There is a real inequality in Argentine tango. There are almost always more women than men. How can we explain that? Despite what a lot of people say, men really have it pretty easy. Many teachers tell beginners, “all you have to do is walk.” Meanwhile, they are showing women how to do crosses, molinettes and ochos. Some men just stand there two footed, faking the lead for ochos while their partner works her bum off, staying on axis and powering through her pivots in spite of him… all in high heels, where one badly timed invasion of her axis could cause her free stilleto to slice across her big toe or impale her standing foot.Read More
How solid is your “good” posture?
Occasionally, it’s a good idea just to check where we stand, literally, in our bodies– how solid is our “good” posture, and how does our body compensate when we throw in strange elements, like high heels?
We might be diligent about maintaining what we think is good posture, only to later find out we weren’t using our bodies efficiently to support that posture. A good test is to see how our core responds when we shift our center of gravity. If it is strong, our posture will not be phased, but if it is weak, our body will compensate by contorting.Read More
“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.Read More
Bad posture is a common problem.
I recently gave a weekly challenge to create awareness of our posture, “Scrunch your shoulders, fix your posture!”. The exercise is specifically targeted at slouched shoulders and a forward head posture. After posting it, I received a few emails from tango dancers and non-dancers, all thanking me for the reminder. Many said that this particular exercise is something they’ve been told to do. As I was writing this article, it came time for another body awareness challenge, so I posted “Balance your head!”, which generated even more feedback. Clearly, bad posture is a problem that many of us are struggling with.Read More
Moving the line of gravity literally covers more ground
In the last post I described how the relationship between the center of movement and the line of gravity created internal dynamic tension which is a part of what creates presence or intention within the embrace. Moving the line of gravity literally covers more ground, but is easier to explain than the micro movements that create dynamic tension.
Any movement starts by moving our center away from our line of gravity to create dynamic tension. Our center of movement can be imagined as being a spot at the top of our sacrum in the center of our body. Standing still, the center of movement is intersected by our line of gravity.Read More
Your line of gravity is an imaginary line that rises vertically from the ground, through your center of gravity. The challenge is to move your center, that spot at the top of your sacrum, away from the line of gravity without falling over. Explore how far you can go, and what it takes to go further.
Dynamic Tension, done well, it is what one friend calls “Jedi Tango”
There are several terms that are regularly used when teaching or learning Argentine tango that are very ambiguous and at the same time very important. ”Grounding” and “Intention” are two of the hardest to comprehend or do, without some specific idea of what to do in your own body and without experiencing how they should and should not feel in a partner.Read More