Tag Archives: forward steps in tango

Spiral–Defining our humanity

If you had the opportunity to practice with me on Wednesday you probably noticed that a big part of the class was about this wave-like, this spiral movement our body follows when walking that can help us transition smoothly to ochos.

The spiral as an experience

I wanted to share some extra information on the idea behind this practice and a few extra videos that you can practice with.
The idea behind all this is the defining element of the spiral.
The spiral is not just some random shape that happens to appear in certain parts of the body. It is not just a shape that allows for efficiency of movement.
The spiral is our existence, it is literally our DNA. And DNA being the carrier of hereditary material it is experience!
The spiral in this way exists in our every move from our cells to our highest boleos!

Therefore, finding the spiral in your movement, even in the ones that look fairly straight, will heighten your awareness of your movement and it will energize your whole body with it’s vibrancy.

An important characteristic: progressive wholeness

When picturing a spiral of any type, we associate it, and rightfully so, with continuous energy. However, I would like to add to that and say that there is also the element of progressive wholeness
A spiral always moves switching between condensing and expanding, with continuous transition between the two and a continuous coexistence.
Try to feel the movement through your body when you walk and when you ocho–in the latter it is of course more evident–as a transition and coexistence of condensing and expanding. Instead of thinking how each muscle body part should move try to feel whole. And specifically a wholeness deriving from the continuous flow of the spiral and not through squeezing, pulling, pushing, holding etc.

And so to make it more specific let’s look at our practice. We explored forward and backward ochos feeling how the back and core muscles condense and expand and how one can create a different quality of movement making one or the other action (condensing-expanding) primary.
This is an excellent practice to follow if you wish to explore different Tango styles but also if you want to work on expressing yourself better on the music.

Some extra resources

Ok! Lets see videos to practice on all of this:

In the Spine:

In the psoas:

A brief overview of the body

I hope you will enjoy aaaall of this!
And if you would like to dive deeper into all of this Session #3 of our online classes, will be a great match.
Here is the link: https://bautanz.com/intelligent-tango-programs-and-courses/online-tango-classes-live/   

ūüėČ
Chrisa

P.S: If you prefer Facebook here is the link to our Live practice: https://www.facebook.com/bautanz/videos/2679043972416304/

Music: sensing, feeling and action

“There are many elements involved, all concerned with the perception, decoding and synthesis of sound and time and thus there are many forms of amusia” (…) “A.L Benton distinguishes receptive from interpretive or performance and identifies more than a dozen varieties”
Musicophilia- Tales of Music and the Brain, pg. 106
(https://www.oliversacks.com/books-by-oliver-sacks/musicophilia/)

Based on Oliver Sacks the author of Musicophilia, there are quite a few different musicality trouble. For example, one might experience, rhythm deafness, tone deafness, cultural rhythm deafness, no sense of scale, melody or harmony, pitch discrimination, dystimbria and more…

And that is because music is not just beats per minute…

Starting from the music

Usually what happens is, we go to a class, we learn a bunch of sequences, either to no-music or on a specific song.
Then we go to the milongas but we are not able to perform these same sequences on the music, unless we are lucky enough and that one song that our teacher used in class, is played in the milonga.
That creates a feeling of emptiness, as if we didn’t really dance.

In order to address this issue, we will focus on the music itself first. So go ahead and choose any 4 songs you like, from different orchestras, and start with actively listening, trying to make sense of the music.

Making sense of the music, happens in many ways:

  • through hearing for its beat, tempo, rhythm etc
  • seeing it, usually the timbre of the music is expressed as colour
  • through taste, often times musicians when they talk about pitch they use taste-related words
  • through movement; you might catch yourself tapping your foot, or swinging the arms
  • or you might hum or sing etc

Try initially to just let all of these things happen, and make a note of them. Even if they are distasteful, don’t stop them from happening.
Be simply a witness and not a judge to the process

On a second level, we use movement to become aware of what the music feels like.
Personally, I did this like so:

Use simple, very basic movements that will not trouble you technically, to capture what the music feels like to you.

Initially, you will most likely become aware of your emotions, like feeling sad or happy, and attempt to express them through movement.

After that initial response though, try to look for the words behind those adjectives.
For example, the music might feel like a punch or a gentle touch. It might be like a total collapse or a light hop. Maybe it is epidermic or visceral.

The words will describe, how your body expresses your emotions, for example, sad could be bodily expressed through total collapse, while happy could be a light hop.

