What is the role of the embrace in maintaining connection?


Tango EmbraceThis seems like a trick question. The embrace is everything, right?

Well, no. The embrace is the last mile. Our connection depends on the whole body being stable and well-positioned. We use the lower body, especially hip flexion, to create an arch of connection from our base leg to our partner’s center.

We extend the knees slightly to trigger a muscle chain that keep the arch taut.

Now we come to the embrace and almost all of the responsibility here is the Revel’s. If the Mark tries to manage the revel with the embrace, he will usually misjudge. This doesn’t help. He should always let her find and maintain the position of her base. The embrace work of the mark is to not cause problems or confusion there. He should keep shoulders and elbows in with gentle 1mm extension in the elbow joints so that his power feels light and supportive, moving toward the revel.

Revels are usually much more sensitive than they give themselves credit for. But they often have gaps in their use of the embrace that cause systematic misses. To feel everything, the revel:

  1. Takes responsibility for getting information from him in every direction. She does this with her fingertips and the blade of her hand. She seeks connection with both hands!

Her fingerpads are responsible for sensing pull connection, when the mark expresses intention for her to project front or side.

The blade of her hand is responsible for sensing push connection, as the mark expresses intention for her to project backward.

In closer embraces when her left hand is on the mark’s back, the work of its blade is replaced by her chest (when touching his), or in a slightly open embrace, by the inside of her upper arm.

  1. Maintains a taut connection with a tiny 1mm extension of her elbow joints. As the embrace constantly changes shape, the flexion of her shoulders, elbows, and wrist are constantly adjusting, but from each position she then gently extends her elbow joints to maintain a taut connection.

Now you won’t miss a thing!



Do you want to be a better dancer

but don’t feel you are getting what you need from your teachers?

Or do you get contradictory advice from different partners?

I got tired of hearing men tell me to be “natural”, “don’t do anything”, and “you’re floppy”, followed by “you’re stiff” …  So I studied biomechanics until I could teach perfect connection quickly.

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