I wonder why there are so few enquiries about the Tango.I`ll start it off. Tango is a walking dance. There is no swing. There is no rise and fall. There is no sway. We do not glide into our steps. Most of the steps for the man are heel leads with a few inside edges of the ball of the foot. The knees veer in towards each other which results in the dance curving anti clock, and thus the inside edges of the foot being used when it is applicable.Look in the technique book fo these. In my opinion the lady has the hardest job in this dance. One more thing. Don`t smile, keep a straight face. That should get the ball rolling. For the correct stance for this dance you must find a good teacher. Right from the very start the feet are not parallel. The RF is level with the instep of the LF. Lady the opposite. Keep returning to this position after for instance a Closed Promenade. If you have a tape look at the feet. All of the above is the International Style of Ballroom Dancing.
One of the hardest things to do is correctly connecting the lady's left arm-shoulder and the mans right arm-shoulder. This is a base for the snaps and good tango movement--it locks you in. Especially hard for the lady since she hooks under the arm. It also helps if the height difference is not too much. The guy needs to be careful and not kick up his right shoulder when compensating for the tension created.
Plus the walking is weird with the cbm and the angled heel steps. Sort of like walking sideways. This dance demands being taught by someone that really knows what they are doing. I did Tango incorrectly for about 4 years.
Anonymous - you are spot on about the right shoulder thing and tension in the upper body in general. Tango is my weak dance, though it's improving all the time. It's not the footwork or such - this can be learnt with focussed practice and is really no harder than the other dances- it's injecting the element of agression that's needed without putting tension in the wrong places. That's a mental thing and hard to shift. I also think the music is crap. When did you last sit down at home and listen to a tango?
I like the music - maybe because I have serveral very good ones at home. It's a wonderful dance but very, very hard to dance it correctly. A bit agressive, tension, without disturbing the partner. I danced it wrong for a long time an am only starting to get it right. And suddenly, the dance feels completely different. It's wonderful.
Hmpf- I love tango and I love tango music. Phil, I think you need to actually listen to some good tango music like Gotan Project, Astor Piazolla, etc instead of only hearing bad tango music and saying that it's crap. I'll take beautifully searing violins any day.
I doubt if a Tango can be learned without professional help. If the setup between the partners is not correct then nothing will be right. At the begining and all the way through the feet have a certain position, they are off set. For the man the LF is ahead of the RF . The RF is level with the instep. The palm of the hand should be on the ladies spine. Stand facing diagnal to the wall with all of the above . Keep the feet where they are and turn the body anti- clockwise a few degrees. The first walk will have to be in CBMP. With that stance it connot be anywhere else. The second Walk there will be no CBMP. The will be CBMP on the first step of the Link. Where your very first step is taken predetermines where the second step will land. From there it is lessons all the way There is a tendency at first after the Link to lean slightly in the direction of the next step. If we hang a plumb bob from the right shoulder it should go straight to the ground. Chin up, look arrogant. Left heel off the floor. This is where teaching is esential with the conection of the knees, for want of a better word. If you do lean. From the other end of the hall, you will look as though you are diving into the floor. Keep that chin up, and get some instructions. Tango music. I like that one from the movie Chigago. To this I will need to add .This is the International Style. Other Tango`s have their own charcteristics
no subject Posted by tangotime 7/1/2007 4:33:00 AM
As my name implies-- that is part of who I am-- Scrivener trained ( over fifty yrs ago ) It is the one dance, that really defies the written word to impart the characteristic and the essence of this " oddball " dance.
The interpretations, given by all the past exponents , are, by and large, an extension of Lens concept.
His major argument intodays style would be 2 fold .
1--- The speed of the music 2-- the ever decreasing turn to the left in basic walks .
There are a several more areas which ( just my guess ) that he would address .
The " wine glass " look , is quite often absent. Add to this, the non delay of the 1st step thru prom. position ( doesnt anyone understand q-hold ? ) Could go on-- but I think thats food for thought .
One last thing--right SIDE lead-- not right shldr . I fought and lobbied long, for that term to be changed .
no subject Posted by Serendipidy 7/2/2007 1:37:00 AM
Tangotime. That`s interesting. I was taught by Walley Fryer Lens biggest rival. I also saw him and Nellie dance many times in competition and giving demonstrations and lectures. The one thing that has always stayed with me is how he would count the Tango. He had us doing two Walks a Link and a Closed Promenade. As we know is S S Q Q. S Q Q S. He had the same timing but counted differently. He called Stop Stop Quick Stop. Stop Quick Stop Stop . The timing remained as it should be but with a different feel to the steps. We had a German Professional writing on this site who said that in the Quickstep he calls every step a Slow to stop the pupils snatching the quicks Which is the same princible that Len taught all those years ago in the Tango. If you`ve kept up to date. In the Tango the first Walk is in strong CBMP as is the first step into the Link. Regards.
