Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Alex's Deep Tango Thoughts...

I think it's not a good thing (being in a small community) to dance with the same three or four followers (really one or two) over and over again, week after week, month after month, year after year - for three years. I have known this since I first started dancing tango, but doing something about it can prove to be difficult logistically - work and weather and such can preclude runs to Denver for experiential tango diversity.

Like I said, I have known this for some time and here's how it manifests itself in my own case study. I attended one of Gustavo & Giselle's intensive 6 day workshops in BsAs back in April. The topic was "cambios de dirrecion"...changes of direction. I also took a four day intensive workshop with them this summer in Atlanta...more changes of direction with other stuff mixed in.

My problem has been that I have been unable to smoothly lead any of this new stuff with the followers in Aspen. But I try, try again. I study the video footage. I dance it in my mind. I dance it in "air tango" by myself. I practice it every chance I get, but to no avail with the followers in my (former) community. They just don't get it. I know, I know, the whole thing about it has to be clearly led and all that. But, a recent teacher said that followers have to "understand" that certain things are possible. Things outside of the tango norm.

Point being is that here in Austin, I went to a practica, and tried a few of these "changes of direction"...with women I have never danced with before...and they came out perfectly...no problem with lead or follow. The women made statements about it feeling "good"...and statements to the effect of "I didn't know you could do that..."

Don't get me wrong...I'm not blaming the (former) followers in this...it's just interesting that no matter how much I tried to lead it, it didn't work all these months, then all of a sudden with new followers, it works perfectly.

It makes me think that there is some sort of mental/ physical/ emotional/ kinesthetic/ hardwiredneuropeptide/ subatomic/ quantum physics kinda thing going on when you dance with same people over and over. The realm of possibility gets narrowed or restrained in some way.

And tango is all about the possibilities....right?

Note to self:: Post about "subatomic ochos"... and the conundrum of "superfast subatomic ochos in traspie"....(grin)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

followers who dance with you often get lazy and don't stay alert. new dancers don't know you and need to stay alert to all possibilities. its a real pleasure dancing like this!

plano_dancer said...

neat weblog, I enjoy reading it...

well, there's some good points about dancing with the same person(s) over & over as well... but I've had the same problem with some things as well... sometimes you just have to demonstrate/teach to get a move across (if they're open to it)

Alex said...

good point anon...and thanks for the compliment, plano_dancer! i try to teach/instruct (only in a practica setting) only as a last resort...if I explain and demo it, then I wonder if it changes things...their mind then starts processing what it is I want them to do...changing it from a purely physical/intentional lead, to something quasi physical/intellectual... but sometimes, even after an explanation and demo, they still can't get it... and besides, most followers I have danced with aren't really open the demo/explain/teach... they tell me to "just lead it"...

David said...

I've found that dancers who I dance with often get used to my repertoire of moves/patterns and on introducing a new one it can take some time for them to get used to the fact that I'm doing something new! Whereas with a new follower they pick up the move immediately as you've seen.

I have found that if a new move doesn't work, then leading it slowly often makes it work as it forces the follower to concentrate more.

On the other hand, leading it double time will sometimes work too as the follower's reaction becomes more automatic with less time for the brain to get in the way.

Teaching on the dance floor is a non-starter for me too! If I can't lead it, then I don't do it.