Thursday, March 3, 2011

Searching for Improvisando

When I started to lead my main interest was the dynamic of the movements and fast steps forward. It was a true enjoyment and we were laughing a lot! It was also a dance on surface, on everyday level were we could in between the steps tell what has happened during the day.

Today I am more interested to find ways to create a quiet dance where our bodies are resting together carried by our feet's in small steps. Christine Dennistons book makes it even more interesting!

She explains there the highly appreciated state of meditative dance - Improvisando: When dancers who danced in the Golden Age talked about improvisation, they were referring to a higher level – the ultimate level of Tango to which they all aspired.This was the level where not only the follower but also the leader accessed the active meditative state, abandoning the self into the other, when a new creature was created with one heart leading all four feet, and being led by the music.

Followers have a remarkable advantage here! Followers get there first!
When they have an opportunity to relax, focus the attention to music and let their body move, they are nearly there.

I understand there is quite a lot of training needed for both to reach a technical level where steps are taken effortless and in flow to all directions. I think the music must also be suitable. Strong enough to move the bodies but not waking them up. Interesting so the brain can rest there.

For me the road is longer. According to Denniston the first step is to get the follower to the meditative state. Then I need a pista where dancers are moving regularly so I know my space and can trust that the space before me is not attacked by another couple. I need the cooperation of other leaders and I need to behave myself.

I have not been there but started to dream of it!               

                                                                  (...some kind of step forward...)



Chistine Denniston
the meaning of TANGO
The Story of the Argentinian Dance
p. 49-50

PS. Some driving friends have told me about the schock when they noticed they are at home but they have not an idea how they did drive the distance from startpoint. Some kind of active meditative state. It seems thou the Improvisando is a more memorable moment!

4 comments:

jantango said...

The path to improvisation isn't through technical ability, but having a deep love for the music. Then each step comes from the heart, not the head.

I conclude from my observations, dancing and conversations with the milongueros in BsAs during the past twelve years that they don't think tango, they feel it. I, too, go to another place when dancing tango.

LeadingLady said...

I understand the improvisando state as a total concentration on music and a relaxed awareness of the bodies.
I think we agree about this!

I think the steps must be taken effortless, softly, naturally so they do not disturb the concentration on music. As well as the changes of directions! We should not be aware of the steps or turns - we should only have an awareness of movements/flow which have same quality as the music.
What do you think about this?

Some maybe get this naturally but I have had a hell of work to get towards this goal! My first leading steps were unstable, I was trembling from side to side and nobody was relaxing that evening! After lot of physical training and dancing the situation is another today. This is my understanding of training needed.
Does it fit your experience?

jantango said...

I like how you phrased it -- movements/flow like the music. That means not only listening, but really knowing the music well before we can expect to dance in harmony with it.

There is a big difference in the two roles of tango. I prefer to dance the feminine role. I wrote about "women trying to be men in tango." I'm completely satisifed allowing men to take the lead. They're better equipped, and that's fine with me.

I urge you not to become too good as a leading lady; returning to your natural role may be difficult.

LeadingLady said...

I agree! The difference of the two roles was a big shock for me when I started to lead! So many follower years and I did not have an idea about the difference.

When I was a child women never drove a car - but today even the most ferminine lady can handle steering wheel. During my long life I have seen several of this kind of transitions of boundaries. In the beginning I had difficulties to find a mental picture what I was heading to, but when I accepted that my body is too feminine to be mixed with a male leader and the leading skill is the thing I share with male leaders, I relaxed.

I want to have a stable, firm, comfortable abrazo and a good flow based on music. Last summer I got my first feedback when an experienced follower told me she had forgotten my gender during the tango and just felt to be taken care of.