Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Moderate Christian Tango and Vampires

What?     Moderate Christian tango and vampires?  

I am not positive about this but I think both Vampire Milongas and Moderate Christian Milongas -- both have the same thing in common:

Too many crosses would spoil the party.

Imagine one tanda of tango as it were a walk through a beautiful house.
Perhaps at the door there would be a cross.  In the hall a few more.  The living room is full of crosses.  There's one in the bedroom, the bathroom  and even in the basement.  Crosses are everywhere!  But not if you avoid too much of a good thing as much as I do.

Perhaps teachers who start with teaching the cross as an element of tango's "basic step" have created this over-indulgence in crosses.  The cross is basic?  No!  It is hard to do well and it not "basic" (as in essential) either.   (See video below demonstrating a basic step with a cross on the fifth step of an eight-count figure.)

Try dancing one tanda in which not a single cross is made.  I realize that I need to leave room for more crosses in the way I dance, but I have developed my own style of clearly indicating no crosses (unless the music really calls for it and the positioning is right).  Even so, I end up dancing with Christian girls who insist on a cross on every wall and one hanging on the mirror in the bathroom.  Too bad because they block something else that I had intended that really went with the music.  The most pious Christian tangueras place crosses in the hall and living room, and bathroom.  Surely you have seen a few tangueras wildly crossing at every opportunity. This is not bad, of course, but it's something like watching a Mexican baseball team during a crucial end-game play -- lots of crossing going on! On the tenth "suprise" cross, I have this overwhelming feeling of wanting to become a tango Pagan -- esepcially because of all the tango goddesses to adore.

Here is an example of moderate Christian tango with Detlef and Melina demonstrating social dancing that is tuned into the true leader -- the music.  Help me count their crosses:  I see one, and it seems one cross can be enough when the music and mood indicate it!

Here is a sad-to-say "perfectly typical" demonstration of a basic step demo as is accepted by many tango teachers.  Watch it first, and see if you notice on your own why it is such a questionable example of a basic step:

So this is my take of why it is truly, in my admittedly not-so-humble opinion, NOT at all a basic tango step:

1. The true tango basic step is a graceful tandem walk in a comfortable embrace.  The eight-count "basic" is not a walk, but a dance step. 

2. The demo has no music!  The best idea of teaching eight steps was to show phrasing.  That misguided but best point is lost here.  Figures are ideas about dancing and not dancing.  (Let me explain "misguided":  Teachers who use the eight-count basic often demonstrate without music or start in the wrong place in the music for the concept to be understood.)

3.  This video clip "basically" does not demonstrate tango culture:  The demo has a woman dressed nicely and a man who isn't, which is another model of the misconceived way to dance tango.

4.  What is basic about this step they are teaching?  It is very hard to do well.  I don't know if I can do it very well.  I don't have much practice, you see.

5.  The most basic thing a man should learn is NOT to walk backwards -- especially as his first step.  Teaching this is poor judgement at best.

I am not planning on going to any Vampire Milongas, but I am clearly a moderate Christian Tanguero with a great deal of respect (adoration?) for Pagan Tangueras.  :-)

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