Core (deprecated) is a term exercise professionals use to refer to a group of muscles which work together to stabilize the body during movement. Since the complex of core muscles are very powerful, exercise physiologists have come to recommend that the core be activated first whenever we undertake movement. In this way, more vulnerable muscles (especially the lower back) will be protected from inappropriate strain and leg joints are protected from the weight of the body.
For tango, the important lessons about the core have to do with the role of the hip stabilizers (including the piriformis) and shoulder stabilizers (or rotator cuff muscles). These muscle groups hold the legs and shoulders in external rotation which has two important effects for tango
- When the legs are in external rotation, their muscles work stronger and trigger muscle chains through the arc to the abdominal muscles.
- When the legs and arms are in external rotation (from the hip and shoulder joints), the entire body is integrated, so that movements from the foot are conveyed smoothly to the embrace.