Category Archives: Choosing the right classes for you

Different Body-Different Style

How can one-size-fits-all apply in a social dance setting when we all unique in terms of body type, age, fitness, cultural background etc?

A great question!

After our mid-week Tango practice on Wednesday I a question via Youtube that I felt it is an excellent question for us to discuss how different body types can or cannot fit in certain Tango rules; and overall how the one-size-fits-all doesn’t quite work in social dancing.

Following is the video, from our practice and the question right after that, lets see:

“Chrisa, something that no one ever talks about, and I can’t get non fat dancers to understand, are the techniques needed by the fat dancer. Now, I do not use fat as a bad word, I reclaim it, and refuse to make it synonymous with wrong. And also, I need to accommodate my roundness. It is so awkward to be in class, and have an instructor remind me not to swing a hip, not to arch my back, when the real reason I do these things is because of my large belly. When you have substantial thighs, it changes your stance, collection, even the ability to flick a swift secada. I realize this is off topic from your video, but do you have any insights for the fat dancer? Tricks to maintain tango posture when you have extra curves to work around? Thank you <3″ F.L

The truth of the Style Vs The truth of the Dancer

I want to thank again our commenter for this question and dissect the matter in two parts:

  1. Diversity of styles
  2. Biomechanics Vs Tango Style

Diversity of Styles

There is an unavoidable conflict between the truth carried through by the rules for each style and the truth stemming from the dancer’s experience. Of course there are many ways to train dancers to perform and look a certain way, many types of dance achieve that, with ballet being one excellent example. However there are certain expectations to be met by all ballerinas in terms of looks, body structure and analogies. This is why there are certain restrictions apply in terms of age, body type, body shape, fitness etc. That is also why the choice to follow a career as a professional ballet dancer happens very early in one’s life when the body and character are very adaptable to change. That is also why ballet dancers retire at a very early age.

Social Tango is not like that though. Quite the contrary it is dance that is danced by 90 year olds with very different body analogies, with loss in muscle etc etc. So would we say for example that Oscar and Nina are bad dancers?!?! I highly doubt it!
See them in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQotX3sFahI

So as I perceive it, a style is a place to start learning but then we have to take into account the the experience of our body. And those two things are equally important and equally true.
Everyone of us is unique in some way, and that uniqueness needs space, a lot of space in a social dance.

Biomechanics Vs Tango Style

We can’t judge a style, a style is based mostly on aesthetics. It is a design. A beautiful design but still a design that one person or a group of people came up with based on their personal goals, experiences, expectations and so on. So it wouldn’t be possible nor fair. But we can judge movement based on anatomy and biomechanics. Then each of us can make an informed decision whether you want to pursuit a specific tango style despite the possible strain or risk due to inconguence with anatomy and biomechanics.

So firstly, based on anatomy and specifically the structure of the human skeleton in order to balance the forces going through the joints and to have an effective distribution of weight when standing on two feet, the placement of the feet should be such to support the hips. Having the feet together 100% doesn’t meet that requirement since the pelvis flairs outward. Similarly, the flair of the feet, meaning the turn out, depends on the structure of your hips, how wide or narrow the hips are.
So overall some people will have their feet closer together, not though fully connected, than others and also for some people the turn out will be bigger than others.

Walking and biomechanics

Now when we walk our hips are not supposed to be square, they are supposed to swing, it’s scientifically what we call: locomotion.
And it is not the only movement happening in our hips when we walk. In fact walking involves the whole body and the more chaotic it feels the more efficient it most likely is.
There is the “C” shape movement we talked about in our practice session and there is also a wave in the spine. You can see all of this here:

Can you stop all this from happening ?
Sure you can! But why would you? If you actually look a little closer and dig a little deeper, these movements actually help you connect with your partner in much more efficient way..!
You can see it in our previous practices here: https://bautanz.com/online-tango-practice/

And of course along with all that goes posture and centre of gravity. Your posture changes depending on what action you wish to perform. As you can see in the video above maintaining a specific upper body position works against your intention to walk forward or backward and would therefore require more muscle work to make it all happen.
Lastly our center of gravity, will be different depending on the shapes we create or have in our bodies. It is not a fixed spot and how could it be? By physics that would be impossible.

My suggestion to you

If you have learned Tango now spend some time learning your body through movement. Understand how one thing relates to the other, what kind of relationships they have and what kind of movements they create due to those relationships and structure

A great place to start is this video by Frey Faust: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy6tJZOQ0Ws&t=102s
And also the Youtube page of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen of Body mind centering: https://www.youtube.com/user/BodyMindCentering

Start learning about your body to better dance with/in/through it. Understanding how our body was built to move for me is the number one step to take when you really want to free up your social dance but also when you want to structure your dance training knowing, acknowledging and weighing in the risks you take compared to the choices you have

Enjoy and thank you again,

Chrisa

Invest in your Tango- find the BEST Tango teacher for YOU!

