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Thread: Argentine Tango -"Compulsory" Reading

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Argentine Tango -"Compulsory" Reading

    I thought it would be interesting to read up a bit on the Argentine Tango prior to Worlds. About all I ever hear about this dance is what is included on ice-dance.com. It was first skated by Reginald Wilkie and Daphne Wallis at Westminster rink in Longon, in 1934.

    http://www.ice-dance.com/reference/c...ies/#argentine

    As one of the older dances, it is relatively easy, and all of the top 12 teams should be able to skate it without significant error, even though several of them have never skated it in competition. Because it is an easier dance where attitude, timing, speed and extension are most key, I expect that Domnina & Shabalin will win this CD, provided that his leg is in good enough shape to allow them to skate at all. Their great height and long lines work well. And they have great edges. Plus we have ample evidence from their FD that they are well able to maintain the man fighting/arguing with the woman/controversy aspect of the dance.

    Here's what ice-dance says about the Argentine:

    "The Argentine Tango is a sinuous dance and should be skated with strong edges and considerable élan. Good flow and fast travel over the ice are essential and must be achieved without obvious effort or pushing. [...]

    This tango is danced to the rhythm of Latin American tango music where the musical count is 1-2-3-4-and-1, etc. This differs from the Spanish tango rhythm of 1-2-and-3-4-1, etc. The many varied step sequences in this dance are complementary to the dramatic and romantic character of the music. Dancers must at all times be aware of the rhythmic timing and reflect this in the execution of steps and in expressive interpretation of the music. Prolonged free leg extension, upright, graceful carriage and good unison are needed for this dance. Where appropriate, rotations must be fast but controlled. The partners should make maximum use of the interpretive elements of the dance, including the short steps, quick turns and serpentine movements."
    What may make the difference between teams may be their ability to convey the character of the dance. If you want to judge along with the judges, I hope the following info will help:

    Articles

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Tango

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentine_Tango

    The Argentine tango arose among lower class immigrants to Argentina. It has no fixed step layout and relies on the following partner to sense what the leading partner is doing to avoid tripping. There are, however, a number of 'moves' or 'figures' that are frequently used:

    From the wiki article:

    Steps
    While Argentine tango does not teach amalgamations of steps like swing, salsa, or ballroom dances do, there are some recurring figures that are taught. Here is a fairly typical order of steps that may be taught in a beginner classes.

    Walks - a couple, in embrace, walks in unison
    Salida Simple, or "eight-count basic" - salida as "the way out" onto the dance floor
    Cruzada - (from cruzar - to cross) Action of the follower crossing her left foot over her right at certain points in the dance
    Ocho - a figure-8 traced by the follower's feet when moving forward or backward.
    Media Luna - a half giro.
    Lapiz - "the pencil" - curved figures traced by the toe as an adornment
    Molinete - "windmill" a turning figure of the follower around the leader (synonym for Giro)
    Giro - a turn (in either direction)
    Chave - synonym for giro
    Sacada - one partner displaces the other's unweighted leg
    Gancho - one dancer hooks their leg around their partner's leg.
    Barrida - one partner sweeps the others foot, displacing it along the floor
    Arrastre - (= drag) synonym for "barrida"
    Volcada - rotating the woman around her axis, while her axis is tilted toward the man, causes her to "capsize" making the free leg "spill" tracing a figure on the floor
    Colgada - both dancers pivot with their axes tilted away from vertical, counter-balancing each others weight.
    Parada - one dancer, usually the leader, halts the motion of the other dancer usually by blocking with the foot
    Sandwich - one dancer, usually the leader, places both feet on either side of the others dancers foot. Generally occurs after a Parada, with the second foot brought in forming a gentle squeeze on the other side of the foot which was halted with the parada.
    Here's some clips that show how this works out in practice:

    ON THE FLOOR

    Tango Dancers from Argentina
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmby9J42OfE

    Garcia and Palacios, dancing in Buenos Aires
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN0o_...eature=related

    ON THE STAGE
    Simone & Cacace
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wH3G...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFHWN...eature=related

    Argentine Tango vids of step of the week
    http://www.andresamarilla.com/video.htm

    Embellishments we might expect to see our ice dancers use in the pre- and post- dance steps:
    expect-foot flicking.
    The partner's leg wrapping around the leg of the other partner.
    Curved figures traced by the toe.
    Foot crossing.
    The woman falling over, as in the volcada
    Lots of attitude, particularly macho attitude by the guy and sinuous seductiveness by the lady.

