How Useful is the DVIDA Syllabus?

Me

New Member
#21
Here's a crazy idea.
A while back someone suggested that DF have a wiki site.
If we had one, anyone interested would be able to participate in creating a DF syllabus for AT.
(it would probably create work for mods, too, since the wiki would have guidelines and rules)
Anyone game before I check in with the adims about a wiki?
It is a crazy idea... and I like it! :)
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#22
Here's a crazy idea.
A while back someone suggested that DF have a wiki site.
If we had one, anyone interested would be able to participate in creating a DF syllabus for AT.
(it would probably create work for mods, too, since the wiki would have guidelines and rules)
Anyone game before I check in with the adims about a wiki?
Between my busy schedule of sleeping late and watching TV, I'll chip in.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#24
A slight aside; it's a shame that DVIDA has monopolized the syllabus world. And I agree wholeheartedly -- they don't even begin to tell you how something is done, and to me, that is one of the most fundamental and important questions, right along with the 'What' and the 'Why.' ( I shiver watching these DVDs because in reality I am not learning anything I couldn't have figured out on my own.) I am of the opinion that the Syllabi are a there as a reminder for where the feet go, not for how to do something. The books and manuals (and DVDs) should be treated with a grain of salt, and in no way be utilized as a substitute for actual instruction.

My purpose is to become familiar with the dance first and be prepared for all the possible "patterns" that "can" be led (again, from the business aspect) and to find the best system that will allow me to do this. ....I figured it was best to ask before investing money (I don't have) into it.
BrOnze, here you have answered your own question. Case closed.

Yet, in the interest of your learning, given that she has the syllabi, but the expertise to see past it, Me's post is most excellent... spot on. http://www.dance-forums.com/showpost.php?p=779498&postcount=20

Other than that, I've said it before.... DVIDA and AT should never be used in the same sentence.
 

Br0nze

Active Member
#25
There was a glimmer of hope in me that DVIDA went out of their way to be different when making the AT syllabus and DVDs because AT is such a different dance. But alas, glimmer of hope gone.

Thank you for the input, everyone.
 
#26
There was a glimmer of hope in me that DVIDA went out of their way to be different when making the AT syllabus and DVDs because AT is such a different dance. But alas, glimmer of hope gone.
See, the thing is, I think a syllabus generally is a good idea - at some level, in the sense that "syllabus" = "structured approach to teaching / learning".

But this one appears, on the face of it, to be not-helpful.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#28
Anyway, how's about this Wiki idea?
Oh it's a very good but awfully bad idea.

Can we have a section for tango word definitions - that should keep everyone entertained for hours, days even, maybe for ever . . .

And can we keep nuevo/fantasia/show separate from traditional too?

Now that's enough to argue about for the moment.
 

newbie

Well-Known Member
#31
Hey Guys

I am just wondering how useful the DVIDA DVDs are in regard to learning Argentine Tango....

I get instruction one on one, but it's only once a week and it's not enough for me. I know DVIDA has a Syllabus put out and has DVDs, but I've always heard the best way to learn AT is to do it through experience, and not watching... although one can learn a lot by watching, too.
This Syllabus has been done to make money, not for learning tango. So, if your aim is to learn tango, don't use it, and if your aim is to make money by teaching tango, use it. If your aim is twofold then you have the best of two worlds, you dance tango in the milongas every night, spending the money gained by teaching during the day; it is very safe, you will never meet any of your students in a milonga because all they will be able to do is winning bronse/silver/gold medals in tango comps.
 
#32
it is very safe, you will never meet any of your students in a milonga because all they will be able to do is winning bronse/silver/gold medals in tango comps.
I wish. In fact, at least some of those students do go to milongas, and there try to do whatever they were taught. That usually causes a lot of frustration to about everyone involved -- themselves, innocent bystanders who they ask to dance, and those who happen to share the dance floor with them.
 
#33
It's probably inevitable that some of the best Argentine Tango dancers of the future will come from ballroom backgrounds. West Coast Swing is also a club/street dance that is highly improvisational and lead/follow, but ballroom studios are now teaching it, and some of the best current WCS dancers learned it there.
I just hope ballroom studios that offer AT classes will have enough respect for the dance to use the syllabus videos for their own reference and understand that the dance is much bigger than what they're seeing. I also hope they'll involve themselves in the living tradition by attending milongas and taking lessons from respected AT teachers.
(And for heaven's sake, they must NOT use their ballroom tango recordings when teaching Argentine tango.)
I have not seen the AT syllabus videos -- a bit expensive for my needs -- but I do think ballroom dancers Christy Cote and George Garcia created one of the best Argentine Tango DVDs ever, "The Art of Improvisation." It's straightforward and very respectful of the dance, less an instructional video than an introduction showing how tango is created. They start with simple walks, then turns, etc., then embellishments, etc., much as the dance is traditionally taught in the tango community. They also have an introduction to the milonguero/apilado style, which one post here said is not discussed in the larger syllabus.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#35
It's probably inevitable that some of the best Argentine Tango dancers of the future will come from ballroom backgrounds. West Coast Swing is also a club/street dance that is highly improvisational and lead/follow, but ballroom studios are now teaching it, and some of the best current WCS dancers learned it there.
You already know that I would probably disagree with your assessment
of who you think the best current WCS dancers are. Also it seems that
the influence of dance schools (in the US) on WCS has a long history.

But now back to AT.

I just hope ballroom studios that offer AT classes will have enough respect for the dance to use the syllabus videos for their own reference and understand that the dance is much bigger than what they're seeing. I also hope they'll involve themselves in the living tradition by attending milongas and taking lessons from respected AT teachers.
(And for heaven's sake, they must NOT use their ballroom tango recordings when teaching Argentine tango.)
Interesting (and welcome) that you appear to hope for more respect
for argentine tango. However I think that's unlikely from dance schools
who are mainly interested in numbers and revenue.

