1. Work out those core muscles
Balance, balance, balance! Axis is key in tango, and with all this dissociation it’s easy to lose your balance. And it’s not only the traditional Abs and Lower Back muscles we’re talking about: the inner muscles of the legs are key too. Best way to strengthen them? 30 seconds in plank pose every day is easy and will show result in the next milonga… (here’s a good plank pose description – make sure your elbows are rotated inwards!)
2. Release your posture
All that time in front of our computers or looking at our phones is taking its toll on our postures! We tend to hunch back, poke our chins out, round our shoulders, thrust our hips forward… which make it harder to communicate with our partner through our upper bodies. A good way to start building awareness of your posture is on the floor! Laying down on your back, breathe in and out slowly. Then, take the time to notice where your spine touches the floor, and where it doesn’t. Stretch out your arms, and release the tension in your neck. The floor helps you feel what a straight and relaxed back is – then the key is to find the same posture when standing and dancing. A few more tips on posture here
3. Find your embrace
Especially at the beginning, dancing with a lot of people will help you feel different types of embrace. Then you can decide how you want yours to feel like – close, open, high…- and how you can adapt to different dancers.
4. Listen to a lot of music
A lot! A lot! And learn about the structure of tango music – it’s a good idea to take musicality classes once in a while, especially with teachers whose dance style you like. Leaders, it will help you anticipate the music and propose sequences that are not rushed. Followers, you will understand much better what your partner is expecting from you, and it will be easier to add embellishments.
5. Learn to let go
A good tanda is with someone who is absolutely present to the dance – be it an experienced dancer or a beginner. It’s hard to find the balance between relaxing and applying what we’ve learnt in class but it’s crucial! It’d be a shame to take all these classes and not being there in the embrace. Special tip: listen to the music! Yep, sounds obvious but how many times have we let our minds go racing about our technique instead of enjoying the flow?