Aleksey vays


On the benefits and harms of some tango stereotypes - from personal experience
There is a simple way to engage and teach bowling to kids – put up special bumpers that prevent the ball from going into the gutter. This results in more hits and less misses, and the beginner is motivated to continue and grow – he feels that "it's working".

Tango teachers – who also want to engage beginners – also put up "bumpers", which serve their purpose up to a point. The difference is that, while in bowling the bumpers come down after a while, tango dancers – for various reasons – tend to keep their "bumpers" up, which gets in the way of their dancing and improving further. While bowling bumpers are easy to see, it's somewhat tricky to recognize "bumpers" in tango.

Here are several examples of tango "bumpers" that I've come across:
"I have to lead/I have to follow"
In order to understand the principles of leader and follower, beginners practically move each other around the dance floor. With time our sensitivity increases, and this becomes unnecessary – we learn to interact with each other using our energy.

We can develop this interaction for various purposes: dialogue dancing, where energy exchange takes the form of non-verbal communication between the partners; or unity, where each partner perceives himself as part of something much bigger, where borders are blurred, and no one is leading or following – you're both dancing as one. But if you don't develop your sensitivity, then your dance will be limited by a role, and your interaction will remain at the level of pushing and pulling.
We can develop this interaction for various purposes:
dialogue dancing or unity.
"Remain at the same level"
When we're learning to walk in tango, our primary goal is to stay at the same level. Without this, real contact with our partner is impossible, especially in close embrace. We've all seen beginners, who collapse with every step, bobbing up and down the dance floor. But after this stage you have the opportunity to go further and to experiment with intentional changing of the level – your dance will gain a new dimension, and that's a world of its own.
"Tango is steps and turns only"
Everyone starts with these basics. But there are also pauses in tango! And sometimes you can be dancing in one place, without making a step. Without deliberate pauses, tango becomes a rhythmical sequence of figures.
"Use only dissociation; do not move your hips"
Free yourself and dance with your whole body! Feel what is working and what is not working for you, experiment and cross old borders.
"Always collect your feet after making a step"
At first this is necessary, otherwise the free leg will be dangling. But then there come complicated figures, musicality and slowdowns. Clicking your heels like a German soldier after every step is the polar opposite of musicality. Think about cultivating sensitivity to what's going on and get rid of habits.
"There is no diagonal step in tango; your steps have to be big"
The diagonal step quickly emerges on the crowded dance floor as soon as you have to avoid stepping on the victim of the clueless navigator next to you. The direction and size of the step is formulated here and now using your energy, not reflexes. Again, think of developing your sensitivity to what's happening and get rid of habits.
"Lead from your chest/back/gut"
Our powerhouse is our pelvis and legs, and we already covered leading in general.

These are just some of the examples of "bumpers" that come to mind. What tango "bumpers" have you encountered?
Author: Aleksey Vays. Opinions expressed in articles within this blog may not coincide with those of the editor.
Write Close
Subscribe to Simple&Elegant Blog to keep in touch!
By clicking the button, you consent to the processing of personal data and agree with the Privacy Policy
We use cookies and other metadata to provide the best experience. If you don't agree with the Policy, you can leave the site.
Ok, thanks!
Content is coming soon
We are working hard to make your tango and life better!
While you are waiting for it you can
Dream Team
Video, Editing, Directing and Creative Support - Daria Ermolaeva
Video Operating - Vladimir Kutakhov

Animation and pictures - Evgenja Chernikova
Logo and icons - Anastasia Rotar

Photo - Anya Semenyuk, Daria Ermolaeva, Viktoria Fedirko, Maria Mosolova, Dmitry Volkov,,,,,
All photos are used with the permission of their owners and/or have an open license.