Tango Argentino > The Booty Misconception

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by TomTango, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    You'd dance with her? Gosh, Steve, think of the very bad example you'd be setting. Think of the children!
    Zoopsia59 and Mladenac like this.
  2. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    It's nothing to do with cultural value judgements
    but it is all about healthy postures.

    I saw an athletic and acrobatic outdoor performance on Saturday
    evening in Northern France by a troupe of about 20/24
    young men and women. There were no props, it was totally
    what they could do together, building pyramids, walking
    on shoulders, standing one legged on a hand and performing
    movements with a balance that would put most tango dancers
    to shame. There were no sway backs, everyone was totally
    centered, they had to be for what they doing; both supporters
    and the balancers.

    Even better, on Sunday evening I was at a quite informal milonga
    in a hotel bar. Dancers of mixed ages had no sway backs there either.

    We can all refuse to see what we don't want to see.
    A perceived sticking out butt is a consequence of bad posture,
    maybe resulting from lack of lower core. In the first
    5 seconds of the Noelia clip you can actually see her
    internal organs pushing at her abdominal wall probably
    because her tilted pelvis is tipping them out.

    In the second video it is all very clear in vivid black and white.

    And none of this touches on the effects and limitations
    on the dance of either of them. Plus the unfortunate effect
    their performances and lessons may have on potential tango dancers.
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Just looks like belly fat to me. I don't know how you determined that it is her internal organs sticking out.
  4. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    x-ray vision :snaphappy:
  5. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Thanks (not!) for answering for me, but no X-ray vision needed.
    It's personal experience actually.

    Yes, I could be wrong but then so could Zoopsia.
    Noelia seems to be heavier than before but
    midriff fat doesn't bulge like that unless pushed
    or at least weighted (from the inside).

    And also in my experience, to stand and/or dance
    like that you need to either let your pelvic floor and
    associated pelvis stabilising muscles go (or have
    none as Franklin describes) and that usually means
    your stomach muscles too.

    On a more constructive note, in fact I found that
    attempts to target and engage the stomach muscles
    as a singular objective for the dance was doomed
    to failure even though I had strong stomach muscles.
    Targeting the pelvic control muscles was much better
    and although it took time to exercise and make the control
    permanent the result was naturally engaged stomach muscles
    and a neutrally positioned pelvis. I believe that is what
    we should aim for in normal life and in tango (all dance
    in fact). It should then be possible to easily and almost
    naturally rotate the pelvis for dissociation - some people
    can do this without any education or thinking at all.
    j_alexandra likes this.
  6. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    It's your opinion :)
    dchester and raindance like this.
  7. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Indeed it is, but I'm not mocking nor doubting yours.
    I suppose it's an improvement that you aren't answering for me
    and are actually acknowledging that I can have my own opinion.

    The original post posited as fact that Noelia et al have quite normal
    postures but again that was no more than an opinion, misguided in my view
    and supported by selective evidence that doesn't survive scrutiny,
    but that of course is also just my opinion. Neither the OP nor yourself,
    nor anyone else for that matter, have yet to constructively challenge
    the alternative views I have proposed.

    I could give you many more reasons to avoid the postures you seem
    to support and also a couple of tests to try with your own body but
    I suspect I would be wasting my time. But do try simply using Google
    to search for images for "Good Posture". Here's just one (of very many):

  8. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    My friend hurt his back (bulging disc) while tenderizing meat.
    And your ideal position for him not good.
    He got some insole that push centre forward (middle of feet).
    Now he is more active in posture.
    Since he has black belt in tae-kwon-do I don't think he had bad posture before.

    I don't recommend Noelia's posture to use it 24/7 and find it unhealthy.
    To use it during the dancing in close embrace I find it highly useful and effective.

    There is static and dynamic posture. And every activity requires suitable posture.
  9. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I can relate to all that although the risk inherent
    in his treatment is a sway back instead. But I agree
    whole-heartedly to a more active posture, indeed
    an increased awareness of the body, the whole
    and its parts. Adopt real exercise aimed at stabilising
    the pelvis and thus also the lower back.

    I don't think you can infer anything much about his posture
    from your friend's Taekwondo Black Belt. Posture is
    dynamic and changeable for all sorts of reasons. I've known
    a taekwondo instructor for probably 20 years, his formerly
    good posture is not now what it once was.

    That's a new response, it is indeed unhealthy.
    Unfortunately adopting it in the dance seems
    to result in dancers adopting it permanently;
    that seems to be the case with Noelia (and others).

