Looking for social dancing videos

#1
Hi all,

I'm having a difficult time finding examples of good to great 'social dancing' tango on YouTube and was wondering if anyone has recommendations? There are tons of videos that fall into two primary areas: instruction of a specific move and then performance. However, to find examples of excellent dancing that one might actually find at a real (and crowded) milonga is tough. In my tango evolution, right now I'm at a place where I'd like to work on being an excellent dancer in small spaces. I'd like to increase my vocabulary of moves, precision and musicality in such spaces. In about half the milongas I attend, you get about a square meter of space in which to dance, so it doesn't lend itself to large moves. So, generally, no planoes, big spilling volcadas, gaunchos and no 'moves' that travel down the floor for many feet. Don't get me wrong, I love these moves (and more) and go into phases where that is what I concentrate on (and I'll do a few if there is an uninhabited corner of a milonga where it's safe both for my follower and others).

Here is an example of what I have in mind by Javiier Rodrigues and Fatima Vitale. While there is a little travel in distance because there are doing a performance dance, the move are simple, crisp, musical and could be downsized for a crowed milonga.

or here with Sebastian Achaval and Roxana Suarez (starting at about 2:15)

and for just walking, simplicity, control, technique and beauty Ivan and Sara (don' know last names).
 
#3
Yes, this is exactly what I was looking for. So many beautiful and musical moves such as the little steps she takes at 1:18. And, I can only hope to be dancing at their age.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#4
There are a lot of videos from milongas in BA - while they usually don't focus on a single couple, they are usually good examples of social dancing - e.g.:
 
#5
Murat and Michelle Erdemsel (when they were together) did a few demos on dancing in small spaces:





I have also seen a few different demos on dancing in small spaces where the performers danced on tables to emphasize the point further. Here is one:

 

LadyLeader

Active Member
#6
Basically a dancer should be able to modify all the figures he uses to a space available by changing the stepp length and pivot degree. For me it is not about specific figures. When my planeos on one day are correct I should be able to do them with my foot 20cm out - today I need bigger movements. It is like writing - I needed to write big letters at the beginning but today I can write really tiny ones and they are still readable.

I find the small space education videos problematic. The abrazo level is the couple's most space demanding part when dancing small and therefore the focus should be there. When the upper part is advancing slowly the steps will automatic become smaller. For me a dance in a small corner or in a corridor has given the upper body limitations - the walls gave me stable feedback. That has naturally forced me to continuously vary stepp length and continuously vary the degree of pivot to advance in that space.
 

LadyLeader

Active Member
#8
What is also important in small space dancing is how to create a space for dancing.
It is important how to read the ronda and adjust to it.
yes I remember that time - I am a tiny leader and at some stage other leaders were just
running over me until I learned to keep my space.

what do you look at when reading the ronda and how do you create and keep your space?
 

Mladenac

Well-Known Member
#9
what do you look at when reading the ronda and how do you create and keep your space?
When I am not dancing I watch the patterns of other dancers (leaders and followers).
So in when in ronda I try to anticipate direction and maybe movements of others.
And I try to be faster in conquering the space and offering my body as I see the collision is coming.
And regarding my partner, I observe how my lead affects her so that I can tune my energy appropriately.
At some occasions, I make my embrace stiff (but not breaking her back) suddenly so she stops immediately.
Or I need to pull her because I notice someone is going to collide with us.

By being aware of things mentioned above you can start to recognize "cracks" in ronda to jump in. :)

These are some guidelines. I did some sport before where I developed some group movement reading skills.
Imagine that ronda is a busy traffic and I am sure that you have a mechanism of adaptation.

PS. If you are too short have a helium-infused balloon. :)
 
#12
However, to find examples of excellent dancing that one might actually find at a real (and crowded) milonga is tough. In my tango evolution, right now I'm at a place where I'd like to work on being an excellent dancer in small spaces. I'd like to increase my vocabulary of moves, precision and musicality in such spaces. In about half the milongas I attend, you get about a square meter of space in which to dance, so it doesn't lend itself to large moves.
I think the basis is stability from the feet up, the balance to stop a step anywhere without wobbling.
(And if you want to get a real Milonguero, this ability should sustain a lot of of red wine.)
This stability and balance needs much more practice than a few minutes in a class per week.
Do it brushing your teeth in the morining, do it in the supermarket checkout queue, do it waiting for the bus, do it brushing your teeth in the evening.

