This week Biology was on the brain. Which surprised me since I was only a Bio major for all of 2 semesters in college. The theme to my observations seemed to be this: There is an anatomy of tango. Specifically, there are three that came to my mind: the anatomy of posture, of a step, and of a beat.
During some one-on-one time with a student this week, I realized all the little things that are involved in great tango posture. The individual I was dancing with had such concave posture! His back was curved in so that his chest cavity was collapsed in on itself. It reminded me of a bat hanging from a ceiling as it was sleeping. The bat itself is tucked all snug inside of its wings that envelope its whole body. The body is protected. But it’s not vulnerable. Or strong. Good tango posture for him meant that he needed to use his full height (and not compromise it by slouching over), and move with forward intention. It was amazing how much more connection he had with his partner when his posture improved.
The anatomy of a step is really just the breakdown of what it is like to take a single step. It is how your weight shifts from your heel, to your arch, to the ball of your foot, and then to your toes. What makes a tango step is how much weight is distributed at each point and how that affects your movement and your connection. If all of your weight is on your toes, you will be heavily leaning into your partner. If they stepped away, you would fall flat on your face!
This week was the last week of the 5 week series on musicality. Over these last weeks, our class has learned the different beats there are in various types of tango music. You have a 1-2-3-4 count, a waltz 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2, and a milong 1-2-1-2. Finding the beat is like understanding the skeleton and muscles of a body and how they work together to create a movement.
Overall, tango is beautiful. And the breakdown of its aspects such as posture, steps, and beats are part of what makes it so. When you learn all of these, you’ll find that your 5 points of connection will vastly improve!