Looking for social dancing videos

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#21
As an added thoughts (thank you everybody for this thread btw - it got me to trying to verbalize a lot of things to myself and here):

I sometimes joke that my goal is to make my tango "invisible" - pruning everything that is for the audience, and finding what is for my partner and me in the dance. That is not really because i don't like the audience, but because it reminds me that the important underlying technique is not the presentation. In a way it is like a wedding cake - i was quite bemused when at a wedding i was recently the actual wedding cake was proudly and explicitly inedible - it was styrofoam covered with frosting except for the top layer that the couple cut - and when it came to actually serve cake to wedding party they brought out big plates of gorgeous and very tasty sheet cake. And sometimes our tango is like that - we spend so much time getting the frosting just right that we forget that there is an actual cake there. One of my teachers called it "verduras" - greens - and he was quite ...argentinean... about the proper ratio of meat to vegetables (i.e. a sprig of parsley was a sprig of parsley too much). And i think in a way we are making tango more difficult for ourselves - by working on the frosting first it becomes more difficult to figure out how to get the cake right.
But just stripping out the frosting is not a solution - you don't get a great steak by taking a vegetarian meal and getting rid of the vegetables. I am often baffled how the subtle musicality and technique of close embrace is translated by some people who vigorously reject modern tango into holding onto your partner and swaying gently in ways that are not obviously related to the music - yes, it looks almost exactly the same, but the core is completely different, and in my opinion the most overwrought stage tango is closer to the "milonguero shuffle" than the people who actually shuffle.
And because this part of tango is almost invisible i almost think one can only learn it by body-learning - either with a teacher, or by continious ruthless self assessment.
Videos are of limited use - as an example look at 54:30-54:40 in this video - this is 10 seconds of pure showmanship - saccadas, leader adornments, alterations, switching systems, giros. And at the same practicing this as a sequence/vocabulary will not do anything, because the vocabulary is a consequence of technique, but (at least in my opinion) it is not possible to aquire the technique from the vocabulary.
I picked a video of tete because his social dance was reasonable close to what he taught in his classess and what he did in demonstrations, and because at the same time he spent a lot of time teaching how deal with a changing dancefloor, and how to move in the ronda. He also was one of the very few teachers that was always at the milongas, always social dancing, and always enjoying himself. He is one of the people who influenced my tango most, not just from the things i learned from him, but the way he enjoyed the milonga and the music.
What is of use is to develop a strong and personal relationship with the music - using the dance to learn how our partner hears the music at that moment, and offering our own perspective at the same time.
 
#22
As an added thoughts (thank you everybody for this thread btw - it got me to trying to verbalize a lot of things to myself and here):

I sometimes joke that my goal is to make my tango "invisible" - pruning everything that is for the audience, and finding what is for my partner and me in the dance. That is not really because i don't like the audience, but because it reminds me that the important underlying technique is not the presentation. In a way it is like a wedding cake - i was quite bemused when at a wedding i was recently the actual wedding cake was proudly and explicitly inedible - it was styrofoam covered with frosting except for the top layer that the couple cut - and when it came to actually serve cake to wedding party they brought out big plates of gorgeous and very tasty sheet cake. And sometimes our tango is like that - we spend so much time getting the frosting just right that we forget that there is an actual cake there. One of my teachers called it "verduras" - greens - and he was quite ...argentinean... about the proper ratio of meat to vegetables (i.e. a sprig of parsley was a sprig of parsley too much). And i think in a way we are making tango more difficult for ourselves - by working on the frosting first it becomes more difficult to figure out how to get the cake right.
But just stripping out the frosting is not a solution - you don't get a great steak by taking a vegetarian meal and getting rid of the vegetables. I am often baffled how the subtle musicality and technique of close embrace is translated by some people who vigorously reject modern tango into holding onto your partner and swaying gently in ways that are not obviously related to the music - yes, it looks almost exactly the same, but the core is completely different, and in my opinion the most overwrought stage tango is closer to the "milonguero shuffle" than the people who actually shuffle.
And because this part of tango is almost invisible i almost think one can only learn it by body-learning - either with a teacher, or by continious ruthless self assessment.
Videos are of limited use - as an example look at 54:30-54:40 in this video - this is 10 seconds of pure showmanship - saccadas, leader adornments, alterations, switching systems, giros. And at the same practicing this as a sequence/vocabulary will not do anything, because the vocabulary is a consequence of technique, but (at least in my opinion) it is not possible to aquire the technique from the vocabulary.
I picked a video of tete because his social dance was reasonable close to what he taught in his classess and what he did in demonstrations, and because at the same time he spent a lot of time teaching how deal with a changing dancefloor, and how to move in the ronda. He also was one of the very few teachers that was always at the milongas, always social dancing, and always enjoying himself. He is one of the people who influenced my tango most, not just from the things i learned from him, but the way he enjoyed the milonga and the music.
What is of use is to develop a strong and personal relationship with the music - using the dance to learn how our partner hears the music at that moment, and offering our own perspective at the same time.
I have ended up in a peculiar situation where my icing doesn't indicate how the cake actually is!

