Tango Argentino > Watching Yourself Dance to Improve

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by TomTango, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. I do all of those :)
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  2. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Lilly is on right the way with this:

    although I rather think she meant strengthen rather then "straighten" legs,
    feet, core and back - at least I hope she did.

    As for exercise at home alone where no-one is watching, get hold of a Pilates
    book such as "The Official Body Control Pilates Manual" and pick some appropriate
    exercises. If you think you have specific posture maladies then try Missy Vineyard's
    Alexander Technique based "How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live".
    I cannot give either a reference, I bought them from reviews but in fact
    I just haven't had time to read them properly.

    I learned a lot from another older Alexander Principle book but it has no exercises
    in it being written about the principle rather than the practice. I'll give you
    a relevant example. Rick MacGarrey on Tango and Chaos has his "String Theory"
    section which emphasises a requirement to stand tall but gives little practical
    help to achieve that. Probably nearly all of us have tried to hold ourselves up
    while dancing and failed to maintain the necessary posture. Frankly you cannot
    just turn it on for dance, you have to have a dance posture all the time. Zoopsia
    has recently written about holding in her tummy and that is a forced effort as
    well, leading to stress, strain and almost certain failure, without taking into account
    the tension that would inevitably impede the need for a flexible spiralling torso.
    However one passing comment in the Alexander Principle book, almost
    a throwaway line, made the point that breathing is a back activity
    and not a front (chest) one that many people think.

    It was a revelation to me, just try breathing into your back. It wakes up senses,
    you feel your back move, it becomes freer and more mobile, breathing becomes
    deeper and, somewhat amazingly to me, your posture and abdomen change
    and you seem to grow grow naturally taller in a way you can better and more
    easily maintain. At least that was the effect for me. But you need other exercise,
    aimed at helping you recover as much height as you possible can by stretching
    the muscles and tendons so that their contraction over time does not fight
    your effort "to grow".

    You have to make your own discoveries about your own body, but this will repay
    you far more than countless lessons of steps and moves etc. Believe me, this
    is a never ending and worthwhile quest for your own self-improvement.
  3. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Yes, thank you. As to "make stronger", of course. Got confused between all the "autocorrect" versions. :)
    Mladenac likes this.
  4. Thanks. Just ordered on Amazon a secondhand copy of the Official Body Control Pilates Manual. I'll give it a try... :)
  5. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    There is a lot of good pilates ws on youtube, around 30 mins and longer. I combine pilates and cardio workshops during the weekly training. I run same workshops for two months and then I will pick something new.
  6. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

  7. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    Update! 43 Months dancing - well, it's been 6 months since I last recorded myself...time to check progress. There was great discussion last time, so I thought I'd continue posting. (I really should start a blog or something)

    I thought I should dance to something other than early steady rhythmic OTV, so here's some Carlos Di Sarli/Podesta - Llueve Otra Vez

    The good:
    Posture's looking a lot better
    Dancing more confident in general
    No real mistakes
    Footwork looks good (collection/not lifting feet)
    Ending was nice

    The not so good:
    Need to turn upper body toward follow more/less offset, especially in turns and crosses.
    Open side elbow pulled a little too far back
    Head a tad forward
    Need more pauses. Some parts were rushed. My musicality is never as good when I know I'm being watched.
    Went to open embrace too often. Not necessary.

    Overall: Posture's ok for now. Make embrace a priority.

    Things I've done to improve:
    Went to Tango Element and focused on classes with Pablo Rodriguez
    Went to Connect tango festival, focused on social dancing (THE best festival dancing I've ever had).
    Series of 3 private lessons focusing on posture, embrace, and turns.
    Stretching/strength training regime to strengthen core and posterior chain, loosen up hip flexors and lower back
    Tango Distance likes this.
  8. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    0:29 unnecessary breaking of embrace, follow the partner is dissociation
    0:58 no need to fully open embrace, just relax close one so she is free
    1:20 have consistent right hand, don't pull it up, and keep close embrace
    That requires different technique than you are using
    (watch carlitos espinosa and noelia hurtado or Marko Miljevic and Maja Petrovic)
    It's called single axis giro, one cirle for the shoulders and another for legs.
    More continous flow of giro (it's difficult)
    1:39 This sacada is much easier to lead it in close embrace
    1:50 same, close embrace
    2:07 It's choreography, use shoulders to lead it (same as before)
    2:14 Be more on front foot and focus on contraposition
    2:19 Awkard embrace

