* I don't see there being confusion either way.

I don't know that I feel the stepover being a distinctive lead, but I don't actually lead so take that with a huge grain of salt. IME, it's a clear invitation to a forward step, with a foot/leg solidly in the way. (As opposed to a step with a foot in the way that isn't solid, which I'd take as a sacada.) That's just what it feels like to me.

The key, IMO, with this as with so much else in AT, is differentiating between the invitation to step versus the lead for the weight change. IME, 99 times out of 100 a stepover is led with just the invitation to the next step...at which point it my chance to play...not that I do. If, however, the invitation is combined with that weight change...yeah, time to hustle my butt and keep moving wherever I'm led to. I can't think that I've ever run across it, though.

IME most guys seem to disagree with you, in practice at least, and allow the woman her choice of timing. *shrug* I have yet to encounter confusion. Perhaps it's a question of some guys liking to retain more control over the dance than others.
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
#57
I think you are both correct...

The leader can pause and allow the follower to decide when to step over, allowing her to not only embellish, but also decide in the music when to step and set the phrasing and rhythm
OR
He can keep the whole thing moving. But as I pointed out above, if he keeps it moving, his timing of her stepping vs the placing of his foot better be perfect, or she's just going to trip over his foot.

Stepovers get taught fairly early, but I think leading a stepover that doesn't pause is a fairly advanced technique (or at least intermediate) because of the timing.

It also requires that the follower's technique be pretty good too, because the way she reaches in relation to moving her body will also be a factor in whether she trips over his foot. The leader shouldn't try it with beginner followers whose walking technique isn't really spot on.

I'd love to hear Angel's comments on this.

Edited to add... of course there is a 3rd option... he pauses to let her embellish and then leads her to step when he's gotten bored with her choreography! In my experience though, once the leader pauses to let the follow take over, he doesn't take the lead back from her until she initiates the step in her own time. I don't think it works really well for him to pause and then not let her step when she wants. If he waits too long, she may not want to do that much embellishment and SHE might get bored. (that would be me) If he goes after she's started something thinking she has the choice, he could really throw her off. My feeling is either give up the lead until you feel her moving to her step, or don't give it up at all.
Hear hear!!!
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#58
IME most guys seem to disagree with you, in practice at least, and allow the woman her choice of timing. *shrug*
Could be because that's the way most people teach it, including Alex Krebs and Steven Payne in here Portland.
They also teach that you "make room" for her to take that step, ie move your center away from, then allowing her to do what ever she wants, rather than "force" a step.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#59
Pasada - Passing over. Occurs when the man has stopped the lady with foot contact and leads her to step forward over his extended foot. Used frequently at the end of molinete or after a mordida. The lady may, at her discretion, step over the man’s foot or trace her toe on the floor around its front. Pasada provides the most common opportunity for the lady to add adornos or firuletes of her own and a considerate leader will give the lady time to perform if she wishes.

from my collection of tango terms
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
#60
Could be because that's the way most people teach it, including Alex Krebs and Steven Payne in here Portland.
They also teach that you "make room" for her to take that step, ie move your center away from, then allowing her to do what ever she wants, rather than "force" a step.
Could be, I dunno. *shrug* I'm a long ways from Portland. ;-)

I can only speak to what I've seen and experienced, which of course isn't to say that it's correct or gospel. Hell, it might not even be what I've really experienced, but what I've thought I've felt...I could be wrong. I'm fine with being told that I'm off-base.

Perhaps some teachers teach that the timing is the woman's, perhaps others teach otherwise. *shrug*
 

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