Successful Women’s Weekend Berlin

Successful Women’s Weekend Berlin

It was a successful Women’s Weekend in Berlin filled with leading, Daniela FW Saturdayfollowing, dancing, laughter and great enthusiasm.

When Daniela (Feilcke -Wolff) and I spoke about doing A Women’s Weekend there was no hesitation for either one of us. She has been doing Tangueras workshops as I had done the leading ladies evenings in Phoenix. The bigger questions were about how to make it different or special. One thing we did was to add our Women’s Only milonga to it. I’m not completely sure, but it does seem like it was the first one in Berlin (hard to believe, so the fact finding on that is still open).

Daniela and I have similar and yet, very different Tango background stories and therefore our pedagogical approaches are also differently flavored. Our goals were to give these varied insights into learning how to lead as women. With mixed experience levels the women in attendance took 12 hours of tango class which included laying a foundational structure that included in general walking, turning, embrace, and ideas for being creative and musical in your social dancing.

On the heels of a wonderful women’s weekend of Tangueras – leading, following, dancing – Sharna Fabiano and Mitra Martin of Oxygen Tango both posted great blogs around the theme of women only events in Tango. How timely and how supportive! In Sharna’s Blog she addresses one of the biggest questions that I get from men (and some women), WHY? She mentions 3 reasons as to WHY: the Happiness Quotient, Practical Skills, and Stress Busting. Which I totally agree with. And probably falling under all 3 of these categories, came a message from a young man who shared that young women are sometimes bothered by men who come to events and milongas to meet women or to take them home. An all woman’s event takes this pressure and worry off of the women; busting the stress factors!

Women are natural nurturers and empathic givers. It is vital for them to receive and be nourished as continual giving out ends in depletion, an increasingly common health problem. Women instinctually know how to nourish each other, and just being with each other is restorative.
– Tanja Taljaard and Azriel Re’Shel in Why Women Need a Tribe

Weiber Milonga

The All Women’s milonga had 35 women in attendance. We were so happy to have this many women at the first one of these events. We had a lovely young up and coming DJ Deborah Maus, who did a fantastic job of keeping us dancing tanda after tanda the whole night! And the feedback was immensely positive: “Can’t wait for the next one”, “Fantastic!”, “Nice relaxed atmosphere”.

All the ladies danced and of course chatted as when you get women in a room, we must chatter! I was overwhelmed by ALL the smiling faces!!!! Honestly, there was so much presence and joy in the room!

The women came from all different groups of the Berlin Tango scene and really, everyone danced with practically everyone!!!!

What are your thoughts on Women’s Events and Milongas? Would love to hear your feedback.
When’s the next one you ask? Stay tuned!!!!

(In respecting the privacy of the dancers in attendance, I posted pictures with the permission of the dancers.)

 

Read more

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.

Read more

Performances with Daniela Feilcke-Wolff

Here is a performance playlist to 3 songs that Daniela Feilcke-Wolff and I performed to at Milonga Popular Berlin.
We started the performance with the milonga, “La Vida es Una Milonga”, followed by the tango “Remembranza” and then into a short performance to “Oblivion”  – as a shout to my contemporary dance days.

The crowd on Monday nights is a pretty open, young crowd. We were received warmly and enthusiastically. It was lovely to perform with Daniela to make my Berlin debut!!! And it was a nice promotion for upcoming weekend workshops for Women leading and learning to lead.

There is still a lot of discussion around the topic of same sex dancing, about exchanging the roles in the dance while dancing, aesthetics and even simpler questions, why? And there are quite a variety of answers from 1) there are too many women dancers for the amount of men dancers, 2) it’s fun, 3) it improves my dancing, 3) why not, 4) a stand on identity and self-expression, to just name a few.

Those who know me, know that I entered tango from the perspective of a trained dancer, so the form and structure of the dance captivated me first. (Versus coming to tango as a stress reliever, to meet people, for the love of the music, or because I saw a Tango show, which are often how my students have found tango.) Learning both roles seemed natural and normal to me and then served me well when I was asked to teach. Learning new steps was never a problem and so learning to lead was like learning another dance at the time I started. As we know, the tango journey is that, a journey, and I weaved my journey between leading and following, sometimes leaving one role behind for many many months only to pick it up rejuvenated. I have found Daniela Feilcke-Wolff inspiring as a leader to dance with. She has some great insight into leading as a woman. I think we make a nice team! Enjoy!
And spread the word of our Tangueras weekend and come join us!

Read more

The First Living Room Sessions

The goal of The Living Room Sessions is to share information on many tango topics to a small intimate group of interested dancers. The first Living Room Sessions topic was about our Feet. Susanne made us gifts of sage salt scrubs for our feet (lovely!) and we snacked on apples and helva! The objective, as I explained to everyone, was to help dancers become better informed about their feet and this included information about the (negative) effects of wearing high-heeled shoes.

