Jan 082017
Biomechanics: The Arch of Connection

We teach biomechanics classes because to dance tango we need awareness and control of our muscles.

Today’s class is about maintaining perfect connection and understanding that we make our balance together.

Muscle exercises

1 (for quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluts) pretend to be a chair with your back flat against the wall, and your calves parallel to the wall. Hold for one minute. You can shift the focus to the different muscles.
2 (for piriformis)

3 (for transverse abdominus)

A Tango Dancer’s Arc of bones and muscle

4 Solo exercise: Putting your body into an arc: stand in two feet, flex knees and hips. transfer weight to one base leg, put the front of its rib cage over the knuckle of its big toe. (your base leg will now be externally rotated relative to your torso. use the piriformis muscle to stabilize the hip joint in this position. now contract your quadriceps muscle to create strength in that leg. finally, contract the transverse abdominus to stabilize the spine and release any tension from lower abs and hip flexors. Now lift the free leg, play if you want, return it slowly with control to the floor, in projection. Relax. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.

5 Solo exercise: walking with music, finding the arc after every step.

The Arch of Connection of a tango pair

We use an inflated ball (any kind, any size) to form the top part of the arch, connecting our two arcs.

6 Without taking any steps, put both dancers of the pair on their right feet (trot system) and work to direct the arcs until you feel the sweet spot of mutual balance. Talk about it. Then agree to change to the left feet. Then agree to try with one on left and one on right (pace system), and the other side.

7 One dancer (possibly with eyes closed) stays on one foot, and redirects their arc to make the arch while the other dancer changes feet at will. Make the arch by feel!!!!

8 Drop the ball and connect your arcs directly, touching your torsos, but with no arm/hand contact. Repeat 6&7.

9 Recapture the ball and try walking in pace and trot system. Be sure to adjust the pressure on the ball constantly to maintain a constant sensation throughout the step.

The embrace

10 triceps exercise stand with you side to a wall, with the tips of your fingertips touching the wall. Raise the outside leg (away from the wall) to passe. Now put your hand flat on the wall. Contract the base leg’s piriformis to stabilize the hip joint. Externally rotate the shoulder of the arm touching the wall. Now do one-hand pushups, using your triceps muscle, very slowly in both directions.
11 Open embrace walking with shoulders in external rotation and triceps contraction to prevent changes in elbow and shoulder flexion.
Biomechanics: Projection

We teach biomechanics classes because to dance tango we need awareness and control of our muscles.

Today’s class is about the Revel’s free leg, how it moves, and how to Mark it.

First we explore the different ways that each joint in the body moves: flexion, extension, and rotation.

For stability, we always keep the base leg in external rotation. The free leg can use internal rotation.

Muscle exercises

1 (for feet): sitting: practice contracting the muscles of the arch and the toes to create a point. make sure that the ankle stays straight.

2 (for feet): standing: articulate the foot from flat, to demi-point, to point.

3 (for psoas) sitting with legs extended front and hands next to the upper legs. lift one leg at a time to find the psoas muscle.

4 (for obliques) kneeling and working with a partner as your weights machine: practice turning the torso with the external obliques, and then with the internal obliques.


5 Solo exercise: Using a toy car, practice projecting front, back, and side without putting any weight on the free leg. Always begin the movement with contraction of the base leg’s psoas muscle to intensify the arch.

5 Trio exercise: Revel’s embrace, helper with hands on sternum and upper back of the Mark. The revel with a car… Practice projections toward the mark and away from the mark emphasizing both partners’ base legs’ psoas muscles.

6 Duo exercise: Revel’s embrace, the revel with a car. Practice lateral projections using the psoas muscle to stabilize, and the oblique muscles to show direction.

7 Dancing exercise: Duo, revel’s embrace. Mark one projection, then a second projection, and step.

 8 January 2017