Introducing the Giro to Beginners

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#81
I've heard many teachers whose own teaching don't stand up to critical scrutiny. I've danced for long enough to have rolled my eyes at many teacher claiming the cross isn't led, something which fortunately is becoming more rare with the increase in knowledge in the field ;-).
To me, that's nothing more than a preference, or philosophy, if you will. When I first started tango, the idea of the automatic cross seemed strange to me. The more I dance, the more that I see the other point of view.

My point is exactly that you don't lead the rhythm for each step. You tell the follower where to go and how to be rotated, and she'll sort the rhythm out, only by assuming that the step pattern is F-S-B-S-F-... and making things work.

Some beginners who are _completely_ unfamiliar with giros may actually do that but may do S-S-S-S using forward-side-forward-side instead, but it doesn't exactly feel right in the embrace (the F-S-B-S isn't a coincidence either: it's done that way because dissociation between hips and ribcage is never perfect, and the wiggle that is still transmitted because of it is better if it has a neutral position that makes the embrace comfortable and wiggles on both sides of neutral).
I can and do lead the rhythm with some followers. What I will say is that with good followers (who listen for the lead), what you need to do to lead the rhythm, is not that much (just by the speed of my rotation). I'll even on rare occasion lead it as F-S-F-S, if there's a lot of space.

I doubt you'll find many followers who will find it pleasant to micromanage every step in a Q-Q-S part of a giro with the shoulders (which would reduce the amount of dissociation needed, I'll grant you that). They universally seem to prefer smooth rotation and translation and they dissociate just enough to make their feet and leg do what they must (or in some milonguero styles will "ocho milonguerize" the giro and not dissociate, but with similar results).
I don't know how many followers dislike the rhythm to be led, but I've certainly noticed a preference between various followers about how the rhythm should be led (the mechanics of the lead). I've still got a lot to learn though, and it's quite possible that you know more about followers than I do.
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
#82
... I've danced for long enough to have rolled my eyes at many teacher claiming the cross isn't led, something which fortunately is becoming more rare with the increase in knowledge in the field...
Some of this depends on what you think a lead is. I was having this discussion years ago with a good dancer, and we decided that we would dance with no physical contact, to see if the cross was lead. Without touching her she easily saw what I was doing and did crosses as necessary. I would've had to consciously disguise my movement toward a crusada for her to not see the movement and understand even the visual lead.

As already mentioned, as dancers develop greater experience and ability many of these distinctions fade into shades of gray.
 
#83
It's much easier to time the backstep with the first beat of the walts and do QQ with the two "non accented" beats, because SS each take up two musical beats and can't fit into one measure of a valts.
I just realized that I misstated this. The way I usually do vals is to time the (B-S-F) or QQS with the three beats in a vals measure. It works well because the front is done quickly, so the real rhythm is QQQ, and then it can either go straight into a back walk or continue into the front pivot of the molanite, or whatever you want really.

Does anyone else have a favorite way to match the molanite with a vals?
 
#84
Some of this depends on what you think a lead is. I was having this discussion years ago with a good dancer, and we decided that we would dance with no physical contact, to see if the cross was lead. Without touching her she easily saw what I was doing and did crosses as necessary. I would've had to consciously disguise my movement toward a crusada for her to not see the movement and understand even the visual lead.

As already mentioned, as dancers develop greater experience and ability many of these distinctions fade into shades of gray.
I think what Sixela is referring to is the practice of follows doing crosses in certain sequences on their own, with no input from the lead.
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
#85
...The way I usually do vals is to time the (B-S-F) or QQS with the three beats in a vals measure. It works well because the front is done quickly, so the real rhythm is QQQ, and then it can either go straight into a back walk or continue into the front pivot of the molanite, or whatever you want really...
Seems like you are saying two different things here. QQS would have your partner not stepping on the first beat of the next measure. I suspect your real rhythm is, as you said later, QQQS.

I like to dance on the 1-3 beats sometimes, depending on the music. It gives an interesting syncopation.
 

Subliminal

Well-Known Member
#86
Seems like you are saying two different things here. QQS would have your partner not stepping on the first beat of the next measure. I suspect your real rhythm is, as you said later, QQQS.

I like to dance on the 1-3 beats sometimes, depending on the music. It gives an interesting syncopation.
I also like to dance 1-3, sometimes 1-2 depending on the song. Gives a floaty quality to the turn.

123 is usually too fast imo.
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#87
My point is exactly that you don't lead the rhythm for each step. You tell the follower where to go and how to be rotated, and she'll sort the rhythm out, only by assuming that the step pattern is F-S-B-S-F-... and making things work.


I doubt you'll find many followers who will find it pleasant to micromanage every step in a Q-Q-S part of a giro with the shoulders (which would reduce the amount of dissociation needed, I'll grant you that). They universally seem to prefer smooth rotation and translation and they dissociate just enough to make their feet and leg do what they must (or in some milonguero styles will "ocho milonguerize" the giro and not dissociate, but with similar results).
i agree with all that. last's nights class was letting the followers take the prerogative in the giro, and the leaders follow them round. And aiming to get them to travel smoothly and above all musically.
 

sixela

Well-Known Member
#88
I can and do lead the rhythm with some followers.
But we're in violent agreement, from the rest of yor post: you lead it implicitly through the amount of movement and rotation you invite the follower to do, not explicitly (as you would if you would actually lead which step to take through upper body rotation and would mark the end of the steps to the follower by 'landing' her.

