Here is an easy challenge to get a feeling for changing weight and settling into one foot and relaxing the other. It is so very simple, and yet so important. Changing weight and settling is what we should be doing with every step we take. We cannot stress just how important this is, or that you should practice it wherever you go. If you think about it every now and then throughout your day, you will find yourself doing it more and more frequently until it just becomes the way you shift your weight. The end result will be a more relaxed and stable posture and better tango.
Really settle into the ground from your shoulder down through your hip and leg to the ground.
Start with good posture by doing our exercise, Fine tuning your posture. Now, put all of your weight onto one leg, really settling into that side of your body, from your shoulder down to your hip, and finding a place of balance. You may feel a slight compression on your weighted side from your shoulder to your hip. At the same time your body is pressing into your hip, you may also feel the pressure of the ground coming up your leg and into your hip. As you feel your hip engage with the ground drop your other/free hip, so that it feels suspended, like a counterweight. Relax that whole side of your body almost as if it is suspended from your shoulder down. Bring your heel off the floor and just let your toe gently touch the ground. Relax your hip and leg as much as possible. This side of your body should feel somewhat elongated. Your posture should resemble the posture of Venus minus her slightly ‘popped’ left hip. Combine these ideas with those expressed in our ‘Sinking into our standing leg’ and ‘Finding release in the pelvis’ challenges.
Keep your spine stretched, and root through your tailbone and sacrum.
Check your posture as we indicated in the ‘Fine tune your posture’ challenge. Relax your shoulders, keep your shoulder blades flat on your back, and let your head balance directly on top of your neck. This is how you should be upon “arriving” in each step as you walk or dance.
Make sure your weight is evenly distributed between the ball and heel of the foot, right over the center of your arch. Revisit our ‘Rediscovering our feet’ challenge for a more in depth exploration.
Find your tailbone, also letting it “drop” toward the ground. If it helps, you can visualize a very thick tail, like a kangaroo tail, connecting you to the floor.
Use your breath when changing weight.
Use your breath when changing weight. As you take a deep breath in, stretch up through your spine, imagine your vertebrae pulling apart and upward as you transfer your weight over onto your other leg. Then, as you exhale, settle on the opposite side, into the opposite hip. Keep your spine stretched, and root through your tailbone and sacrum again. Settle in as described above.
Repeat these weight changes, using a slow inhale and exhale each time.
You may as well make a practice of it
Practice this changing weight whenever you think of it. While standing for a long time you will be doing changing weight from one foot to the other anyway, you may as well make a practice of it. Do the movements with a nice slow four-count inhale and exale or even slower. Pause and examine your posture with each shift of weight. This practice has the benefit of being very calming while waiting in any line. You may also use these ideas while walking. A change of weight is one of the most fundamental movements in tango. Having a clear and concise change of weight with a stable healthy posture are requirements of a good tango dancer.