Category Archives: ochos

Giro Technique; 3 Videos to spin around with

Giro technique…it can be tough but we will smoothly get through it… 😉
In our previous post https://bautanz.com/2019/03/20/music-sensing-feeling-and-action/ we were looking at rhythmical explorations.
We used rebounds, walks and ochos and tried to figure out how these three elements, these basic Tango elements, can help us create something special on the dance floor.

These very elements though, we can find them in giros and naturally… this is what this post is about… Giro technique! 

2 Rhythmical variations

If you have been in Tango for some time you’ve probably been taught the giro step following this basic rhythmic pattern: quick quick slow slow

And the truth is that this pattern even though we don’t HAVE to necessarily follow it, works quite smoothly; it has a nice flow to it and that is why we are not going to be changing that rhythm today. We’re only going to be exploring it further…

The transition between quick-quick and slow, slow…

I think an image here can help us a little bit with his exploration.
Imagine a rainbow and on one end of the rainbow we have black and on the other end we have white and in between we have all the colours, every colour possible.
Our transition is THAT rainbow!
On one edge of the  of the rainbow will be the “quick” part and on the other end will be the “slow” part.
In variation #1 we will stay closer to the quick edge of the rainbow while in variation #2 we will move closer to the slow part. As we switch between the two, we will notice the colours in between and how our perception of them changes as we transition

If you are a beginner in Tango and you don’t know the giro step yet, then I would recommend that you watch the whole video from beginning to end and then just start practicing the step itself without worrying about the rhythm at all.
Don’t worry about the quick- quick ,slow, slow, just do the footwork and once you feel more comfortable with the with a step itself then you can move on to exploring the variations
If though you are familiar with the giro step I would encourage you to start from the END of the video from the very last exercise that focuses solely on the transition itself and then make your way through variations 1 and 2

Giro Technique: 8 anchoring points

Another vital transition for the giros, is the transition from standing on 2 feet to balancing over 1 foot and vice versa 
This transition hides a lot of habits, good and bad. And of course good habits are more than welcome…haha… the bad habits on the other hand we want to notice them and hopefully through our practices replace with more efficient ones

So here are some extra tips that can help you this video:

  • Listen for any trouble. Tension tends to be quite “vocal” through our bodies but we usually because we think it is normal for tension to manifest itself, we don’t pay attention to it. So distinguish between strength and unnecessary tension. Some of the most common places we find tension are: the hip joints, the lower back, the shoulders, the neck, the sternum, the face muscles
    So when you lift one leg up, make a quick check, take your mind through all of the above spots in your body and see if you can relax them
  • Standing with the weight split between the 2 feet. Notice how you reach for the connection with the floor tracing from the bottom up; from foot, to ankle, to knee, to hip, to ribcage, to arms, to neck and head.
  • You are special. Accept that your body is slightly different than your friend’s, your teacher’s or mine. Your focus should be to experience all the tips you hear in the video and not to bring the leg as high as I do, or to twist as much as I do. These movements exist in your body already; they live in your everyday walk, Tango is only an opportunity to expose them, become aware of them and possibly make them more efficient over time. So pay close close attention.

Hands to Ribs – A top-to-bottom practice

After talking about rhythm and after trying to understand and explore further the transition from 2 feet to a 1 foot balance, in this giro technique video, we are going to look into pivots and specifically we’re going to explore further the preparation phase for the pivots within the giros.

One of the most common mistakes we make in giros is skipping or pulling through the preparation phase; the phase where we are still transitioning from one foot to the other but we know there is a pivot coming and so we are preparing your body for the pivot; those very few seconds before the pivot happens.

What we will be doing in this video is acknowledging first of all that in-between stage, finding within our giro step.

And then we will be focusing on how the upper and lower body are working together during that phase, we will be looking at how much energy and power we need to create and use to make our way around the pivot and last but certainly not least we will be focusing on finding the right timing for the pivot to start.

Many a times we are running a little bit behind getting stuck in that in-between phase or as we mentioned before we really rush through it and we hop straight into the pivot so our goal here is to be able to avoid both of these troubling bad habits and to build a habit where we we are in control of the transition from a linear movement to a circular movement

Soooo that is all folks, at least for today. Giro technique right before the weekend milongas, perfect! And if you loved this and you want more, join the community of Bautanz!
I share a video every Wednesday… 😉

Chrisa
P.S: You can also check out our online classes: https://bautanz.com/intelligent-tango-programs-and-courses/

Ochos as part of a healthy movement diet

These last three we are working on ochos.

