“Every man, woman and child holds the possibility of physical perfection”
F.M. Alexander (1869-1955)
Freedom from tension is key in tango: for better connection, posture and alignment. Xiaosong Que is an Alexander Technique teacher and she tells us a bit more about how freedom in movement can help with tango.
How can Alexander Technique help tango dancers?
We dancers can hold a lot of tension in our body without realizing it. Dancing involves all the joints, especially the back, the hips and the knees. If we hold tensions there, we are rigid and our movements are stiff.
The Alexander Technique teaches you how to observe yourself, how to be super aware of the connection of our body and mind, and the tensions we hold. Once you are aware of where the tensions are, you can release them. The awareness is the beginning of the end.
Why do we hold tension in the first place?
It is a very complicated matter. Often it is emotional and comes from a very deep place psychologically. Our mind impacts our body. We’re anxious, have fear… and the body reacts and tenses up. Sometimes it comes from the space the eyes can’t see, for example: the space behind us, on top of us… We can’t see, so fear arises, and makes us tense up: we shorten the neck, hunch the back, raise the shoulders…
Does it also teach you how to prevent injuries?
Yes. I started Alexander Technique lessons out of desperation for my back pain that was debilitating me for a number of years. I tried so many different kinds of treatments and exercises but nothing had helped. The Technique not only has got rid of my pain, it has also taught me how to take care of myself when I move, lift weights and stay strong. It’s an incredible skill for life.
What do you think of the tango high heels?
It’s a very tricky matter. You have to make sure that your shoes are comfortable, that they are the right height and give full support to your feet. Often the injuries come from dancing in the wrong shoes. Each feet is different, so you really need to find the shoes that are good for you. Learning how to keep the heels down while dancing also makes us more grounded.