    Constantly changing light embrace with no embrace is confusing and tiring.
    And follower may not have a contact at all.
    Some ladies prefer stronger embrace and stronger lead.
  9. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    Yes, you echo what I said: don't move to open when unnecessary.

    Could you expand on the separate circle for shoulders and legs/continuous flow giro? I know the effect you talk about, with Carlitos/Marko, but haven't gotten a chance to have it described (studying this particular movement style from video is difficult).
  10. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    FWIW, my friend with pink hair (who danced with you at Tango Element), says she enjoyed dancing with you.
  11. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    In open embrace (1 circle) you make a step, rotate shoulders and then pivot.

    In close embrace (2 circle) you start to rotate with your shoulder,
    in that rotation you make a step, and pivot in continous fashion.
    So the shoulder rotation is pulling legs continuously. ;)

    If you don't start with shoulder rotation it's difficult/impossible to move in circular fashion
    because your forward balance will throw you forwad.

    Technique for enrosque is quite similiar, but in enroque you are vertical.
    In giro (close embrace), you are slightly forward.
  12. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    I enjoyed dancing with her :)
  13. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    MHO... you look great! Your self-diagnosis seems to be well thought. Continued progression and content to you in the next 12 months.
    TomTango likes this.
  14. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    6 months later, got a good opportunity for another valuable self-check video! Lemme tell you...performing for a crowd is hard. It feels like you're dancing with 50% of your brain. Lots of respect for people who do it on a regular basis.

    First time performing in a jacket, and first time performing to Troilo.

    Tango Distance, Mladenac and Angel HI like this.
  15. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Is she the same partner as before?

    The worst musicality so far.
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Looks good to me.
    Maybe your earlier videos were much better?

    I don't get it.

    PS Did you just move to Boise? What's going on there?
  17. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Change your partner. The follower is supposed to take confident, deliberate steps, which will emphasize the music. This one has tense, unsure moves. Or maybe she's not used to wearing heels, see at 0:14 when she almost falls.
    Change the audience too, they're clueless, or alternatively you can have a guy holding a big sign which tells them when to applaud.

    As for yourself: when you pivot (e.g 1:04 or 1:35 or 3:42), your foot raises up, which is ugly. There are many options here, you can join, you can cross behind, whatever, but the thing you do with this somewhere-in-the-air foot conveys the idea that you lost your balance.
  18. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Musicality is OK for OTV, but not for Troilo.
    Not enough flow according to the music, dynamics of dancers are not according to melodic parts of music.
    And since there is less rhytmical parts in this piece there is suspense to describe them.
    Again the same issue as with previous songs but here is accentuated.
  19. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    The follower should walk in high heels apart from tango and she should learn how to make a step forward.
    She does toe first when making forward step and she has never developed walking in high heels.
    It seems that the floor it too slippery, so she could make her shoes wet a little bit or make sole coarse.
    Also the follower doesn't have active posture against the floor and partner and a lot of problems arise here.

    Walking at 2:14 is not for a couple after dancing 5 years, and it's ok for OTV.
    There should be gliding on the dance floor. Not staccato walking.

    Tom's pivots in close embrace are ok.
    Embrace during the dance is not communicative and transitions are made with a break (3:45)
    Giros and sacadas are bad. The follower should make stronger contra positions and to be more into the floor.
    And more control of her feet, that's why she is so unstable.

    Since the floor is so slippery the leader should leader smaller movements or to be more agressive in following the follower.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  20. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Tom, you look good. I like your walk and your posture. I don't have the problem with your musicality that some others did. Your partner isn't at the same level that you are at. To start with, she needs work on her posture.

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