Tango Argentino > first signal of closed embrace

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by olamalam, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I would say swing and salsa are always physically demanding
    West Coast ?
    Yeah, really, it depends on how fast the song is and how energetically you react to it.
    Polka can be pretty demanding. In fact someone asked me to do a swing recenntly, but prefaced it with, "now that you've caught your breath" after I did a pretty fast polka.
    My milongas have been known to wear out partners.
    I guess it was more physically demanding for them than for me, and I had more stamina than they did.

    (I've been told that my long legs/steps can be a challenge. When it comes up I tell partners that they need to signal to me that my steps are too long for them by giving me extra resistance or lagging behind when not in a closed position (not AT.)

    If you have good technique, why should any dance be "physically demanding?"
    opendoor and Oliver like this.
  2. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    My teacher taught the woman moves FIRST followed a split second by the man. I have to match the size of the woman's step, not the other way around. I lead big steps but there's nothing I can do if the woman takes small steps. A woman's poor frame will wear me out because my shoulder can't take a hard frame. A woman told me that when a tall man held her arm high above her shoulder, the arm went numb.

    Lack of stamina is not the only reason a dancer may be worn out.
  3. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member


  4. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    In that case, the man could run over the woman. Is that good?

  5. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    It's not good, but I don't think that's the only possibility.
    Others possibilities are:
    • The woman matches the size of the man's step
    • Both people work together (share the responsibility) to match each other.
  6. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Ha, I teach it the other way round ;)

    The leader gives all the information about step width and speed to the woman beforehand. We call this projection.
    dchester likes this.
  7. vit

    vit Active Member

    Both can be true, because this information tells nothing if particular part of the body of particular partner that moves first is not specified
  8. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    I project with my chest. It seems you project with your foot.
  9. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I project with my whole body, and the greatest contact of course is at the chest. But after having projected, my foot will start stepping. And if a follower does not understand this technique, our knee or else may…
    But I think different ways will lead to the same result.
  10. vit

    vit Active Member

    So which foot starts moving first and which foot ends moving first in case of moving forward. Is it the same in case of moving backwards ?
  11. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    In parallel system the leader's left and the followers right will start moving more or less simultaneously. But the follower reacts on the leader´s motion, so her foot will touch the floor milliseconds after the leader´s will do.
    Yes. Its not a question of who will go ahead, it's a question of who is projecting.
    vit likes this.
  12. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    another aspect that related to the other thread:

    it is important to remember that this does not happen in a vaccuum - because we are both dancing to the same music, we have another channel of communication - the follower knows ahead of time what the options for stepping are, and what the options for the ending of the step are, so the length and timing of the step becomes are function not just of the physical lead, but also of the relationship between the physical lead to the pulse of the orchestra, and efficiently the leader has communicated his musicality and his "place" in the orchestra to the follower. A follower will not be able do funky quarter time steps on a piano twinkle the first time it shows up, but it will happen when the leader has consistenly respected that twinkle three times in a row.
    I am coming to believe that communicating the relationship to the music by the leader and the follower is the core of leading and following, and that thinking about lead and follow without music, and practicing without music , or without music with texture, is a mistake.
    itwillhappen, opendoor and vit like this.
  13. olamalam

    olamalam New Member

    The workshop I attended in the festival was from a Russian couple (I remember the name of the guy. Maxim). Maybe style was Apilado.
    In my dance school they teach closed embrace without leaning towards each other. We still haven't started practicing closed embrace, our instructor told me that I have to dance at least 6 months in open embrace to learn the technique of certain elements. Then switch to closed. So I don't know how they will teach. I just got a quick hint about how they teach, even though they stay chest to chest, they don't push each other from the chest. follower keeps a constant pressure on her back.

    Yes, I get this criticism from the fellow followers. tiny steps is a habit from my salsa background and also as many beginner leaders in tango, I still have a fear of stepping on my follower :)
  14. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    this is one of the things i find difficult to understand about how people dance close embrace. If you are using a technical framework that is not actually designed to support close embrace vocabulary, then of course close embrace is more advanced and difficult than open embrace - it requires you to have enough precision and control to manipulate a squareish peg into a roundish hole. I am not sure why there is this view that close embrace is neccessary - open embrace tango using the constant pressure on the back framework is amazingly dynamic and well suited to all kind of "whee" turns that the "pushing" framework does not really allow, just like the no-pressure framework opens up all kinds sacadas and other moves where we play with misalignment and intersection.

