Most of the time when we think of our spiral energy as it relates to tango, we consider the torsion that happens in our torso, as our hips and ribs twist in opposite directions. However, there are many other “spirals” that happen in our bodies, and we would like to draw attention to the spiral that happens in our legs as we take a step. Understanding how the leg articulates at the hip joint during our walk can also transform our dance.
Becoming aware of the circles and spirals that happen in our body as we walk.
This challenge builds on our last challenge, Sinking into our Standing leg. We will use that same exercise, but apply it to every step we take as we walk. Walking down the street, the hallway, the grocery store, give this a try, but try not to think about it too much. Do this once at home, with focus, then do it whenever you walk somewhere, even if it is just for a few steps. Our goal is to become aware of the circles and spirals that our body creates internally as we walk. Ultimately we want to relax into a healthy balanced walk and remain aware of how our body is moving and how it feels.
Aligning our whole body, sinking into the ground through our standing leg
For those who come to TangoBreath, you have heard us often recall the image of Michelangelo’s David. We talk about sinking into the standing leg through the whole side body and dropping, or relaxing, the free hip. Much to our delight, when we were in Tuscon, Murat and Michelle Erdemsel showed a picture of David in one of their classes on alignments! They also shared a picture of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, which provides us a connection to the feminine form.
As a continuation of last week’s challenge, Finding stability in our pelvis, in which we perceived subtle engagement in the area between the sacrum and hip joint, we are going to concentrate on releasing this same area. Balancing the internal dynamic between engagement and release is important to achieve our greatest flexibility, strength, and resiliency in our joints.
If you have been to our tango classes, you know we always incorporate the pelvic floor in its role toward solid, fluid and confident movement. Here is a more comprehensive class that starts in the hips and sacrum and moves up the spine in a full exploration of how our bodies move. We will provide visualizations and exercises that will have everyone creating holistic movement that can be used in everyday life and tango.
These are the basic concepts that will allow anyone to see and use a plethora of turns and many other movements.
We follow up our natural movement class with a class about the axis of movement. Building on the ideas of the first class, we will explore how to make our circular movement natural and fluid while we learn to visualize and use the axis of movement in each step. These are the basic concepts that will allow anyone to see and use a plethora of turns and many other movements.
Finding and using natural movement in your dance. 1-2:30 PM.
Relaxing into natural and healthy movement is one of the keys to a comfortable and fluid dance. We will help you explore and discover your natural movement and how it applies to tango. This class will help everyone be more connected to their partner and the ground in a more relaxed way.
A multitude of turns: Using and moving the axis of movement. 3-4:30 PM.
Understanding the axis of movement is a key concept to understanding all turns and most other movements in tango. This class will explore circular movement and the many choices created when we are able to see and use the axis of movement in every step.
HOMEWOOD MILONGA 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Lisa Jacobs will be our DJ.
Acupressure and Tui Na (Chinese massage) by Katie Bruce L.AC. We are pleased to announce that Katie Bruce L.AC. will be offering acupressure and some Tui Na (Chinese Massage) during the milonga. Visit Katie’s web site for more information! Katie will be available from 8:00-10:00 for a suggested donation of $10.
Some wine, snacks and, as always, a special treat prepared by Susannah will be provided. BYOB.
As always, we will be available for private lessons. Please contact us to make arrangements.
The flow of movement between partners can appear magical.
Every week in TangoLab, we start class with some exercise to create awareness of our partners through the embrace. Our goal is to encourage dancers to create and sense movement in response to one another. Beginners, even those that come from other dance backgrounds, are always amazed at how this internal flow of movement works to create a conversation between partners. When done very subtly, it can be difficult to see any flow of movement, yet we are speaking volumes, and responding to one another. It might seem like magic.
Explaining what needs to happen to internalize the flow of movement is difficult, however, which is why it is so important to choose our words and imagery carefully. There are many phrases and words that are commonly and casually used when teaching or learning Argentine tango. In our teaching, we have discarded many of them because they are vague or have multiple meanings. It is a careful practice to put these things away, not use them, and find a thorough and meaningful replacement when needed.
Asking ourselves about our roles in learning and teaching Argentine tango.
Eric and I have been busy writing articles for this website and are enthusiastic about sharing our thoughts and explorations. We thought that now would be a good time to reflect on why we approach our learning and teaching in the way that we do and our goals in writing what we do.
We have been so grateful for the positive feedback from around the world and would like to thank everyone for having open hearts and open minds when reading our notes, since they are sometimes a bit unconventional. We are constantly seeking to find innovative ways of coming to a noble dance, while honoring its foundation and canon.
We also understand that some people who read our articles, but have never attended our classes or who do not know us personally, might be skeptical. We often contradict very common modes of tango instruction. Our goal in writing these articles is not to say that there is a right or wrong way of learning and teaching tango. Indeed, it is quite the opposite. We feel that being exposed to a variety of teaching approaches is crucial in becoming a well-rounded dancer. It is very likely that the synthesis of several different instructors teaching the same thing, each in different ways, finally creates the connections that a student needs to learn a concept.
Last week, our challenge was to bring awareness to your sacrum and the ways that your sacroiliac joint moves.
Adjusting your sacrum in two easy steps.
This week, we have encouraged our students to make a more specific adjustment to their sacrum. This is a good exercise to do when you get up from being seated, when you are standing, and before you begin walking.
“Collection” was eliminated from our tango vocabulary for many reasons.
I’ve written about collection in other articles, “Moving with your line of gravity” and “How we think affects the way we move”, so it is no secret that I don’t like what thinking about collection does to our dance. When we started developing our TangoBreath vinyasa, “collection” was one the first things we eliminated in our teaching and in our descriptions of Argentine tango movement.
We wanted to avoid “collection” for many reasons. One of them is that it is completely unnecessary. We never mention it in our TangoBreath vinyasa class, yet everyone, complete beginners and advanced dancers alike, all do what “collection” is intended to instruct. Their feet pass each other nicely in every movement. Another reason to discard “collection” is that it is mostly harmful to our development as dancers. We do mention it as something that happens as a result of well executed movement, but collection is not something to which it is necessary to give any thought. A beginning tango dancer has enough to think about already. Later on, it will be essential to think about what it means to have pretty foot movement. But that is a topic far beyond collecting.
A less commonly considered spiral
Most of the time when we think of our spiral energy as it relates to tango, we consider the torsion that happens in our torso, as our hips and ribs twist in opposite directions. However, there are many other "spirals" that happen in our bodies, and we would like to draw attention to the spiral that happen