I have not seen the AT syllabus videos -- a bit expensive for my needs -- but I do think ballroom dancers Christy Cote and George Garcia created one of the best Argentine Tango DVDs ever, "The Art of Improvisation." It's straightforward and very respectful of the dance, less an instructional video than an introduction showing how tango is created. They start with simple walks, then turns, etc., then embellishments, etc., much as the dance is traditionally taught in the tango community. They also have an introduction to the milonguero/apilado style, which one post here said is not discussed in the larger syllabus.
Having bought a few dud DVDs and books in the past in an effort
to understand the dance I wouldn't buy this with any great expectation.

But here I found I found a description which wasn't very encouraging:
http://www.learntodance.com/dvd/datcc117_details.htm

and here is a brief extract of a review which follows:

2. You are consistent in your descriptions “start at position 2”, 3, 4 etc. of
the 8 count basic. Consistency is essential for a person learning something new.


Ah, I see now. They are teaching an improvised dance from the fixed pattern
of the Basic 8 (8CB). As it is how I began unfortunately I know just how
difficult it is to eliminate this pattern from your sub-conscious and how
useless such a pattern is for co-existing with your fellow dancers and for
observation of the line of dance especially in restricted space.

The problem with teaching DVDs is you buy at your own risk
and this DVD isn't any bargain either.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#36
Also it seems that
the influence of dance schools (in the US) on WCS has a long history.
Yes. In fact I now have about a half dozen documented instances (all from the very early 60s and 70s) of "Western Swing" (early West Coast Swing) being part of the Lindy / Swing family of dances: Arthur Murray (Laure Haile 195? or 1960), Fred Astair, Ed Long in the Seattle area, Los Angeles State College, Brigham Young University, Butler in New York,....
The number of documented instances of "Western Swing" as a "street dance"?
Zero. (unless you want to count "Hot Rod Gang", but that was choreographed)

Just looked at most of "Tango: Our Dance" last night. Guess what at least one big name in AT uses as a basis for teaching? The Eight Count Basic.
Alberto Paz and Valorie hart? Eight Count Basic.
National Geographic drops in on a tango class in Buenos Aires, and what do they see?
Eight Count Basic.
 
#37
Steve: Re: 8CB: I guess, if you look hard enough, you'll see examples of anything being taught - s'ppose it's about why it's taught, specific to each teacher, and what the percentage is of teachers who teach it....

To this day, I have no idea what it's supposed to be for (even having read many posts about it), and I didn't want to put our teacher on the spot by asking him... he seemed a bit confused about the whole affair as it was...:-

"So, we'll start with the 8CB... though TA doesn't really have a 'Basic Step'... it's all improvised so you shouldn't think in terms of sequences... it's just a teaching/learning construct - and whatever you do, don't use it when actually dancing! Soooo... Step 1...." :confused:

We all seem to have just pretended that it never happened, and moved on.

[By the way, I'm not disrespecting the teacher here, since I admire him very much; our classes are just... unusual... (as it should be!).]
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#38
"So, we'll start with the 8CB... though TA doesn't really have a 'Basic Step'... it's all improvised so you shouldn't think in terms of sequences... it's just a teaching/learning construct - and whatever you do, don't use it when actually dancing! Soooo... Step 1...." :confused:
:uplaugh:

Seriously.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#39
Honestly, the more I've looked into this (being two "improvised dances", West Coast Swing and Argentine Tango), meaning, the recorded history of the dances, the more I've come to have the opinion that the emphasis on improvisation, as a concept taught to beginning students, is a recent phenomenon.

"So, we'll start with the 8CB... though TA doesn't really have a 'Basic Step'... it's all improvised so you shouldn't think in terms of sequences... it's just a teaching/learning construct - and whatever you do, don't use it when actually dancing! Soooo... Step 1...."
Hoist with one's own Petard...
The word remains in modern usage in the phrase hoist with one's own petard, which means "to be harmed by one's own plan to harm someone else" or "to fall into one's own trap," literally implying that one could be lifted up (hoist, or blown upward) by one's own bomb

And, while I'm waxing here...
While there is no "Basic Step" in AT in the sense that the dance "follows" the music which has no regular overriding beat, thus having no regular repeated "step", (I think here of One Steps, the Castle Walk, the "classic" Two Step, etc as "walking dances", too), there certainly are "patterns".

And of course, don't try to tell Skippy Blair that there aren't any basic patterns in West Coast Swing.

Final thought... Wax on. Wax off.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#40
Steve: Re: 8CB: I guess, if you look hard enough, you'll see examples of anything being taught - s'ppose it's about why it's taught, specific to each teacher, and what the percentage is of teachers who teach it....

To this day, I have no idea what it's supposed to be for (even having read many posts about it), and I didn't want to put our teacher on the spot by asking him... he seemed a bit confused about the whole affair as it was...:-

"So, we'll start with the 8CB... though TA doesn't really have a 'Basic Step'... it's all improvised so you shouldn't think in terms of sequences... it's just a teaching/learning construct - and whatever you do, don't use it when actually dancing! Soooo... Step 1...." :confused:

We all seem to have just pretended that it never happened, and moved on.

[By the way, I'm not disrespecting the teacher here, since I admire him very much; our classes are just... unusual... (as it should be!).]
Maybe it's because I played sports, because in that arena it's quite common to practice drills that you would not do while playing the game. For whatever reason, some tango people seem very troubled by that concept.
 

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