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.
Finding the spiral in our legs
Standing solidly on your left foot, extend your right leg into a back reach. Following the normal trajectory of your forward walk, bring your right leg back to your center, closing your hips and allowing your leg to rotate inward as it comes through your center line. You will notice that your knees come together at this point. As your leg extends in front of you, allow it to rotate outward. Take your right leg back again, reversing the rotation in your leg, from outward, to an inward rotation as you pass center, to a (slightly) outward rotation as you reach back. While your foot will be moving in a straight line, you may notice that your knee tracing an arc that sweeps past your other knee. Repeat this motion a few times and then switch legs.
You may want to exaggerate this rotation of your legs to get the feel of this spiral, and also to understand how it can influence your circular movement, and then let it happen naturally without over emphasizing it. As you do so, make sure you are still drawing a straight line forward and back, without actually taking your leg out to the side.
Now, incorporate this awareness into your walk as you go about your day. When you have the time to slow down, walk deliberately, trying to make your leg spiral smooth and expressive.