10 December, 2010

How did I choose the tango?... I didn’t. The tango chose me.

In the film "The Tango Lesson", Sally Potter asks Pablo Veron “How did you choose the tango?”, and he replies “I didn’t. The tango chose me.” So we now often hear the saying…”You don’t choose tango, tango chooses you…”
Warning: tango contains highly addictive ingredients, such as pain, pleasure, passion, excitement, connection, freedom, torment, and bliss. In seven out of ten cases it takes over a person's life.
The Tango is a dance of passion in which the man is pursuing the woman and the woman hasn't decided whether or not she wants the man. Therefore, the Tango should be danced slowly and deliberately.  It is not a loud and flashy dance, but very calculated about its intentions. 

 Beginners want to dance like intermediates; intermediates want to dance like advanced dancers; advanced dancers want to dance like the greats; but the greats always go back to basics. 

Posture - on axis, or off?
This is a big topic.  All will vary, so what I want to share is the PRINCIPLE of "On Axis" dancing.  This can then be used in Close Embrace (CE), Open and "Nuevo".

FIRSTLY, all stand and relax.  

  • Big breath in and out and let your shoulders relax.  You are "On Axis" and note, you don't need any person to hold you up
  • Now from the lower arm, not the shoulders, raise your hands to your partners shoulder height leaving your elbows pointing toward the ground
    • this is a relaxed frame, we modify this for lead and follow as required
  • Should be in it's natural state, as much as possible (obviously if you have a condition, this will affect you ie - scoliosis etc)
  • Irrespective of the embrace style - chest to chest, "V", canjengue etc, the followers face should be in the same position when standing alone - this means to say, don't turn your head to one side
    • It's not that it's wrong turning your head, but it will limit your torsion and ability for contra body movement to generate pivots etc
  • Slightly push your lower back away from your partner, but not so that they notice it (kyphosis not lordosis)
    • In some styles you see an exaggerated lordosis of the lower back (heavily curving lower back), don't try to emulate this - this is from dancers that have trained and have developed those muscles over long periods of time
  • Engage your core muscles as required - they are not required to be on 100% of the time, but it is the vast majority of time
Basically, you should not use your partner for your balance unless doing an 'off-axis' move.  If you do use your partner as a "Public Leaning Post" (PLP) then you are not 'on-axis'.  With the tango ever evolving, most modern dancers and contemporary tango dancers switch between CE, open, nuevo, on and off axis dancing at will and music dependant making tango, still the most versatile partner dance on the planet. 

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