We got fitness exercisestips for building a smart practice and of course technique tips

But today I want to take a moment to talk to you about the life-tango connection.

Tango is like life and vice versa

No that is NOT what I am going to talk about…hahaha…but you thought I would didn’t you?

You felt that cliche coming your way! Haha

Don’t worry you are safe!

I want to talk about how this practice like all the other practices you can find in this blog can help you move better in life as well as in Tango

Keep moving

One of the biggest problems people have today is that they are not moving enough.

As a species we were made to move…In fact we survived because our movement became more efficient and we managed in this way to “outrun” our opponents and get food!

Now, this species that it’s whole survival was based on movement is stranded on a chair only to move once or twice a week.

Our bodies thinking that this is the new way of doing things, rearranges our muscles to support it and slowly but surely we start losing range of motion, flexibility and power in our hips, shoulders, spine and all around… We start losing ourselves!

Does any of this sound familiar?

If not, think about the last time your tried to bend over to grab something off the floor aaaand…”OUCH! My back…” came out

Or the last time you thought to yourself: “I am too old for this”

Well, what if Tango was here to help you keep on moving even if you have to take things a bit slower or with a bit more caution.

Follow the tips below for healthier body… they WILL make your ochos better as well!

Space and movement in the hips and spine is something that many of us have lost with time. But you can definitely get some back with the exercises above

Only have the following tips in mind:

  • Find your own rhythm, maybe I am going to fast for you, slow it down if you need to
  • If at any time during the seated exercises you need to put your hands on the floor go for it, just don’t drop your weight on them
  • And if you a friendly wall for your adult ochos, go for that as well, balance also gets built with time
  • Focus not on how big of a twist you can create but on identifying all the movements your body is creating from the outside in, meaning from the skin all the way to the organs and the inside out from your breath, from your blood to your skin.
  • If you can’t twist as much, or can’t have the legs fully extended, that is OK! Not being flexible is not always bad same as being flexible is not always good. Look for safety, for smoothness and flow and flexibility will come with time.
  • Breathe! Yes I know you are doing that already…But breathe into every inch of your body and out of every cell.
  • Notice points of tension and see if you can get rid of it. I am saying if because sometimes that is not possible, no matter how much we might want it. But acknowledging it is the first step towards getting rid of it
  • Do your ochos noticing how the movements you explored in the exercises underlie them. Like the leg-hip-leg-body circuit we explored
  • Without changing any of your current habits, notice how these movements underlie your everyday life. Examine your comfort zone to become more aware of your movement, your limits and your potential

Aaaaand last but not least…. Have fun with it!

I want to take a quick second to thank Jeffrey Posner for the hips rotations he shared on instaInst that inspired this video!

Chrisa

P.S: if you like practices like this one, I think you will love this: https://bautanz.com/intelligent-tango-programs-and-courses/

7 exercises for a more enjoyable twist

Coooome on lets twist again…..Oups different dance…!haha

I haven’t done a don’t-leave-the-gym-yet video in a long time, mostly because I haven’t been to the gym for some time…hmmmm…time to change that though.

Turn, twist and pivot

As you might have already gathered from the introduction… I am not really a regular to the gym…I like doing different activities, including going to the gym but I am not a gym freak…

With that being said, please don’t think of these exercises as the only exercises you will ever need, but as great opportunities.

Opportunities? You might wonder…

Yes opportunities for a multi-layered practice.
On a first level you can just do the exercises for a good workout.
Then on a second level you can trust me that they do actually have something to do with Tango
On a third you will think over each exercise and find the connecting thread with Tango
And on a fourth level you can identify the basic principles underlying the exercises and Tango and start exploring those principles in how your body moves generally
Lastly, on a fifth level you can acknowledge how these practices have changed your understanding of your movement, your body, yourself and your relationship with what is you and what is not you.
Etc…

You see..?

On level 5 the exercises don’t matter but at all, they can be any 7 exercise.
But guess what… level 5 doesn’t matter either if you skip all the other levels

And no no I am going to through the journey cliche at you….
You need action, you need a physical understanding of your body through movement to reach a mental and sensical understanding. We understand ourselves through movement not through mental pictures created by others externally.

So I encourage you to try these out notice what they do to your body and slowly make your way to level 5 and beyond..! But first you just have to do it!Haha

Enjoy,

Chrisa

P.S: If you want more videos like this one you can check: Don’t leave the gym yet

 

Embellishments that go beyond spicing

We’ve talked about sequences, we’ve talked about technique, we’ve talked about the embrace… so how can we possibly leave embellishments out of the game?

