Category Archives: Tango practice

Ochos–Realign from toe to HEAD

Ochos are tough… PERIOD.
From a tiny traveling pivot to a huge big back ocho leading to a giro… Ochos make us suffer…!

We loose our balance, we stiffen up, we get stuck, our partner has to push and pull us…
And the most frustrating thing of all, is that we are practicing them…!
It is not like we are sitting around complaining:
BooHoohoo! I can’t do ochos…
We ARE practicing … Only it doesn’t seem to be working…

Why, why, why?!?!? haha

The greatest misconception that is holding you back

“I need to strengthen my core to get better balance” Many People

No, you DON’T!
And I am NOT sorry  to have to break the news to you. They are  overall great news!

Doing core work WITHOUT tending to body misalignment— don’t worry, we all have them—will unfortunately have no positive effect to your balance and it might actually have a negative one, if the work you are doing is creating more tension than muscle work.

The GREAT news are that if you focus on the skill of alignment and the skill of balancing muscles, bones and energy in your body, you WILL be more balanced AND get some core conditioning in the mean time.

And as the great Bill Boomer has said: “Conditioning is something that happens to you while you build, refine and imprint a skill”

Can I do that through Tango?

Absolutely! You can do that through Tango, using a fundamental element of Tango, the ochos.

Here is a video on how you can work on realigning your body and strengthening your balance by using, what ballet dancers call spotting!

In the video, you will see that I have included some of the most common mistakes dancers make regarding the alignment of the head.
I want you to DO those very mistakes, in your first few practices, following this video!

Why?
Because most of us as we are learning Tango, or anything else for that matter, we are simply trying to do what the teacher tells us without knowing what that physically means.
Only think of how many times you’ve heard your teacher saying: “You are too far forward” and you are looking around wondering: “Is he talking to me?” haha

What I am suggesting you do instead, is go through them, exaggerate them, create discomfort so you can feel the relief when your head realigns..! 😉

This is one of the many exclusive videos I shared with the Bautanz community during the month of December, and there is more exclusive content sent out every week. If therefore you want in, the only thing you really need to do is subscribe!

Hope to see you inside and if you want more on Ochos you can visit Ochos, how can you make them better

Chrisa

If you are looking for some extra info, on balance, to feed your inner movement geek… 😉

“In biomechanics, balance is an ability to maintain the line of gravity (vertical line from centre of mass) of a body within the base of support with minimal postural sway.[1] (…)

Maintaining balance requires coordination of input from multiple sensory systems including the vestibular, somatosensory, and visual systems.[3]

  • Vestibular system: sense organs that regulate equilibrium (equilibrioception); directional information as it relates to head position (internal gravitational, linear, and angular acceleration)
  • Somatosensory system: senses of proprioception and kinesthesia of joints; information from skin and joints (pressure and vibratory senses); spatial position and movement relative to the support surface; movement and position of different body parts relative to each other
  • Visual system: Reference to verticality of body and head motion; spatial location relative to objects” Wikipedia

And if you are wondering who is this Bill Boomer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Boomer

Ready to CRUSH 2018, on the dance floors?

via GIPHY

!HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Have you set up your dance resolutions yet for 2018?
If not, why don’t we all boldly state: we are going to CRUSH 2018?!?!

You think I am joking?
Let me tell you, I am dead serious!

I know I am not dancing as much as I used and as much as I would like to dance… And unfortunately, we all know there are many people like me around

It might be because of the winter— I hate the cold, it makes me miserable.
Or the economy, it is true, things are getting tighter as time goes by….
And some people feel they don’t really have any incentive to go out dancing— unwelcome communities, repetitive playlists, unsurprising dance invites etc etc

Think for a moment our grandparents… They lived through tougher winters, economic crisis and plenty unavoidable annoying neighbours… They were dancing way more, they were getting together a lot more… hahaha… Right?

So what happened..?

Are we a generation that doesn’t like to dance that much…?

Some people blame the big cities, some people social media but could it be that we are a generation of no- dancers..?