    It also leads to all kinds of miscommunications about how the dance is supposed to work - i once was chatting with another tourist at one of the more traditional milongas in BAs, and she told me how disappointed and unhappy she was with the majority of the dances she was having. And dancing with her made it obvious what was happening - she was dancing exactly that way - providing a constant pressure on her back, but the leaders were looking for constant pressure on their chest, and to make the dance feel "right" they pulled her closer, while she was pushing out, leading to her being squeezed. If the both the leader and the follower look for pressure from the back, there is no squeezing - there is space in the front. if both the leader and the follower look for pressure to the front, there is no squeezing - there is space in the back. but if disagree there is pressure everywhere, and the poor follower gets squeezed, and has very uncomfortable dances. i wish teachers offered a small introduction to the different technical frameworks before before students head out into different communities - most of the skills still apply, and understanding what is happening can turn attending a new milonga with a different crowd from being horrible to being fun.
    sixela and itwillhappen like this.
  15. vit

    vit Active Member

    Can tango work well that way ? I know very little about tango, but in ballroom and kizomba I really dislike having a backweighted follower ...
  16. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    A lot of nuevo and salon vocabulary works well that way -its excellent for fast giros, rebounds, single axis turns, some variants of the ocho cortado. I am not sure if i would really call it backweighted (just like the apilado lean is not really completely leaning on each other), but a strong presence/connection in the back of the follower and the right arm of the leader. One of my teachers described it as the leader being at the center of a barrel, and the follower keeping her back connected to the wall of the barrel.
    vit likes this.
  17. vit

    vit Active Member

    Thanks - I realized it was meant that way after I wrote the reply. I'm of course ok with solid connection of my right arm and follower back/upper part of left arm/whatever, as long as follower doesn't pull me forward
  18. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I'm not certain I know what you mean by "technical framework".

    In any case, I don't claim that close embrace is necessary, but I do find it desirable, (especially for certain songs). I think the embrace / hug is what makes tango different from all other partner dances.

    Of course, there are some who will claim that their preference is the single truth, but to me, close embrace is a preference, (and for me, a strong preference). I agree that some moves are much easier in an "open embrace" (an oxymoron, if I've ever heard one), which is why a lot of dancers will change the embrace to do certain moves, and then come back to a more traditional close embrace.

    I do explain to beginning students about different embrace preferences, and why I start them (primarily) with close embrace.
  19. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    i meant the difference between e.g the approach outline by the op (a connection based on the followers back and the right arm of the leader) and what is used when dancing the style that is often called apilado - a connection based on the followers chest and the leaders chest. Or more abstract - is our base connection to the outside or the inside. This has very little to do with the "closeness" of the embrace - i know people who dance very close to each other who connect to the outside (they tend to have a slightly different geometry - often a bit offset and angled). So apilado is one way to dance close to each other, but there are others, and they are also close embraces, but their connection works differently.
    sixela likes this.
  20. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    I don't necessarily think that the approaches (connecting "inwards" and "outwards") are that incompatible. I have many ladies that dance connecting "inside" with me when we're walking and "outside" when we turn (even when we stay in very close embrace), and what I then lead (and her response) probably even makes that quite natural. By now I'm not entirely conscious of exactly how I adjust (except if someone forces me into true open embrace in a way that someone would if I had excruciatingly bad breath).

    The very best will even play with the differences and actually not conform to it (switching to a chest connection on turns and ocho milonguero steps if it allows them to step in a character that fits the music better, or even "connect at the back" in slow walks, which also changes the character of the walk dramatically).

    You know, the way someone speaking in representative pronunciation can switch to a local accent to make a point, or the way someone who usually doesn't give a toss about RP can switch to using RP also to make a point.

    The only problem you'll have is when you try to force a certain way of communicating with which your partner is entirely unfamiliar (that holds both for followers and for leaders) and can't recognise how the other is trying to connect. That's probalby one of the reasons a tanda is four songs, so that with an unknown partner you can discover exactly what is intelligible to them (and what they really do not grok) before the tanda ends.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
    brunoalfirevic likes this.

Share This Page