25 December 2008

"The Walk" in Argentine Tango

A lot of people who have really become proficient at Argentine Tango has ruminated about "The Walk." It is the beginning, basis, and foundation of how good dancers look on the milonga floor.

All this time I've been dancing Tango, I decided to just watch the dancers. I was astonished at my own observations of who looked good, and who didn't. Regardless of style, it boiled down to two types. Those who could, and those who could not walk.

Those who could walk:
  • It looked like they were on rollers... smooth
  • They were always sure footed. No awkwardness, any imbalance was instantly and smoothly compensated for
  • They looked to be in perfect synch with their partners
  • They didn't talk
  • They had their "Tango Faces" on
  • They were into each other
  • They were moving "as one"
  • They did not look like they were thinking of their steps. It just happened
  • They were elegant and fun to watch. You could see the connection happening
Those who could NOT walk:
  • Tried too hard to look good
  • Moved with an excess of motion
  • Tried too hard to make the steps work
  • Awkward and out of balance, axis, center...
  • Talked too much on the floor. Some were even trying to lecture
  • Bad posture
  • Choppy motion
  • Out of synch with the music
  • Painful to watch. Especially those who felt the need to do overly embellished things
  • Movements were out of synch with each other
  • The connection was clearly not there. Everything they did looked mechanical
These are just my general observations. It looked like the majority of "non-walkers" decided to go straight to the advanced, flashy, showy stuff, without first learning how to "Walk." Thinking (perhaps) that flashy steps and patters made you a tango dancer...

1 comment:

Elizabeth Hensley said...

Yes! For me, there is nothing but the embrace and the walk in time to the music. The other things -- syncopation, pauses, changes from the melody to the ryhthm and back again -- they are delightful, thrilling, memorable, but the tanda can still be wonderful if the leader walks well. Some of my sweetest dances have been with men who identified themselves as beginners, and then revealed that they had everything they needed to deserve to be on the floor with the masters -- a tender embrace, an intention to give pleasure and integration with the music.