Swinging cats? (Part 1)
It is maybe the case that after an inspiring Tango lesson with whomever your inspiring Tango teacher is, that you get home and you want to practice. It's possible that you're looking at your floor covering and thinking how am I going to dance on that, or maybe there's not enough room to swing a small undersized kitten in here let alone practice my whip like boleos.
Do not despair, for however deep your shag pile carpet, and no matter whether you're measuring furniture to fit into your dolls house/cupboard by the millimetre rather than the metre, there are always Tango exercises you can do despite any environmental challenges you may encounter.
No 1.* Standing on the spot, practicing your posture and weight change.
toes out slightly at comfortable natural angle,
bum tucked under,
breathe in - then out while rolling shoulders forward then over to back, keep rib cage up while still able to breathe comfortably through stomach.
head straight forward and
chin tucked in.
Then send your weight slightly over the balls of your feet (NOT so that you are about to fall). Then change weight from one foot to the other without lifting the hip or dropping the hip. When all the weight is on one leg, don't lock that leg back but keep it soft, the other leg just rests (hangs) no tension in it whatsoever -i.e. the free leg.
No 2. Side Stepping beautifully
*All posture notes from No 1*
Change weight onto right leg for example (it's 50/50 - can't go too far wrong here)
when you are ready to go (take your time btw, slower = more control = better)
let the softness in your knee on your standing leg soften more
let the free leg move out to the side tracing the floor with the inside of the ball of the foot
DO NOT lift the hip of your free leg,
DO NOT drop the hip of your free leg
Keep your hips level and forward facing
when the foot of your free leg has extended sideways to the maximum
push with your standing leg to the side
let your weight roll over from the inside of your free leg foot to spread equally across the width of the foot
keep the knee joint soft on the free leg as you transfer the weight over (do not not lock the knee back, nor bend it too far forward)
All the weight should now be on the other leg, so the ex-standing leg now becomes the free leg
use the softness of the (now) standing leg to draw the free leg to meet it, keep hips level
Don't make the free leg active, the standing leg does 80% of the work.
Then repeat to the other side
These may seem like absurdly simple things to do, but believe me, the more you do them with care and attention, the more beautiful your dance will become.
It's all about the journey in-between with Tango
Now get cracking!