Finding the flow of the movement

The previous video will allow to notice your strengths and your weaknesses regarding perceiving and interpreting music.

Have in mind that “No one has all the talents, cognitively or emotionally. Tchaikovsky was keenly aware that his great fertility of melody was not matched by a comparable grasp of musical structure”
Musicophilia- Tales of Music and the Brain, pg. 98

This comes to say that overall we should acknowledge our weakness and bet on our strengths!
And since I am here writing an article on musicality aiming to help anyone who finds him/herself as weak in perceiving and/or interpreting music, I will suggest for this next video, that we focus on something that we all are a bit stronger in; movement; basic Tango movement.

Every move has an optimal rhythm. A rhythm that allows us to perform it efficiently and smoothly. That rhythm needs to match the rhythm of the music, for the movement to make sense, express what the music feels like and create a sense of calmness and confidence.

Taking action

You know when your teacher says: “Don’t think, just do it!”
There is a time to work with consciousness as shown in the videos above and a time when you need to act on things.

On the dance floor there is really no time to think things through, to put your conscious mind to work. On the dance floor it is the time to ACT! And hopefully you have practiced enough for that action to be successful

Sooooo after all this work, I think you deserve an extra night out, on the dance floors allowing yourself to respond, to act on the music!

But if you like more videos on musicality you can look at this page: https://bautanz.com/argentine-tango-technique/musicality/

Enjoy,
Chrisa

P.S: The title is inspired by the wonderful book written by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen: https://store.burchfieldrose.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=SFABOOK


Leader’s Technique#1: How to lead anyone…but first YOURSELF!

I am going to start with this:

THIS IS A LEADER’S TECHNIQUE EXERCISE

An EXERCISE that can help leaders, and dancers in general, connect the dots between posture and walking in Tango, and make their walks smoother and their posture a bit more human!

The most common mistake leaders make is that they tend to sepparate their bodies in even more blocks than the followers do.

What do we mean by that?
As we saw in our article¬†Posture as a movement¬†when we break our body’s movement in blocks, posture becomes uncomfortable and stiff. When we consciously try to connect the dots and understand how our body naturally moves more efficiently, we manage to get a posture that is a lot smoother and enjoyable.

What happens with leaders when they try to better their leader’s technique.?
They disconnect the movement in their upper body from the movement in the lower and that causes trouble..!

Leader’s technique through Youtube..!

What? Are you calling me a blashphemer?
haha

No no..It is not what you are thinking..!
Plus don’t tell me you never watch youtube tango videos…

I want you to see this videos Juan Carlos Copes & Maria Nieves¬†especially at 1:53. Notice how he leads her into that back step…
Watch it many many times and you will see that there is a simultaneous movement between his upper body and his lower body. And not a sequencial or block-like motion of: Upper. Lower

Notice how he smoothly transitions from side step into a forward step.
Even if you practice just this in your leader’s technique practices or classes you will become much more aware of your movement, and therefore much more connected with your partner.

Because if you can’t lead yourself into a step how are you going to lead somebody else.

Leader’s Technique: How to lead anyone and firstly…Yourself!

If you can’t smoothly take yourself in a walk how can you lead somebody else?

If you watch that part of the video above closely enough you will notice that the primary part of the body directing Juan Carlos Copes’ movement is, the pelvis.
He starts moving the pelvis and takes the movement into the body and legs.
If you didn’t notice that, because it IS subtle, go back and watch the video again

How can you practice this, since it is so subtle?
The problem with subtle movements and especially subtle movements that our body is used to doing them automatically–like walking forward–is that the more you think about them, the more robotic and frustrated you get.

Instead of doing that we will exaggerate that subtle movement and notice how the whole body is participating, is supporting that movement.

So here is the video:¬†Intelligent Tango: Leader’s technique

One second…what is that intro?
That intro is for your followers to understand that just giving feedback is not enough…
Giving good quality feedback–not necessarily positive– is much more helpful and a lot less frustrating.
It is also to show you leaders that you can’t depend on another person’s feedback. It is their interpretation of your lead.
Therefore, practice with a partner BUT at the same time have a few minutes of solo leader’s technique exercises, like this one, to be able to understand the movement in YOUR body and not through your partner’s interpreatation.

Have fun!
Chrisa

P.S: I am sorry about the watermark, I have been
trying to see how camtasia works before purchasing it. The sound and picture seems quite good though right?