Monday, 30 January 2012

Walking Tip no 1. Check your posture and balance every time you enter the embrace

Here's the first tip in the series '6 Walking Tips for Argentine Tango':

Good posture and balance helps you to relax, gives you strength, and makes it easier to connect with your partner and enjoy the dance.
  • Weight in the middle of your feet while you take the embrace. Positioning your weight in this way will allow you to relax more while standing, feel more grounded, and better able to invite a movement to your partner, or respond to an invitation. Try to feel your weight spread evenly across the bridge of your feet. As an exercise to find this point you can move your weight back to the heels then forward to the balls (while keeping the whole foot on the floor) and then around the outside of your feet, coming to rest in the very centre.
  • Soften your knees. By having a slight bend in your legs you will be more stable, and better able to give a solid and smooth sense of connection to your partner. It doesn't need to be much, just a couple of degrees makes a huge difference to having your legs locked straight. With this slight bend in your legs, feel how your hips have gotten a little closer to the ground, making your balance stronger.
  • Spine straight and vertical (including your neck). This will mean your chest is slightly forward. Note you are not thrusting your chest out, you are simple making your spine straight and vertical, by using your postural muscles in your trunk and across your upper back. If you're not used to using those muscles, they may ache a little at first. This it normal. Visualize a line between your bellybutton and your solar-plexus and try to lengthen it. Now imagine there is a string attached to the crown of your head, pulling you gently upward, elongating and straightening your spine. Take relaxed breaths while you feel your spine lengthening in this way. If you can, use a mirror to check how straight and vertical your back is, then walk while keeping your back in that position. There is a natural curvature to the spine, and the idea is to not eliminate it, but rather to find a strong and stable upright posture.
  • Relax your shoulders and set them back and down. This is actually also the strongest position for them to be in, and will help you stay relaxed and dance for longer. When you have tension in your shoulders your partner can feel it (and anyone watching can probably also see it).
  • Floating head. Position your head so that it is balanced perfectly above your shoulders. You should feel a sense of lightness at this position. Keeping your head balanced in this way, and not letting it tilt forward, will also help your shoulders to stay relaxed and avoid neck ache from long dancing sessions.
  • Elbows facing down and in front of your body, as you get ready to enter the embrace. This helps to maintain connection with your partner and keep your shoulder-blades in a comfortable and strong position, i.e. down, not sticking out.

Tomorrow's tip: 'Check Your Embrace'.

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