I suppose it is not such a problem at local milongas but when I participated an international encuentro last August three followers expressed how shocked they were about the difference what they expected and how my lead actually was. With other words the cake was much more delicious then the icing indicated! This is a problem because these followers were lovely to dance with so I need to get an icing which better shows my dance and catches their eye! Working on it!

Somehow it is good for us all when our icing and cake are reasonably tight together!
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#23
Somehow it is good for us all when our icing and cake are reasonably tight together!
Hah! I like this - i tend to say that people should not worry about the icing and only work on the cake - but this is much, much better - tango is a _social_ dance and solipsism is probably at least as inappropriate as treating the dance as a performance.
 
#24
As an added thoughts (thank you everybody for this thread btw - it got me to trying to verbalize a lot of things to myself and here):

I sometimes joke that my goal is to make my tango "invisible" - pruning everything that is for the audience, and finding what is for my partner and me in the dance. That is not really because i don't like the audience, but because it reminds me that the important underlying technique is not the presentation. In a way it is like a wedding cake - i was quite bemused when at a wedding i was recently the actual wedding cake was proudly and explicitly inedible - it was styrofoam covered with frosting except for the top layer that the couple cut - and when it came to actually serve cake to wedding party they brought out big plates of gorgeous and very tasty sheet cake. And sometimes our tango is like that - we spend so much time getting the frosting just right that we forget that there is an actual cake there. One of my teachers called it "verduras" - greens - and he was quite ...argentinean... about the proper ratio of meat to vegetables (i.e. a sprig of parsley was a sprig of parsley too much). And i think in a way we are making tango more difficult for ourselves - by working on the frosting first it becomes more difficult to figure out how to get the cake right.
But just stripping out the frosting is not a solution - you don't get a great steak by taking a vegetarian meal and getting rid of the vegetables. I am often baffled how the subtle musicality and technique of close embrace is translated by some people who vigorously reject modern tango into holding onto your partner and swaying gently in ways that are not obviously related to the music - yes, it looks almost exactly the same, but the core is completely different, and in my opinion the most overwrought stage tango is closer to the "milonguero shuffle" than the people who actually shuffle.
And because this part of tango is almost invisible i almost think one can only learn it by body-learning - either with a teacher, or by continious ruthless self assessment.
Videos are of limited use - as an example look at 54:30-54:40 in this video - this is 10 seconds of pure showmanship - saccadas, leader adornments, alterations, switching systems, giros. And at the same practicing this as a sequence/vocabulary will not do anything, because the vocabulary is a consequence of technique, but (at least in my opinion) it is not possible to aquire the technique from the vocabulary.
I picked a video of tete because his social dance was reasonable close to what he taught in his classess and what he did in demonstrations, and because at the same time he spent a lot of time teaching how deal with a changing dancefloor, and how to move in the ronda. He also was one of the very few teachers that was always at the milongas, always social dancing, and always enjoying himself. He is one of the people who influenced my tango most, not just from the things i learned from him, but the way he enjoyed the milonga and the music.
What is of use is to develop a strong and personal relationship with the music - using the dance to learn how our partner hears the music at that moment, and offering our own perspective at the same time.
Thanks so much for the Tete video. This kind of musicality and simplicity is exactly what I was looking for. After studying the moves for a bit I was able to dance my wife in our tiny kitchen with some confidence. She noticed the (positive) difference. I’ll be studying him some more. And thanks to all for the thoughtful discussions. I’d write more but am currently traveling.
 
