Tango Argentino > Torso angle

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Tango Distance, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. Tango Distance

    Tango Distance Active Member

    I had some experienced Tango ladies critique me. It was both valuable and humbling, after 1 year I still need to learn things about walking!

    Something I was able to diagnose was I'm tending to lean back a bit, away from the lady. Surprise surprise, Mr. Hug-adverse here leaning back away from someone. I can see how this leads to a tendency to lead with the feet rather than the chest.

    I'm trying to figure out a good metric for torso angle. Is there some kind of check I can apply that I'm doing it right? Many thanks.
  2. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Get a plumb -- a long rope with a weight on one end. Make it hang from your sternum area -- just hold the free end of the rope there, and make the weight go to the floor. The weight should fall right in front of your feet.
    That is as far as the angle itself is concerned. How exactly you create that angle is another story. :)
    Angel HI and RiseNFall like this.
  3. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Did you ever consider Ballroom tango instead?
  4. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    I developed a little ritual I went through.
    1. Stand up straight and tall
    2. "Plank" forward until your weight is all on the balls of your feet. Soft knees. Stay tall.
    3. Keeping your chest where it is, push your hips back until they're over the middle of your feet. This should put your weight more in the middle of your foot. Stay tall! Your torso is now at a slight angle, but shouldn't feel like you're leaning to any follow.
    Nowadays I keep my hips where they are and bring my chest forward. It's the same effect, though. Two things it's really easy to do though: hunch and hyperextend your back. Fix the former by always trying to stay tall. I fix the later by finding my lowest ribs and pushing them toward my spine. You have to engage the core to do this.

    You can see my posture in a video I posted in another thread I'll repost here. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. As a bonus, my pants have a white strip that let's you see how my legs are vertical while my torso is reaching up and forward.

    Contrast this to where I was at your 1 year mark. Straight up and down, if not leaning back a little, chin not tucked, kind of hunched:
  5. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    There is no backward poise in BR tango.
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  6. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I'd avoid any feeling of leaning forward with the hips back. The bum stuck out look is still fashionable with some women performers - although they look awful doing it - but most leaders would do better to start by standing naturally upright, and then to slightly soften the knees and bring the whole torso forward (from the hips) until their weight is over the balls of their feet.

    Opinions vary, but if you need to press your toes into the floor to maintain your balance you have gone too far. You can't lead with your feet - that's called kicking your partner. Personally, I don't subscribe to leading from the upper chest: it makes the centre of gravity too high to be stable. Carrying your centre of balance lower in the body is a key element in what some term being grounded.
  7. aaah

    aaah Member

    after 1 year .. this makes me smile -- you will be learning how to walk in tango for the rest of your life !! - when you realize that you will on the right path
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  8. koinzell

    koinzell Active Member

    Hips back is the way to go. When you bring your hips back, your chest has to come forward in opposition to counterbalance. It looks better and feels better. In my opinion, dancers who don't dance this way look awful to me. Homer and Cristina are a good example, but lots of people still love them. It all depends on where you want to go with this dance.
    tangomaniac and Mladenac like this.
  9. rain_dog

    rain_dog Active Member

    I pretty much completely disagree with this, but that's tango for you...
    UKDancer likes this.
  10. Juniper Ivy

    Juniper Ivy Member

    No need to go this far!

    I really struggled with torso angle for my first couple years. Then a teacher told me to stick my chest forward. In close embrace your chest, your rib cage, should be in contact with your partner. Tango Distance, I imagine this is your worst nightmare! Haha. But it really helped me make progress, though I am sure I still have a lot to learn.
  11. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    One of my teachers has the legs vertical (no hips back), the torso leaning forward and the neck and head vertical. I guess it's the right thing to do. Yet I don't feel like dancing that twisted way. The obvious comparison is eating vegetables. Right, but not pleasant.
  12. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    Isn't having your legs vertical and your torso projected forward a hips-back position?

    I hate having the feeling that the space around my hips is being invaded. I like lots of room. Having a hips-back posture lets me create this feeling to the best of my ability even if my follower doesn't. There's just more room in general for expression.

    I also just realized I find the posture more aesthetically pleasing on performers than I did in the past. I think people gravitate toward a look that mirrors what they like to feel, since so much of the joy of watching performers is getting that sympathetic nervous system firing, dancing vicariously through them.
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    The one metric that counts is cumulative partner comments.

    A workable check is to observe yourself in a mirrors or in any photographs.

    We always did the "stand with feet together move your weight back and forth to maximum extent without falling forward" exercise when I was taking lessons.

    You can take or leave the following.

    "When we are new to the dance, we are tempted to straighten our knees and pull our pelvis back. This causes us to disconnect and/or hyperextend our lower back. A good embrace is one where the knees relax and the pelvis is dropped and connected to our partner. Remember, our legs move out of the pelvis/hip area."
    Angel HI likes this.
  14. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Why, no.
  15. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    I agree with you. This is called Apilado ("stacked") style. I can move my weight without moving my feet. I can lead the woman to step backwards merely by bringing my torso forward WITHOUT stepping forward. The woman creates space for me to come forward without stepping on her foot.
    There is an exchange of energy, not an exchange of pressure and resistance.
    This enhances the communication.
  16. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    Well, looks like "hips back" is a fuzzy concept then. Hips over feet/having a crease at your waist (as opposed to having your body in a straight line), is what I refer to when I say "hips back." I can't imagine having your hips behind your feet.
  17. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, and at this point I have to say, I have never heard, until now, anyone associating "hips back" when teaching apilado. The "forward lean" made possible by weight sharing usually means that the pelvic areas of the partners are not in contact. There is no "breaking" at the waist in the way I learned.
    newbie likes this.
  18. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I've heard it referred to as the milonguero hunch. In my experience, it's done when the man is too tall to do the more traditional apilado embrace (how you described it).

    Also, "hips back" can be used for the salon/Villa Urquiza style embrace.
  19. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

  20. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    The objective of pulling the hips back is to get onto the balls of the feet, bringing my chest closer to the woman. I can feel our movements better plus my pivoting is enhanced because I'm off my heels.

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