And you _do_ lead it in the sense the follower has no choice but to do it, there is no "default" that she dimply assumes (which allows you to fo different things with ease).

It's all very much a matter of semantics (and as Andabien correctly point out, with more experience the semantics may shift, since we associate cause and effect more instinctively and also lead more instinctively as a result).
 

sixela

Well-Known Member
#89
I think what Sixela is referring to is the practice of follows doing crosses in certain sequences on their own, with no input from the lead.
'zactly. Some followers will even bend out of shape and unbalance when you lead a not-cross just to try to still do the cross they think is 'supposed' to happen. And some followers will run ahead of what the leader indicates in giros too, because they think the QQS is 'default'.
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
#90
...you lead it implicitly through the amount of movement and rotation you invite the follower to do...
This idea has been floated a few times, that the leader dictates/indicates the amount of turn, that the follower turns as far as is necessary. I can exert a small amount of influence on how far my partner turns, but normally I just become the follower and we turn as far as my partner takes us. One of my favorite partners does a really good turn, which makes for a fun giro, but I can't make a lesser follower take a bigger turn if she hasn't got the ability. A frustrating move is when my partner only makes about a quarter turn. If that's all she's going to do, I can't lead a larger turn without resorting to using uncomfortable physical strength on her.
 

sixela

Well-Known Member
#91
In giros, followers are supposed to fill the space made available for them (which is indeed what enables giros to be fluid, effortless and not stilted.) It is indeed frustrating for leaders to dance giros with followers who have their handbrakes engaged...

I just become the follower and we turn as far as my partner takes us.
The fact you 'listen' to her by being aware of where she is and how far she goes while leading doesn't make you the follower. It makes you a proper leader ;-).
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#92
..normally I just become the follower and we turn as far as my partner takes us.
A really democratic mindset. Well done. I cannot change the roles on the fly. I start following or I start leading, no change in between. And concerning planeos : I do lead how far she takes me.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#93
I just realized that I misstated this. The way I usually do vals is to time the (B-S-F) or QQS with the three beats in a vals measure. It works well because the front is done quickly, so the real rhythm is QQQ, and then it can either go straight into a back walk or continue into the front pivot of the molanite, or whatever you want really.

Does anyone else have a favorite way to match the molanite with a vals?
The two common ways for this are to either do the Quick on the 2 best (and ignore the 3 beat), or doing the Quick on the 3 beat (and ignoring the prior 2 beat).

So the QQSS could be done as: 1 2 - 1 - - 1 - -
or 1 - 3 1 - - 1 - -

As you already pointed out, one can step on all 3 of the beats in a vals, although it's not as common (for social dancers).
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
#94
...As you already pointed out, one can step on all 3 of the beats in a vals, although it's not as common (for social dancers).
For me, dancing on all three beats is rare, except for giros, where it is common - well - for my partner. I like to lead it as QQQS, with the S leading out of the giro.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#96
Nice vid and demonstration. But I don´t understand why they call it syncopated giro: the first steps are in half tempo and the following in regular. Or have I simply lost count?
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#97
Nice vid and demonstration. But I don´t understand why they call it syncopated giro: the first steps are in half tempo and the following in regular. Or have I simply lost count?
A lot of dancers call half steps (or quick steps) syncopation, (which is quite different from musicians usage of that term).
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#98
This whole bit about syncopation is...

Let's try this from Skippy Blair.
Is her definition that much differnet that a musician's?
(given that she only writes about the "&a" between the beats as one limitation in her presentation)

SYNCOPATION -
(1) The "rearrangement" of the metered beat. (2) For the Dancer, it is the rearrangement of the weight changes within the "2-Beat" Rhythms. (3) Stepping BEFORE the beat (on the "&" or the "a" count) and then stepping again, or doing something ELSE on the actual beat of the Music. Example: Count: "&a1." Lift your knee on the "&," step on the "a" and "Kick" on count "1." Kick again on count “2.” This is a "Syncopated Single."
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
#99
...Is her definition that much differnet that a musician's?...
Her definition, while it might be accurate, seems way too complicated. The definition is really simple.

In all music there is an expectation of emphasized beats. In 4/4 one expects the 1 beat to be the strongest and the 3 beat to be second strongest. Other beats are weak. Syncopation is when a normally un-emphasized beat is emphasized. It doesn't have to be the 3 or 4 beat; it could be any 1/4 or 1/8 note beats also.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/syncopation
"...the displacement of the usual rhythmic accent away from a strong beat onto a weak beat"

In the world of dance it means the same thing, it's a rhythmic consideration. Tango music has much syncopation, but dancers usually don't dance to the syncopated beats, although they could. Vals would be a good exception in which dancers could dance on the 1-2 beats, which would not be the normal expectation.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
This whole bit about syncopation is...

Let's try this from Skippy Blair.
Is her definition that much differnet that a musician's?
(given that she only writes about the "&a" between the beats as one limitation in her presentation)

SYNCOPATION -
(1) The "rearrangement" of the metered beat. (2) For the Dancer, it is the rearrangement of the weight changes within the "2-Beat" Rhythms. (3) Stepping BEFORE the beat (on the "&" or the "a" count) and then stepping again, or doing something ELSE on the actual beat of the Music. Example: Count: "&a1." Lift your knee on the "&," step on the "a" and "Kick" on count "1." Kick again on count “2.” This is a "Syncopated Single."
What I think Skippy is saying, I don't think is the same as a musician's definition. AndaBien nailed it, though.
 

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