Tango embrace jail or heaven?
Have you gotten in an embrace which immediately made you cringe? Do you ever get off the dancefloor mumbling: “Oh my back!”
Or trying to understand what is wrong…thinking: “Maybe it is because she is too short!” Or “ maybe it is because he is too tall!”
By the way, do you remember the day you told your friends you are learning Tango? Did you notice their reaction?
Maybe it went somewhat like this…
You said: “I am learning Argentine Tango” and
They said: “Oh! The dance of PAsssssion!”
And you can see from the way they look at you, that they are thinking:
Well…it definitely doesn’t feel this way now, DOES IT?
They were kind of right though…There is a sensuality in Tango, or maybe better said an intimacy.
Think about it, everyone tells you: “Oh! This is what Tango is all about. Getting into a close Tango embrace, feeling each other’s body, feel your partner’s every inhale and exhale and every heart beat” (…are we still talking about the Tango embrace here? haha)
But maybe this is actually the problem…
How many times in your everyday life do you hug strangers and hold them tight in your arms for 12mins?
Or better said:
When do you hug ANYONE – friend or foe – and hold them tight in your arms for 12mins?
To be honest I hadn’t thought about all this myself…until, recently, when while I was dancing with a visiting – instructor and something was off…Not technically necessarly but something was off!
I didn’t give it much but a few days later, I am dancing another tanda, with the same teacher.
When the tanda ended he said: “This time you allowed me to embrace you!”
Think of his words: “ You ALLOWED me to embrace you!”
AHA! Now things were starting to make sense…
Sebastian Achaval’s words came to mind: “As a leader you need to create the space for the lady, as a follower you need to engage to that space”
But also, Paolo Coelho’s words from “Aleph”: “An embrace means: I don’t feel threatened by you; I’m not afraid to be this close; I can relax, feel at home, feel protected and in the presence of someone who understands me. (…)”
Counter-intuitive? Scary? Taboo? Or simply Tango?
So I got straight into working this one out!
I came up with a few simple, yet profoundly powerful tweaks I followed during my dances and practices, that bring great results, and you can start using them during your next milonga.
So here we go:
- For leaders and followers
Your dance is not starting when you start moving on the dancefloor. Your dance starts before you even embrace your partner.
So, make the posture, the frame and the Tango embrace part of your dance experience. Before you get into the embrace, start a dance within you!
As you are facing your partner, allow the music to seep into your body, and from within, from the heart, the lungs, the kidneys start creating your posture. Then reach to your partner!
- For the leaders
This one is on you leaders, because you are the ones to get the couple moving on the dancefloor.
After you embrace, take a few seconds to just relax in the embrace of your partner, and feel your partner relaxing in your embrace as well!
This way, you give yourself and your partner time to adjust and when you are ready, you can then start dancing!
If in the beginning, you are feeling awkward…GREAT!
Think about it, this is not something you do everyday. This is somewhat special and therefore, some level of awkwardness is expected, allowed and interesting too.
So keep at it and you will get the comfort you have been missing, a feeling of true closeness, a smoothness in the embrace, plus the opportunity to find out what the embrace IS for YOU.
- For the followers
People think of Tango as a very macho type of dance, but I think it is the opposite, is more based around the followers…
That means that followers, actually need to ALLOW the leader to embrace them!
Therefore, if you are pushing away, if you are avoiding the closeness of the embrace then the leader has to back off.
So to create a closeness, firstly focus on is the sternum. Keep the sternum up and open. Allow your shoulders to relax back – DON’T pull them back – lift the sternum for the shoulders to RELAX, and consider this…We are not dancing chest – to chest we are dancing center to center!
- For couples
If you are lucky enough to have a dance partner, include this drill in your practice.
So, before you start dancing, hug each other. Hug, like you would hug a dear friend you haven’t seen for ages, and stay in each others arms as long as you can.
We are NOT talking about an EMBRACE BUT a HUG!
Time yourselves to see how long you can last in that hug. Of course, the more you practice the more comfortable the hug will be.
Give it a try.
And send me your thoughts to let me know how it goes.
P.S: Being introvert is creating trouble to your Tango? Here is an article that might help you get passed the embrace – block and who knows maybe reevaluate the situation, I know it helped me! http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/opinion/sunday/am-i-introverted-or-just-rude.html?ref=opinion&_r=2&referer=