    But such postures should be safe, healthy and manageable.
    Hence the many warnings and instructions today from
    the health & safety wombles about safe lifting and safe limits.

    The way I dance, and my partners who dance, can be
    sustained for hours. I'm even dancing with someone
    who broke her femur, now plated and pinned but still
    in pain and she limps slightly. She loves to dance
    so you can imagine what a blow such an injury was.

    On the other hand I don't think that Noelia's stance
    is helpful at all, perhaps you should read Melina's
    blog on this one:

    Silly, eh?
    When dancing with a partner in a close embrace, it might not look
    quite as crass and some even find it sexy. But I can tell you: it is not healthy.

    Dancing with a constant backbend compresses the vertebrae uses a lot of
    muscular tension, inhibits natural dissociation and does actually interrupt
    the flow of the leading signals from top to down. If a communicative signal
    is supposed to „run through“ the axis, should it not remain unbroken?
    Let us not speak about the long-terms downsides of such a posture.
    Many yoga teachers nowadays abstain from encouraging their students
    to aim for hyper-flexibility because they know about the risks of such a practise.
    So please keep in mind: You (or your lovely partner) will not be young forever,
    but you might still want to dance Tango without hurting.

    Copied from the much longer article here:

    I agree with much of the article except and until she blames leaders
    for it. Probably both are equally to blame, men less intentionally.
    One day I might write an article at more length about how a natural
    and functional dance embrace can be managed with a natural
    and pain free posture.

    Unfortunately Melina then destroys all her good work with this:

    (Please don‘t tell me, that I stick out my butt as well.
    What you see are the natural curves of my spine and well...
    the rest of my body.
    The only way to get rid of those would be to go on a stricter diet.)

    No Melina - your body needs deep-core exercise unless:
    Strangely their together embrace results in both of their upper bodies
    being upright, both of them verging on lordosis, neither of them
    appearing to be forward weighted as they themselves suggest.

    Simple all this may be, easy it is not.

    And thanks for the more constructive response,
    I hope you take this rather long post in the same vein.
  10. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I'd recommend that people read the blog post, as then you'll really understand what Melina is saying.

    FWIW, here is the posture that they recommend, and I have no issue with it, (although I'm not claiming it's what everyone should be doing). The embrace has to conform to your body, IMO. This is a good embrace, IMO (even if there are other ways of having a good embrace).

    FWIW, what Detlef is doing, is exactly what I try to teach / encourage, (even though it's not exactly what I do).

  11. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Melina has a bad posture here, it's not like Nolia's.

    Noelia in posture has pushing up stance, Melina just pushed her body forward.
    And there is more pressure on lower part of body with Melina.
    Her upper body should be lifted and upper abdominal muscles activated.

    I would never recommend Melina's posture.
  12. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Of course for JohnEm there is usually only one correct way of skinning _every_ cat. And whoever disagrees just hasn't seen the light.

    I would agree that it's possible for Noelia _copycats_ to get the wrong impression and copy only the bad elements of it and to come up with something positively dangerous. But then, I'm sure that people could come up with something bad distilled from Melina's advice too.

    There is an inherent danger in believing that all holes in the world have the same shape and that you should worship at the Altar of the Golden Peg. Especially in tango, which has a dialect continuum of stylistic variation (well, according to some ;-) ).

    I disagree that Noelia has 'bad posture'. No more than she has 'bad posture' when dancing Lindy Hop (which, by the way, she also dances quite well).
    Mladenac likes this.
  13. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    My problem is not really what she wrote in this case,
    but the photographic portrayal which seems to be nearer
    to how they actually do dance than Melina's words are.
    But that may be unfair since all the evidence I have is visual,
    both in person and in photos.

    But I know women who absolutely loathe this embrace
    and at least one Argentine has video on YouTube
    very opposed to this uncomfortable high-handed style.
    Strangely if you look at the pictures, Detlef in particular
    is more back-weighted and more upright in the embrace
    than he is on his own.

    As for the outcome for the dance, no thanks. It's too rigid,
    too restrictive, and the Argentines know something
    most of us in the Northern Hemisphere do not. Their's
    is more fluid, more embracing and yet more accommodating.
  14. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    You're wrong.

    My objection is that these people are promoting themselves
    and selling something which is unhealthy. And people like
    yourself are maintaining that all is well while people who
    have to have to help rectify the damage that may result
    will tell you that such postures are best avoided.