SGet 10X more out of classes and workshops by choosing your Tango teachers wisely..!

Last week we took a peek into the world of luxury and I told you how I learned to get pasted my cringing reaction over a 250$ for a private class and tried to figure out how investing in a great Tango teacher makes perfect sense.

Then I asked if you have bought/done something that might be considered a luxury but you still allowed it to yourself.
All the answers were great by the way. I LOVED every single one of them!

Let me share a few here with you:

“I know someone in Montreal that travels regularly to Toronto to take classes (…). My first reaction was that this person was a little extreme, traveling 6 hours in and 6 hours out, on a regular basis, just to take classes… On the other hand as a tango student you have to go for the material you want for yourself and in the end it’s not money wasted. It’s money you’ve invested in yourself.” —Louis

“a $1700 air filter, can actually breathe properly around the place” —Jeremy

“(…)On the class you get the seeds of valuable information and axioms from which you can derive work and knowledge for your tango for months to come.

If the Tango teacher is actually that good and you can afford it, this is not tango hell, but tango heaven.” —Matevž

“(…)I had to pick flights that would get me there at very specific times so I could get back to teach my lessons on time. So overall, the lesson was definitely over the $400 mark. So glad I did that. When it’s worth it, it’s worth it!

(…)I did a $10k training for developing my dance career. That seemed like a crazy expense to a lot of my friends, but I made $3k of it back during the actual 5 day training and easily made the rest back soon afterwards.(…)
I think investment/value in total is the important aspect I think about. Some things might be worth the money but not the time or vice versa. These were all worth both the money and the time by a long shot.”–Andrew

“There have been many times that traveled to Athens from my home town for one milonga. When you love something, you pay with no second thoughts (…)” —Minas

What do you notice about these comments?

This is what I notice:

  • “You pay with no second thoughts”
  • “worth both the money and the time by a long shot”
  • “when it’s worth it, it’s worth it”
  • “it’s not money wasted. It is money you’ve invested in yourself”

So, do you see? When we actually experience luxuries, we see how amazing it feels! We realize that luxury it is not just for some snobbish, arrogant, high-end, out-of-this world person..
And if it is about something you really love, you don’t even consider it a luxury…you just allow it to yourself, preferring to cut on things you don’t really like..!

I also noticed, though, that nobody–No, wait!I am lying! There was actually ONE person–said that their luxury was, paying for grad school.

OOooh! Yes! Right…You remembered that one now, didn’t you? haha

Why though isn’t it, the first thing that comes to mind?
Simply, because it is something you know you are going to pay for, plus we consider it a necessity, a matter almost of survival, NOT a luxury, even if you can’t really afford it, you will find a way.

SO LET’S SEE HOW YOU CAN MANAGE YOUR TANGO CHOICES TO FULLY BENEFIT FROM THEM AND NEVER REGRET THEM!

TANGO LUXURY RULE #1: FUNCTIONAL
Like grad school, or great air filters, you will hopefully reach a PIVOTAL point in your Tango where you will need to make the leap to the next level. At that level, where every extension counts, every breath makes a difference. A level, where you can dance with anyone, anywhere, of any Tango style and of any level and still be amazing, instead of frustrated.
To get there you will need to shift your perspective from simply learning to Tango to actually understanding and dancing Tango.
When Veron asked me what I wanted to work on I told him: “I want to become a more active follower”
Why? Because I NEEDED to extend myself to a different level, to broaden my understanding and knowledge. Not only for myself but for my students as well!

This is something ALL high end professionals train and retrain, not only because they love what they do, or because they want to be the BEST. But because they need to change, they need to evolve, they need to feel they are getting better and better.
Inspired by them, we need to shift our perspective from being JUST a student to becoming a dancer.
Will that happen in your first year of learning Tango? NO!
But does it mean that only professionals go through it? Absolutely not!
And when you get there, you will need the right teacher.

TANGO LUXURY RULE #2: ECONOMICAL
It was funny, in one of your messages, you were trying to economically explain to me, how each Tango teacher charges, depending on the market, how the currency makes a huge difference and all that…
Thank you truly!
But I stopped making excuses for myself, knowing that I NEEDED a class like that, knowing that it would be the best choice at the best time.
That class opened a path of further improvement for me. Until this time–ONE year later–I am still going back to that class during my daily practice routine, revisiting specific elements. Plus, I got more privates for myself sharing the knowledge he shared with me.
So economically, it makes sense…Instead of doing multiple cheaper privates, you do ONE expensive private that will shake your Tango world!

You can go by life buying cheaper clothes, cheaper shoes, cheaper watches, cheaper EVERYTHING, everything disposable…BUT the question is when you get the chance to shift your perspective to getting-and-keeping-forever WHAT WILL YOU DO?

