18 August 2009

My intensely silent tango

I wrote about taking breaks during the milongas to watch and appreciate other tango dancers. In doing so, I have made another epiphany—That I don't have to be like/look like anyone else—I can have a method and style of my own.

Really good dancers I've observed
  • Swooshers
I just call them swooshers because of the way they tango. They have large circular movements that "Swoosh" their way across the milonga floor. They go by in a blur of motion.

I once idolized these dancers because of the admirable agility of their delivery. It was like watching a show. I thought that it would be cool to gain the adulation of the audience. IT was a good ego stroker.

I have since gotten tired of this, as (IMHE) its a lot of motion. There is very good connection between the partners as they are concentrating on their motion. Its fun to watch when one expertly swooshes down the floor. It is however, a bit too much on the "Show" aspect of things.

  • Walkers
These are the dancers who tango very simply, yet elegantly. They move smoothly as if on rollers. There really is not much to see when they dance, other than the fact that their followers look like they're in a trance. To a beginner, these guys would look "Boring." The big difference here was that magical tango connection.

After watching intensely, I have come to appreciate this form of tango, and decided to make it my own.

My intensely silent tango

Everyone needs to dance their own tango. I call mine, an "Intensely silent tango." A tango that to the casual observer, is not much to watch. However, to my partner at the time, the lead is LOUD, clear, and vibrant. This, regardless of how simple the motion being led.

In order to do this, I have had to develop the following:

  • Control the power and delivery
I had to temper my movements to be confident and resolute with no tentativeness. No excessive/unnecessary motions. Do just enough to make the movement happen. No more no less.

  • Know where her feet are at all times
I have had to learn to lead her. Land her weight where I need her to be before I continue the next movement.

  • Wait for her
Wait for her to finish her step, movement, embellishment before continuing. Tango is a two way street, and sometimes my partner embellishes. Let her finish and and enjoy the moment.

  • Keep the chest consistent
Now more than ever, my lead has come from the chest, as it should be. I am always conscious of my tango posture. If the posture fails, the lead becomes weak.

  • Assisting the lead with Impulses (Micro leads)
I sometimes use muscular impulses to make my leading clearer for my follow. A muscular twitch here and there as appropriate. I utilize this most especially while dancing to complicated music and/or fast music.

I employ these techniques in the attempt to not only better my tango. But most importantly, to make the experience better for my partner.


360-927-9601 said...

Not only a lovely dance style all your own, but a lovely array of utilikilts all your own. :) I love the muscle-twitches - there's something that much more concentrated and intimate about feeling that small of a motion reverberate through your entire body.

Frances R said...

I would like to dance with you one day. Any plans to travel to San Francisco or Buenos Aires this year? :)

Anonymous said...

please explain the muscle twitches .. i have trouble dancing to more complex music - or rather leading it, even though i feel it myself.

agree 100% with "The Walkers".. great!

its a stage that beginners go through - first they are wow-ed by the whooshers, before they appreciate the secrets held by the silent walkers.

AmpsterTango said...

@ Anonymous:

Let me try to explain...

Assume you're dancing in close embrace. Let's say you're to dancing to Anibal Troilo's "Por las calles de la vida." Lot's of rhythm changes, pauses, surges, etc.

You lead a back ocho, then decide to lead a boleo. However, right after the boleo happens, the music SUDDENLY slows and changes rhythm. This would be the point where you would tense up your right pectoral muscle, as if to tell her... sloooower, slooooower.... you hold the contraction, and lead ever so slowly with feeling until you feel that you are in synch with the music. Then, you relax and continue as if to tell her...aaaand... noooow complete the boleo.

All of this happens between the both of you, and nobody else can see it. The leads don't have to big an overt. These are "micro leads" which resound loudly and to noone else but your partner.
= = = = = =

@ Marathon:

What do you feel, and how do you respond when you experience something like this?

btw, miss dancing with you. ;-)
= = = = =

@ Frances R

I would like to dance with you someday too. Don't have any travel plans, but when I do go to these places, I'll drop you a note.

Franz.Zimmer€web.de said...

Can you show me please a swoosher at youtube?

AmpsterTango said...

@ Franz.Zimmer

Here you go:


Note the big swooshing moves and the non-line of dance. When they dance like this together in the same venue, it's OK.

However, if they decide to dance like this (and some do) in a crowded, predominantly milonguero style milonga, then things get really complicated.

Franz.Zimmer€web.de said...

Thank You.

Nice music, too. Is Joe Cocker a tango singer now? ;-)