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Floor Caressing

David Orly-Thompson
Jack Karako
Alexis Cousein
Nina Scheu
Kate Withey
Jack Karako
Timothy Pogros


Date:    Thu, 5 Nov 1998 10:54:25 -0800
From:    David Orly-Thompson
Subject: FLOOR CARESSING (was heel first)


Recently I read the following here on the list:

_______________________
Kate Withey wrote:
> In a private lesson with Pablo & Ester Pugliese once, they scolded me for
> keeping my foot touching the floor (gliding, ever so lightly, I thought).
> Pablo said "I don't want to HEAR your steps" & I realized he was right
> -- at least in the silence of a room with just the 3 of us, my steps were
> whispering quite audibly, though one would hardly notice in a milonga.
> But keeping the foot on the floor lets you cheat on your balance
> (I now try to keep my steps just a hair off the floor).

Actually, multiply all that gliding ever so lightly (they think) whisper
of feet on the floor, by all the dancers in a milonga, and it sounds
like a crew of carpenters sandpapering.  Three cheers for Pablo for
pointing it out, and you for changing!

--Sharon
  Brunswick, Maine, USA
________________________

My two bits is as a leader:  women who caress the floor feel vastly more
sensual and sexy to dance with.  AND, they are easier and more responsive
to dance with.    Has anyone else, leaders in particular, noticed this?
And for that matter, I'd love to hear from followers which FEELS better to
them as followers:  lightly caressing the floor, or just stepping from spot
to spot.   I would gladly listen to the sound of "a crew of carpenters
sandpapering" if they FEEL well-balanced, strong on their feet, sensual and
sexy.

The thing is, if the music is good, if the dancing is strong and sensual,
if there is connection between partners, then a very intimate and private
world is created - and it would take a lot of extraneous noise to get my
attention.

At our Milongas in the San Francisco Bay Area, I never notice the sound of
shoes on floor.  It's there, I'm sure, but I don't notice it.  I hear music
and I hear (pay attention to) our dancing/connection.

All of this brings up another point.  (And puts me at risk of sounding like
a complainer, which I hope I'm not.)   I can't help but come to the
conclusion that  many  U.S. dancers are more concerned with how they LOOK
on the dance floor than how they FEEL to their partner.   I get the feeling
that many people (but especially followers) in the U.S. would rather look
beautiful or pretty on the dance floor than to feel exquisite to dance
with.

As it happens, I think that the finest FEELING dancers also are lovely to
watch.   More or less.   In a sense, form follows function in the dance.
It seems like just about every thing that enhances the feel and strength of
the dancing also makes it beautiful to watch.

It's a false dichotomy, but makes for an interesting rhetorical question to
ask:  would you rather be the most visually beautiful dancer in the room,
or the one who feels most beautiful to dance with?

Has anyone else thought about this.  I'd love especially to hear from
followers on this one, but leaders too, what say you?


As a post-script to this, I guess I should say that aside from feeling
great, I think that floor caressing LOOKS best of all.   But that's with
the acknowledged bias that I prefer the look and feel of sexy/sensual
(warm, cuddly) tango to the more stately/elegant (cold, stiff) aesthetic in
tango.   To each, their own.  De gustibus non disputandem est, or something
like that.
Perhaps it's crude to state the obvious, but to watch a dancer lovingly
caress the floor is to have a thrilling sense of "wow, see how they caress
the floor with their feet, imagine what they could do with their hands!"

RSVP

Cheers, y'all
David

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Date:    Thu, 5 Nov 1998 14:37:15 EST
From:    Jack Karako
Subject: Re: FLOOR CARESSING (was heel first)


First of all thanks David for changing the subject line - it is a proper
newsgroup posting  convention which all of us should pay attention to.


david.orly-thompson@US.PWCGLOBAL.COM writes:
<<It's a false dichotomy, but makes for an interesting rhetorical question to
ask:  would you rather be the most visually beautiful dancer in the room,
or the one who feels most beautiful to dance with?>>

I agree with you that there is no conflict between LOOKs and FEELs. If it is a
false dichotomy why then ask the question anyway ? The question simply is not
a valid one, to attempt to answer it, would indicate an acceptance of such
dichotomy. We can only argue our position if someone is convinced that Feels
and Looks are different. Even then the question is "why do you think it is
different" not "which one do you prefer"...

