What do you expect from the men you dance with?

#21
Is the 6-step box a figure?

I can easily lead it with one lady dancing a tango.
I can't lead it with her dancing a milonga. She is off music and late.

Or the back ocho. The milonga variant is a different figure.

Milonga steps work perfectly with some ladies, but not with others. I'm sure they blame my leading skills. But the tango leading can be stronger, and it's easier for intermediate followers.
 
#22
By saying this below I don't think I know the follower development path but it looks like this from a leader perspective.

At the very beginning the follower is learning and doing figures. At that period she is also very committed to the figure a leader has started so it is nearly impossible to change a step during a sequence.

An experienced follower has left this kind of sequence thinking and is more monitoring how to leave the actual base and how to arrive to the next base/standing leg. She is not at all committed to sequences and can even change the dynamic, direction or what so ever during the process between the two bases.

The most usual cross is created by left foot crossing in the front of the right. When I try to lead the opposite most of the followers get confused but they get is soon and the experienced get it very fast.

So in the areas you don't know you use the figure method and when you have experience or are very sensitive you use the following method.
 
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#23
Vincenze when a follower is not comfortable with the staccato type of stepping needed in milonga try dance waltz with her! If you are lucky you will find a gem - a follower who is able to create legato types of steps.
 
#24
Secure floorcraft, smooth walking, connected embrace - I think that needs at least two years of experience. And leading this twice as much time as following.
Here in Norhern Europe like around twice as much women as men to dance.
2*2*2=8
A women dancing since eight years should expect that her partner meets these three points above. In average, of course.
 
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Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#25
I can easily lead it with one lady dancing a tango.
I can't lead it with her dancing a milonga. She is off music and late.
So maybe she just can't dance/follow fast.

If she does the same figure when you are dancing tango, the problem isn't that she "doesn't know the figure"... or are you expecting that if she has the entire figure memorized, she will be able to do it to any music automatically once you initiate the start of it?

Or the back ocho. The milonga variant is a different figure.
I don't even know how to begin responding to this. There are so many ways into and out of back ochos. Or doing 1 back ocho as a link between ... well... too many things to list. Saying that the figure for a back ocho in milonga is different from the figure for back ocho in tango (or vals too?) leaves me scratching my head as to what you mean.

Maybe I should ask you.. how is the tango back ocho "figure" different from the milonga back ocho "figure" from your perspective, and why do you think of "back ocho" as a figure at all?
 
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#26
Dancing Tango it might be an important expectation that no "ochos" get applied at all. A step is a step and a pivot is a pivot, however.
But dancing Milonga is different - a series of small "ochos" might be a good pattern to relax a bit.
 
#29
Maybe I should ask you.. how is the tango back ocho "figure" different from the milonga back ocho "figure" from your perspective, and why do you think of "back ocho" as a figure at all?
At the end of the tango ocho, a woman collects her feet and turns gracefully.

If a milonga is fast, she has no time and must do very a simpler ocho.
It's actually a good warming exercise. Not everybody can do it.
Something like this:

 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#30
At the end of the tango ocho, a woman collects her feet and turns gracefully.
If a milonga is fast, she has no time and must do very a simpler ocho.
It's actually a good warming exercise. Not everybody can do it.
Something like this:
I would not call it a different figure. It is the same figure done with more speed and less reach. She collects and turns just like in tango. In fact the collecting is more important because of the speed. In this example, the follower is pretty much staying in a collected position in her knees to facilitate the quick movement, but that isn't required.

If a follower can't do ochos in milonga, it isn't because she "hasn't learned the figure" or "doesn't know enough figures", it's because she hasn't learned to dance and follow leads with the required speed (and step length).

I would agree that being able to process a lead and respond very quickly is something that a more advanced follower can do much better than a beginner or intermediate follower (and is in fact, part of what makes a follower more advanced) but it isn't about learning more figures.

