Tango Liso

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Many other sources on internet pointed to that the dance consisted only of simple steps. Even cross is under question mark.

Does it mean that this is a dance of very beginners? Those who only know no more than 6 tango ways to step forward or backward and nothing else? ;)

Now, let us look at another thing for a moment, let see what people say about "milonguero style" which is very popular now. Many people point out that the Milongueros say something like this: "I used to dance 20 figures, now I dance only 5". What does it mean? Deterioration? Old men become weaker? Someone, unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the gentlemen, recently, said, that may be those milongueros had to know those 20 figures in order to dance chosen 5 better?

Yes, I believe that is precisely the answer. Milongueros do not dance 5 figures. They dance a figure so perfectly well than it is different every time. They dance 5 figures with 40 variations. Each. They dance in the way that every step becomes a figure. Many figures. The dance goes to the micro-level. Obviously, with sacadas, paradas, and everything else, done on such intense internal sensitive level which becomes a hidden song written in a language not visible to outsiders.

That is exactly what should happen with Tango Liso! Steps are simple, but the dance complexity continues on sub-step level. To dance well Tango Liso one must know all the Salon Figures on the highly advanced level when figures do not matter any more, but sensitivity, connection, feel, resistance, presence, inventiveness, musicality are the language.

So here are my experiments. I have asked skillful women which I highly regard to be more resistant then they usually are - the dance is in open and very slow, and high resistance helps. Then when the music played is something like "Bacan Fulero" of Lomuto we started to dance slow. Twice as slow. 4 times as slow. I am trying to lead individual parts of the step, and that is possible only when her muscles are very alert. She becomes like a musical instrument with many strings each playing its own sound and rebound.

We dance slow and every centimeter of the move is played. In Tango Liso not figures are elaborated, but individual steps! It all starts in the connection, then continues in the body, and finishes in the feet, and backward - feet are interacting with their own weight, leg parts, and the floor, and the result is passed through the body to the connection and through it to the partner. And body parts, arms, well, a head play their own part in the orchestra! It is a game, it is a symphony! And thanks to the perfect connection all this is visible by internal vision and enjoyed by your partner. Your partner only. Even with eyes closed.

How does it feel? It feels great!

PS. Juan Bruno on his tape shows what he calls "Tango Salon" which by all definitions is Tango Liso. Look how many interesting steps he makes, and that is only the introduction! And his partner does not really know about Tango Liso. Tango Liso is as complex as any other style of Tango. By the way, the second part of his tape is dedicated to "Tango Orillero". Good comparison! Thank you, Daniel Trenner, for your invaluable work!

PPS. Tango Liso is a wonderful and underestimated style. It is done with great elegance, it just has to be like that, it happens itself! I'd love to start a Tango Liso Club. It could be a better, easier way to the tango highest levels. On the other hand, I believe this style has tremendous depth for new explorations. Amazingly, slowing down is leading to very deep "concentration on the music and the partner".


-- Yes. Only this is not tango liso but only simply what happens when your dance gets better. N.

Yes, sort of what I described does happen in any style. I know that.
Actually, I am thankful to you that you brought it forward, that is what many people should understand.

But still there are specifics which move Tango Liso out of the line of other styles.
Shortly they are:
- Special kind of music ( "Bacan Fulero", Lomuto ). There is a lot of this music around. Especially from 1920s;
- Slow dancing; Significantly slower: up to one step per several beats;
- Regarding simple steps. It is not as much simple steps, but the way it is done - acceleration and dynamic is not considered as important as other things. Extreme sensitivity, very smooth movements, nothing sharp;
- Resistance is higher than in any other style; The higher the better. Feet actually scratch the floor! Static forces in the connection and torque forces in the body can be very high ( but not necessarily ). That makes it cool! For example, I actually rotate a lady around her axis while she is resisting with her free foot scratching the floor;
- When I say foot play, I mean it. In the most complex way; But it is different than in other styles. Feet do not leave the floor like in Canyengue and orillero. And there are no corte moves like in close embrace styles danced now at the very crowded floors. This style likes space a little more. Attention to feet is more than in the modern widespread Salon style.

All that makes Tango Liso feel very different from any other style of tango, which I count for myself as 11 now.

I have seen quite a few examples, but the only more or less clear example available to everyone as I know is the Juan Bruno's tape from the Trenner's catalog. It must be considered only as an example. I believe Tango Liso is much more complex than Juan Bruno was able to present, but at least you can have an impression of it. To add a twist, he calls it the Salon Style the way it was danced in 40s.

What I wrote is just a sketch. Please, understand me correctly, it is neither a definition nor a final result of the research. Just a working sketch. It is what I think now, and I hope for more feedback helping to solve mysteries of Tango Liso.


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My name is Igor Polk. I dance Argentine tango in San Francisco.

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