And it needs self-confidence, the confidence that a follower will enjoy your dancing all the time, even if you don't step, if you simply stand and move her a bit.
(Some amount of red wine might help therefore.)

So you will never feel yourself forced to do a step, not by your balance and not by any restlessness.
If you than dance around half the distance between the couple in front and behind you, most of the task is done.


But ok, you asked for a video:

 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#13
..having a difficult time finding examples of good to great 'social dancing' tango on YouTube..
Someday, it is nearly impossible to find examples of good social dancing on YT only looking for performance vids of known teachers, as you did. That only will corrupt you. Simply seach for those known milongas, events, and encuentros where us good dancers usually meet.
I'd like to increase my vocabulary of moves, precision and musicality in such (limited) spaces
Please do not! Simply forget about vocabulary. It´s all about hugging, standing, breathing, swinging. You do not need to walk at all in tango.

Simply look how these people dance!
 
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Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#15
One of the problems with the "dance on a table" (or in a small confined space) videos and trying to implement that in practice is that the dance still has to progress around the floor.

I think that is where the problem comes for many... dancing a spot dance is one thing... but tango is not a spot dance; it is a traveling dance.

So travelling small becomes the goal, not just staying in one place. Doing an ocho cortado without taking space is much easier than doing a traveling step without taking much space. Steps that don't travel at all are useful for when there's a roadblock, but you can't rely only on spot moves in place as a way to "dance small".

That's where it's really useful to watch the old timers... they make continual and steady progress around the floor dancing small, not just dancing in a 2' square, holding up traffic and then taking giant steps to get to the next available "spot" (which is what happens with a lot of people trying to learn to dance small by dancing in a confined small area)
 

ArbeeNYC

Active Member
#16
Hi all,

I'm having a difficult time finding examples of good to great 'social dancing' tango on YouTube and was wondering if anyone has recommendations?]
None of the videos you showed are examples of social dancing, much less good social dancing. For that, you need a dance floor with more than two people on it. However, such videos do exist. Also, the people in your videos are performers, this is stage tango.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#17
The more conceptual replies above have made think - thank you all for this. It resonated with what i have experienced while becoming more and more downtownish from a strong nuevo starting point.

I think that overall I might agree - there is no specific "small spaces" vocabulary. With enough technique and clarity every tango figure i can think of can be danced in minimal space. When looking at the underlying principles i suspect that even the opposite might be true - that what we see in demonstrations and shows, and are learning as set figures are examples of subtle technical points that have been amplified and magnified to become visible and teach/learn/practicable. Even the most expansive moves are danced under the embrace, and when the embrace contracts they should contract, too. The way to find ones small spaces tango is to look at ones favourite move and ask ourselves "what is this really about? how can i maintain the principles and feeling of this thing that i like and make it almost invisible?"
In my experience this is very, very hard, because it sometimes feels we have lost the way to actually dance and lead a lot of the vocabulary from first principles, and instead use an assortment of shortcuts to get effects that make it much easier to get to a movement that looks the same. Usually if i can't do something in small spaces it is due to me not being sensitive enough to my partners exact position, and the lack of precision and clarity of my own technique.
 
#18
Hi all,

I'm having a difficult time finding examples of good to great 'social dancing' tango on YouTube and was wondering if anyone has recommendations? There are tons of videos that fall into two primary areas: instruction of a specific move and then performance. However, to find examples of excellent dancing that one might actually find at a real (and crowded) milonga is tough. In my tango evolution, right now I'm at a place where I'd like to work on being an excellent dancer in small spaces. I'd like to increase my vocabulary of moves, precision and musicality in such spaces. In about half the milongas I attend, you get about a square meter of space in which to dance, so it doesn't lend itself to large moves. So, generally, no planoes, big spilling volcadas, gaunchos and no 'moves' that travel down the floor for many feet. Don't get me wrong, I love these moves (and more) and go into phases where that is what I concentrate on (and I'll do a few if there is an uninhabited corner of a milonga where it's safe both for my follower and others).