Let’s take a moment to look at Scientific American and their article about why people dance:

Scientists aren’t sure why we like movement so much, but there’s certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest we get a pretty big kick out of it. Maybe synchronizing music, which many studies have shown is pleasing to both the ear and brain, and movement—in essence, dance—may constitute a pleasure double play”

Interestingly enough even when you are watching someone else dance your brain’s movement areas are activated…

“(…) if you’re watching someone dance, your brain’s movement areas activate; unconsciously, you are planning and predicting how a dancer would move based on what you would do

And we can’t ignore the psychological benefits of dance.

As Psychology Today notes in this article that dance is a necessary and unavoidable human action. Humans dance because they CAN and because they NEED to.

“(…) sensory awareness that changes us. We are now the person who made that move. When such an impulse courses through us, it relates us to ourselves and our worlds in a new way. It aligns, it touches, it frees. It is dance(…)”
“(…) We humans are movement. We are the movement that is making us able to think and feel and act at all (…)”
“(…) understanding of dance as human, also provides us with ways of evaluating whether and how a given technique or tradition is helping people learn to move in life-enabling ways. (…)”
“(…)If dance and movement in general, is a vital part of what we describe as human nature, are we then doing something wrong..?(…)”

Are we missing something here..?

I think we are really missing something here…

We all love Tango, we all know and have felt the benefits of dance. And yet we don’t seek out to dance more…
Most of us won’t experience the milonga as a response to a natural calling… BUT

WHAT, the REAL Tango dancers do..! Or…
As an opportunity to practice, to get our dances in
Or possibly as a way to escape our reality

Don’t get me wrong, practicing, learning the Argentinian culture and being able to let free on the dance floor, ALL are vital elements for your progress as dancers.

On the dance floor though you DANCE, you don’t torture yourself trying to go by the rules.
You make the culture part of your life, instead of wearing like a tall-hat once a week.
Lastly, why make a milonga just a place to escape reality… When like any artistic moment it is one of the greatest opportunities for us to SHAPE reality.

This is how we CRUSH 2018!

Teachers, performers and organizers aim to create opportunities for dance to be shared with as many people as possible.

Dancers make every milonga a social hub, a true community.
One that shares and offers, that changes and evolves, that listens and observes. A community that is TRUTHFUL and OPEN and HONEST and INSPIRING!

Share your thoughts on all this even if you think it sucks..! Right here… with the  Bautanz community

Happy New Year! Lets CRUSH 2018!

Chrisa

P.S: “Be a Columbus to whole new continents within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought” Henry David Thoreau— Walden

The REAL reason people quit Tango, and how YOU can grow your passion

If you are Tango-ista, going from milonga to milonga, from festival to festival and from workshop to workshop. To quit Tango probably sounds absolutely insane to you… I am sorry you have taken a wrong “click” into this post…
This is a post for quitters really… Yes..!
So let me fast forward you to the part where I am saying how you should be practicing for better and faster results… Here you go:

And if after this you are even more fired up to get started take a look at Intelligent Tango,  the practice course I wish I had when I was building on my Tango passion..!

For the rest of you though… Why do you want to quit?

Why do you want to quit? And actually, why do people quit in general?

I mean I have talked to many different people and they all seem to have a similar problem… the COMMUNITY…

People say things like:

“leaders only want to dance with young and good looking women”
“I feel very nervous, like everyone in judging me…”
“people are too snobbish in Tango, so unwelcoming and rude”
“nobody wants to dance with me… I have been trying  so hard and still none of the good dancers will dance with me” etc etc etc

And let me add a personal note, just in case you are thinking that I am from some other planet… So I used to think that it had to do with the culture..

Yes! Apparently, in my head, the communities in Greece were more welcoming than in Toronto because of a cultural background…

That is not only rude and obnoxious, it is also the lamest excuse, and a bunch of BS, that I used to feed myself instead of putting in the work to actually fit in, meet new people and actually give something to the community.

So with all my love, it is not the community, it is YOU!

It is YOU and your mindset about social dancing, about practicing to become actually better and about sharing an EXPERIENCE with other people.

Where your mind sets, is essential in any sort of hobby you are trying to pick up and today I am going to share with you 3 mindset techniques so you can start building richer experiences on and off the dance floor:

  1. Crush the cliches
  2. Take an honesty bath
  3. Bet on your strengths
  4. Build a clever practice
1.CRUSH the cliches..!

