Friday, February 2, 2018
Chaos Theory of Floorcraft Part 1 :: The Coolest Man Dancing Tango
Here's Murat Erdemsel at YoLaTango in Austin back in 2014. We miss our YoLaTango! That was always a great mini-festival! Scottish Rite Theater is a fantastic venue.
This video is actually Part 3 in his series - titled "Murat and Michelle Erdemsel at YolaTango 2014: Improve floor craft on tango dance-floors PART-3" (Scroll down to the bottom for Parts 1 & 2 - Part 2 is from YoLaTango as well...)
There's actually very little "meat" on the subject of floorcraft in this video - but I'm not complaining. Using humor, he pokes a bit of fun at leader (left) hand positions, what I've referred to on this blog as "hand forms". I'm not sure if I ever got around to writing the post about the guy I used to encounter with the "waving palm frond" hand form. Oh well. Bizarre hand forms don't piss me off like they used to. Approaching fifteen years in, I've matured in my tango, and hopefully I'm more Zen/Taoist about it. Although bad floorcraft still pisses me off.
Anyway...so for just over the first six minutes of the video Murat does a skit, although perhaps the better word is shtick, on hand form. Pretty good. Pretty funny. Michelle is his beautiful assistant. Too bad they split up. :(
Beginning at 6:25 in the video, he talks for the last two minutes on "the evolution of the coolest man dancing tango in the milongas", with a few subtle nods to practicing good floorcraft. He starts out with importance of the connection between the couple, their connection to the music, and then the connection of the couple to the dancers around them. It's also common now to hear talk (or read about) of all of the dancers in the milonga ultimately being connected to each other physically (through negative space) and dynamically, vs. energetically. A murmuration of starlings comes to mind, although humans are not nearly as perfect as Mother Nature provides. Not by a longshot.
So he makes a good point in this last part, that the "coolest man dancing tango" is "the man who inspires other men to want to dance behind him". Because he provides a safe space by practicing good floorcraft. The coolest man allows those safe spaces to open up in front of the dancers behind him. A very good point indeed. I never thought about it this way. Kudos to Murat for this.
The video description on YouTube also makes a few good points about floorcraft (aka navigation and all of the various elements that combine into the grand subject of floorcraft). That floorcraft is "the most boring subject in tango", which is probably true, because I don't think many teachers actually emphasize it enough in their classes. In my view, it should be touched on in each and every class, and focused on in beginner classes for the first three to six months of a dancer's path into tango. Ideally.
The second extremely important point: "how to follow the line of the dance or a responsibility that many men claim to fulfill but in reality they do not..."
And the final point: "For the sake of having an ultimate dancing experience for every dancer dancing with peace, respect and happiness while maintaining responsibilities."
Here's the full video description:
Murat Erdemsel speaking specifically about "evolution of the coolest man dancing tango in milongas".
It is one of the most boring subjects to study in tango; how to follow the line of the dance or a responsibility that many men claim to fulfill but in reality they do not.
Murat, and Michelle helping during his impersonations, finding ways to bring it to all men during the actual milonga and making it fun to listen. For the sake of having an ultimate dancing experience for every dancer dancing with peace, respect and happiness while maintaining responsibilities.
For the sake of good floorcraft.
For the sake of planting the seeds of good floorcraft.
How do we, as dancers, teachers, organizers, and communities promote and influence and manifest the practice of good floorcraft? Because it seems to fall by the wayside much too frequently, and we all end up having to contend with the perpetrations and permutations of bad floorcraft.
A final thanks to Murat (and Michelle) for this video, the video series, and for their contributions to and influences on the Austin Tango Community.
And to a big thank you to Elif and Marc - for the bravery to give "good floorcraft" center stage at a (mini) festival - a novel idea to have the visiting teachers do a class/presentation on it right before a milonga. This should happen more.
It's not lost on me that the guys who think they are the coolest man dancing tango, dancing to impress themselves, dancing to impress their partner, or worse, dancing to impress others in the room, are most frequently the ones who are oblivious to the dancers around them, dancing without respecting them or the spaces around them, dancing too big for the milonga, and are generally oblivious to (good) floorcraft and the thoughtful and earnest practice of it.
None of those guys will ever read this.
Okay, now, really, finally, and for the record, here are the first two videos of Murat's series:
AirMilonga by OpenMilonga. Improve floor craft on tango dance-floors PART-1
More "meat" on floorcraft in this one, again before a milonga at YoLaTango (starting at the one minute mark), again using humor - the "four types of guys" - which we all want to be the Type 4 guy.
Murat and Michelle Erdemsel at YolaTango: Improve floor craft on tango dance-floors PART-2
And now, really finally lastly, as a reward to those of you who read and scrolled all the way down, here are Murat and Michelle dancing at YoLaTango 2014 to Pedro Laurenz' "Yo quiero cantar un tango" with Alberto Podesta singing...impeccable musicality...