Here is an example of what I have in mind by Javiier Rodrigues and Fatima Vitale. While there is a little travel in distance because there are doing a performance dance, the move are simple, crisp, musical and could be downsized for a crowed milonga.

or here with Sebastian Achaval and Roxana Suarez (starting at about 2:15)

and for just walking, simplicity, control, technique and beauty Ivan and Sara (don' know last names).
This is such an important subject as so many dancers are struggling with this...
In the past, I was on one side of the river: "I would either be a great supporter of don't worry, Tango is not about steps but about the embrace and the connection. Plus all the sequences you already know can be made to fit small places"
Are these statement wrong? No!
The problem is NOT as easy as it sounds. And at least for me what did the trick was break it down to what it means dancing in smaller places means and create my practice on those elements.

A few examples:
1) Be more observant of the dance floor. Notice the flow and how couples interact... Some pistas are better than others, know what you are walking into
2) Go from re-active to active. If you pay close attention you will see that the really good dancers in your community claim their spot on the dance floor, without the need to tense up or block others or elbow someone--yes it happens...dear!anyways...haha--They are active in claiming their space while being respectful of others.
The best example I can come up with is driving on a highway...haha...There are some people who claim their spot, they are careful and considerate but they are not reactive, the not so good drivers are frantic because they are reacting to everyone around them without clearly stating what they want to do...
3) Less space affects everything from your expressiveness to your posture. I am guessing you feel it more in regards to how you express yourself--you are probably feeling a bit stuck and uncomfortable. The thing is unless you can find a group of friends to practice with you, you can't practice on THAT.
What you can practice on though is on things YOU control, and that would be all the technical aspects of your dance. And for me this is where the fun begins!
4) List the transitions you would need to work on, example: open embrace to close embrace. This on it's own will have an affect on your posture slightly, and an effect on how big your steps can be, what kind of ochos you will be able do , what your giros are going to look like, how much power you will be able to generate etc etc.
Another example: big/ normal size steps. This will affect slightly your technique of a walk, your perspective of the lead, the dynamics of the step, your posture and balance, your musicality etc
5) Work on each one of these individually with or without a partner depending what you are working on.
6) Take each of the sequences you already know and do often and filter them through the transitions you have been practicing on. Ask your partner for feedback
7) Use the space to practice. I am leaving this for the end because if you do earlier on it will only cause frustration, plus it is not really a real-milonga experience... Let me explain, you can use chairs or other elements to make the space you dance- practice smaller. So you dance a few dances and then you bring the chairs closer and repeat... It is not a real- milonga experience because every time the chairs are set compared to people who are actually moving along with you. But it will definitely help.

Hope this helped...! haha
P.S: I have some videos, regarding #4, some are private for my students but this is one of the public ones: I apologize in advance, this was one of my first videos and I was still learning...hahaha...so you might need earphones to hear me... There is an intro exercise to ease your way in posture and then you get to the embrace part
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#19
Another example: big/ normal size steps. This will affect slightly your technique of a walk, your perspective of the lead, the dynamics of the step, your posture and balance, your musicality etc
Exactly - it is hard! but on the other hand i found it to be one of the most rewarding things in terms of reworking my tango as a whole - and i have reworked it a lot over the years. Basically what i am finding is that everything that makes tiny tango work also makes big tango work even better. While the body mechanics don't properly translated down, they without an exception translate up very nicely. Just last weekend i ended up goofing off with a friend on an almost empty dancefloot, and somehow we slipped into "lets dance like it is the 00's" (is there a good name for that? "turn of the century" is already taken...), and i was incredibly surprised how much easier a lot of it was with the technical framework i am using nowadays compared to back them when i was seriously working on it.
Back to the walk: What i learned from doing small tango is that the big issue is generating power and clarity . After a lot of experimenting one of the solutions i have found is to use dropping the hip/opening and closing the pelvis - this makes power generation basically independent of the step, and gives a nice continuity for the body work between shifting weight and stepping. (it also fits in very nicely with the instruction we hear all the time for how to walk in tango - reach! reach! - i sometimes wonder if that is an echo of current teachers teachers that has changed meaning over time) If we think of this as asking to activate the hip/back instead of creating a line using turnout/spiralling in the leg then a lot of things make a lot more sense. If we think of the tango leg to start at the lower edge of the ribcage, and being moved by the muscles in the back then we need no space to do "full steps", as the leg, and its extension, is more an adornment of the actual movement than anything else. Everything works the same independent of the size of the step - it scales up and down.
 

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