Cliche:is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel” Wikipedia

  • Dance like nobody’s watching
  • Feel the music
  • In Tango there is one body with 4 legs
  • It takes 2 to Tango

What do these phrases mean? They say a lot and nothing at the same time, leaving more confused, and unmotivated!

Replace cliches with REAL words.  Lets give it a try…

  • Dance feeling free and creative. Express yourself through movement with confidence. Don’t give a damn about what other people think
  • LISTEN intently. Spend a lot of time mapping out the song in your mind and body.
    [Check this video out: https://youtu.be/i7YX85leP1Y]
  • Be part of a TRUE partnership, where two partners come together to create something beautiful. Share responsibility!
  • Practice to prepare yourself to be THERE for your partner.

Real words will take you out of the complaining gutter and show you what you need to do next.

Here is a powerful technique that you can use right NOW to replace cliches:

Close your eyes and picture something you consider beautiful–non Tango related.
It can be a follower or a Christmas tree or a beach. Anything you find beautiful.
Focus your mind to its details, at such a level that you can feel as if that thing is right there next to you. Don’t quit before you can see every little details, until you can reach out and grab it.

Share the details either with your partner or with yourself in any form–verbal or written

Close your eyes again and now picture YOUR ideal Tango image, again in every detail.
See yourself in the way you wish to be seen. Feel how you wish to be feeling. Move in the way you wish to be moving.
Don’t judge yourself. Don’t think how you will make there. Only create that Ideal image.

Share those details, without leaving anything out, be REAL!
How did you look, how did you feel?

Examples: “I saw myself in bright red dress, doing a giro. The form wasn’t fully structured, instead it looked like me and my partner where forming the yin and yang. I felt free, able to share and ready to receive, balanced and secure. And having a lot of fun” J

REAL words paint GREATER pictures!

2. Take an honesty bath

Especially when we are at an intermediate level, we have a feeling that we are in fact AWESOME! haha

At this stage your ego is your biggest enemy.
“The ego-dog at it’s own door is like a lion” Rumi

The best way to win over ego is to take a reality bath… A video… Of yourself…  Practicing or dancing…

Sit back… Aaaaaand let reality hit you!

Look at the video as if it wasn’t your own. Look at yourself as if it was a stranger dancing. See how you really are, and don’t offer any excuses to yourself.

Now don’t take action right away. Instead, sit down consider your flaws and acknowledge your strengths.

You don’t want to be like one of those people who rush into action and then get discouraged with the first hiccup.
You see people like that all the time… Every January for example they rush to the gym only to give up on February..! haha

Don’t be like those people, this is what you do instead:

  1. Indentify what the problem ACTUALLY is
  2. Find the source of the problem
  3. Build a sustainable AND enjoyable practice to fix it

Sources to help out with this task:
How you have made your Tango struggles worse
And
Build your ideal dance mindset

3. Bet on your Strengths

So many people will tell you the opposite: practice to correct and fix your flaws…

But I will ask you this: How would you know you are going in the right direction if you have no point of reference?

via GIPHY

That is you right now, right? hahaha

Enough walking in the dark, START FROM YOUR STRENGTHS!

Start working on things you are actually good at. Things you KNOW you are doing correctly. From things that make you feel GOOD! Quadriple on them, and then address your flaws… this way you have an experience to compare your correcting actions to.

For example: Say your walks are great. You feel in control but not tensed, you have a nice steady flow to your walk and you really feel connected while doing them. On the other hand, when you are doing your ochos, you feel stuck, tensed and unbalanced.

This is how you should structure your practice:

  1. 3 quarters of your time you work on your walks( so from 1 hour: 45mins you do walks)
  2. Pay attention and grab all the details that make your walks so GREAT
  3. 1 quarter of your time, you work on your ochos
  4. After you start noticing a shift in how your ochos are feeling ADD on some more practice time to ochos.

This way you enhance your strengths and you use them to correct your flaws.
You have measurables; How many great ochos, can I do today
And you can control your practice, so you can STOP before your technique fails you

4. Build a smart practice

If you are ready to become the dancer you know you can be…
JOIN US!
Subscribe to bautanz.com and lets practice together!
I don’t just share exercises and drills but also mindset technique, tips on social skills and much much more

I hope to talk to you soon!

Chrisa

Special thanks for the guidance to: Tim Ferriss Michael Gervais Eric Ripert Terry Laughlin