Many dancers look down on embellishments. They see them as fluff; as something secondary and unimportant.
Today though I will attempt to change their mind by using an embellishment to practice on:

  1. Balance
  2. Posture
  3. Timing
  4. Effortless movement
  5. Listening and connecting to our partner
Embellishments that go beyond spicing

The video is heavy on technique tips, tips on how to make this beautiful embellishment fit your dance as seamlessly as possible and tips on how to transfer the details of this experience into the rest of your dance.
So I will grab the opportunity to elaborate more on the hidden message of the video… which is NOT Intelligent Tango…haha… but the relationship that can be created between partners because of this and many other embellishments

When the specific embellishment is successful and spicy, there is a feeling of a slight delay in the pivot. It is not really a delay but a change in rhythm.
Here is why…
The leader drives the pivot BUT it is the follower’s free leg the comes rapping around first and then the actual pivot happens.
So leaders… it feels like your follower is stuck… but THAT stickiness will create the momentum, the power that we want for the embellishment to come to light!

How do we mess this up…
The followers are either exaggerating, slowing the pivot down and/ or they are not using the embrace to let their partner know they want to do something fancy with their feet.

The leaders on the other hand having not received any cue that something different is happening push their partners around because they think they got stuck on the pivot… OR if the follower did communicate her wish to do an embellishment, it is very likely that the leader didn’t hear it…

Tango is a partner’s dance

I heard me say it the beginning of the video as well.
I was thinking of doing a practice on embellishments but I wasn’t really sure which one to choose and how to structure the practice so we get massive knowledge from it.
So when one of my students of Intelligent Tango told how delighted he was by the support built in the program, that was gave me the idea to structure around which I structured the video.

In Tango we are building up a conversation and yet I clearly remember taking women’s technique classes where the teacher would focus almost exclusively on how to keep the action on the feet; how we block what we do with our feet from getting transmitted to our partner.
Why..?
So we won’t disturb the leader…

You can imagine what happened afterwards right?
Frustraaaation! haha

Followers trying to do embellishments without giving any indication to the leader that they are attempting an extra movement.
And leaders complaining that they didn’t know where the follower was and that they felt disconnected because of the embellishments
But the followers came back at them with: “You don’t give any time to do an embellishment!”

Unfortunately the leaders are right on this one…
How do expect for someone to give time for an embellishments when they don’t know you want to do one…?
If you don’t communicate with your leaders, they can’t possibly know you even need more time..!

Tango is a partners dance and there is needs to more than I give you the lead and you do it.
There needs to be support and understanding from both ends.
And for that to happen we both need to use the embrace not only to share a message but also listen to what our partner is telling us and provide comfort.

How can we practice on that through this embellishment
  1. Start with doing simple forward ochos–NO embellishment and notice the rhythm
  2. Add the embellishment and notice the change in rhythm
  3. After figuring out the rhythm and the footwork, focus on what the rest of the body is doing
  4. Do it against the wall and notice how the pressure in your hands is changing
  5. Use your breath to relax any tension you might be holding
  6. Practice both plain ochos and ochos with an embellishment with your partner. If you are a follower make sure that you let your leader know you are going to do the embellishment and if you are leader listen for the cue
  7. Share feedback with your partner and try again

Tango like any dance is based on communication. We all dance to share something with someone. We need therefore to find ways to practice becoming better in listening and in sharing!

3 exercises for balanced, smooth, successful enrosques

Enrosques..!
One word… Many many many sighs! haha

So many leaders have written and asked for ways to practice enrosques. They love the way they look, so powerful and yet so elegant BUT they get stuck when trying to do them…

If that is YOU… here is a video that can lead you to smooth, elegant, successful enrosques

As you can see you will get 3 exercises that follow a natural progression to enrosques, but before you get started, I want to encourage you take a few moments to consider which of the 3 elements that make enrosques tough–alignment, coordination and timing–you experience the most difficulty with.

Of course they are all related BUT try to detect which is the primary source of your trouble. This way you will have a:

  1. point to focus on
  2.  metric to track your progress. Meaning, if your timing is off for example, you can compare from practice to practice how your timing has improved
But don’t stop there… Take things further

There are 2 very important concepts that can be revealed and explored through enrosques. Concepts that are  vital forTango!

