Just like other professional dancers, I know that professional tanguer@s often do cross-training. Cristina Ladas mentioned that she does all kinds of things – pilates, cardio, martial arts, etc. And many non-professionals enjoy other forms of dancing or training, like flamenco. (exciting!)
I love cross-training. Not just for the physical exercise and balance its provides me, but also for the mental balance. I grew up with a regular studio dance experience: ballet, tap, jazz. I grew into pointe. Then I moved onto modern dance. I have also tried salsa, belly dancing, hip hop, some Indian and Japanese dances, and now tango. I love having the freedom to move between dances. I have almost always had one dance that controlled my heart – ballet, then pointe, then modern, and now tango – but I have never hesitated to try something new and different. Even hip hop, which looks ridiculous on my body!
I still try to take at least one modern class a week (thus my pseudonym, Modern Tanguera!) and love to throw in a class here and there in another genre. It keeps me balanced. The technique tends to cross over at least in places, and it keeps me from stagnating in my approach to each dance. And I know that others have found the kind of comfort that comes from dancing both partner and non-partner dances. Every time I take another belly dancing class I remind myself that tango isn’t the only beautiful, sensual, sexy dance that I can do – and it is something I do just for myself.
On top of mixing dance styles, I also do other activities. I love yoga. I enjoy pilates, too, and with my schedule right now I probably do as much pilates as yoga. I also go running regularly. I guess I just really enjoy being physically active! But it’s more than that; each activity has its own mental component, too. Each dance form encourages a certain mindset and discipline; yoga encourages a meditative, relaxed state; pilates and running both encourage a kind of mental focus and precision.
So what kinds of other physical practices do you all have?