Tango Argentino > Teaching Frustration

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Zoopsia59, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Certainly not answering for Steve, forgive me for butting in, but (no pun)...I believe it is the sense of opposites. That is, in order to move the left foot forward, one must "press" the right foot backward; in order to rise up, one must "press" down through the feet; latin doesn't come from swinging the hip, rather from releasing it, etc. The energy begins in one place, and releases in the exact opposite. Of course, this is hasty and over-simplified, but if one can feel these things, one begins to understand grounding, Incidentally, Aurora's post is on the same track.
     
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I can guess what's going to happen when we start talking about body parts, parsing this. Once we do that we enter the realm of the physical world, rather than using our ability to "imagine" and feel things without the use of words.
    That's why sometimes the use of imagery is helpful. The hope is that in trying to mimic something, the body finds a way to "be" or mimic without giving explicite instructions.

    Still, since you asked...

    Do the tango thing where you put all of your weight on one foot while keeping the other foot close to, or even touching the floor. Now ask someone to push you. Initially, it's probably easiest if they push you forwards or backwards.
    First be a "push over". Respond to the slightest push by moving.
    Now, ask them to push you again. This time make yourself "heavy", and make them really push you to make you move.
    In both cases you weigh exactly the same. (or do you?)
    What part of your body did you use to make yourself "heavy" to them?

    Bordermantango cited the same type of exercise, which I think is excellent, especially when you start getting pushed sideways.
    Angel, too, is right on in talking about "pressing" down into the floor, or not.

    We can continue in this vein if anyone is finding it helpful, or thinks it's all bunk for that matter.
     
  3. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I ask questions like this to attempt to communicate in ways that are less ambiguous.

    For me, the most obvious way to resist someone trying to push me is by pushing back against them. I'm not sure if that is what you were articulating or not. I figured that the simplest way to find out what you meant (physically) was by asking, thus my question.
     
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Hakuna matata. (Visited Aminaml Kingdom at Disney World last week)

    So, how do you "push back" on someone? ie what part of your body do you use? specifically, if you aren't pushing with your arms?
     
  5. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

    I really don't feel this is the best way to approach the situation!
     
  6. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I would be pushing back with wherever I am coming in contact with them. Is this what you were referring to, or is it some other way of resisting, like possibly lowering, changing your stance, (or any other ways of changing your center of mass). Like I said, getting "heavy" or "lighter" really doesn't have any meaning to me (in the context or tango), so I just wanted to know what you were referring to. If you don't care to tell me, I'll get over it.
     
  7. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    No argument there. I was just trying to find out what he meant by what he said. It looks like it's just one more thing that went over my head. BTW, that seems to happen a lot to me in tango.

    :-?
     
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Maybe an example would help; I was grooming a horse for the first time; when I was doing his front legs I leant against his shoulder and he resisted with an equal measure so we were balanced. I think this is all that is required.
     
  9. Aurora

    Aurora New Member

    I really don't think this is what is meant by groundedness. I can be grounded in the way I was talking about without leaning at all into my partner. In fact, as a modern dancer I do it without having any partner at all!

    I can't tell you what my body is doing mechanically, but I can actually feel the difference between being "light" and being grounded when I use this imagery to just walk by myself across the floor.

    Another image I have heard is to imagine all of your energy in your chest. Think of inhaling and bringing your center into your chest and then walk. This should produce a kind of light feeling. Now exhale, feel your energy move down into your hips, and walk again. This should feel heavier and more grounded.
     
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    It's not necessary to think of "heavy" and "light" in AT, or probably any dance, but it adds another dimension to your dance. ie it becomes richer, and I think it helps with understanding leading and following and, sometimes, why things aren't working so well.
    It's just awful darn hard to put it into words. That's where the seemingly goofy exercises come in.
    This is similar to what I considered writing at one point.
    Here again, though, the "pushing back" part raises alarms with a lot of people.
    But, if you are going to resist being moved by whatever force is acting on you, pushing or pulling you forward or backward, for instance, you have to create an equal, and opposite force.
    You do this without thinking about what part of your body you are using. And, if you think about it, it's a whole bunch of muscle groups working together at the same time. If you are resisting a force pushing you backwards, I'd say that muscle groups on the "front", or anterior, part of your body tense. You resist a force moving you forward by tensing the muscles on the posterior part of your body.
    I don't have a reference for you on this, but it seems pretty obvious to me.

    The illustration at this url http://www.raqs.co.nz/safedance/graphics/postures.jpg
    under the subjects kyphosis/lordosis and lordosis have a diagram showing muscle goups involved in various "good" or "bad" postures. (click on the diagram to enlarge)
    Although this diagram isn't meant to demonstrate how you can make yourself heavy to your partner, it does demonstrate which muscle groups are involved in standing erect.

    So far, I've written mostly about "heavy" and "light" in relation to your partner, and how they "feel" you. Again, if there is interest, maybe we can talk more about what Angel has already written about how you move with lightness or heaviness, "in the floor" or "on the floor".
     
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member


    i wasn't talking about groundedness but about " pushing back" The two are connected; since one cant push back unless having a good connection with the ground.
     
  12. Aurora

    Aurora New Member

    Yeah, I guess I was conflating the "pushing back" conversation with the idea of being heavy or light (grounded/not-grounded). Maybe it's just that I don't like the pushing exercise for learning these ideas.
     
  13. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Which posture in this illustration are you saying is "good"?

    I find NONE of them to be good. For starters, the abdomenal muscles are considered "weak" in all of them, and other muscles are being used to hold the body.

    Secondly, the knees are locked in each one as well, which is not good posture in general and certainly not good tango form.

    To me it looks like an illustration of various bad postures due to tipping the pelvis one way or the other, plus the military way of holding everything rigid (by tensing the back) Proper posture would involve the abdomenal muscles being strong and other muscles being in a proper alignment but relaxed, and the knees being slightly bent. (ask any chiropractor about standing with your knees locked)

    Did I miss part of the diagram? There are only 4 on the page I viewed.
     
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Zoops, you are right about none of them being a model for tango posture.
    It is, however, the only thing I've seen that gives some idea about a very basic thing that we do all the time - stand upright.
    To do that requires the quiet cooperation of muscles in the legs, back, etc. (These diagrams don't address the feet, either, which can and do play a big part, too.)
    Dchester's question was something like, what part of my body do I push back with?
    And the answer is quite complicated, I'd say.
    If you have materials that make this point more directly, I'd be glad to use them in discussions of this topic.
     
  15. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Actually, I was trying to ask what you were doing to make yourself heavy or light. From the posts that followed, I'm guessing that it means you push back to become heavy, and stop pushing back to become light?
     

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