Tag Archives: bet on your strengths

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

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