    And how have this year's dancers done in the Argentine in the past?

    The Argentine Tango was skated at Cup of China:

    Here's the ISU Press Release
    http://isu.sportcentric.net/db//files/serve.php?id=742
    Belbin and Agosto 'lacked their customary attack' relative to Domnina and Shabalin.

    However,
    http://www.goldenskate.com/articles/2007/coc_1.shtml
    Belbin and Agosto say they have been practicing the dance all summer and like it. Faiella & Scali said that it was the first time they had skated it in competition.

    COC Scores:
    1 Oksana DOMNINA / Maxim SHABALIN RUS 38.77 19.88 18.89 7.60 7.35 7.70 7.65 0.00 #9

    2 Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO USA 35.89 17.72 18.17 7.40 7.05 7.35 7.30 0.00 #10

    3 Federica FAIELLA / Massimo SCALI ITA 33.54 17.08 16.46 6.65 6.35 6.65 6.75 0.00 #8

    4 Alexandra ZARETSKI / Roman ZARETSKI ISR 30.81 16.16 14.65 5.90 5.65 5.95 6.00 0.00 #6

    5 Sinead KERR / John KERR GBR 29.52 15.36 14.16 5.80 5.35 5.70 5.90 0.00 #7


    Golden Skate Article on NHK, where it was skated
    http://www.goldenskate.com/articles/2007/nhk_1.shtml
    Neither V&M nor K&N had ever skated the Argentine Tango in competition before. K&N said that this was not a problem because it is one of the easier and older dances. Virtue likes this dance because of the passion in it.

    Sadly, the CD was not telecast from NHK. Here's how they scored:

    1 Isabelle DELOBEL / Olivier SCHOENFELDER FRA 38.96 19.94 19.02 7.60 7.45 7.65 7.80 0.00 #10

    2 Tessa VIRTUE / Scott MOIR CAN 34.67 17.36 17.31 7.00 6.75 7.00 7.00 0.00 #9

    3 Jana KHOKHLOVA / Sergei NOVITSKI RUS 34.23 17.42 16.81 6.70 6.60 6.75 6.90 0.00 #8

    4 Sinead KERR / John KERR GBR 31.79 16.42 15.37 6.20 5.95 6.25 6.25 0.00 #7

    Here are some videos of the major teams from Cup of China, dancing the Argentine Tango:

    Domnina & Shabalin Cup of China
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKUJ19DvrQc

    Belbin & Agosto Cup of China
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD5_c8D0ZkU

    Faiella & Scali, Cup of China
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDYipAw4W6A

    Zaretski & Zaretski, Cup of China (poor quality clip)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok7eJeXLeh8

    Kerr & Kerr Cup of China (poor quality clip)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX09KBge6Is&NR=1

    Side by Side Belbin & Agosto and Domnina & Shabalin
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gA4S...eature=related

    The NHK CD was not televised, so V&M's, K&N's, Delobel and Schoenfelder's Argentine is not available. And Davis and White, Carron and Jost, Capellini & Lanotte, and Pechalat and Bourzat have not skated the Argentine in competition this year, and may never have skated it in competition. However, the tango was the OD last year. You can watch them in these clips to see whether they 'get' the tango and will proprerly be able to convey the character of the dance.

