Posts Tagged: embrace

Scapula Affecting Posture and Embrace

Are your scapula affecting your posture and your embrace?

I am convinced that the form of our bodies, our auto-body-graphy, really shapes how we dance and also how we teach dance. If I am tall or short or wide or whatever will greatly impact how I move. It will also have an affect on how I embrace. We know that there could be other factors influencing embrace but what I want to talk about today is a phenomenon that I see and experience in Tango, which is a posture with scapula close together.

Where / what are your scapula?

They are the lovely triangular shaped bones on your back that are your “wings”! They connect your upper arm (humerus) to your clavicle.

The shoulder girdle is very dynamic and complex. Just take a moment to imagine all the different things you can do with this part of your body. Attaching to the arms and sliding along the ribcage (at your back) they assist in so many different actions: pushing, pulling, lifting, throwing, carrying, holding. Yes, those actions are done with your arms but try them and see if you can feel your scapula moving too. They move when you shrug, possibly deeply sigh, if you’re cold and your shoulders move to your ears … you get the picture!

Shoulders Back

So for the sake of “good posture” people have lifted their chest – thrusting their ribs forward and forcing the shoulders back, pinching the scapulae. There are about 17 different muscles that attach to the scapula allowing for the movement in your shoulder girdle: allowing you to “stand up straight”, “stop slouching”, “pull your shoulders back”. Yes, culture helps to shape us too! So how does this affect our dancing? Happy you asked!

What I have been feeling with some leaders and followers is that with the scapula pinching or moving towards each other, the arms pull me into them or the arms are not being used at all, which leaves me trying to find my place in this embrace that is not a circle and leaves me being pushed. I guess one way to counteract would be to assume the same position and push back into my leader but this would, as I say in the video below, would put me in a position to greatly damage my spine and other muscles as well as put extra pressure into my other joints, as in my knees. Not to mention being off axis.

Again, the most efficient use of the body is one that doesn’t stress it and uses it dynamically. I’m not advocating dancing one way but if the one way is 1) causing you pain or your partner pain 2) is not allowing you to execute figures dynamically and efficiently, well, maybe there’s a better way!

Here’s my video blog. Let me know your thoughts! Leave me your comments and discoveries!

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Lovely Portugal

Wow! my dear readers! I spent a lovely week in Portugal and am intoxicated by the experience so much so that I want to return!
There was some tango as most of my visits to places are created through tango connections, so this one was no different. And yet, so different!!!
Maybe it was the sunshine, maybe it was the delicious coffee (to this barely-ever-drinks-coffee person), maybe it was the hills and the streets, and the smell and the food and the friendly people? I just don’t know but it all left me buzzing for more.
I taught 2 lovely classes in Porto to generous and patient students.
I, who do not have a sweet tooth (no gluten or dairy for this lady), fell in love with Pudim S. Bernardo: like rays of sunshine they called to me – egg yolks and sugar – heaven, a total foodgasm! Who knew!!!
I danced at several milongas and met a colleague and tango organizer who had recommended a student to me in Arizona!! So the internet does work, Adam recommended me back in September 2006!!!! And we finally met and danced a few tandas!!!
I do have one tango reminder – don’t assume a position and dance from there, you are dynamic beings – let your embrace create your space, let your embrace determine your position!

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How to Hug a Giant in the Living Room Session 2

Daniela and SarahI can’t tell you how much I am loving these Living Room Sessions! The last one we embraced (!) was all about the abrazo but from a biomechanical and energetic perspective. How do we hug a giant? As with all the Living Room Sessions, my goal is not to tell you how to do “it” but to give you the tools and body knowledge to increase your own tool box to improve what you want to intelligently.

We moved along a voluminous framework that included exercises in expansion through breath; we took a brief look at the anatomy of the shoulder girdle, all those moving parts, and into some exercises to open up and increase attention to this area; I shared concepts from my wise Maestra Graciela about putting awareness into our hands; and finally embracing with our new found tools. When we increase our breadth of knowledge and realize how expansive and profoundly we can embrace it builds our confidence and changes our dancing too.

