3 Couples Exercises
Exercise. The very word makes most people go “Uuuuugh!”, which is right up there with ‘homework’, ‘practice’, ‘taxes’, ‘rent’, and ‘dental visit’, and about as much fun. Sadly. 🙁 And this applies even more so with regards to Argentine Tango. It’s no wonder that when you say the words ‘Tango Exercise’ that most people want to hide under the nearest rock. And there’s a few reasons for this association. The first is that most people’s experience of Tango Exercises is continuous repetition of the same movement. The same movement at faster and faster speeds to seemingly impossible levels of detail. Eeeek! The second is that for the greater number of people, the very idea of Tango Exercise conjures an ideal of perfectionism that you can seemingly never achieve. The third is a load of self-judgement and the judgement of others that prevents us from doing better. All of this stuff, and a lot more that is not said here, is what keeps us from Exercise with regards to Tango.
The fact is that you absolutely need to exercise your Tango skills. Constantly. This isn’t about going out social dancing and just hoping that all will work itself out. That line of reasoning is one reason why we have the row of women that sit, and the row men that stand at milongas. And before we go any further to dispense with the blame game that happens repeatedly when reading this sort of post, let’s be clear about the fact that these same people haven’t done the necessary underlying work that would smooth out the physiological errors that they’re constantly (and completely unaware of) generating within the construct of the embrace, within the structure of a song, and a tanda, with multiple partners. Then of course, to be fair, there may be a fair amount of Tango Baggage going on for those people as well.
Throughout all of that though, most of Tango’s Exercises focus on Solo Exercises for the Individual. Like for instance the foot crossing exercise, or the ballet rise exercise, or the applied disassociation/ocho exercise, the twisty exercise, or the twirly exercise, or the linear ocho exercise itself, or the stability exercise, just to name a few. However there are a small number of exercises for a couple to work on. Typically when we exercise, or ‘practice’ tango, it’s dancing a song or a tanda to music. While dancing with multiple partners is always helpful, as it gives us really good insight into how and what we think we’re doing vs. reality, it doesn’t hurt to exercise the underlaying common elements of tango. That said, let’s talk about Tango Exercises for Couples.
The Embrace Work In This Video. Before we begin talking about exercises, we have to talk a little bit about what areas we’re going to exercise or practice. One area that gets overlooked quite frequently is the embrace itself. This is one of the more common areas where most errors are generated, that and our walk. So we do actually want to practice using several forms of the embrace. While there are multiple forms of a Tango Embrace, there are 3 forms that we want to start to use when Exercising for Couples:
1.) The Symmetrical Embrace. We use a Symmetrical Embrace for many reasons, one of which is that it alleviates most of the embrace peculiarities that crop up for people. The thinking is that if you can employ vocabulary with a Symmetrical Embrace, then everything else will be a piece of cake, and there is some validity to this statement. The ‘Practice’ or ‘Symmetrical’ Embrace is all about the equal and bilateral relationship between the partnership – whatever you can do on one side, you should, technically, be able to do on the other. 🙂
2.) The Close Embrace. While we don’t necessarily need to talk about a ‘Close Embrace’, we do however have to remind you a ‘Close Embrace’ is not compressive, that we ideally want skin to fabric contact without tension, compression, pressure, or force in our arms in any way, shape, or form…ever. There is a reason for this, most notable is that we want our partner to be able to move freely within the embrace construct, regardless of role. Secondarily we do not want to use our arms or hands for stabilization in any way, shape, or form within the embrace. We want to be fully engaged and independent of needing to hold on to someone to execute what we want to do or are being asked to do.
3.) The No Embrace. And lastly the No Embrace is a really just a Close Embrace without the arms! It’s a torso-to-torso contact, the trick is to stay in front of your partner at all times while at the same time engaging vocabulary! Easier said than done!
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Have you seen Dancing In A Small Space – The Addendum ? This video adds a few things that were missing in the DIASS video and then takes it to a whole other level with a more than a few examples and even more vocabulary to help you expand your close quarter dancing at Marathons, Encuentros, and Buenos Aires!
Section 1 – Introduction – 00:00:48
Section 2 – Walking Exercises – 00:14:34
–Sub-Section A – Slow Walking for Both Roles – 00:03:27
–Sub-Section B – Beat Walking @ 40BPM – 00:03:48
–Sub-Section C – Beat Walking @ 20BPM – 00:03:41
–Sub-Section D – No Arms Exercise – 00:03:27
Section 3 – Milonguero Turns & Argentine Crosses – 00:04:30
Section 4 – The Turn Game & Closure – 00:06:33
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