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
Here’s another challenge from the ministry of silly walks. This walk is all about pressing into the ground and relaxing at the same time. It is similar to a previous challenge the ‘Silly anesthetized walk’. The swagger silly walk is here to help you feel how to walk in a relaxed way that is powerful and well connected to the ground. The swagger silly walk brings in the upper body to create a much more holistic and natural walk.The swagger silly walk is only silly if you want it to be, but making it silly can truly help your understanding of how your body moves holistically. In truth, a very refined version of this silly walk is how we should all be walking everyday, everywhere we go.Read More
In tango, a relaxed yet stable walk is very important. It turns out that the same walk in our everyday life can help us be more engaged in the world around us. Feeling our strength in the ground and relaxing through our steps while standing tall feels really good! We can feel much more aware of our selves and the world around us. Relaxing into the walk can be difficult, but luckily we have the ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ to help us! This is a very silly walk, so maybe you just want to do it at home, unless you don’t mind looking silly, in which case feel free to do this walk wherever you like.Read More
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.Read More
In the last few months we have given some rather intense workshops for beginners that included some prerequisite homework. Among them was a series of challenges to get our students into the proper frame of mind for the classes. Everyone came to class with an idea of what they were getting into, and a fresh view of themselves standing and walking through their days. This greatly facilitated the classes and allowed everyone the chance to really get a handle on this dance we love. This challenge is an expansion of the first challenge we gave as homework.
Walking is something we do every day without thinking. This challenge is about finding awareness as you walk and stand through out your day. Once you do, walking and standing may never be the same for you again.
To begin, we will start with a concentrated effort in finding awareness. You will want to revisit this concentrated exercise every so often. Over time, you will find your awareness of how you walk and stand invading your everyday movement, from standing up from your desk, to walking down the hall, to pushing a cart or standing in line at the grocery.
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.Read More
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.Read More
We love the pelvis!
This week, we will explore how we can use deep pelvic muscles to move our sacrum, specifically connecting our sacrum and tailbone to our hip joints.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