    And despite my criticsm that they don't in practice
    do quite as good a job as they might, Detlef and Melina
    are largely on the good side of this particular argument.
    It can be a problem to maintain a good posture through life.

    Noelia proves my point since she carries the same
    posture, if less exaggerated, into Lindy Hop.
    We just don't concur about what is good and what is bad,
    so instead of the jibes why don't you find some evidence
    to support your point of view that mild to medium
    lordosis is good for you.
  15. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I am really glad that you are able to adapt to person with physical challenges.
    And I know a person who has broken spine and adapted himself to his condition.
  16. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Of course. Not everyone likes the same thing, nor is the same thing right for every person.
    Mladenac likes this.
  17. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member


    Looks fine, doesn‘t it?
    But if you use this posture in close embrace, you will "force" your partner to either lean on you or stick out her butt in order to create a chest contact and still have enough space for the feet. Because only few teachers nowadays encourage dancing „apilado“ (off axis, leaning) and most women feel uncomfortable weighing on their partners, many followers will instinctively choose option two. It allows them to keep their gravity centre above their feet.

    That text is from the above referenced blog.
    Two comments here.
    I try to keep my weight more forward than in the photo when dancing, so that the vertical straight line is more over the balls of my feet.
    NOT by bending at the waist, however. Rather the "lean" comes from the ankles and flexed knees.

    "only few teachers nowadays encourage dancing „apilado“ (off axis, leaning)"
    There's your trouble.

    I recently had a new, very enthusiastic partner who was doing exactly option two, butt out.
    There were several things going on there, but for sure I had little sense of her axis, where her feet were, etc.
    I didn't see what she was doing, though, until I saw her dancing with someone else. I didn't see her normal, standing, walking posture.

    I THINK she would experience a richer dance (opening possibilities greater than "defensive dancing") if she changed her posture which, I think, would facilitate her presenting a better defined axis, etc..
    JohnEm likes this.
  18. itwillhappen

    itwillhappen Active Member

    My imginations seeing a woman dance seem to be so ordinary boring normal for me in the light of this thread... :cool:
    Mladenac likes this.
  19. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    This is a good blog post to add to the discussion. The picture you posted is pretty much exactly the posture I see in most high level followers. The same followers who often get accused of sticking their butt out, and Melina addresses it directly. The exaggerated posture picture from the blog looks like someone who might be trying to visually replicate the good posture. I think it's easy to see how a follower who has Melina's good posture example but a curvier body shape might be mistaken for having her bad posture example.
  20. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    @ JohnEm-Thanks for posting the picture. Is the posture pictured as "Ideal" your preference for a woman who is dancing with you?

    In a workshop with Noelia's partner, Carlitos, he mentioned that the he felt the only thing worse than dancing with a woman who was overly concerned about maintaining a certain posture to maintain her axis, he then adopted the position pictured as "Ideal" to illustrate, was a woman who danced in that position & then leaned back from the waist. He echoed my feelings exactly.

    I was once in a workshop with a woman I've danced with socially and she felt quite comfortable to dance with. The teacher attempted to correct her posture & she responded that she had scoliosis & could not make that correction. I think she felt comfortable to me despite her posture because her alignment was good, she remained on axis & moved from being on axis to being on axis while maintaining her alignment which allowed us to maintain our geometric positions.

    I agree with JohnEm on the importance of exercise for improving many facets of life in general, as well as any kind of dance. I'm not convinced it was necessary for AT. Until recently, the term "milonguero" was a derogatory term describing someone who might have been called a "lounge lizard" in a previous era of American slang. Although old time milongueros say there are elements of athletic moves borrowed from futbol & boxing in A.T., most of the older milongueros were not athletes and doing exercise was not described by them as part of their dance regimen. There is even less evidence, that I'm aware of, for women's athleticism in that era - aside from the women who had training in other dance disciplines and subsequently became popular performers.

    On the subject of exercise's impact on posture, Virginia Pandolfi who was pictured earlier, has a 6 pack - visually defined abs. That may not indicate that the specific muscles that JohnEm says should be targeted are also developed, but it does indicate that she is not a sedentary person who does not exercise. As a matter of fact, since I believe that Tango specific exercises help my dance, I observed her 6 pack in an exercise class that she was conducting.

    @JohnEm - please post a picture or a vid of a woman who has a body type similar to Noelia & Virginia that dances AT with the posture you prefer.

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