Standard dancers - what's happening here?


Well-Known Member
I know literally two things about Standard. I had a friend share a video with me about this particular couple, dancing a tango.

"What's up with her head?" was the question.

The answer to this is not one of the two things I know about Standard, so I turn to you, DFers!

There was special confusion around what's taking place at
  • :53
  • 1:20 - this one especially
  • 1:51
So... what's up with that thing she does with her head?

I'd venture to say it's supposed to be an accent, but, as beautiful as they are in every other nanosecond of this routine, to my very untrained eye, it's unnatural, distracting, and at the 1:20 mark, kind of silly. But right around the 2 minute mark, such an accent makes sense - she's reacting to his lead. But at 1:20? That accent doesn't seem to make any sense, mechanically.

Teach me a third thing about Standard, DF! :bookworm:



Well-Known Member
Possibilities, choose one or more:

1) Insatiable need to get noticed.
2) Resonance from too much start/stop force
3) Desire to experience serious whiplash
4) Epileptic seizures
5) Lack of understanding of proportionate movement

ALL of the above !!..and, the essence of Tango, in general, is missing..


Well-Known Member
Bleagh to the whole thing. Another reason why I don't have much use for Standard tango.
Unfortunately, drastic head movements aren't restricted to tango by dancers that do them. Not the same sharp movements you see in tango, but overdone, wild head movements are abundant in some routines. Bleagh indeed.
I think it's summed up by the phrase just because you can, it doesn't mean you should. Jo Clifton would do moves somewhat similar to those but they kind of made more sense to me within the context of the dance and the partnership and fit with the style of the circuit.

I think it's more of a WDSF thing tbh as another poster said. Some dancers do these flourishes better than others and if you like or don't like it as a concept it just comes down to personal taste.

If you are not a standard dancer you may prefer videos from WDC competitions which are more classic, less concerned with extremes and demonstrations of athleticism. Again, just down to personal taste and what you enjoy watching and dancing. :) There will still be sharp head movements but not as extreme as this.
I was watching this TV show called Nature Knows Best the other day, and they
had a segment on concussions (especially in sports) and how brain damage occurs.
In particular, the show mentioned that human bodies/heads can take at most
some 8 g's (as in acceleration due to gravity, 32 ft/sec/sec). Head butting rams
regularly experience 10 to 50 g's in combat and woodpeckers experience a few
hundred g's. One of the products introduced was this Q-collar (google q collar).
The idea is keeping the brain cavity in the skull filled so the brain doesn't "slosh"
and absorb random energy.

A lot of dancing has to do with brain function. I strongly believe many dancers
don't know how to "cradle" their heads/brains well enough and hence get
dizzy and disoriented. This is related to good body alignment and proportional
movements. I don't believe the jarring of the head/body (intentional or
unintentional) should be considered "good sport" and is certainly not pleasant,
especially socially (even if unenlightened/foolish judges think thus). Devices
like the Q collar may very well change the game (for good or bad).

This subject probably warrants its own thread.

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
:53 was a preparation for the throwaway. Bringing it in close so that the extension for the line was more pronounced. Storing up energy to execute in the following movement.

1:20 and 1:51 look disconnected because they are. He does not lead it. She felt it and so she did it. And that is cool, but it was not part of the partnership. Hence it stands out as "odd".

Stylistically these things happen. (Well the latter happen stylistically. The first was honestly a mechanical action.) And are considered artistic choices. To each their own.
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Well-Known Member
Some of the current head shaking seems so extreme to me compared to what I've seen danced in the recent past. As in, it's unpleasant to watch, and it looks like there may be risks of neck injuries and/or micro-concussions, particularly with repeated practice, and particularly with newer dancers. And it just looks violent. (I realize these followers are agreeing/wanting to dance like this, and aren't being forced into it, but that doesn't really make it look less violent to a spectator. People who have had whiplash from car accidents, or other neck injuries, flinch when they see others repeatedly make sharp head movements like some of these.)

...girls been shaking their heads for years in tango... hasn't ruined all followers or the dance yet.
Larinda, does the current trend with some dancers, as seen in this video example, seem extreme compared to how ballroom tango has been danced over the years? It seems extreme to me, but I don't have a good perspective on trends over time. Have we seen it like this before? Is this something that comes and goes? Five to ten years from now, will more people be back to doing more subtle head movements?


Well-Known Member
does the current trend with some dancers, as seen in this video example, seem extreme compared to how ballroom tango has been danced over the years?

It seems extreme to me, but I don't have a good perspective on trends over time. Have we seen it like this before )

It came into vogue in the very late 50s early 60s, with Irvine's
interpretation. Scrivener's partner, Nelly Duggen ( my ex teachers ) had used the head "snap ", but never in such an aggressive manner .

Bills Tango, was openly criticised for his approach to Tango( Too aggressive )
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