[Tango-L] Foxtrot to Tango, how do I do it?

Bruno Afonso bafonso at gmail.com
Tue Feb 26 18:25:43 EST 2008

Hi Mario,

Is it impossible to have some classes with a good teacher? I feel it
will be impossible for you to learn how to lead much more from your
legs vs from the chest. Trying to lead just from the chest will make
you go lean forward, towards the follower instead of conveying that
you want to go forward in a clear way to your follower. Unless you
have someone to show you HOW to DEVELOP that skill and show you WHAT
it FEELS like, it's pointless. There's no ammount of youtube that will
make you realize this. there's no ammount of youtube that will correct
your posture, where you should focus to improve it, etc. You will only
learn things that you will have to correct later on if you are serious
about the dance vs just learning some moves.

Until you master this, you won't be even able to walk smoothly.
there's a reason why people focus so much on walking. It takes a lot
to really walk in a smooth way... in a tango way. I'm a beginner but
whenever I dance with a follower that can't even be well balanced
during walking, I kind of lose my interest in the dance a bit. If a
person can't walk with balance, there's no way the follower will
understand the nuances of the lead. They'll do figures and... that
just sucks. And when I find followers that are demanding, I see how
much I suck. Because they are used to good leaders. And I see how my
technique is still lacking. After crying, I practice more :-)

People see the 8cb on youtube, do the figure with someone and believe
they know how to do the cross or lead someone to it. No video will
make you understand the technique behind it. Technique is what will
make you develop as a dancer. You need someone that knows the
technique to guide you in the correct way. A good leader, a good
follower. They can be a standard teacher or a pro-bono teacher (aka,
knowledgeable friend). You need to dance with someone that can tell

"I'm sorry, I didn't feel the torsion"
"Oh, you wanted me to cross? because I didn't feel any intension"
"Can you please stop moving me with your arms? "
"Your hips should be facing forward, your dissociation is lousy"
"Stop! you see right here, you're getting me off balance"

Stop the youtube nonsense. It's great to see great dancers (inspiring)
and see how teachers teach it. but until you focus on the technique of
it, it's pointless. You can have your body in the same position being
in balance or off-balance, with the weight right or wrong. You can't
see that from videos.

I tried to find a tango dance with a lot of walking and "simple" stuff:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnLtoFq21wY (the first one mainly)

Try to do those rhythm changes in forward walking just with your chest
and you will see it won't work. (at least, not on the first 5 times
with the same follower, then she will sort of run from you :) )

You should really focus on getting *technique* basics for a while.
I'll shut up now.

ps: hear a lot of music, it will develop your musical abilities.
ps 2: tequilla after failure is acceptable :p
ps 3: are you going to a milonga? I wouldn't nag people at a milonga
about your technique.. it's a social event, not a practica

good luck

On 2/26/08, Mario <sopelote at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Ok, I go under the gun tonite...I swore that; 'not another step of foxtrot'...
>   I will use what I've learned from the Internet. I am internet trained.
>   1. I will not drink any tequilla tonight
>   2. I will never square a step, no milonga boxes
>   3. I will not dance my follow starts to think of 'bills she has to pay'
>      I will pause instead.
>   4. I will pay attention to the beat and dance to it and nothing else.
>   5. I will bend slightly forward at the waste.
>   6. I will lead with my chest and project feeling the song thru the embrace.
>   7. I will watch videos of Robert Hauk and Alberto Dasseau before the dance.
>   8. I will dance with each of the gang-of-four (complainers)
>   9. I will ask them after each dance if there was a moment of Foxtrot.
>       if they say 'yes' ..I will ask them to 'please,  explain.'
>       if they say 'no'... I will ask them what else was 'wrong'.
>   10. I will not dance the Milongas nor Vals's ..(no one complains about them.)
>   11. I will sacrifice my 'having fun' to the rigor and seriousness of Tango pain.

Bruno Afonso
http://brunoafonso.com (personal, mostly portuguese)
http://openwetware.org/wiki/User:BrunoAfonso (Professional, english)

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