  1.  Coordination Vs Disassociation
    I think I have said this before…I hate disassociation as a word, because it transmits a very distorted message about how the body was built to move.For EFFICIENT, EFFORTLESS movement you need the different parts of the body to move supporting each other, in relation to one another and NOT as separate blocks!So making this practice about the communication between the upper and lower body, will be vital for your Tango. And enrosques are a great opportunity because they make it obvious
  2. Yielding.
    There is a power game being played in Tango that sometimes is needed BUT most of the times is useless and even dangerous as it creates a lot of tension in the body.I am sure you have heard of the cue: “Don’t collapse. Push into the floor”
    Try to do that with enrosques and you WILL feel stuck!Rigidity, hardness, pushing- pulling is NOT always the answer. Yielding, on the other hand, through the standing side, releasing tension, without collapsing towards the floor. Responding to gravity, by building a relationship of give and take, of understanding YOUR weight and how it reaches the earth, THAT can help you feel balanced, aligned and FREE to move.

    This is the 2nd vital element for Tango, but enrosques really bring it to light!

Have fun! Send me your questions and Tango trouble and remember Bautanz subscribers enjoy so much more weekly… What are you waiting for..? haha
😉
Chrisa

More on ochos, pivots etc, check out this page: https://bautanz.com/argentine-tango-technique/argentine-tango-technique-ochos/

 

Rhythm, music and style in your ochos & boleos

Yesterday we talked about musicality in the walk, so today I wanted us to dig a little bit deeper into capturing the essence of the music. And we will be using ochos and boleos to do that.

It is not though a video on technique. But a video on flavour, taste, and style…

Why did I choose ochos and boleos..?

First of all they are a vital part of Tango, especially ochos.
The main reason though was that they come as a package with so many rules, do’s-and-dont’s and styles that the more we learn the more frustrated we get…!

Look at the beginning of this video for example…
Yes it is me…unfortunately…haha

Look at that  grim expression on my face… You can actually see what is going on in my head…

  1. Keep the body to your partner
  2. Hips stay square
  3. Hold that posture
  4. Step-and-turn (put a robotic voice to this…)

Who wants to be dancing like that?!?!
I look awful! It looks like I am doing military service here…  hahaha

Thank fully I didn’t stop practising…

What am I doing differently, in that second part..?

Firstly, even though in the first video I am focused, you can see I am not in the movement, I am in my head thinking about the “should”, “could”, “would”…
Compared to the second video, that I am in the moment, commited to the movement

Secondly, my whole body is participating in the movement. The ochos are more about connection and upper-and-lower body dialog than disassociation.

That is exactly what I meant yesterday when I said that if you leave all the work to the legs, you will never stop feeling like a robot.
In order to have an effortless, efficient, enjoyable dance, your whole body needs to be active.
And in order to be able to FEEL, embody the music, you need to allow your whole body to move, to dance, like I am doing in the second part of the video.

Thirdly, I am matching the energy, the style, the dynamics and the feeling of the ochos with that of the boleos.
This, interestingly enough is a big issue for followers…
How are we supposed to do a boleo?
Where should I place my knee?
How powerful should it be… etc etc

Good boleos come from a good ochos, those two are intimately connected!
So find THAT connection first and then the right boleo will come out of it. All the 3 boleo versions you can see in the video are correct, so you can use either one depending on the energy, the music, your mood, the space etc

Choosing between techniques

Because I know that many of you will see this video and think: “But MY teacher says your ochos shoule be like this… and your boleos have to be like so…”

I don’t care what your teacher says… And you know why?
Because your teacher is probably correct!

This video is not here to prove your teacher right or wrong though. This is not the issue…
The issue here is to encourage you to try different techniques, different ideas, different styles… And most importantly to get your whole body moving, to get your WHOLE BODY dancing!

Then and only then you will be able to fully express yourselves, through movement.  You will be able to attempt a taste of the different styles of Tango, and choose the one that feels better for you depending on the music, who you are dancing with, your mood etc.
This way every dance will be a special experience for you and your partners.

The scariest question of the video…

Is this going to take 2 YEARS?
hahaha

It is true… THIS is how long it took me AND I practised every day for 2 hours A DAY.
You can imagine how frustrating that must have been. You can actually see the frustration in my face, in the 2015 video… its insane!

But you don’t have to go through that for 2 years…

You don’t have to make the same mistakes I made, you can actually save yourselves some frustration and anguish by practising a lot smarter, with the right material, sequenced in the proper way, here at bautanz.com by subscribing to this page and getting more goodies and Tango tips on your email weekly

Or through joining Intelligent Tango– the course,  where I have sellected the best exercises from my practice and I have sequenced them for you: https://bautanz.com/intelligent-tango-programs-and-courses/

Hope to see you there,
Chrisa