Tango Argentino > Argentine Tango - Want To Learn...

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Spitfire, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Its in the left arm (the leaders right) that most of the problem "lifting" seems to occur in some people I dance with. I'm not even that short (5'5 w/o heels), but many men have their right arm so high in my left armpit, that I am literally "lifted". I can't keep my shoulder down, I can't stay off my toes, etc. No matter where I try to place my arm, on his back or shoulders, its a problem. The only way around it is to take my arm away completely so that its more behind me, but even that doesn't always work.

    Sometimes its because he has his arm too much "out" like ballroom instead of close to his body, but sometimes, even when its close to his bady, if he has wrapped his arm around my back too high, it still happens.

    On the other hand, if he gets enough sweat on his sleeve, maybe he won't do it next time.....:rolleyes:
  2. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    hmm...interesting...I'm still trying to digest what might be going on...

    Dancing with very tall people was troublesome for me for awhile (my other half is just about 6')...til I had some lessons with Alex Krebs (since he's something like 6'3" or there abouts....and I'm under 5'4") I've since worked on ways to release the left shoulder and keep myself towards the leader (granted, I tend to prefer flat chest on chest style, and so that is where my experience for this comes and I don't know what embrace you tend to work from). Now I don't think anything of it. My first tendancy is to release the left shoulder and put the arm around the neck when I dance with most anyone, regardless of height.

    I guess what I am saying is I don't think it is a very instinctive action and it took lessons with someone tall enough to understand my problem with dancing with tall people to get it worked through. And to be honest, no one I ever had lessons with who wasn't tall really wasn't able to help me becasue they didn't really have a frame of reference for it....
  3. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Thanks for the exercise!

    Being a complete wuzz, don't need any encouragement to stop if something feels forced!

    Okay, tried this and the furthest I can move my upper body forward is about 10 degrees - no joke. I don't think this will alter with practice - n'est ce pas? I do similar in an exercise on my vid, I sit on floor with legs apart and am supposed to lean forward and touch the toes. 'Don't force it, just lean as much as you can, the important thing is to keep your back straight' she says - all I can manage is to touch my shins!
  4. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Yes, of course, the up-ness is not a problem in the upper body. I always have to straighten my chest and shoulders up before I get into tango posture.

    I hate being lifted up by taller partners too. I feel like a ballerina on tippy toe - which might be nice were it not for the fact I am wanting to dance tango. Plus my feet, esp one of them is rather weak so I need the flexy knees thing going on to make up for that.

    Locked straight legs are a sure recipe for hurting your knees. I know! My first teacher never even taught you're supposed to have relaxed knees. I think I looked like one of those ballerina's in a jewellery box when I was first starting! Anyway - maybe some people's knees can cope with being straight all the time.. I know mine can't.

    Do you think relaxed hips is also a factor in 'quiet knees'?
  5. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I think some people may have trouble visualizing a relaxed hip...relaxed knees, that's pretty easy to see and visualize...relaxed hip....you'd probably end up having to do a lot of explaination in exactly what you mean and be able to clearly show what relaxed and not relaxed looks like so you don't get people going all loosey-goosey and doing salsa hips in tango....One master I know did explain some of the walking mechanics with a little "absorption" through the hip area while walking, and it made sense to me....but I don't know if that's what you mean by relaxed...?
  6. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    I think that's what I meant - absorbtion - so that does happen in the hips too? TBH Don't really know what I was going on about! I know that sometimes when I'm walking along the street (and I like to walk fast) if I consciously relax my hip somehow - or stride more consciously from the hip, I can make more progress.

    With regard to dancing, most of the time when I make adjustments to improve things, I do it subconsiously and am not really sure what i have done - which has some disadvantages. Really need to learn how to focus.
  7. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Yes you will. Persevere. Simple as. :D

    In my life, I have prayed but one prayer: oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I think Tom Waits called it "walking Spanish"

  9. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Its quite possible. I have a lot of trouble with my hips. They are usually stiff, crampy and resisting. That's in addition to hiking up or twisting forward on one side. Pretty much every good teacher I've had a private with has tried to work with me on loosening up and relaxing in the hip. Sometimes the pain in my "bad" hip (not that the other one is all that good) is bad enough that just everyday life with walking and stairs hurts. So tango can be quite a challenge. (and no boleos are going to happen)
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    To me (not that I've had a lot of salsa training) salsa hips have more to do with some bending at the waist and dropping one hip below the other than with flexibility and relaxation of the hip joint itself. (although flexibility and relaxation is a part of doing salsa hips, you can have a relaxed hip without the tilt)

    In tango, the relaxed hip is nessesary for proper execution of boleos. Its not so much about dropping one hip by bending, but letting the leg flow freely from the hip joint at the top of the thigh bone.