TANGO LUXURY RULE #3: THE RIGHT PERSON
Thankfully, we do NOT choose people only based on price–maybe in the past, but not anymore…haha
Most of the times it has to do with finding the RIGHT person!

Where were we in our story..?
Oh, yes…
Me: “I want to be a more active follower” and
Him: “Ok!”

I have to admit I panicked there a bit…so I added, just to be on the safe side:
“I am not talking about technique…”

He  looked up from his iPod and without missing a beat he said: “I know!”
Me thinking: “THIS IS IT! This is going to be an amazing class!”
The Right Person at the Right Time!

The Best Tango Teacher for YOU!

Get 10X more out of your classes and workshops by choosing the right Tango teacher for you.
No more time to be wasted!
Choose the BEST Tango teacher for you, make every minute of every class count, following the guide below:

Find the BEST Tango teacher for YOU! (Full guide PDF)

-Chrisa

An Inspiring Tango teacher

Photo credit: denise carbonell via Foter.com / CC BY

A Tango private that costed 400$. WHAT THE {TANGO} HELL?

A private class with this wonderful teacher, Pablo Veron costed 250$ last year!
250$ PLUS travel expenses  to and from the city he was in…
We are looking at 400$ and a 12 hour round trip, to take ONE Tango private class.
FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS

Common expected reactions:

“Why? Couldn’t you have taken a private with someone from your city?”
“Was it at least 4 times better than other private classes?”
“This is just RIDICULOUS!”
“Did you have a partner to split it, at least?” Or
“Are you…?(Add one of the following: crazy, insane, out-of-your-mind, stupid, a show-off etc.)

Well, we would have the same reaction to a hamburger costing $250…It DOES exist!
See for yourselves…THIS hamburger
Or to $1392.74 Manolo Blahnik shoes…THESE shoes
Or to a $6000 Tom Ford suit…THIS suit

Why would someone pay that much money for 1 hamburger, 1 pair of shoes, 1 suit, ONE hour private class?

I used to think that spending this amount of money is irrational to say the least…But I never stopped to ask myself…WHY are people spending all this money?

I admit I haven’t tried the hamburger BUT I did try on those Manolo’s…
When I looked in the mirror, it was like looking at someone else’s feet! haha
I am not joking the shoes fitted perfectly and they transformed my feet, they made them look like a million dollars.
And I am sure, gentlemen that if someone gave you James Bond’s suit for free, a suit that fits like a glove as if it sown for you, you would have put it on and suddenly you would have felt a few inches taller yourself.

BEFORE the thought: “THIS IS TOO EXPENSIVE! IT IS RIDICULOUS” hits you

Ask yourselves is it just a matter of mere luxury? People with no sense who just spend money here and there?
Or could it be that people who pay 100x more, on something they are passionate about, they get the experience, the taste, the style, the knowledge, the satisfaction of a level of ONE HUNDRED times higher than normal?

Am I saying you should RUN out and buy that pair of Manolo’s you have been eyeing of some time now? No!

I am only suggesting though that we take some time to understand what is going on here, before we label something as ridiculous.
And allow ourselves the question: “Is this something I truly love and, therefore worth, every penny?”

It wouldn’t matter how great this hamburger is, to someone who doesn’t really care about food?
A fancy suit and amazing shoes might mean NOTHING to someone who never wears suits or high heels, right? haha

Going back to the private class…that class gave me:
Material that I worked on, for at least 6 months during my practice.
Elements that I used right away while social dancing that made me feel amazing on the dancefloor on that very same night.
Technique tips that I used to better myself and teach my students.
All that and much more in ONE hour!

Do the math…

1 hour with a fabulous teacher= $400
6 months with an OK teacher= $2400

Despite all that though, hadn’t I been truly passionate about Tango, hadn’t I known this world- famous teacher, hadn’t I been ready to hear him out and ask the right questions, would I still have chosen to take the class?

And if I did, would it be worth it or mere luxury?

SO FOR TODAY: What has been for you the most expensive thing/experience you spent money on?

I am just curious — What was the most expensive thing you ever paid for?

Was it buying an amazing pair of shoes? Treating yourself to Tango holidays? Staying at a 5Star hotel?
Come on! Spit it out!
You can share anything at all, NO judgment here.
Let’s just talk about what it was that you spent your money on and how it made you feel?

And next time I will give you tips on how to spend your money and time in Tango, so you can experience high quality instruction, guilt free and with amazing effects on your progress!

-Chrisa

P.S: Coming UP: I will tell you how to choose your classes, your teachers and the content of your privates depending on your level.
What questions to ask… How to time your classes… When to shift your perspective and towards what… and much more! Stay tuned