If you want to call an ocho a "figure" then changing the speed or reach isn't really what constitutes a different figure. Doing crossing ochos vs pivoting ochos would be better described as a "different ocho figure" from the follower's perspective, since it eliminates the pivot.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#32
I can only partly follow you and would need to know - What is a figure for you Zoopsia?
I've always heard the term figure to mean a combination of steps (or weight changes). So within the basic repertoire, ocho cortado and molinete are figures. A single ocho would not be considered a figure by this definition, but (for instance) a single front ocho pivoting to a parada and pasada combination would be a figure.

I'm totally open to the idea that I (and some people around me) may have been using the term "figure" at least differently from other parts of the world (and some might say incorrectly?) when we use it to mean a series of steps.

I'm also open to the idea that a single ocho that consists of a pivot and a step could be thought of as a "figure" if figure is defined by a series of movements rather than changes of weight.

So that is why I disagreed with the idea of an advanced follower needing to know more figures. If you assume "figure" means "step combination", then there is no value in a follower memorizing more of them. If you think of a figure as a series of movements that could all take place without a weight change (such as boleos and ganchos), then I would agree that followers do need to be exposed to the basic vocabulary of potential movements of their body (in relation to other parts of their own body, not stepping).

In the long run however, what the follower is really learning is not the movements themselves, but the principles of how to hold / use their body that enables them the freedom to explore all the potential movements that leaders may try. If the follower tries to learn them individually without understanding them conceptually, they will always be limited to only that which they have specifically studied and practiced.

So if we go back to the original statement about what advanced followers know more of, it isn't that they know more "figures" (and certainly not that they know more step patterns)... it's that they have better understanding and implementation of concepts.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#34
...I'm also open to the idea that a single ocho that consists of a pivot and a step could be thought of as a "figure" if figure is defined by a series of movements rather than changes of weight...
There are at least six different spellings around. In didactics, I stick to Naveira. So I regard the ocho a figure. For Pugliese the echo still was a basic element. It always depends on the system, school, mindset, paradigm. There are different tangos around.
 

TomTango

Active Member
#35
I think learning a "figure" or a whole sentence is an easy way for them to get all of the positions contained in that figure in their body.

I'm always working on my following, and I have pretty ok technique and sensitivity carried over from my leading. The one thing that doesn't carry over is follower positioning. The first time a new combo or position is thrown my way I might miss it. Do it a few more times, and it's in my body and now I can follow it in many different timings and combinations.
 

ArbeeNYC

Active Member
#36
So what is important for all ladies

1. Neat appearance and personal hygiene
The fact that this is still an "issue" is a problem in and of itself. However, in my experience, most men in tango are slobs to some degree.

As for the rest, humor? Maybe, hardly critical, but a nice part of the mix.
Passion? Hmm, OK, but let's not get carried away here with the mystique of tango. Just try to focus on 2, 4, and 9 and you'll be ahead of the game. Musicality helps, too.
 
#37
Last March I restarted my tango training and one of the activities was/is to learn a lot of figures. I will definitely bring them to the practica but not necessarily to the milonga pista. The main goal is to activate new intuitive movement paths which can be released by music.

The most important experience why I formed the goal in this way was some confusing moments on a summer milonga a few years back. This milonga can have several hundred visitors and the skill levels vary a lot. In a beginning of a tanda I tried to lead my partner trough the chaotic crowd to a more spacious part of pista. When I arrived there I asked myself - Why on earth I am doing waltz figures all the time?
My second thought was - Of course it IS waltz!

My awareness was totally needed for navigation but I had accumulated enough intuitive skills for waltz to cope with the chaotic first song of the tanda.

Today I use the figures as tools to create more intuitive paths for my dance and these sessions have also had impact on my training partners. We start to do figures but we end up with intuitive leading and following.
 
#38
I've always heard the term figure to mean a combination of steps (or weight changes). So within the basic repertoire, ocho cortado and molinete are figures. A single ocho would not be considered a figure by this definition, but (for instance) a single front ocho pivoting to a parada and pasada combination would be a figure.

I'm totally open to the idea that I (and some people around me) may have been using the term "figure" at least differently from other parts of the world (and some might say incorrectly?) when we use it to mean a series of steps.