I think there is a bit of fear in our embraces. We don’t want to be too hard, too soft, too heavy, too light, too one sided, too grabby, too not enough… Sometimes we see an embrace we like and we try to copy it, hoping that it will give us the desired results. In a small setting like these Living Room Sessions, there is time to hear thoughts and to share experiences as well as to explore ideas of what might work better or feel better. And then with tools based more in your anatomy you can take them into “the field” and try them out dancing.Susanne and Veronica hug

Thank you to all the ladies who came to share this experience. Thank you for being open and for sharing this time with me. Thanks Susanne! We are planning the next session.

In the meantime:
7-9 October 2016 Tangueras: leading following dancing
Join Daniela Feilcke-Wolff and me for a fun intensive 12 hour all women’s dancing weekend + Women’s milonga in Berlin.

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Embracing Connection

Embracing is your connection!

A Chilean living in Amsterdam, A Norwegian, an Argentine living in Nice, A Portuguese and me, an American living in Berlin all dancing tango in the same place! This is only one of my European experiences …..and it reminded me of this email message from a dear student who asks:

Would you consider discussing strategies for facilitating forming connection with tango partners within the short span of a typical tanda? I was dancing recently with a leader who made this observation: “You’re like me, it takes a while for you to relax and connect with your partner.”
Often, I feel like I’m just figuring it out when the tanda ends and I have to start the process all over! Is this normal? Does it improve over time, or?

I love this email. And here’s my answer:

I bring all my tools with me that I have learned up until now on how to be a follower. And I think the most important one is to embrace honestly and really embrace. I immediately hear my dear Maestra, Graciela Gonzalez’s voice in my head, ENTREGARSE. The woman has to give herself over to the leader, by really placing trust from that first embrace.

During my recent visit to Budapest I was conversing with one of their lovely local teachers, Bela Barabas, and he said, I like how you really fit into my embrace. The idea that he embraces me and I situate myself with him. Versus, a static idea of how I will embrace him. (or entering into the embrace the same way with everyone.)

I have some physical things I do to attempt to find that connection from the very first moment. I start inside my body first – I imagine my legs deeply rooted into the floor and from the floor I create an imaginary circle up to my arms that are reaching into the embrace and both sides of my back in the embrace reach, as if they could reach completely around my partner, and they connect into the embrace with him, I continue my circle of energy above and around him as I grow a little taller diagonally but still maintain my grounded-ness into the floor. My circle is transmitting information to my partner about where my legs are and that I am ready. I might inhale into my back space, as I call it – I inhale and allow my back to fill his embrace, his container that he has provided for me. I am meeting my partner where he is. And I give him opportunity to find me where I am.

It all is in the embrace 🙂 So Embrace!

See you at the FALL WORKSHOPS in SCOTTSDALE

To sign up for a private lesson please go to this google doc link click here

 

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The Most Exciting, Sexy, Hottest Moment in Argentine Tango!

About a year ago I found myself at a festival, being introduced to another dancer from somewhere down south (and to protect his identity we’ll keep it like that!). And this introduction had the implication that we would dance at some point that evening. The pressure was on then… This always makes me a little uneasy. He was introduced to me, he didn’t choose me and I didn’t choose him either! What if he really didn’t want to dance with me at all? I didn’t get to see him dance. Dancing with someone new is part of what tango is all about but an introduction can sometimes backfire as there is a feeling of pressure on both parts.

Little did I know that this person would set a precedence for tango dances to come.

So the time came for us to dance. I don’t remember whether in the end it was a cabeceo or we were just at the right place at the right time at the same time but however it went, we headed to the dance floor. I stood in front of this partner, and as we waited for the music to beginanother embrace there was little of the usual chit chat. The music began, he placed both of his hands gently and firmly on my ribs, and he waited, listening intently to the music or maybe to my heart that began racing in anticipation. His slow approach into the embrace transported me to memories of watching a black and white movie and scoffing at the idea that women actually swooned. I think I could have swooned in that moment from the anticipation and the excitement of this preclude. From his hands on my ribs his right arm continued its journey along my back and his left arm found my right arm hanging by my side as he gradually passed his hand along my forearm until he found my hand in his. Next thing I knew we were embracing and moving together in this passionate dance that was reignited for me in that moment.

Phew! just thinking about it makes me long for that focus-filled attentive embrace again.

How do you embrace? Are you anxious to jump into someone’s arms? Do you miss out on the WHOLE experience? And incidentally he is one of my most favorite dancers and a delicious embrace like that helps his rankings!

 

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