Tango Argentino > The Booty Misconception

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

  1. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    This highlights the dilemma for tango and, from
    YouTube evidence, also for other dances.
    We live in an age of outward visual show
    for passive entertainment yet true social dancers
    dance for each other without regard for the watchers.

    The old dance adage of "dance as though no-one is watching"
    is very true. The social tango dance of the senses has almost
    no outward show whatsoever and it was given a visual and
    dramatic appeal by show people for commercial gain.
    That is the tango that was promoted and still is promoted
    around the World.

    If you want to be entertained, go watch a show, if you want
    to partner dance tango socially (and sociably), learn how to dance
    for your partner. That's if you can find a teacher.
  2. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    You seem to be confused, or at least you have confused me!
    The exaggerated posture pose is Melina excessively replicating
    the bad postures of people like Noelia, Maja and Virginia.

    Unfortunately Melina in the embrace fails to do what she says is good.
    Instead she appears weighted onto her high heels - see how her legs
    actually rise from the ankles going backwards when for the feet
    to be forward weighted they should be leaning forwards. The reasons
    for this are rooted in other rather contrived aspects of their embrace.

    All I will say here is that neither Detlef's nor Melina's postures
    are that good, both can be improved in real life and the dance.
    I spent much time and effort to eliminate a Detlef style posture
    from my body after seeing a photo of me posted to facebook!
  3. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Yes, but leaning her weight forward slightly so moving it onto the balls of her feet.
    If both of you do that and hug naturally - heads alongside as in a typical hug -
    you can move together. But hugging naturally can accommodate body variations,
    a rigid ideal is too restrictive just as much teaching is. It's much more important
    that the connection is high up the chest, not as Detlef and Melina, that the arms
    and shoulders are not rigid nor pressured so that all the body internally can
    move and spiral.

    Unfortunately that is indeed what Detlef especially does and I know
    women who do the same. Heads in front of one another are also
    likely to result in that. Argentines are apt to say to me that foreigners
    (men in this case) in general don't fully embrace - thankfully they exclude
    me from that observation.
    I can assure you that if you adopt a forward intention provided
    by a forward biased weight rather than the forward lean
    which too many teachers teach as apilado many body problems
    can be accommodated to a greater or lesser extent depending
    on how well your partner can centre. Noelia for example is not
    centered, nor are other dancers like her.

    Largely you are right, but most started young when they were fit
    and healthy (and virile!). They kept dancing so they would have
    retained some of what they needed merely by continued usage.
    In just the same way people in a less sedentary age wouldn't have
    had to think of their bodies because they used them every day -
    walking, running, lifting, working. They were just fitter naturally.
    Pardon me for disagreeing with what you think your eyes saw.
    Six packs are unusual on women unless they are body builders;
    dancers don't body build because they don't want to be muscle bound,
    they want to be fluid and flexible. She dances sort of double bent -
    it's very exaggerated - I don't think she can do that with engaged
    abdominal muscles. What you saw is more likely her internal
    organs leaning on or pushing against her abdominal wall.
    And I do have personal experience of that, mine and my partner.
    These postures are usually blamed on sedentary lifestyles
    and it's fairly obvious that both of Noelia and Virginia have
    this feature in normal life. I've seen that in other younger
    tango dancers, even in Buenos Aires.

    I cannot post a pic or a video since I know of none who change
    their posture as you suggest. If they can dance the posture
    I prefer they would not have the body type of either of them
    unless they relax their pelvic floor and core and they probably
    would not want to. If you have an awareness of the pelvic floor
    it feels weird to consciously let it go to tilt the pelvis; if you have
    an unconscious natural pelvic floor you would not let it go anyway.
  4. koinzell

    koinzell Active Member

    That sweet deep embrace :)
  5. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    I think you should set yourself up as Posture Guru and rake in all those yuge profits from teaching the stars. I'm sure they'll all be thrilled to beat a path to your door.
    TomTango likes this.
  6. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    No thanks!
    Actually their posture is their own business unless and until
    they start promoting their own postures as do Detlef & Melina
    by including this stuff, and these pictures, in their book.
    But I didn't intend to derail this discussion by concentrating on them,
    my reference to Melina's blog was to give an example of someone else's
    conclusions about tilting pelvises and their awkward effects.

