A few friends and acquaintances hire a room once a month and get together for a practice session. We all live in different parts of London and normally go to different teachers, so we tend to do quite a bit of talking about things.
Tealight: I can do styling in Ceroc - because I'm just dancing, but in tango I'm going oo-err, relax my shoulders! balance! relax my hips, keep my feet together, free leg ... I try to do ornaments, but it's too much to think about.
Hedgehog: I wouldnt bother. Just deal with the other stuff. Honestly, when I started I just danced for a quite a while and didn't worry about them and then I was dancing away going tweedly-deedly-dee with a nice partner, and the little taps and things just turned up1.
Supermini: I can do them but I don't know when to do them, I'm always wondering if I was expected to do an ornament there ... I don't understand what's expected.
Hedgehog: I don't think anybody has any right to expect anything. I think they're supposed to come from you. Like - now it's going, dadada dada, da daaaaah da, da daaaah da, da daaaah da, papapa papapapa papapapa papapapa pa2 ... You have to do them when there's something there that goes Ping, that makes you have to move. Otherwise they don't make any sense and you trip yourself up.
ManWithPlan: From my point of view, it's just strange when the woman does a really elaborate ornament that makes sense because it was a big moment, and then thirty seconds later she does exactly the same one. And then thirty seconds later she does it again and it's totally out of proportion.
Hedgehog: I really hate it when they do ornaments in a move in a class, the thing is, if a teacher tells you to put an ornament in a specific place in a step, there's no way it's going to be with the music more than once, and if you try and do stuff fighting the music, your brain just melts. Even if you don't know why, it just feels wrong, and you've got enough to worry about following without trying to fight the music, and why would you anyway? It's better to be in a class where they don't even speak to the women at all. You can just practice whatever they're doing with all the different leaders, and ask for help with whatever comes up. And at least you dance better at the end and not worse.
1. Not all at once. They turn up one by one over time. They're a bit quirky and some of them don't make the cut, and disappear again, but they're all mine and not somebody else's.
2. Bahia Blanca - Carlos di Sarli.
Update: promoted from a discussion in comments about the rarity of ornaments and so-called 'leaving space' in Argentina, read the whole for context:
>>What if the ladies want to do an ornament? Where's their room for expression and interpretation? How can they "create together" if the follower is not allowed to have any creative input?
@DB: She is. She has a lot more creative input, in my opinion, and certainly much more equal and important, than she does if her input is confined solely to superficial twiddles and remarks on top of a speech by the man, which is how I perceive ornamentation. It's in the varying qualities of her movement and the influence of her connection and musicality, and it's fully integrated into the whole; like the difference between singing together in harmony and taking turns to talk. However, I take your point that it needs explaining, and I am definitely not qualified to explain it. It's invisible, the ideas are not obvious. Passing them on takes a lot of knowledge, and you have to be able to show and explain as well. It's not easy, and I don't think women are generally well served there. (Indeed, nor are the men, if they end up believing the same things).
All I think I can say is, that the kind of dance Cherie is talking about feels quite different and a lot more interesting.