#25
As an added thoughts (thank you everybody for this thread btw - it got me to trying to verbalize a lot of things to myself and here):

I sometimes joke that my goal is to make my tango "invisible" - pruning everything that is for the audience, and finding what is for my partner and me in the dance. That is not really because i don't like the audience, but because it reminds me that the important underlying technique is not the presentation. In a way it is like a wedding cake - i was quite bemused when at a wedding i was recently the actual wedding cake was proudly and explicitly inedible - it was styrofoam covered with frosting except for the top layer that the couple cut - and when it came to actually serve cake to wedding party they brought out big plates of gorgeous and very tasty sheet cake. And sometimes our tango is like that - we spend so much time getting the frosting just right that we forget that there is an actual cake there. One of my teachers called it "verduras" - greens - and he was quite ...argentinean... about the proper ratio of meat to vegetables (i.e. a sprig of parsley was a sprig of parsley too much). And i think in a way we are making tango more difficult for ourselves - by working on the frosting first it becomes more difficult to figure out how to get the cake right.
But just stripping out the frosting is not a solution - you don't get a great steak by taking a vegetarian meal and getting rid of the vegetables. I am often baffled how the subtle musicality and technique of close embrace is translated by some people who vigorously reject modern tango into holding onto your partner and swaying gently in ways that are not obviously related to the music - yes, it looks almost exactly the same, but the core is completely different, and in my opinion the most overwrought stage tango is closer to the "milonguero shuffle" than the people who actually shuffle.
And because this part of tango is almost invisible i almost think one can only learn it by body-learning - either with a teacher, or by continious ruthless self assessment.
Videos are of limited use - as an example look at 54:30-54:40 in this video - this is 10 seconds of pure showmanship - saccadas, leader adornments, alterations, switching systems, giros. And at the same practicing this as a sequence/vocabulary will not do anything, because the vocabulary is a consequence of technique, but (at least in my opinion) it is not possible to aquire the technique from the vocabulary.
I picked a video of tete because his social dance was reasonable close to what he taught in his classess and what he did in demonstrations, and because at the same time he spent a lot of time teaching how deal with a changing dancefloor, and how to move in the ronda. He also was one of the very few teachers that was always at the milongas, always social dancing, and always enjoying himself. He is one of the people who influenced my tango most, not just from the things i learned from him, but the way he enjoyed the milonga and the music.
What is of use is to develop a strong and personal relationship with the music - using the dance to learn how our partner hears the music at that moment, and offering our own perspective at the same time.
Thanks so much for the Tete video. This kind of musicality and simplicity is exactly what I was looking for. After studying the moves for a bit I was able to dance my wife in our tiny kitchen with some confidence. She noticed the (positive) difference. I’ll be studying him some more. And thanks to all for the thoughtful discussions. I’d write more but am currently traveling.
 
#27
I consider a "social move" to encompass not more than around three steps. And anything above that should be a deliberate combiniation. Determined by the position inside the couple, the music, the free space and...

Maybe this is helpful to see calm, stable and thoughtful dancing in more detail:

 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#28
I consider a "social move" to encompass not more than around three steps.
I would probably go further, and say that it should not encompass more than one step - again, this requires a lot of deconstruction of ones own dance. I usually start with looking at something and trying to find as many different ways of setting up the geometry and exiting the geometry as i can. Not only does this make it easier to use something in the ronda, but it usually also teaches me about the core of the move, and how to be more precise with the original setup.
 
#29
I once saw a video that I absolutely loved. I think it was filmed in Porteno y Bailarin in BA, and it was just a still camera, looking out at the floor, and you even saw the hand occasionally reach for the glass of champagne on the table in front of the camera. The floor was packed, with good dancers. I'd love to find that again.
 

Mladenac

Well-Known Member
#30
The problem with good social dancing videos that everything might be too subtle for the inexperienced eye.
The most complicated thing is social dancing is how to adapt to your partner.
Some people prefer perfect partners and some try to adapt to the imperfect ones.