    Delobel & Schoenfelder's Tango at Europeans. British Eurosport commentary.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8oCsJXXFt8

    Khoklova & Novitski's Tango at Europeans. British Eurosport commentary.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwAJfB-6jA0

    Here's V&M's tango at 4CC's. British Eurosport commentary.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5neEK14gB4Y

    Here's D&W's at 4CC's. British Eurosport commentary.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=xi02SuSSsPI

    Here's Pechalat and Bourzat at Worlds
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KNjAJbrnQU

    Here's Carron & Jost at Europeans
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsC3J4HEjxk

    Capellini and Lanotte OD at 2007 Europeans. (British Eurosport coverage)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpxK2W-7e2U


    PAST CHAMPIONS SKATING THE ARGENTINE
    I am sad to say that none of the Argentines I've seen this year compare favorably with those of the past. Here's some great ones:

    Krylova & Ovsiannakov 1998 Olympics (My favorite!)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5-WW...eature=related

    Grishuk & Platov 1998 Olympics- Canadian coverage like their "snappy" movement.,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OJxObwphJc

    Anissina & Peizerat 2000 Worlds
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyLsh...eature=related

    And although this is not the compulsory dance, this is how the attitude of the Argentine Tango should definitely be conveyed!!!!
    Duchesnay & Duchesnay OSP 1988 Worlds BBC Betty Calloway
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-UJ0YHUQfk

    So post anything tango that comes to your mind!
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 03-11-2008 at 06:18 PM. Reason: add Capellini & Lanotte link

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    interesting read! thanks for that! (where were you when I needed info in St. Paul! I need to carry a pocket Doris at skating events )

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    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    Thanks Doris! I miss Angelika Krylova.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Thanks Doris - I like the Tango on skates. It can and should flow quite well. Edges and Attitude is how it should be done. The Duchesnays were to the Tango as Torvahl and Dean were to the Bolero.

    (btw, I do not like the Carribbean dances on ice nor anything attempting Jive.

    JMO - Joe

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    Doris, thanks for such a comprehensive report. I'm not sure why- but Latin rhythms and music on ice don't really do it for me ... I think it may be because so often the music isn't truly compelling and doesn't seem thoughtfully chosen. Almost like "we're doing Latin this season- just chose something." For me, this applies to all disciplines- but I find it least successful in singles.

    Perhaps this Argentine tango will change my mind.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    waxel, for the most part I agree with you. Latin rhythms are not my favorite. Punsalan & Swallow did way, way too many Latin rhythm programs. I so felt cheated of the voidy promise of their Race Cars program that they did at their first Worlds.

    OTOH, there are exceptions. I do love the Duchesnay's Tango OSP that I linked to above. And tangos by Krylova & Ovsiannakov (also linked above)!

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    Krylova & Ovsiannakov --- boy, those were the days! I still get chills remembering their Masquerade Waltz.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    i love the tango... on ice or off. I think with Domina and Shabalin gone, Belbin and Agosto might actually win the CD, but i would not bet on it. CD has NEVER been thier strength, whether they like the dance or not. Virtue and Moir might even be in first! they have had very good CD scores in the past.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Well, I would think that DelSchoes will likely win the CD, now that DomShabs have withdrawn.

    V&M finished behind them in the Argentine at NHK, after all. The Argentine is a good fit for V&M-Scot smolders very well, and Tessa's extension is good-but their Yankee Polka at 4CC's wasn't exceptional, and it wasn't much better than it was at Skate Canada and Canadian Nationals. I expect the VM Argentine we see will be at the NHK level, and DelSchoes will beat them at it. For one thing, like Bourne & Kraatz, V&M don't 'get' the oppositional nature of the Argentine, and don't perform it with snappy movements. They tend to do more lyrical movements--I'm basing this on their last year's tango, and their problems with the sharp, snappy Yankee polka. They are a great waltz couple, but the Argentine isn't a waltz.

    I refuse to predict where B&A will come in on this. They have been working on the Argentine and all their CD's this year, recognizing it is a weakness. Tanith's interview on icenetwork was telling-she said that they choose classical this year, even though such an FD might reveal their weakness, because to be the best, you have to be a team that has no weakness, not one that covers the weakness up. And then she talked about working on CD's and basic skating & so forth.

