Thursday, January 22, 2009

When a man "out embellishes" a woman

First, thanks to TangoPilgrim for finding this one. There are a few things I like about this performance/demo. Like Pilgrim, I like the vals - Se Fue by Lucio Demare. I like that it is being danced in Sunderland - there's something cool/funky about dancing tango in a basketball gymnasium. I like that there are no baggy pants being worn in the video. I like (to think) that there are very likely no baggy pants in the entire building. I like that the style is salon/close embrace mas o menos. I like the dance, just dial down the jazz, if you ask me.

What I don't like is that he is "out embellishing" his follower. I read this tonight - something Daniel Trenner said - "The man's job is to let the woman dance."

Let's not forget this fellers. It's not about us or our steps or our figures or our patterns or our moves or even our lead.

It's about the woman - dancing her and letting her dance.

She's there, in your arms, to dance and have fun and feel beautiful.

Make it so.

BE the tango you wish to see in the world.

There is a beautiful woman in that may have missed her...


msHedgehog said...

This makes me think of someone I dance with occasionally, who went through a briefish phase of very fancy footwork. One day he tripped himself up and nearly went flying into the DJ. I caught him, and I was congratulating myself on my balance for a week. The footwork calmed down.

Malevito said...

Hi Alex, how are you?

Here is one instance where I am of a different opinion. While in general I think the idea of "The man's job..." is good and noble, taken as a strict rule it seems terribly limiting. If the point is for a woman to dance and look beautiful, there are plenty of other dances where she can do that unencumbered by a leader at all.

While El Pajaro seems to have a particularly baroque approach to the dance, I don't think I see it ever obstructing Belen's freedom of movement. That is, he may be doing tons of ornaments but it's not at the expense of his partner--she could, if she chose, match his density of movement, but seems to be fine keeping it subtler (might be interesting to see him dance with someone like, say, Geraldine). And let it be said, there can be just as much beauty in subtlety. Just because she's not drawing so much attention to herself doesn't mean she's not dancing.

Also, it must be added that this is performance, after all.

I am of the opinion that if the music and the moment moves you, you should express what your instincts tell you, without restraint, given considerations of space and community.

As a counter to your criticism of this performance, I'd like to refer to the wonderful milonga video you posted a while back of Adrian and Amanda Costa. Revisit that clip and tell me, don't you think he's vastly out-embellishing her as well? I would argue that in that video, as much as I love it, Adrian isn't doing much to make Amanda look good, in a manner I find more egregious than this video.

Just my 2 cents. :)

Sal said...

Your observations are extremely salient for social dancing at milongas. But this is a performance. In my mind, a performance is not done for the pleasure of the dancers, but for the pleasure of the audience. Keep that in mind when you criticize performances for not being as deep and personal as a good tanda at a milonga should be. Just my 2 cents. Keep up the great blogging!