Here is the playlist of some tango marathons in europe:
 
#31
Basically what i am finding is that everything that makes tiny tango work also makes big tango work .
I love this! haha
Really I mean it, because it is exactly how I feel, there is work on the tiniest things that just explodes into everything!
Regarding the walk you can find what you are describing in this video, it shares a lot of details on how our body was built to move efficiently... I hope find it interesting:
 

newbie

Well-Known Member
#32
Suer and Beata, calm and stable yes, quite lifeless too. Pointless, somehow. It's not because it's social that you cannot play a little, that you cannot live. The berliner marathonians, well, they certainly accepted that they are "imperfect ones", whatever couple you look at you see struggle. You bevome tense just by watching them.

A quick scan of the same music used by Beata and partner brought me this. No tension there, harmony all along, and yet it's not boring, a smile broadens on your face while you watch the leader's playfulness. My critic would be that the performance tends to become a "catalogue of smaller steps" but then, it's a demo.

 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#34
No - it's because you're in a teacher role and have to recap the essence of the class and not to distract.
I think this is always a big problem when looking at videos - we are loosing a lot of context. Even pure, mostly choreographed performances of the same couple to the same music can look quite different when they do them in different spaces.
Additionally the most crucial elements of how the dance works are not that obvious, and a big - and somewhat strange - element of tango is that we have a lot of "compulsory figures" that are often achieved by quite varied underlying techniques. So unless we have actually danced with somebody or had our hands on them while they danced it is quite difficult to figure out what is happening. Part of why i was willing to post the tete video was because i have seen his social dance in person, and had him as a teacher, so i am at least somewhat confident that i know what his dance actually is like.

If i remember correctly a while ago Ladyleader had something of a tutorial about how to use video to actually learn and not just see a reflection of our preconception, and i have been using her suggestions since then, and found them quite helpful:
-watch the video with and without music. ask if it is possible to guess the music based on the dance
-cover up part of the video: what does the dance look like if we only see the legs, or only the upper body, or only the hips
-watch it slowed down
(i tried to find the original post, but was not able to - if anybody has the link it would be nice if they posted it)
 
#35
There is one more line which is important to me

- watch it at 1.5 or 2 times faster speed

When I watch the video slowed down I can see the steps which go too fast for my eye, i see the details. When i speed up the video the dynamics of the sequence becomes visible and for some figures that is the most important aspect.
To speed up a video seems to be an illogical idea but it has had a positive learning impact on my brain. When i had started to film the ws summaries and had an editing software i just created slowmotion versions. Within a few weeks my brain got used to it and I just couldn't tell if a clip was running at normal or slow speed. That was quite scary. I just couldn't tell. So I turned it around and started to watch speed up versions.

As a beginner my steps/music felt like this: ///////////// and I was always in a hurry, stressed. Later the feeling was like this:/...... /......./......../........../. (i needed to add the dots for keep the space) The music, steps and surroundings were the same but my brain delivered a new comfortable experience. I think the speed up training facilitates this development.

I have used the speedup/slowdown method even more on music. When I hear music in slowmotion i get the details and speeding up makes the musical structures more easily recognizable.
 
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#36
And at the same practicing this as a sequence/vocabulary will not do anything, because the vocabulary is a consequence of technique, but (at least in my opinion) it is not possible to aquire the technique from the vocabulary.
Zoopsia expressed a similar idea by stressing that the follower just needs to learn to follow not to learn figures.

If you don't do figures, learn patterns, how is the technique and following developed in the dancers body?

For me the process is like this:

Practica
The starting point is to learn, to remember the steps and perform them as correct as we can. Then we repeat it and we feel the steps, all the different stages of the figure. We start to forget the steps, the figure, the form and start to recognize and relay on the feeling/feeling the patterns.

Milonga
When an intuitive dance is active we only use the movements at the last stage. We feel our own and the partner's position, we feel the quality of the music and our intuition will choose the movement.

I am working on a number of figures and in a few of them the follower is in 90degree angle in front of me. None of these figures are mature and they don't pop up at a milonga. BUT suddenly i started to walk forward in line of dance, having her in that angle and she was doing right side steps and left crossing via front of her.
With other words the figure training can activate totally new combinations of elements to leader and follower vocabulary.
 