I'm also open to the idea that a single ocho that consists of a pivot and a step could be thought of as a "figure" if figure is defined by a series of movements rather than changes of weight.

So that is why I disagreed with the idea of an advanced follower needing to know more figures. If you assume "figure" means "step combination", then there is no value in a follower memorizing more of them. If you think of a figure as a series of movements that could all take place without a weight change (such as boleos and ganchos), then I would agree that followers do need to be exposed to the basic vocabulary of potential movements of their body (in relation to other parts of their own body, not stepping).

In the long run however, what the follower is really learning is not the movements themselves, but the principles of how to hold / use their body that enables them the freedom to explore all the potential movements that leaders may try. If the follower tries to learn them individually without understanding them conceptually, they will always be limited to only that which they have specifically studied and practiced.

So if we go back to the original statement about what advanced followers know more of, it isn't that they know more "figures" (and certainly not that they know more step patterns)... it's that they have better understanding and implementation of concepts.
It was a different way, i had not thought it so detailed. For me a figure has been all the movements from the start to the end. It is also true that a lot of figures which I early in the tango life considered to be independent ones are actually just variations of a more basic combination of steps.

I am using figures as a tool to develop my dance and on the way my understanding of the principles is also developing. If followers are not using figures for their tango how do they facilitate the skill growth?
 
#39
Today I use the figures as tools to create more intuitive paths for my dance and these sessions have also had impact on my training partners. We start to do figures but we end up with intuitive leading and following.
Congratulations. YOU ended up with intuitive leading. I see a lot of leaders who haven't developed to your level of understanding. They concentrate on figures and pay NO attention to navigation. "Not enough space for figures? Too bad for the other couple" is their mantra. That's why dancers get kicked from high boleos and there are collisions from expansive figures, especially those who confuse the dance floor for a stage.

I wish I knew why women who are used as battering rams continue to dance with these men over and over knowing she will be involved in a collision and bear the brunt of it.
 

bastet

Active Member
#40
Followers don't need to know figures. They need to know how to follow. They can't possibly know enough figures to dance with a variety of leaders based on repeating known figures. Once you get beyond the basic vocabulary, followers shouldn't even be aware that a sequence of steps is a set combination that the leader knows. The figures and combinations should flow seamlessly so that the follower is not consciously aware of the beginnings and ends of them.

I'm not sure what not being able to dance milonga has to do with knowing steps and figures. I can't dance it but it has nothing to do with steps or even speed. It tends to aggravate tendon problems in my bad hip. Even when I enjoy it at the time, I pay for it the next day.

What can you do? Nothing. Find someone else to dance milonga with. Maybe she can't dance it. Maybe she doesn't like to dance it. Maybe she just doesn't want to dance it with you.

I'd say it's hard to get from the intermediate stage to the advanced stage for both roles and also pretty much every human endeavor.
Maybe we need to clarify what you mean by "figures", since combinations of steps can be infinitely varied. Even standard vocabulary "figures" such as ocho cortado and molinete have a plethora of potential variations.

There's no value in followers memorizing combinations. EVERY advanced leader I know says that it is easier to lead a beginner follower who knows how to hold her body but doesn't know any steps than it is to lead an intermediate follower who knows steps that she tries to apply to every lead.

Advanced followers don't anticipate based on patterns they've learned. Maybe you think that what's happening is that she knows many figures, but what's really happening is that she is taking each lead as it comes without thinking about the step that came before or the one that might come after based on what she's been led in the past. Even figures such as molinete and ocho cortado can be interrupted or altered even as they are being executed. So of course it's easier to lead an advanced follower than it is to lead a beginner... It's also easier to follow an advanced leader than it is a beginning leader.

Followers need to learn specific vocabulary, but not whole sentences. So maybe we aren't meaning the same thing by the term "Figures".

Hey Zoopsia! Stepping out of my infinite lurkdom to hi 5 these posts. It's not possible for me to like them enough....
 

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