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
Often, our posture changes when we enter the embrace and it’s not always for the better.
We spend a lot of time here and in our classes talking about good posture and helping people become aware of their posture and where they should focus to improve it. We work extensively on individual movement and posture because when you step on the dance floor, your posture and movement are what you bring with you. But that is only the beginning.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
This is a greatly expanded version of an exercise that we gave as prerequisite homework for our recent classes. Learning how to fine tune your posture is key to creating posture awareness which is very important in tango and in life. This also ties in nicely with a request for an awareness challenge from a friend in Turkey. Our friend had observed that after a shoulder adjustment, his hips and sacrum would sometimes respond in an unhealthy way. While this is far more than an awareness challenge, it does provide more comprehensive posture exercises to help bring awareness to the possible interactions that may occur as we adjust different aspects of our posture.
This is also one of the primary exercises I did many times a day when I felt my job situation deteriorating last summer. A timer on my computer told me to stand once an hour and this exercise is the minimum of what I did then and every other time I stood up from my desk. Doing this exercise many times a day can do wonders to correct the bad posture caused by stress, sitting too long, or time spent hunched over a desk or computer. Even better, do this exercise combined with a few stretches or even some exercise. Maybe a few sun salutations, some Bulgarian squats, or some push ups. Try it– your body will feel better and so will your mind!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.
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.Read More
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
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.
The way we think and what we think can either enable us, or hinder us, in our goals to create beautiful dynamic movement.
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.Read More