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#38
Zoopsia expressed a similar idea by stressing that the follower just needs to learn to follow not to learn figures.
If you don't do figures, learn patterns, how is the technique and following developed in the dancers body?
My SO and me, we simply don't practice together. She would not even be able to answer what her steps during an "ocho cortado" should be. We take two privates per month and the outcome are more or less technical details like more wheight here, stepping different there. Maybe I discover a new possibility to move at a certain point - that's where learning from videos comes into - and "practice" that during the next milongas during non demanding dances.

With other words the figure training can activate totally new combinations of elements to leader and follower vocabulary.
Of course, but I don't think that more figures lead to a better social dance, at least not beyond a certain level.
I can walk and lead some giros, some cortados, some crosses - that's what follower can expect. Given that I do not have to search for new figures, they use to find me over time. Maybe I'll be in the mood to start with some volcadas this year...
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#39
If you don't do figures, learn patterns, how is the technique and following developed in the dancers body?
My early training was very much nuevo - so i tend to claim that everything is just steps and pivots, and with more subtely and precision in leading and following more and more interesting effects can be achieved by doing steps and pivots.

But just relying on my own inspiration in the moment has the tendency to lead to stagnation - sure, new elements spontaneously appear in my dance, but that takes a long time. And of course i want to do the cool stuff that i see, so i try to figure out how they are done, and explore what they are about - it is easier to find blind spots in my technique when looking at the things that don't come naturally.

My process is roughly like this:
Deconstruction: imitate a bit piece of interesting vocabulary, and try to figure out what the underlying mechanics are. This is usually already quite interesting in itself, because in most cases the appearance of a move can be created using several different ways. I try to find as many ways as possible, and then prune it down to what i figure the core is. My guiding principle is that every piece of vocabulary has at its core the demonstration/showing off of a general technical skill, and once we figure out what that is we can start making it our own and lead/follow it. (this gets somewhat complicated sometimes - there are quite a few tango figures that i have the impression are usually danced in ways that are not actually functional, but that are much more interesting if done slightly differently/using a different framework, and others where i feel that the technical skill underlying them is in the end not something that is part of how i think of my dance)
Reconstruction: now i have a piece of vocabulary that i think i understand. Now comes the work of firing out as many variations as possible - are there versions for the cross system/parallel system? out of any of the 4 steps of the moulinette? Usually the common version is the best and most natural one, but trying all the weird ones helps getting the principles down and teaches what actually works and why

there is no clear demarkation between practicing with my partner and the social for me - echoes of what i am working on tend to crop up in my social dance before i have actually mastered, and often these echoes are all that will ever appear in my social dance (though i hope that i have gotten at least a bit better at the technical still the trick is about)
 

LadyLeader

Active Member
#40
My process is roughly like this:
Deconstruction: imitate a bit piece of interesting vocabulary, and try to figure out what the underlying mechanics are. This is usually already quite interesting in itself, because in most cases the appearance of a move can be created using several different ways. I try to find as many ways as possible, and then prune it down to what i figure the core is. My guiding principle is that every piece of vocabulary has at its core the demonstration/showing off of a general technical skill, and once we figure out what that is we can start making it our own and lead/follow it. (this gets somewhat complicated sometimes - there are quite a few tango figures that i have the impression are usually danced in ways that are not actually functional, but that are much more interesting if done slightly differently/using a different framework, and others where i feel that the technical skill underlying them is in the end not something that is part of how i think of my dance)
Reconstruction: now i have a piece of vocabulary that i think i understand. Now comes the work of firing out as many variations as possible - are there versions for the cross system/parallel system? out of any of the 4 steps of the moulinette? Usually the common version is the best and most natural one, but trying all the weird ones helps getting the principles down and teaches what actually works and why

there is no clear demarkation between practicing with my partner and the social for me - echoes of what i am working on tend to crop up in my social dance before i have actually mastered, and often these echoes are all that will ever appear in my social dance (though i hope that i have gotten at least a bit better at the technical still the trick is about)
Great! This is a new perspective for me to create the needed variation in training; to work directly on the figure itself. I suppose it is the fastest way to get an idea of the essence in the figure

I think this kind of experimenting method creates many alternative paths for the figure and facilitates the adaptation to different partners and space on pista later on. It facilitates the flow in dance.
 

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