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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Following (note to self)

(These are notes to myself and will require some experimentation through trail and error)

I danced with several awesome followers this weekend and I am trying to analyze what it was that made those dancers so Delicious while the memory of them is still in my mind!

When following transfer weight smoothly rolling from toe to heel (when walking backwards)inside of foot to center of foot (when doing side steps) heel to toe (when walking forward)try to keep the foot almost horizontal right before landing when taking front or backward steps.

Try and feel the length of stride that your leader is intending, if he is going to do a traspie or syncopa step it will be shorter due to the amount of time it takes to make the step. Better to be a little bit longer than he intended than too short, this will murder the leaders back after one song because he cannot keep his own axis and must also keep you from tripping over yourself.

Always remain grounded, never fall into the step.

Don't take too long of a step or you will not feel grounded at all to your leader and you my hurt someone that you are unaware of, that the leader is aware of.

Don't block your leader on the open side by keeping your arm too stiff, this is gentle embrace, Not an inflexible frame.

Stiff tight legs are hard and nasty and don't feel good to dance with, and will block a lot of possibilities. Relaxed legs are soft and feel wonderful to dance with and they will react to the lead in the way that the leader intends.

Better to be a little behind the beat than ahead of the beat.

Keep a good spiral in the body by remaining relaxed everywhere, feel your core muscles stretching rather than tightening.

Keep your own axis unless the leader takes you off of it by stretching or compressing the embrace, at that point use these counter acting forces to maintain an equilibrium these forces when applied must balance each other out or the whole thing will go off axis, it would be very embarrassing to fall over (trust your leader and make sure that he can trust you not to apply more force than is given) your leader is not there to help you keep your balance unless he takes you off of it nor are you there to help him keep his.

When taking a step be confident that you are doing what you felt (you probably are) and make a good quality step, getting your weight at least over your hip joint, if it feels as if the leader is trying to dance the Phrase, go with it smoothly, a jerky stuttering step is usually not what we are going for.

(If anyone sees something that is completely wrong with the things I have written please let me know so that I don't get too far in the wrong direction)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dancing the Phrase

In my last post I put up a video in which the speaker demonstrated the development of a musician from the age of seven, at which the young player struggles to hit each note and Really accents each and every note of a classical piece. The speaker then goes on to further demonstrate the development of the musician and at each step the student's accents grow steadily further and further apart, with the end result being that he is able to play the entire piece with out hesitation. It is at this point, that the beauty of the composition shines through, and the emotions of the listener are stimulated quite dramatically.

I am correlating this to my own development as a Tango leader, sadly having only recently (within the last two years) being exposed to this idea, it has taken some time for me to fully express this idea through my dance.

The results are amazing!

In the beginning I stepped and led (often very badly) each beat of the music, stopping and hesitating, unable to feel the passion that was there in the music all the time.

Eventually I was able to dance an entire bar without accent.

Now, it is beginning to flow and I am often able to dance through an entire phrase, caring less about whether or not the follower does exactly what I have suggested, rather working together with her to let the music carry us into the passion.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tango Compared to Kissing

Kissing can be an art in itself. There are a number of people in this world that can rock your world with only a kiss. Unfortunately there are also many people in this world that, well, they suck at kissing.

How do you tell someone that they kiss like a fish/your grand mother/a nun/your dog fido/a blow up doll/a maniquin/a barbie doll/a slice of liver/a sponge/a bowl of raw calamari...etc...

You don't! you just don't kiss them EVER AGAIN.(luckily there are people in this world who have the grace and understanding to put up with some bad kissing long enough to help the guilty party overcome their ignorance, but there are limits!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

OK, This is a Very Good Post (not mine)

This is aimed at (from me) those followers whom give their leaders a very stiff (arm wrestler like) stiff as a board right arm, expecting them (or me, more importantly) to push or pull them through what they should be doing on their own, and leaders/teachers whom teach this damned foolishness.

On either side of the embrace (open or closed side)the arms should be like antennae, that is to say they are there only to give either partner extra information about what the other partner is trying to communicate or how they have received the other half of the communication. A competent leader should be able to lead almost anything (with the exception of off axis turns, colgadas volcadas and soltadas) without arms.

I for one was guilty of leading with the "killer right arm" for a very long time, And I apologize to the many, many, many women that I tortured with this awful practice a few years back (you know who you are). I learned the error of my ways because I was willing to accept instruction from a couple of very competent instructors (Luiza Paes, Deb Scalar).


movementinvitesmovement.wordpress.com
Click the link to find out what the hell I'm talking about.

Deeper Connection

In order to truly communicate through Tango we must pretend that Tango is the only language that we have in common.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another Experience in Following

Last night at the weekly Tango lesson in my small city I had another chance to assume the role of follower. Here are a couple of observations;

I found it fairly easy to follow a couple of volcadas, they weren't very extreme still I found it to be much easier than I had imagined (and much easier to follow than it is to lead, I know this because when I was trying to learn this as a leader a couple of years ago it took me a very long time to get)

In order to follow the enganchada (which is what I call a back cross lead with a small hooked shape from the back, a good way to set up for a backward volcada) a very clear lead was necessary, my instructor was leading several in a row and the first one was easy to get, but after that the lead didn't seem as clear. So when leading this one must make sure to follow through, and make sure that the follower is with you.


Monday, November 2, 2009

What a Way to Go



Nick Jones and Amy Anderson VERY FUNNY!

I think I saw this guy dancing in Buenos Aires.

An Experience In Following

Awhile back I was experimenting as a follower in a workshop, here are a couple of observations;

1. A couple of the leaders did not give me enough time to do what they had led me to do.

2. One leader had no concept of what the embrace should be (I was solely dancing in an open embrace)

3. More than one of the leaders led from very high in their chest. (I am fairly tall and can only imagine how difficult it would be to follow this type of lead if I were of shorter stature) Leading from the solar plexus would gives a much easier lead to follow.

4. Almost all of the leaders in this particular class had almost no disassociation in their bodies, ie; they did not move their upper bodies independently of their lower bodies,(fused spines?) these leaders were very unsuccessful in leading anything other than linear movement.

5. Most of them almost never looked at their partner (me in this case) this makes it very difficult to connect while dancing in open embrace.

6. Musically all but one did not have a clue.

Granted this was a class dealing with fundamentals, and as such the experience level was fairly low,(especially mine as a follower) still I am beginning to feel the pain of the followers out there and HOPEFULLY learning a thing or two.