    And just let me tell you something. At one weekend at which they were teaching,
    although I was there only to dance, a couple of us were playing with exercise
    and Detlef came up behind us and said to me "now do it without moving your pelvis".
    My immediate answer was to say "I am". Thinking about it afterwards, he was
    right and in fact I couldn't isolate my pelvis so that lead to more searching,
    more exercise and more development. So Detlef is due thanks from me.
  7. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    Let me see if I can distill my original post to a single sentence:

    When making decisions and judgments on posture, do your research, use your brain, and give more weight to experienced, professional dancers with years of overwhelming dance experience over random people on the internet.
    Mladenac likes this.
  8. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    If your original post had actually said anything remotely like this,
    or even in any of your later comments this thread might have
    wrapped up ages ago. I do hope that in referring to random people
    on the internet you include yourself.

    By the way, this forum is all random people on the internet!

    But . . . . as for years of dance experience here is a section of an old post
    from someone whose claim to be qualified to advise is:

    (Name witheld) is a Certified Personal Trainer and Master Fitness Coach.
    She holds a BA in Dance etc., etc.

    She writes :

    Dead Lifts
    Stand up, holding light weights in both hands, in front of your thighs.
    Keeping your knees straight (but not locked) bend over until your hips
    are at a 90 degree angle, back flat and parallel to the floor.
    Let the weights hang straight down. You should feel a stretch
    in your hamstrings. Now contract your gluteus and hamstrings
    to stand up straight. Squeeze your gluteus at the top.
    If this does not challenge you enough, you can do a more intense
    version of this exercise. This one is a killer!

    It sure could be a killer: of your back.
    Use with a great deal of care, maybe with no weights
    at all to begin with. It all depends on, your physical fitness,
    strength, flexibility, life activity - all affected by age as well.

    She writes about many other matters too,
    some of which my own experience rather discredits.
    It's all very personal and individual.

    So I will totally endorse this:
    but also take responsibility for your own body and your own dance.
    Build an awareness of your own body so you know when you are
    centered, collected, aligned and balanced because you can feel it,
    sense it, within your body.
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    This entire paragraph could have been written about a competitive ballroom dancer. The position ballroom dancers use is far from "natural" and yet I don't hear anyone saying its "wrong" to use because of that.

    Yes and no... I agree it is best to try for good posture all day. But I actually have better posture when I dance. (especially in ballet class) I also have better posture when I dress up and when I am wearing heels. I am more conscious of lifting and standing straight. As a side note, I've always thought that instead of having a swimsuit competition to determine poise for beauty contestants, they should have them walk the catwalk in sweatpants. You need a lot of ingrained poise to retain it wearing slouchy clothes!

    If you look at the link I posted showing various pelvic bones and femurs, you'll realize it isn't a case of a minority of people with some odd bone structure vs the majority who are "normal". The way the femur is set in the hip socket, and the actual angles of each, is a continuum that we all fall somewhere on. The images show extremes but people's bone structures aren't one or the other... they are somewhere in the range of one to the other (or maybe even further in one direction than the images shown). A "minority" have some actual aberration. On the other hand, these variations, which have a substantial impact on movement, are all normal.

    If you read the article, it's actually about the differences required for just doing squats as a basic exercise in a fitness routine, and how the position of the socket and angle of the femoral head affects the movement. The impact of those things on refined movement like specialized dancing would be even more pronounced. There is no generalization based on a minority.

    I agree about sedentary lifestyles, but there is no way any of these professional tango instructors and performers are leading sedentary lifestyles. The only time they are probably sitting around is on whatever transportation they are taking from one city to another.

    Tango may create the most exaggerated posterior emphasizing postures, but ballroom is a fairly exaggerated posture too... just in another way. Ballet has exaggerated foot positioning. Dance isn't always "natural", although at a social level, it should be possible to do it without years of physically demanding special training. I always have to laugh at the teachers who have told me to walk backwards "naturally" as though one EVER walks backwards in everyday life.

    I do agree that copying someone's posture or movement from a video is dangerous. I have been asked by beginner social dancers if they need to be able to dance high on their toes, because they've watched a dancer at out milongas dancing in flat shoes without putting her heels down and they think she looks good (and she does get lots of dances). I say emphatically that they should NOT dance with their heels raised for the whole dance. For one thing, their feet probably aren't strong enough, and for another, very few followers feel "grounded" to the leader when dancing that way. There are plenty of other examples of things NOT to copy. But then, I'm a strong believer in not trying to look like anyone else. Look like the best version of YOU that you can. None of the greatest dancers in history became the best by looking like someone else.
  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    EXACTLY what Jorge Torres said to me in a private lesson.
    Angel HI likes this.
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think we can all agree that the posture shown in this image is far from ideal. However, I don't think I've ever seen a tango pro use this posture.

