So you’ve been dancing tango for a while and you’re reasonably comfortable on the dance floor. Maybe you’ve even developed a repertoire of tango figures that you’ve personalized and made your own. That’s great, but are you capturing the the aesthetic that characterizes tango? The tango aesthetic is functional so if you are deficient here it will negatively affect your lead, and if you are a follower then it will diminish your ability to interpret the mark and move with precision. The remedy is to master dance form. Your body can be conditioned to maintain form and believe it or not, you may see more improvement in your dance by investing your time in the following exercises then in additional tango lessons.
In art (and lets not forget that the Argentine tango is art and if you dance it, then you are an artist) form is essential to aesthetic pleasure. Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher, in speaking of art said that beauty is ascribed to an object on form alone. And he is not alone in that sentiment. The English art critic, Clive Bell stated that when it comes to judging art, form is above all else. Eduard Hanslick, 19th century music critic, also said that beauty is found in form. He was speaking about music but surely we can extend that to dance. In fact, I believe we all should make critical judgements on form and listen to those critiques aimed at our own dance. This, of course, does not imply “hatin on” people or being at all unkind. On the contrary, educated remarks on unity, coherence, and other elements of form are useful in helping the artist improve their craft. And that’s what we all should be striving for- improving our dance. Tango, and indeed all art, is a journey.
In order for your tango to demonstrate good form you must maintain a particular posture throughout the dance. No matter how chaotic the ronda becomes, no matter what the orchestra throws at you, no matter what you wish to “express,” you must never compromise that posture. If you do, then you will not only lose the tango aesthetic, but also the mark. In other words, the communication with your partner will breakdown and so will the pleasure of the moment. The good news is that you will not need to constantly remind yourself to maintain certain postures throughout the dance. Your body will do that for you, but only if you condition it to. That’s right, I said it. Just like most other physical endeavors, tango requires conditioning. You may need to improve your cardiovascular fitness, you may need to increase your flexibility, perhaps you need to lose a few pounds, but here I’m going to discuss strengthening a specific group of muscles that will pull your skeleton into perfect alignment for the purposes of the Argentine tango. If you train your muscles with these simple 5 exercises, 2-3 times a week, doing 2- 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions then I guarantee that your posture will improve, your dance form will be enhanced, and it won’t be long before your dance community rewards you with exceptional critiques.
Integrate these 5 exercises into your general fitness routine or as part of your weekly tango practice and you will soon see the dividends. As your posture improves so will your dance form. Furthermore, there are other benefits that accompany improved posture such as fatigue resistance, improved self esteem and projected confidence.
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