Little (BIG) lessons

I had a fantastic lesson recently that took me back to very basic but fundamental concepts. They are little things (hard to remember all at once!) that add up to big changes. None of these ideas were completely absent from my dancing or were completely new to here, but they are all very important to continue working on:

  • Tango is an extension of everyday life. All ideas that relate to posture and movement are important to consider in other aspects of my life, like sitting at my work computer or walking down the street.
  • There should be one point of connection. In a chest-to-chest close embrace (the most common in my community), focus on the solar plexus and make sure that the abs are lifted so that you don’t end up with a connection running all the way down to the belly button—and thus creating muddy signals.
  • Keep the shoulders rolled back. Think about this all the time.
  • Be aware of where your weight is on your feet—don’t settle back, but especially don’t tip your weight too far forward. If the leader steps away, you should be right on balance. While moving, think of keeping your feet the same distance from your partner to avoid going off balance.
  • Feel the energy extending from the solar plexus through all five limbs (legs, arms, head).
  • Connect with your palms, not your fingers. The arm is an extension of the ribcage, and the energy flows out from there through the palms into your partner. Feel energized, not stiff or dead weight. Use this to exchange energy between partners.
  • Practice moving front-back and side-side while staying at the same level. Do it veeeeeery slowly. Use a mirror, and watch for the point where you lift or drop slightly. Do it at a normal standing height and also in plié. Practice this every day, and watch for the resulting fluidity in the walk.

All fairly basic ideas, but super important. I only wish I had a regular time for practice so that I could work on these with different partners instead of just on my own …

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