    As someone who has chronic hip pain and trouble keeping the hips from being stiff (I have to put conscious effort into this hip thing all the time), I know the feeling of relaxed hip vs tight hip and it has little to do with the horizontal orientation of the hips. You can do a relaxed boleo with the hips parallel just as you can do a nice boleo by dropping the free leg hip and feeling stretching at the waist.

    Of course, you are right in that explaining and demonstrating the relaxed hip is problematic if you are trying to avoid the tilt but stay relaxed.
  12. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Ok, this is from the perspective of a tall, close embrace dancer:

    I think the best way for a follower to deal with a tall leader is not think about the embrace as having an arm around the leader, but as having the arm in front of the leader. To get a feel of what i mean get a tall guy (or a wall :) ), stand in front of him with both arms vertically up. then just lean forward till you lean against him with your chest, and your arms are goign to be in front of his chest, pointing straight up. when you relax your shoulders the left arm will drape around his neck naturally.
    For this to be comfortable you will have to keep your right arm relatively high, too, or else your shoulders are not going to be horizontal.

    One of the consequences of this is that it becomes impossible to hold onto the leader, so it requires more balance, but using this embrace i have danced very comfortably for both of us with women more than a foot shorter than me.

  13. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Of course, we have come to understand that we are talking of 2 different things here...perhaps 3. 1. The bending and straightening of the legs (as dsicussed well in posts 140/44). 2. The positioning of the ladies' arms in the embrace with a taller partner (thank goodness for the requisite of a flexible hold). 3. The skill of the lead to adjust the embrace accordingly (something often overlooked by leads who insist upon conforming the partner to their preferences rather than accommodating hers).
  14. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    right- this is more or less what I mean when I talked about relaxing the left shoulder.

    I'm not tall and I think I used to try the reaching around thing when I first learned close embrace, but there were no tall teachers here to tell me what what going wrong and so it felt bad a lot to me. This in turn probably meant I was reaching up around him, but then simultaneously trying to relax from the waist down and so the top half probably felt pulled on...not really the fault of my leader, IMO, and unless they realized what was going on and made further adjustments, then the dance most likely continued on in that way. Now I just basically relax at the should joint and don't attempt to reach anywhere, just put my arm vertical and let it wrap where it goes to and though it took a little practice to get comfortable, I use this with almost any tall leader now...

    Honestly, you should have seen the looks we woud get from the Argentine teachers (not to put too fine a point on it, but many Argentine leaders are not overly tall, and they don't often have serious height discrepancies with their dance partners from what I can tell, and so they questions we had about it just didn't process...)
  15. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I guess the main point I was going for on that is the "if is ain't broke, don't fix it" motto. A lot of people probably need work on relaxing the knees when they learn Tango, grounding and all that aother fun stuff...and it's very easy to see and demonstrate...

    I'd probably only mention relaxing the hip thing if I could see that it looked like someone wasn't. My logic running along the lines that as soon as you tell someone about something they aren't having a problem with, it breaks and then they have a problem with it. Too much info is really too much info unless it truly needs saying, escpecially about a topic that probably is only going to be an issue for a small percentage of people.
  16. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Pretty much ditto. Have to loosen up one of my hips with stretching exercises a few times a week. I can do boleos but I was trying one move this week as a leader and there was lots of contra body going on with my mostly-un-weighted leg really extended - could really feel the pull.. it's not so much that per se that's the trouble, it's just that it leads you to do things unconsciously at times - as you say, inadvertently hiking yourself up - this can happen if i'm trying to lead.
  17. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    "leads who insist upon conforming the partner to their preferences rather than accommodating hers"

    I've come across this personified! Oh boy - what is it with these guys!!!???

    Still fresh in my mind are a couple of dances a month ago with a chap who was a foot taller than me - he had obviously thought a lot about how to adjust his technique when dancing with me - how lovely :D - just that fact in itself is enough to give you a great experience on the dancefloor!
  18. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Sounds spot on re salsa. If you just flex your knees you can pretty much get the salsa action without consciously moving your hips.

    Have you noticed that at times Eugenia Parrilla tilts her hips a little? I think it looks good, I'm guessing it's part of her style but was also her adjusting to dancing with the slightly shorter Chicho.

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