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Monday, 22 September 2014

Surrender or self-preservation?

Entrega (roughly translated as surrender) is that delicious and much-sought-after experience in tango, when you can allow yourself to become one with your partner and the music. You and your partner are in a bubble, being carried along by the music.  This is, in my opinion, true tango.

Trust is a prerequisite - trust in your partner, as well as trust in your fellow dancers and trust in the musical selections of the DJ.

How lightly do you grant this trust? Recent chats with a few tangueras revealed that some grant it far too lightly.  How powerless they have felt in having surrendered, when instead, a response of self-preservation was called for. Men have reported similar experiences.  So, when might self-preservation tactics be appropriate for men or women?

Your partner (man or woman)
  • is imposing movements upon you that make you feel uncomfortable (eg. leg-wraps, high boleos)
  • is not in control of his/her axis, and your balance is compromised
  • moves ahead of you, rather than with you
  • is moving in a way which endangers or compromises the comfort of other dancers
  • is stepping outside the embrace
Here, tango might be compared to sex between consenting adults. Don't do what you don't like.  Preserve your comfort, safety & dignity, and enjoy the experience!

So, what are some tried & true strategies of self-preservation?
  1. Cabeceo - it means that you have choice.  If you don't like what you see, or have had a bad experience with someone, don't nod to accept their invitation. It's the best line of defence.  However, we have all experienced Uh oh moments, so ...
  2. Brace - your body is alert.  You are ready to tense your muscles in order to maintain your balance or to slow down your partner
  3. Embrace - you may change the embrace, perhaps making it much closer to limit your partner's movements
  4. Say something - tell your partner that you don't feel comfortable
  5. Leave - if all else fails, reserve the right to say "Thank you" perhaps at the end of a song (not tanda) and leave the dance-floor
The choice is yours: surrender or self-preservation.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

It's not hard to see why he's a ladies' favourite!

Several seasoned milongueras have let slip that they simply adore dancing with him.

Just watch his delicious response to the music, the lovely embrace and how he communicates the cadences of the music to his partner.

Thanks Jantango for sharing these clips of Ismael Heljalil.


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