Posts Tagged: tango embrace

Connection and “Where are you”?

Boston Commons 2013

Saying Cool Beantown Style

Hello Tango Friends from the humidity of the northeast!

“But it’s not the humidity, it’s the heat”. No wait, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity that kills ya'”. Anyway, either way, not moving is producing puddles around me as I type. I am in air conditioning but it doesn’t seem to matter! But really, I am not complaining, I am enjoying my vacation in Boston, visiting old friends, favorite restaurants, discovering new ones, walking all over the place, listening to live music, it’s great! I even dropped in on a milonga.

It was a 3 tanda night for me (in a 1.5 hour window). It was nice to dance with new people. There was 1 particular tanda that made me want to write this blog. As I was describing my evening to another tango dancer (not in the same city) their first reaction was, “if the embrace isn’t clear, the connection can’t be and then neither one of you know where the other is. He can’t find you, you can’t find him”. Yep! it’s true! Now mind you, it wasn’t a bad tanda. The music was great, the AC was cranked, he was sweet, but it felt as if I was having a first date with a guy with a heavy brogue.

As I stood in front of him waiting for the music to start the scenario in my head went like this:
Ok he’s coming towards me to embrace me, no wait. Ok I put my right hand in his. O wait. Maybe he didn’t want that ‘cuz he just looked at it dramatically. Gee. I’m getting nervous. I’ll just put my left arm around his back. Oh, no,  yes, no. Ok. we are embracing. NO he moved his right arm from around my back to my shoulder blade. So we’re not ready. He starts to move at the same time but wait, I moved my left arm because he moved his right arm. Then he stops moving mid step. Are we readjusting? Why are we stopped. The music is still playing.
I think most of the tanda was like this. Every time he readjusted his arm I took that as a message that he wanted to do something that might require me to readjust myself in his arms.

I think by the 3rd song we started to be able to speak the same dialect! Mind you, it wasn’t unpleasant. It just reminded me that we do our best, to focus on the dance at hand, in the moment, being present, connecting with that person. Being responsible for my part in the outcome of that tanda….

So fun!

So go practice your connection and your embrace tonight at Practicando!
Rommel is teaching class from 7 – 8:30pm and then practice is until 10pmish. All happens at SNAP at 4425 N Granite Reef Road Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Raffle for wine at 9:30pm.

See you in a few weeks!!

Read more

Necking? or are you a chin jutter?

My students will often ask me when we start working with the embrace, “where do I put my head?” And this is such a great question. In our desire to have the cuddly tango feel inside the embrace we often sacrifice our posture beginning specifically with the head. I see it in followers who reach their necks to search for the leader’s cheek or the leaders who cock their heads either towards or away from the follower to the same end. I used to be one of those followers, jutting my chin forward to get just a little closer to my partner.

Ouch says her neck

Ouch says her neck

Ouch says both their necks

Ouch says both their necks

Besides being out of alignment it’s disrupting proper functioning of the organization of my cervical spine. What to do?


Graciela had 1 image for followers that I have worked with and now with my Restorative Exercise Specialist (TM) training that I am doing, it all ties in. Don’t squash your neck vertebra. Graciela’s image that I adopted, that some of you have probably heard me say before is “the fountain”. The idea starts farther down the body but the ending image is that there is water that shoots out the top of your head – if you aim your head correctly you will shoot water over your partner and not get yourself wet. I know that Homer & Christina have been heard to say “nose back”. And in the end if none of those work for you just consider dropping your chin. I think this works effectively for leaders as well.

When you get into your embrace consider your person and your alignment in relation to the other person. As opposed to reaching for them with your head or neck. Arms are made for reaching, touching, embracing, not the face…

Just right!

Just Right!

In proper alignment we want to have our ears in line with our shoulder. Or imagine your head like a ball and roll it so you are looking down and placing your chin on your chest (if you can get it there) then roll it back. So next time you get into embrace don’t be so eager to snuggle, take your time and go for long necks and proper placement. Your body will thank you over the long run.

Thanks to my models: Acacia, Ganesh, Tyler

REMEMBER: Leader and Follower technique class this Saturday!

Read more

“El Abrazo” – student’s reflection

Some of you may know that by teaching at the University I often have between 40 – 80 students per semester in my tango classes.  I teach 2 levels of Tango at Arizona State University. They are both credit courses which means I have a curriculum and grading.  I have wanted to post some of the great things my students do and say as part of this blog and so I start today with the following post.  I often ask my students to discuss different Tango aspects and / or concepts.  Here is one response from this semester, regarding the embrace:

The Argentine Tango embrace is the most caring embrace. So many things are happening in the embrace. Starting with the leader holding the hand of the follower. So many places in society we see people holding hands. Mothers and Fathers holding their child’s hand, protecting them, guiding them, and showing them the world; lovers holding hands while they walk so that they may express their feelings for each other without words. Then there are friends who hold hands in excitement, joy, fear, and to offer support during hard times. Holding hands offers the dancers more than just a place to put their free hands it gives the pair support, guidance, and protection. Then there are the arms around the back. The leader supporting the follower while the follower reciprocates the act. The hug is more than a greeting or show of emotion. It is everything the handholding is but with the added physical, and mental support. There are many reasons people hug because it can heal a lot more than a band-aid can. A hug between two people says, "I am listening." In the embrace it offers the partners the ability to listen to each other and then begin dancing.
The embrace is to Argentine Tango as the plie is to ballet. Without the plie the dancer isn’t going anywhere. In fact without the plie the dancer will get injured and isn’t able to support the move to come. In just the same way, without the embrace the dancers are not going anywhere and the next move to come won’t be supported.
Thus the embrace, in Argentine Tango, is the most caring embrace. The embrace is better than a hug because it offers the pair more than just a handhold and more than what a hug can offer. The embrace offers the pair, both a hand hold, a hug, and the support from each other to move into the next step.
Kathleen Fall 09

Read more