Posts Tagged: tango coaching

A Great Technique Class

On Sunday I conducted a technique class that was nicely attended by ladies from the Austin community. I am really enjoying my time in the Austin tango scene – Austinites are very friendly and this carries into the tango world as well.

Sharing technique and body mechanics to receptive and eager dancers is such a pleasure. I am seeing that there is a desire to understand the dance at a more profound level so having a forum for that is very rewarding for me as a teacher.

I remember when I first started dancing tango some female dancers in a class asked a adornos 1male visiting teacher whether ladies should practice anything alone to improve their dancing. His response was very clear, he believed no, that the dance is a couples dance and should focus there. I remember agreeing with him at the time because I think he was trying to stress the obvious importance of the couple, their connection, and the mechanics of how to make Tango work: how to lead, how to follow. After all it does take two as we know! My how times change and how 10+years can change my mind!

Now I find great value in studying my own body mechanics for tango, knowing that I need to understand something about my own body first, before I share it with someone else. I see this in my students as well. I like taking time in all my classes to have dancers find their own bodies before spending time connecting with partners.

In Sunday’s class, during the hour of drills, I spoke about the followers’ pivotability or pivotness. I speak of this both in The Tango Workbook and in my classes. The follower has to know that she has the ability to create a pivot, yes, generated from the lead but manifested in her standing leg. The pivots are also easier when the knee of that pivoting leg is soft or a bit bent. She controls her standing / working leg. It was great to take the time with the dancers to dissect the movements.

Remember, a coach can always help remind you of how the body can work more efficiently and that you can continue to work on the technique both alone and inside your tango embraces. Tango Coaching – love it!

Thanks Austin for a great class! We’ll do a similar repeat class on March 15th!


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Tango Coaching

This weekend Rommel and I were in Flagstaff and Sedona teaching. We had a wonderful time as always. I enjoy just how friendly everyone is and how willing they are to share their experiences and their eagerness to learn.

As a part of the weekend we conducted a 3 hour coaching session in Sedona for  5 couples. We were told ahead of time that what their core group needed and wanted was some very specific guidance and some 1 on 1 time for corrections.

Rommel and I created a 3 hour session for them beginning with simple bare bones exercises and some revealing connection exercises then building to each couple picking the 1 thing in their dancing that they would like to address in front of the group. “What’s your beef?” We framed this session by asking the couples to show and to keep the language as factual as possible as we all know that there is always 2 truths, 1 for each person.

We were able to dig deeply and to address each couple’s “annoyance”. These range of “annoyances” I feel are very common in tango: the molinete, the embrace, back ochos, working on the closed side of the embrace, and stopping the follower where and when the leader wants to!

Do any of these ring true for you in your dancing?Sculpture of Embrace

For this courageous and hard working group, we were able to hone in on the leaders right arm, the “bucket handle”, the “regulator”, the “fence”, the “gate keeper”… all the affectionate words that we have given to this particular part of the embrace. We spent some time speaking about the relationship of the elbow in connecting to the follower in the embrace. Remember that if the leader raises that right elbow there is now more space for the follower to creep into and if that elbow is positioned more to the side of the body or even more towards the back of the body, the follower will be hanging out there too. This side of the embrace usually forms based on comfort, the shape and how comfortable the follower is when she is in the embrace, also how much tension is in the leaders pecs probably also plays a part. Correcting it also seems to be very challenging and practically unique to each couple. How much tension does there need to be in this side of the embrace was also addressed. As the nicknames suggest, there needs to be enough tone in that side to assist in keeping the follower where the leader would like her to be and within range, meaning with relationship to the leaders body.

I do not want to get into a discussion about the wide varieties of leads through this leaders right arm but there does need to be clear information transmitted through that appendage!

Working with this group also put all the tiny details of creating back ochos into a spotlight! And as we know there is cause and effect at play, all those things you learn in a lesson go out the window for the follower if she is struggling with her embrace or connection to her leader in those back ochos. Understanding the relationship of the leader to the follower in the timing of the ochos definitely helps the mechanics of the movement. The relationship of the followers pivot to the leader, the relationship of the leaders step to the followers as well. It is a constant informational circuit between leader and follower. Giving and receiving and giving information throughout the dance.

I am looking forward to more tango coaching sessions in the near future. Let me know if you and your partner would like to be a part of the next coaching session.

Thanks to those dancers in Sedona – keep dancing!

And for those of you who will be in town – come join me and a new batch of dancers on February 4th from 11am – 1pm for the First Practica at Plaza de Anaya World Fusion Studio in Tempe. Rommel and I will be there to answer questions and to assist in your practice.
Plaza de Anaya is located at 524 W Broadway Rd Suite 107, Tempe AZ 85282
Practica fee $7





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