    For one thing, her knees are locked in a hyperextended back angle. The weight of her hips is over her heels at best, and possibly behind her heels, in an effort to counterbalance her chest pushing forward. There is no lift to her chest. It is simply forward. In fact, she is doing everything I tell my students to be careful of, and that I have heard teachers caution against, ie: locking the knees back to stabilize the upper body forward, having the weight of the lower body too far back, pushing straight forward rather than diagonally upward, thrusting out the chest with the shoulders back which contracts the upper back, etc, etc.

    So yeah... this is not good. But again.. Its not the posture I see pro's using or teaching, so I'm not sure what the point of it is.
    Mladenac and sixela like this.
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    There is a 3rd option, and one I have to employ much more often than I would prefer. Option 3 is opening on my right side into a V-embrace. Then the connection is along my side rather than chest to chest, and there is room for the feet.

    In fact, V-embrace is becoming so common that I think many leaders simply don't know how to be forward enough to make chest contact.

    Of course, option 4 is going for a completely open embrace. I've resorted to that as well.
  13. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    We're neither talking about ballroom nor competitive dancing
    and while I would (and do) make that criticism, it's not relevant here.

    My experience of dancing with many people in high heels, low heels,
    no heels and even bare footed I am frequently mystified why someone
    would inflict on themselves the pain and suffering of high heels.
    Even, as in the case of my partner, when actually having painful
    feet needing operations. She dances best in bare feet or low heels.

    I think I understand where you are coming from personally
    but generally are we not really talking about "specialised" dancing,
    competition or otherwise. I am certainly not, my interest is social partner
    dancing, the dancing of relatively ordinary people. I do oppose
    the adoption of artificial, possibly unhealthy, postures for commercial
    attention seeking or competition, no matter what the dance.

    We don't know that but however that is unimportant.
    The examples seen here are an unhealthy body usage.
    What is damaging in my view is that they validate and
    even encourage other people's unhealthy postures.

    Yes, since when was walking backwards ever natural,
    worse is with the hyper extended projecting rearwards leg.
    Yes to this. The omitted part is another topic altogether
    which would be interesting to have but not this thread.
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    We were talking about "natural" and "healthy" postures and whether the posture used by some in tango qualified. The posture that ballroom dancers aim for even in social dancing is not natural. I think the conversation is relevant because you seem to be expecting tango to be different in that regard from ballroom. You also brought up an acrobatic performance in one of your posts, which is probably less relevant than comparing ballroom to tango.

    I did not mean that tango was specialized compared to other dancing. I meant that dancing itself is a specialized form of movement. Even just walking backwards is not normal movement. The article points out how much femoral angle affects a simple everyday movement like squatting (which is the way your hip and leg are designed to work) so you can be assured it affects something like walking backwards (which is NOT the way the joint is designed to work).
    Mladenac and raindance like this.
  15. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I'd like to mention that this discussion seems to be focused almost entirely on followers' bodies and how they use them. One wise soul upthread did mention that frequently the posture of the leader affects the follower's ability to maintain her axis and still connect, but for the most part, it has been a criticism of followers.

    In my experience, followers are more likely than leaders to have proper posture early on, while leaders are far more likely to be hunching and looking at the floor. Some leaders continue to slouch and look down for years, maybe even permanently because it becomes a habit they can't break. Far too many beginner classes never emphasize looking out instead of down, and they often start people in a open embrace that allows slouching and looking at their feet. Frequently the followers in that social group have to adapt to be able to dance with the leaders or they will sit all night. Everyone goes to You-tube to figure out how to solve problems on their social dance floor even though nothing they find on You-tube is social dancing.

    Tango is a partner dance. BOTH partners play a part in how the connection and postures are formed. If they didn't, then no one would care about other people's posture and connection when they choose who to dance with.
    sixela likes this.
  16. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Of course partner dance had no influence at all on the evolution
    of homo sapiens. Rather partner dance was a result of our evolution
    and what two bodies can do together to the music, separated (Latin)
    or embraced (Tango). The problem is man has a thinking brain
    and other influences then become involved. And yes ballroom is very
    contrived partly due to standardisation for teaching and competition.

    Tango should be different to ballroom, it was and still is different
    in Buenos Aires; elsewhere rather less so, although it is still accepted
    that you dance as you feel, as you are, as long as it's sociable.
    Untrained, unconstrained people can still find their own way.

    Interesting article, the comments maybe even more so.
    As for squatting, just how many know how important squatting
    is for young development and actually ongoing health too?
    The lack of squatting regularly in young life and its influence on
    bone shaping when they are still soft may be deeply damaging to some.

