Posts Tagged ‘tip’

Things that can help with musicality

June 21, 2012

I’ve always struggled with the music, like a lot of other dancers I know, I grew up not having much music education besides what I did for a couple of terms in secondary school.

So when I started tango, not only did I struggle to move in time with the music, I struggled to even know how to find the beat. I was so used to modern pop music and tango had so many more layers to it.

Teachers taught me figures and sequences, but never explained the music. Occasionally there were “musicality” workshops where the teachers talked briefly about the music and taught sequences they thought fit the music.

I was lucky enough to have attended Joaquin’s classes in Carablanca and also purchase his book Lets Dance to the Music which can be ordered from his website. The book comes with a DVD with examples for each chapter. It starts bottom up, with finding the beat, double time, half time and moves onto more advanced (for me) topics such as question and answers and the form of tango songs.

Another book I found useful is Aaron Copland’s What to Listen for in Music. Its not about tango, but its about music and written for the laymen like me. Unfortunately, there are no musical examples on a CD so I had to find the examples on youtube.

There are many other resources out there and I’m more than happy for someone to give me suggestions.

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Saying ‘yes’ to say ‘no’

June 20, 2012

I haven’t stopped dancing, its just that I changed companies and WordPress is blocked at work and I’m usually too tired/busy after work to write new entries … I’ve been dancing less lately, partly due to other things happening in life and partly due to not really having a great time in milongas.

One thing that really kills it for me is when I’m trying to cabeceo a lady for a dance, some sod comes up and sticks their hands out to invite the woman, and the woman accepts. So if I’m in an environment where walking up to invite is so common, what do I do?

Javier was talking about codigos recently and I was lucky enough to attend his very popular classes. He promotes the cabeceo without any reservations and he talking about various strategies to use and educate it.

Disclaimer: what I present below is what I made out from his broken English (which is getting a lot better) and also the interpreter’s broken English. Javier may have been tying to make an entirely different point but these are what I think he was saying.

Firstly, never walk up to a woman and invite her to dance. If she’s not someone who uses the cabeceo much (or at all), you can walk up to her, chat but do not invite her to dance. Instead, ask if she wants to dance to XYZ orchestra later when it comes on. (Of course, if that orchestra doesn’t come on then this may not work). But the idea is to suggest to her to look for you at a later time in the evening.

And for the women, saying no is nasty. Its not nice to say it and its even worse to receive it. When a particular poor dancer or beginner who does not know the cabeceo walks up to invite, there are ways to reject them and not make them feel so bad. The suggestion first involved saying yes – you will help them by going to classes with them (if you want) or practising with them so that they get better. But no, you will not dance with them at this particular time because you want to dance with XYZ over there who instead.

I have read that no is no and women don’t ever need to explain why, but I’ve been on the receiving end of many rejections and its never nice. If you’re in a particularly quiet milonga, it can get a little awkward as well and I do think Javier’s suggestions of saying yes to say no is nice.

The shoe shine

April 12, 2009

Beginners love their adornments. For some reason at one stage or another a lot of ladies learn how to rub the foot over a mans leg while stepping over his leg during a stop. I don’t know whether this adornment has a proper name, but one of my teachers once called it a shoe shine.

In case you haven’t been taught it before, I’m sure there are many videos on youtube teaching it (problem is I don’t know its name) but here’s a video of Osvaldo commenting on a student doing it to him it in the first 15 seconds of the clip (this video is part 3, you may want to view part 2 first to get some context on what happened previously).

Unfortunately some women with poor basics (especially beginners and improvers) compromise their balance and posture when walking over the man’s leg and trying to do adornments. Some get tense, some have poor balance and feel a bit wonky and start to lean into the man.

People don’t notice you rubbing your foot, what they see is you shaking like a tree on a windy day.

If you must do that adornment, the focus should be on you lifting your leg/knee, nice and clean and stepping over elegantly — and obviously to the music. There should be some contact with your foot and my leg – otherwise you’re just waving your foot around in front of me and looks even worse when you’ve got a wonky structure, and gazing down at your feet since you don’t know where my leg is, you don’t know where to step over.

One of my roles in tango is to make the women look and feel good. Why do you insist on doing the opposite?