jeudi 17 décembre 2009

What kind do you like? Would fluffy do?

Would you be able to put into words what you want from the abrazo?  That's what Brigitta Winkler, who graced us with her presence a few days ago, got us pondering.  Her class (Milonguero Style) was magical but that's for another post.  She started by getting us into groups of four and exchanging verbally on what we expect from the embrace.  We chatted for a few minutes and then the whole class shared their insights.

I was amazed, but not surprised, that answers were vague at best and mostly not really targeting the question.  Most people talked about musicality, posture, axis, etc. but few were able to articulate what they expect from the abrazo.  Indeed, it is really difficult to put into words what the embrace means. Especially if you have not experienced it.

While we worry about technique, axis, steps, musicality and a whole string of things we can control, fix, improve, repeat, one thing we forget is the quality of our embrace.  How do we want to be held? Do we even know?  How do we hold?  Does that reflect who we are?  Do dancers keep asking us because they like how we hold them?  Can you be taught to embrace?

I have had the luck to dance with some of the best dancers on my continent and it wasn't the steps they managed to make me do, it wasn't how they put me at ease, their confidence, their poise, it was their embrace, that left a deep imprint on my soul.

After the first few minutes of dancing with Homer Ladas I just felt compelled to tell him: "Dancing with you is like dancing with water".  He had been told. Numerous times.  The first seconds I got into Tomas Howlin's arms almost brought me to tears. I felt like it was the first time a man was taking me into his arms.  No offense for the men in my life, it was just a sensation.  My regular partner makes me feel like I'm curling up on this couch: Vibrant but not flashy, classy but not classic, comfortable but not mushy.  Lucky me....

Other dancers have left others marks and I came to realize that the embrace is about who you are and your ability to communicate that to another.  Hesitations, lack of confidence, self-doubt are sure killers.  I have been working real hard on my embrace more than anything else.  Often with the help of fellow dancers but mostly with the help of yoga (and that's for another post too).

I got my reward a few days ago.  A leader told me in a middle of a tanda: "Dancing with you is like dancing with a fluffy pillow".  I enjoyed hearing that much like I take pleasure in a great pastry with a cup of Earl Grey.  I repeated it to whomever was willing to hear me and took infinite pleasure rolling the sounds off my tongue: "Fluffy. ..Pillow"...

However, I keep in mind that what Tango has giveth, it can taketh away and I can lose that quality anytime, anywhere with anyone....

So what do YOU expect, hope for, yearn for, even pray for, in the embrace?

2 commentaires:

  1. what a great post! It is so hard to describe what feels good in an embrace. There are the usual, general, nebulous things - I want to feel safe, connected - not like a prop. There are few things I've noticed that are specific.

    I like to feel my leader's right arm come around my back - not just his right hand at the left side of my ribcage, or the just lightly resting at the middle of my back. Some leaders only apply pressure with their right arm when they're initiating a change of direction, or at the beginning of a phrase of music. While some followers I've talked to have said they like that lighter touch - I prefer a constant, firm connection through the length of their arm. Of course I dance close embrace/buttons-to-buttons/milonguero most often - so that level of connection feels most natural for me.

    There are so many factors really - and none of them are very easy to describe. I've had a couple of leaders compliment me on my embrace, but not with any specifics. I know my embrace improved when I stopped feeling apologetic for things I didn't follow well. It's the same the other way - when a man dances without hesitation, without apology.

    So much to think about now . . . Thank you for such a great post!

  2. Hi Mari

    Happy that you enjoyed this. I enjoy your blog so much every single time you get a new post out ;)