Regards
Jak

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Date:    Fri, 6 Nov 1998 09:33:20 +0100
From:    Alexis Cousein
Subject: Re: FLOOR CARESSING (was heel first)


David Orly-Thompson wrote:
> My two bits is as a leader:  women who caress the floor feel vastly more
> sensual and sexy to dance with.

Depends on what you mean. Those who almost touch the floor with their
feet -- yes. Followers who are stomping around usually aren't really
following well (at least, not if *I'm not stomping around* ;) -- I think
you mean followers that will commit to a step and do it independently of
the leader instead of in coordination, from beginning to end).
Those who keep sliding their feet on the floor -- well, they'd be just
as sexy with their feet 2mm higher.
--
Alexis Cousein
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Date:    Fri, 6 Nov 1998 11:42:48 +0100
From:    nina scheu
Subject: Re: FLOOR CARESSING a followers view


thanx to Alexis for his short and IMHO very correct answer.
Many beginning followers don't know either - neither to walk correctly, nor to
follow.
So they stomp around their partner, lifting their feet up to incredible
hights, thinking they know (instead of feeling) what he's leading. But - as
most of the time - the opposite way isn't necessarily the better one. Touching
the floor might mean, the lady is off balance. Even if not so she'll probably
slow down the movement (maybe this is what you consider to be sexy?) and so
inhibit changes in rhythm or direction. Sure there are exceptions, like the
earlier discussed "planeo", but those are either lead or choreographed moves
you mostly see in shows. The nicest position of feet is ALMOST touching the
floor (Alexis' 2mm). You will not see, but feel and hear (or rather not hear)
the difference. This (hopefully) looks AND feels good (sexy, charming,
responding, etc, etc) for both, leader and follower.

regards
nina
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Date:    Fri, 6 Nov 1998 14:00:45 -0800
From:    Kate Withey
Subject: FLOOR CARESSING (was heel first)


David Orly-Thompson wrote:

> ...   I can't help but come to the
> conclusion that  many  U.S. dancers are more concerned with how they LOOK
> on the dance floor than how they FEEL to their partner.   I get the feeling
> that many people (but especially followers) in the U.S. would rather look
                    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> beautiful or pretty on the dance floor than to feel exquisite to dance
> with.

Oooh, I think you need to get slammed for this.  Er, that is to say, perhaps
you think this is a follower issue because as a man, followers are the ones you
dance with (& thus get annoyed by when you feel them showing off instead of
tuning in).  I, of course, as a follower, would say it's primarily a leader
problem -- that being who I dance with.  Have you not heard/seen women's
endless laments (on this list & in reality) that so many men are more focussed
on proving how many steps they know, when we'd all be so delighted if they'd
just calm down, simplify, & focus on the music & the woman they're dancing
with?

Instead of letting this degrade to men vs. women name-calling, perhaps we could
agree that ALL of us would do well to concentrate on feeling the connection to
the music & our partner instead of caring how we look (unless we're practicing
fantasia for performances).

-Kate :)
                  "Great dancers are not great because of
                   their technique; they're great because
                   of their passion."   - Martha Graham


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Date:    Fri, 6 Nov 1998 17:16:28 EST
From:    Jack Karako
Subject: Re: FLOOR CARESSING (was heel first)


In a message dated 11/6/98, 3:59:17 PM, withey@SFO.COM writes:
<< perhaps we could
agree that ALL of us would do well to concentrate on feeling the connection to
the music & our partner instead of caring how we look (unless we're practicing
fantasia for performances).

-Kate :)>>

The same false dichotomy again; it can not look good if there is no connection
to the music & partner, therefore the looks and the feelings are not
seperable. If you sacrifice one, you sacrifice the other.

Jak

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Date:    Sat, 7 Nov 1998 11:42:16 EST
From:    Timothy Pogros
Subject: floor caressing


I thing Danel & Maria said it best to me.
The mans first responsibility is the women, giving her a good lead to follow.
Second Is the Music. Music is the law. Music controls the flow of the dance
and how you react. to it.
Third, is himself.
Put these three things together and you have a great tango.

Tim Pogros (TimmyTango)
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Garrit Fleischmann Nov.98
Email: kontakt(at)cyber-tango.com