    For me, it is a fact that the Argentines found a way to dance
    as comfortably as possible in an embrace. It did not entail
    the woman walking mainly backwards, but forwards and backwards,
    sideways and turning. And when she does go backwards the legs
    do not project excessively behind, the foot does not roll from toe to heel
    but the foot lands on as much of the ball of the foot as possible,
    even when going backwards. High heels can be intrusive to this
    but possibly even more destructive to walking forwards with
    a maintained forward intention. Again it's individual.

    Sadly for women (my own view) high heels are now prevalent
    as a result of the marketing of pretty tango shoes spinning off
    from the shows. Shows and competitions are exaggerations
    that social dancers would be better off ignoring. But they don't.
    Argentines socially dancing used to ignore them possibly because
    they understood the derivation but with more and more teachers
    being show and/or professional dancers themselves this is changing.
  17. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Probably because this thread was about women's posture, not men's.
    I certainly wouldn't pretend that women are the only one's to blame,
    but I do blame Noelia and her ilk for the disconnected dance which results.
    She dances alone. Maja rather wildly dances alone, the men are props.
    Is it the men's fault? Maybe as far as the fact that they are prepared
    to dance in a manner with their partners so they can dance in such a way.

    "Never look down" is one of the best advices you can receive in any dance.
    And in tango - both partners always maintain forward intention (and that includes
    even when going backwards, either partner). Yet many teachers don't do that,
    they don't even look as if they know what it means because they don't hold
    themselves nor move in such a way that they can.

    Absolutely true.
  18. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Even when the bones are developing, there's a limit to how much you can alter the shape of the femoral neck and the socket for the head. One of the things that distinguishes good ballet teachers (for example) from every person who hangs up a shingle to teach dance to very young girls, is the knowledge of what helps shape the body in a healthy way and what does damage to a body too young for the positions and movements.

    On this we agree. While I don't think everyone dances better in totally FLAT shoes, I do think many women are wearing heels that are too high for the natural shape of their foot and the strength of the muscles that allow for rising up on demi-point or half-toe. (what non ballet dancers would call being on their toes).

    My advise to followers (which often falls on deaf ears) is that :

    1) Your shoe heels need to be low enough that you can raise them off the floor by rising up higher on your toes into a balanced position that you can hold un-aided for a MINIMUM of 30 seconds. Although you won't actually need to do this while dancing, it shows that you have the strength in the feet to be that high on your toes rather than relying on the shoe to hold you up. If someone is relying on the shoe, chances are there are postural things that will inevitably go wrong too.

    2) You need to be able to walk forward in the shoes and still get your toes to the floor long before your weight is completely over the foot. Otherwise you are either teetering on the heel of the shoe trying to get your weight over your leg, or you are stepping forward with the knee very bent to put your toes down (which limits the length of your step and can interfere with what was led)

    The tango shoe market has created a great deal of snobbery and leaders aren't exempt from this snobbery. I've even read posters here on DF saying that they judge unknown followers at festivals by their shoes. I've certainly seen IRL that leaders do so. Followers feel compelled to buy the shoes, not just because they like the look of them, but because they know that "looking the part" is important in the US. (can't speak to elsewhere)

    I will say that I also don't think many followers dance their best in totally flat shoes. I know I don't. Most women have a position of the foot that feels natural and comfortable to dance. The range is from flat to very, very high heeled. For me the best height is about 7.0 - 7.5cm. Anything lower, and I end up dancing on my toes too much. Higher and I can't walk forward comfortably.

    The standard (ie: most common) shoe heel these days for tango manufacturers is 8.0-8.5cm. They go as high as 10cm. I don't personally know any social dancers who dance well in a 10cm heel.
    Mladenac and sixela like this.
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    There's an old joke about ballet dancers that if you even draw a line on the floor they will trip over it. It's not because they are looking down; it's because they have carried the lesson to never look down into every moment of their life. Consequently they are always tripping over stuff. ;)

    I always start beginners in tango in a slightly modified close embrace so that they can't get in the habit of looking down.

    I've also been known to stand at the far end of the room in a lesson, jumping up and down and waving my arms, shouting to the leader: "LOOK AT ME!!!!" to get them to look where they are going instead of down.

    Yeah... we have fun in my lessons!
    Mladenac and sixela like this.
  20. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    No she doesn't [since you seem to be argumenting by assertion...] But then, I think (once again) that the only person who could judge that is someone who's danced with her.
    rain_dog and Mladenac like this.

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