Practice: Walking

I stopped during the practica last night and looked around at the volcadas, the sacados, even the ochos … I watched for a bit, then I turned back to my partner and kept walking.

I have been walking a lot lately. And noticing when leaders avoid walking. I was surprised, when I started paying attention, at how rarely leaders just walk. It is so often a single step, which then vaults us into a parada and a gancho and a boleo and so on … until there is space for another step or maybe two.

Walking really is the hardest thing to do. Walking last night I was aware of my head and neck (which I have been working hard to keep relaxed—I know I have been guilty of some head-pushing), of my shoulders, of my sternum, of my ribcage … and now I feel like I could just launch into a tango rendition of “Dry Bones.”

I have been working a lot on walking. For a while I was working on my legs and feet—pushing off with my standing leg/foot, rolling through the foot, etc. Then I remembered that a lot more goes into walking than just the lower body. The main things I am thinking about now: Keeping my head & neck relaxed, keeping my chest lifted, keeping my core engaged, etc. It’s fun, but it is hard to let go of practice mode and pull myself together during the milongas!

That’s the process, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got it, you pull it all apart and piece it back together. And each time, hopefully, your dance is a little bit nicer. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Practice: Walking

  1. As a beginner, I get to sit and watch quite a lot at milongas and I have definitely come to appreciate the couples where walking plays a core part of their tanda. So many couples seem to just go from one ‘dramatic’ volcada to a boleo to a gancho etc rather than letting these moves merely emphasise and punctuate their dancing. For me, I’m currently working on my pauses – learning how to use them to connect with my partner rather than panicking and filling the gap with an embellishment. Its hard but I think it will be worth it. Good luck with your walking practice – I bet others will notice a difference in your style soon.

  2. Ooo, I distinctly remember when, early on, I decided to allow myself to just act the idiot–stand there and wait and wait and wait until I felt the lead. Being able to pause, to be patient, is an ability that I have subsequently heard a lot of leaders praise. One of my tricks is to breath during pauses. Really get in touch with my torso. It helps me continue dancing and connecting without moving my feet!

  3. I love to walk and yes it is the hardest thing to do correctly, and yet to a onlooker it looks really simply…i’ve heard people comment about my tango and that i dance basic tango…At first i found it hurtful…but now i am deaf to their comments..the fact that they cannot see all the things we are doing in the walk speaks more about their tango so now i think of my simple tango as a badge of pride…

  4. I am a beginner. I go to a class followed by a milonga every Friday. It is amazing how one week I will feel like the belle of the ball and the next week I am a disaster. Last Friday was not good. I am still getting over it. I have found that the better leaders do not need to show me or correct me. OR, if they do, they whisper it. There are other leaders that attempt to give me a lesson during the milonga and it is so irritating!

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