Saturday, December 1, 2007

Tango::The Tango is a game of seduction...

Ah, now I get it! The Tango, as a dance, is a game of seduction. And like any game of seduction, it begins with the eyes, in a glance, and has very clear rules.

I happened across this video series on YouTube bright and early this morning. They comprise an instructional series featuring Osvaldo Zotta and Mora Godoy. Nothing against Osvaldo y Mora. The video series is titled "TANGOCITY - LEARN HOW TO DANCE TANGO IN YOUTUBE" (in twenty lessons)

Virtual Tango - that's a new concept - dancing tango in YouTube - actually IN YouTube.

At first I thought, "great! what a great resource for beginners!". The more I watched though, it became obvious that a beginner would become very confused very rapidly. The voice over does not match the steps they are taking all of the time. The narrator is counting out "one" "two" "three" "four" "five" "six" "seven" and "eight" (or "stop") - sometimes not matching the actual step being taken on the video. All of the videos show the dancers in slow motion - good for very rank beginners, to be sure, but they should also see the vocubulary/figure danced at full speed, and "to the music".

This is "Lesson 1 of 20" - and with 110,448 views, I now understand why there were so many leaders dancing the basic eight at the Fandango de Tango - back step and all - and with musicality equal to dark matter (less than zero).


Here is Lesson 12 - Rulo (lapiz) con sacadas...


Lesson 12 was better as far as the voice over and dancer's steps matching.

Overall, I would say this is a good resource - a good "primer" - but more for intermediate or advanced beginners - not the brand new beginner - especially not without a real, live teacher and some group classes.

ACK! I just watched Lesson 5 "Medialuna". The narrator says that Osvaldo leads with his fingers and the palm of his hand....MUY MALO! BAD! BAD! BAD! VERY BAD!

As we all KNOW...everything, absolutely EVERYTHING in Tango is led with the torso/chest...at least in social tango. Fantasia tango might be different.

4 comments:

Tanguillo said...

No, the lead with the fingers is not of fantasia tango, at least not today. That kind of lead was commonly use ten years ago. Those videos are quite old,and shows old techniques and not so good steps.
But the problem of the sound was not originally in the videos, youtube does that with some codecs, it seems. It happen to me several times (so I quit to use it).
Saludos!

La Tanguera said...

Yeah, I find this a bit too mechanical. People will never understand the spirit nor the musicality in the Tango if this kind of mental frame gets too deep into them...

PS That dress that Mora wears in Video 1... OMG...

Elizabeth said...

I haven't watched the videos yet, but I wanted to comment that Susana Miller was teaching my partner in a private, and told him to use his fingers and hands more! After all this time of practising without arms, learning not to use the arm....I am just confused about all these conflicting ideas, and methods.

Alex said...

Hi Elizabeth!

Here are my thoughts. If you picture a leader leaving his torso in place with his lower body, but swinging or moving his arms rotationally from side to side, then that is "leading with the arms" and is all wrong.

Now picture the leader with his arms (some call it "the frame) moving with his torso - as his torso rotates from side to side, so too, his arms move - torso and arms as a unit. Not rigid or stiff, but very definitely as a "unit". This is the way I have been taught.

Now, keeping with the inevitability that the finger bones are connected to the hand bones, and the hand bones are connected to the arm bones...it is inevitable that as a leader turns counterclockwise, this will "invoke" a slight pulling sensation from the leader's left hand. In a clockwise turn, it will be a slight pressure or dare I say "pushing" sensation.

With a torso lead, there is an inevitable use of the "hands", but I wouldn't go so far as to call this "leading with the hands".

A good follower will be attuned to these subtle changes and use it as one of the many "influences" in her follow (nixed use of the word "signals") - the primary one being the leader's torso and her connection to it.

I agree that practicing without the arms is a good exercise. Also dancing with no connection whatsoever - lead and follow 6" to 12" apart - is a great exercise too. Albeit extremely difficult - imagine leading (and following) ochos, the molinete, or ocho cortados with no connection whatsoever. Believe it or not, it can be done.

I never ever lead with my fingers in any way. I have taken lots of workshops from lots of teachers - this has never been mentioned once.