no subject Posted by tangotime 7/1/2007 10:56:00 PM
Finally -- someone of my era !-- No disagreement on cbmp. Just wish many of todays Profs would understand the concept !-- As far time distribution on closed prom, would again agree, totally different from book. As we know, expression ( in all dances ) is what brings some figures to life . Wonder if we ever " bumped " into each other ?. I danced at the Hamm. Palais wed aft. and Tues nites regularly late forties early fifties .Also danced at Streatham Locarno and odd times at Peggys in Penge . Funny you should mention Fryer-- he never seems to get the recognition he and Violet deserve-- he did as much for q/step, as len did for Tango.!
no subject Posted by Serendipidy 7/2/2007 1:27:00 AM
Len wa a real character. I was at a competition at the Olympic Ballroom Kensington where he was demonsrating and judging that night. it was a one dance competition , the Tango. He walked among the couples and if he tapped the shoulder you left the floor. The last one standing was the winner. I can always say I was touched on the shoulder by one of the immortals. I used to go to the Hamm Palaise on Tuesdays to the strict tempo nights. Those were the days. No registration cards. At the smaller comps no pre- entering, just pay the money at the door and get your number. If you didn`t like the judges you would go somewhere else to compete. As I said those were the days. Got to go.
no subject Posted by tangotime 7/2/2007 2:37:00 AM
Am not trying to top you-- but this happened to me at Ham. on the Wed. aft. practice session .
Remember-- the "exscuse me " dance? >where people stood in the middle-- tapped you on the shldr, then cut in,?
It was usually in q.step.-- I was with one of my partners, doing my thing-- and Tap--looked around- it was Nellie !!. All I remember, was being in a daze, and petrified, couldnt think of a thing to do other than qrtrs, chasses and locks-- once around the floor, then she exscused herself, with the parting comment " very nice, young man "" . I have a feeling to this day, that Len put her up to that . I was all of 17 yrs of age . By the way-- did you ever go to Colliers place in Balham ? Thats one of the last places I saw len lecture ,before I moved to the states .
I sent all my young pros in the states, to Len ( and Sonny )
no subject Posted by tangotime 7/1/2007 11:08:00 PM
Sernd.-- forget to mention-- have been teaching for past 50 plus yrs, and am a former Examiner . Lectured at the IDTA national congress last yr .Spent most of the past yrs in the states, now back in the u.k. ,teaching as usual.
I LOVE the tango! (Having an amazing partner helps). Probably took me the longest to be able to follow through an entire piece of music, but definitely the most rewarding once I did. (We work without discussing steps...only technique. I never know what he will be leading in any dance. I have no intention of teaching, so I really prefer it that way...impossible to "cheat" and the fastest way to beat your bad habits). We also like to change it up with the music for fun and a challenge. (Batman? Sure...how about Chopin? The Beatles? It can be fun) I still love tango music though. I love William Pino and Alessandra's tango showdance. Amazing! Luca and Lorraine also inspired me when they kind of put a fresh face on tango a few years back. Wish I were doing a tango right now, matter of fact!
no subject Posted by Serendipidy 7/2/2007 7:25:00 PM
I was at the Hammersmith Palais when Eric Lashbrook `s partner Sheila Wikinson did her last competition. That would have been 1953. Where you there the night Harry Smith- Hamphire did absolute basics in the quickstep right up to the final. The reason for that was he had been criticises for two many scatter chasses before. As you know the audience was always well educated as far as dancing was concerned. As he went around the ballroom, with the audience it was like a Mexican wave at a Soccer match.I did a competition at Balham. Apart from Bob Burgess`s place in Kensington and the Hamm Palaise most of my dancing was in N.W. London around Wembley and Harrow. But Tuesday strict tempo night was always the palaise. I guess we must have rubbed shoulders. Other than that on a Wednesday it was without fail Wembley Town Hall for me.
no subject Posted by tangotime 7/2/2007 11:08:00 PM
SMALL world !! yes -- I was there that nite !!.-- I also, which I forgot to mention, very briefly started to train for teaching with Bob .That was the yr that Binnick won the British ( before he danced with Sally )
Odd story, when I was in Fla. many yrs a go, I met the pro. who danced with sally , before Sonny !-- . he was managing for one of the pros I had initially trained for his Assoc( Phyllis haylor, examined )
Remember Eric and Sheila very well-- what a pretty girl she was . Often wonder what happened to her( same with Tony Hurleys junior partner )?
Am trying to set up a meet and greet group in London for the " salsa " crowd. Did extensive work and training with Latinos in the states, in the authentic side of latin .