    I expect that the B&A Argentine at Worlds will be better than the B&A Argentine at CoC. Where that will place them with respect to DelSchoes and V&M, I can't say.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 03-16-2008 at 01:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    i love the tango... on ice or off. I think with Domina and Shabalin gone, Belbin and Agosto might actually win the CD, but i would not bet on it. CD has NEVER been thier strength, whether they like the dance or not. Virtue and Moir might even be in first! they have had very good CD scores in the past.
    I wouldn't bet on B&A winning the CD either, especially after seeing their Argentine Tango at CoC. It was really what Dick Button would call "almost second-rate" and they should be working very hard to be anywhere near DelSchoes. B&A should have the edge with their OD, but the FD could go either way. DelSchoes' performance of The Piano has gotten better and better with each competition, whereas skating to Chopin highlights the weaknesses in B&A's skating IMO (though I know there are a lot of people - and judges as well - who love it)

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    Dorispulaski, thank you for this thread and the links. I wanted to 'educate' myself before the CD tomorrow. I liked the Dom/Shab, B/A side by side. The Russians performed a Tango...B/A were sorta tangoing.

    Loved the Kry/Ovs CD. With CDs, the couple really has to set themselves apart in the intro steps by getting in character....and keeping that throughout and then ending strong.

    I think the Tango is tricky in that it can be over-danced or under-danced. As you said, 'opposition' really needs to come to the surface but kept in check... push/pull, love/hate, snappy/sexy, cool/smoldering... Yeah, a good frame/framing from the man makes a big difference (Maxim's was better than Ben's). Attitude in the shoulders and distance in upper half of the body in contrast to the close, busy, sensual lower half. And I agree Scott Moir will do well in this area (but it takes two to tango, so Virtue needs to do her part).

    I'm concerned about my fave team: Davis/White. I hope they do well enough to stay within the top five. I think the young ones will really have a harder time selling this dance. I expect Delobel/Schoenfelder to do well here.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    fanofskate, Barring terrible situations of one sort of another, I do expect that DelSchoes will be leading after the CD.

    I'm crossing my fingers for Davis & White myself. Too bad for them it's not the Yankee Polka--only DelSchoes have really done a better Yankee this year than D&W at 4CC's. They have never done the Argentine in competition. However, their rhumba last year surprised me, so they may make top 5 or 6. I hope so!

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    Ice Dance Obsessee lmarie086's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    I'm crossing my fingers for Davis & White myself. Too bad for them it's not the Yankee Polka--only DelSchoes have really done a better Yankee this year than D&W at 4CC's. They have never done the Argentine in competition. However, their rhumba last year surprised me, so they may make top 5 or 6. I hope so!
    I think (or strongly hope) Davis/White are going to do well with the Argentine. Although it's a different situation, I thought last season that they really "got" the tango-they had a good feel for it IMO. This is a team you can't count out too quickly-I think they'll be at their best in all aspects as these WCh, and I'm crossing my fingers for a top 5 finish.
    Last edited by lmarie086; 03-17-2008 at 09:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lmarie086 View Post
    I think Davis/White are going to do well with the Argentine. Although it's a different situation, I thought last season that they really "got" the tango-they had a good feel for it IMO. This is a team you can't count out too quickly-I think they'll be at their best in all aspects as these WCh, and I'm crossing my fingers for a top 5 finish.
    Hmm, I'm not so sure. While Meryl and Charlie did do a great job with their OD last year, the AT is all about lines, posture, and extension -- definite weak areas for the team as a whole. I guess we'll find out tomorrow!

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    Ice Dance Obsessee lmarie086's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by all that View Post
    Hmm, I'm not so sure. While Meryl and Charlie did do a great job with their OD last year, the AT is all about lines, posture, and extension -- definite weak areas for the team as a whole. I guess we'll find out tomorrow!
    Those are good points. I hadn't stopped to really think about it before making my previous post, so thank you for reminding me of that. I think my main concern with them is their posture (hers more so), but I think it's been improving with time. Like you said, we'll find out tomorrow and I wish all the teams luck!

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