Daniela talks about feetI started the session with some basic anatomical information and pictures of our feet. We did some exercises and aligned our feet looking at each of our feet and legs individually. We also stretched and massaged our feet giving them some much needed attention. It was nice that everyone was open to sharing their “Foot autobiography”. I enjoyed looking at everyone’s shoes and having them explain how they felt about their tango shoes. Clearly, sometimes loving the cute painful pair but end up wearing the one or two pairs that are most comfortable.

Some take-aways from the evening:
1) the arch is a muscular construct and therefore, will be affected by muscular contraction
2) there are as many nerves in the sole of the foot as in your face: 1/4 of all motor nerves (of the whole body) are dedicated to your feet
3) from barefoot to 5cm heeled shoe the pressure increases on the forefoot about 65% and then adding another 2.5 cm to that heel (so 7.5cm) you increase the pressure on the forefoot ANOTHER 30%. And why is this bad? because there are 26 bones in your feet and the biggest bone of the foot is the heel, where the bulk of your weight is meant to reside. So if Daniela About the Feetyou’re increasing the pressure in your forefoot, all those little bones are getting the bulk of that weight. Ouch!

So when you are not in your heels what will you do for your feet to honor them?  Stretch, massage, go barefoot, go for a walk (not in your heels!), grab a tennis ball, a golf ball, and a dozen other recommended ideas that we shared!

Thank you everyone for joining me!

The next one 30, September: How to hug the giant (no matter what size they are).  In this Session we will look at the shoulder girdle and the arms, the ribs too,  anatomically and biomechanically. We will do exercises and of course, hug. As always, I am not necessarily here to change your mind, I just want you to be a more informed dancer! Open to both roles. Remember to RSVP.

Read more

Are you Dumping?

Are you dumping?

Are you dumping your pelvis? You have probably heard me say this in class. What am I talking about? Why your pelvic tip, of course!

One of 2 things happens with the pelvis when you come to tango class – you are either tipping it or tucking it!

Rommel Sitting

The Pelvic Tuck

If you are like most of the population who has been sitting at a desk all day, you are probably tucking your pelvis, so then your posture for tango is a little confused. As a leader you might be hitting your partner’s knees or as a follow you might feel that you are not getting your legs out of the way fast enough or that you are dropping the weight into your heels when you are moving backwards.

Tucking is the opposite of tipping for me. So then a teacher who might not know much about biomechanics comes along and says, stick your butt out, for both the lead and follow, get your crotches / genitalia out of the way of your partner! (I actually heard this in a class once!) The teacher is asking you to stick the butt out to create more room for the legs.

I most recently read an article written by a newer Argentine student studying in Argentina who began to focus on walking and the embrace and he described his proper body position as having “el pubis levemente mirando al piso”, which literally translates as having your pubic bone staring slightly at the floor.

And those who know me can imagine my reaction!! So let’s look at this.

If your pubic bone, as a lead or follow, is looking for the floor, it means that you are tilting /tipping/dumping the pelvis. Imagine, that your pelvis is like a bowl and you are now attempting to dump the contents onto the floor in front of you or as he said, place your pelvis so that the pubic bone is looking for the floor.

Ashlee dumping

A pelvis dumping and ribs thrusting

I know the idea is to give the illusion of creating more space for the legs. Unfortunately, what it does is create damaging effects to the vertebrae of the spine and to the integrity of the torso. It also limits the capability of the extension of the legs. What I mean by the integrity of the torso is that now, the abdominal muscles are lax and lengthened, with no real supporting structure for you and in turn the organs in the trunk are adjusting to this new position. And what does that mean? Well, imagine now that your organs are now displaced and putting pressure where they probably shouldn’t. I propose that this affects digestion and elimination at this level. And with all this weight out in front of you it pulls on the discs / vertebrae of the back, mostly the lower back causing shearing. Shearing is when vertebrae are not stacked on top of each other but more sliding across each other. Ouch! And with all this weight out in front of you, your knees, feet, and neck will probably hurt after a time, if not other body parts!

But sometimes dumping has nothing to do with you actively tipping your pelvis but actually, actively sticking out your ribs!

So are you dumping?

I think you can dance like this for a long time or a short time depending on your body type and the partners you have been dancing with. But eventually, I promise that something will give.

ahslee and eric no dump

Same Happy Couple

I view the pelvis as a body stabilizer. It is a bridge between the legs and the torso. It connects your heart and your intension of this dance to your movement, your legs.

If you look at some of the really strong, lovely followers, look at the stability in their pelvis. It is often harder to see the male pelvis in action due to their clothes, so I suggest Corina Herrera and Ariadna Naveira as 2 examples of amazing female followers who also are amazing leaders. They are so stable and solid in their pelvis – all their power comes from here. And I think you can see it.

My point, it’s unhealthy. Regardless of style, this exaggeration of the pelvis will offer you some health issues in the long run. Just hoping to raise some awareness – happy body, happy mind, happy dancer!

*pictures thanks to my students at ASU and taken from and for The Tango Workbook

Read more
« Previous PageNext Page »