Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Pedro 2

Before we begin, he launches out on the orchestration - 'orquestación' is the word he uses - of the 30s and 40s. 'It's the music that I love, it's my soul, my heart. There's nothing better than to hold a woman close to you, and dance to that music.' How can I disagree? He's not that keen on dancing later music: even early Pugliese doesn't give him the warmth he likes.

In this class, Pedro goes into detail about the ups and downs of leading. For instance, when taking the step to the left, the first step of a standard salida, there's a dip in the middle, followed by a lift as the two feet come together, and he says this should feel more pronounced. It gives a stronger dynamic, and also allows you to express the music more clearly. A friend from London who's taking the class with me, approves; 'It feels good', she says. It's something I've been discovering over the past year as it feels right, so it's great to get help with it. He offers a few simple steps, and insists on how they should be danced, with upper body movement giving an energy and a dynamic that can make the basic, simple footwork come alive. It's not really an exaggerated movement, you'd hardly notice it if you're watching, but it's pronounced enough for the partner to feel it, and it certainly gives a new energy to the dance and (I'm told) makes a lead feel less wooden. 'Con el cuerpo', Pedro keeps insisting; dance with the body.

So this is Pedro's secret, a secret he's only too willing to explain to anyone who'll listen. It's why women enjoy dancing with him, and why they look so good, although he never obviously does much. 'Con el cuerpo' has been the theme of this visit, something I noticed when I watched Alberto and Paulina dancing soon after I arrived, and something that both Pedro and Sylvia have insisted on.

Here's a brief clip from El Beso, with a succession of partners passing by. I think this kind of movement is visible, if you look for it.


Anonymous said...

I like it. But question is - if you feel you won't look good bouncing up and down, can you do this dynamic change horizontally rather than vertically? What would help the dynamism .. and also stop you looking like a loony tune?

Tangocommuter said...

Oh no, Anon, it's not 'bouncy' at all. Take a look at the video: it's subtle, but I think it's visible. & yes, there is also dynamic change horizontally. & if you watch the turns carefully you can see that the speed of the turn isn't constant either; it follows the phrasing of the music. Definitely not loony tune!

Nonni said...

Perhaps the truth is: "yes but".
For me this is an intuitive and beautiful technique for the dancing in crowded milongas. The downside is, that for the eye it does not scale well to larger dynamics (bouncing indeed). It will still feel perfect for the dancers, given that they are both in their dynamic comfort zone (never try to make refrigerators fly). I keep falling into this trap and only realise how bad it is when I use video. That's also the reason why stage dancers will teach you to keep your head level during the whole movement, which contributes to a "woody" feel and appearance.
There are Maestro's like Sebastian Achaval, which dance dynamically with smooth and lyrical movements. They probably adjust their technique to the "speed" on the fly. But will the connection still feel consistent for an occasional partner ?
Who said that Tango was easy ;-)

Tangocommuter said...

Thanks, Nonni. Yes, I'm thinking exclusively of social tango, the tango of the milongas, and I know nothing of stage tango or how it's danced. As I see it, the two have very different aims: social tango exists so my partner and I can communicate to each other how decisive, gentle, caring, musical, etc. etc. we are. Stage tango exists to make money through a display. OK, it's still tango, and an art, too, but since the aims are so different the methods aren't likely to be similar. Either way, it's not easy; not something you can pick up in a class or two!