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From: Sore Feet to Axis and Balance (man as a leaning post)

Colette Jacquet asks what to do about sore feet
Diane Clark gives some hints
Michael Ditkoff suggests to lean onto the man
Jean-François Bouchard dissagrees with Michael, as well as
Manuel Patino - every partner should stand on their own feet.
JC Dill thinks, because women are wearing high heels, they should be allowed to put some weight onto their partner.
Walter M. Kane
Wayne R Williams thinks, putting weight onto the other is more like gymnastics - but that sometimes support might be needed in helping the follower to do some figures. And: having a good contact with the partner is not identical with putting weight on him.

Now an interesting discussion starts about weight, axis and dancing hold in Tango dancing:

Peter Niebert
Jacques Gauthier
Garrit Fleischmann
José A. Contreras
Stephen P Brown
Brian Salisbury
Walter M. Kane
Melinda Bates
Pat Cummings
Helaine Treitman
Larry Carroll - leaning and leading with the body
Alexis Cousein
Ted Crowley
Michael Ditkoff gives some more explainations about his first posting
Walter M. Kane


Date:    Wed, 21 Apr 1999 11:05:58 -0700
From:    Colette Jacquet
Subject: sore tango feet


Dear Tangueras,
        Does anyone have advice and/or suggestions for
sore feet from dancing. I just started tango 6 months ago, do it a
couple of times a week and now my feet hurt constantly especially on
the balls of my feet. I have never had feet problems before. Also
there have been several comments lately about shoes and a few women
have remarked that" Flabella really knows where to put the heel" on a
woman's shoe. Could someone enlighten me as to what this means?
Colette Jacquet



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Date:    Wed, 21 Apr 1999 12:08:32 -0700
From:    DIANE CLARK
Subject: sore tango feet -Reply


Colette,

I suspect the "balls" of your feet are hurting because you are putting all
your weight in the metatarsal of your foot.  You are probably shifting all
of your weight to the front of your shoe.  This can build up pressure,
especially if you are wearing heals.

When my metatarsal of my foot feels sore, I begin to concentrate in
placing my weight more evenly in my shoe.  In other words, think of
walking naturally.  You wouldn't place all your weight forward in your
shoe, so this is the crucial point:  You need to be able to place weight
evenly through the whole foot, including the heel.

For me, a good tango heel is absolutely straight, with no cut or angling
inward or on a slant.  This might give a graceful line, but standing on
such a heel I feel like I am going to tip over, or lose my balance.  The
weight in such a slanted or cut heel is driven forward, so it's as if the
heel is useless.  I cannot put my weight on it.  Also, I find a good tango
heel is thicker or broader to give me the structure and base of support I
need.

This is what works for me.  Feet are so individual.  I have salsa shoes
and tango shoes.  The tango shoes are patent leather and have
stretched with no support. Patent leather and suede stretch, so I would
suggest soft leather.   Lately, I am wearing a pair of T-strap salsa shoes.
 The heels are a little thin, but the heeel is "placed right".

I suggest you find a local shoemaker with shoes in hand
that you find comfortable.  Sometimes it could be the heel of one shoe
and the body of another.  Just think of elements that work in your normal
heel-wearing and make the adjustments in a thicker, straight heel.

Anyway, this is what works for me.  I hope it's of help.

Diane

I hope this helps.

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Date:    Thu, 22 Apr 1999 09:23:00 -0400
From:    Michael Ditkoff
Subject: Sore Feet: Ouch

   Colette:

   I suggest that you let the man absorb some of your weight. My
   teacher tells men in group lessons that our left hand has one
   purpose only: "to be the woman's private leaning post."

   I also suggest shoe inserts or pads to cushion your foot.
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Date:    Thu, 22 Apr 1999 09:45:26 -0400
From:    "Jean-François Bouchard"
Subject: Re: Sore Feet: Ouch



     Michael
     I cannot possibly agree. Each partner should be self-supporting

     Jean-Francois Bouchard
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Date:    Thu, 22 Apr 1999 11:51:22 +0100
From:    Manuel Patino
Subject: Re: Sore Feet: Ouch


Some teachers and some styles of tango suggest that the woman *leans*
on the man. Personally I prefer that each partner supports his/her
own weight and maintains their own balance.

Manuel
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Date:    Thu, 22 Apr 1999 09:41:13 -0700
From:    JC Dill
Subject: Re: Sore Feet: Ouch


OK, Jean-Francois, I'll wear flat "men's" shoes, and you wear a pair of 4
inch "women's" tango heels, and we can dance together in reversed roles for
a month.

        Then we will see if you can "possibly" agree.

Try walking a mile in the other person's shoes, *literally*, before you
make a statement like this.

In general, the woman should support her own weight, but there are
exceptions.  For the woman to lean slightly into her partner and let her
partner absorb *some* of the weight that would otherwise be entirely on the
metatarsal pads of her feet is acceptable to most gentlemen tangueros.

jc

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Date:    Thu, 22 Apr 1999 12:46:16 -0400
From:    "Walter M. Kane"
Subject: Re: Sore Feet: Ouch


 From: Michael Ditkoff Thursday, April 22, 1999 9:23 AM:

> I suggest that you let the man absorb some of your weight....
> our left hand has one purpose only: "to be the woman's private leaning
post."

Great!  It may not have cured her sore feet, but it gave me a sore arm!

Thanks for the tip.....;-)

Tangringo
____________________
Walter M. (Tangringo) Kane
Harriman, NY
oldzeid@frontiernet.net

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Date:    Thu, 22 Apr 1999 10:50:46 -0600
From:    Wayne R Williams
Subject: sore feet


     >I suggest that you let the man absorb some of your weight. My teacher
     >tells men in group lessons that our left hand has one purpose only:
     >"to be the woman's private leaning post."

     ouch!!!

     for me this would guarantee a short trip around the dance floor.  to
     much leaning leaves my body feeling as though i have just exited the
     gym versus a tango.  the energy from the hips down is grounded and
     into the earth.  the energy from the hips up is relaxed and is about
     embracing your partner - true for both the leader and the follower.

     there is, however, an element of support that does play into the
     embrace, but it is only along a rotational axis (perpendicular to the
     ground) to assist with turns or ochos.  perhaps your teacher was
     referring to this form of support.  this, however will do nothing to
     alleviate the stresses on a followers foot - it is about creating
     rotational movement.  i have spent numerous hours with teachers
     working on eliminating various forms of tension in the upper body that
     detract from the dance - energy in thrusting the head forward, any
     lifting of the shoulders (which would provide the lean-against-me
     support alluded to above).  this then frees your upper body to move in
     the way necessary to lead from a relaxed place.  leaning introduces
     tension in both partners both emotionally and physically.

     regards,

     wayne williams
     boulder colorado

Date:    Thu, 22 Apr 1999 11:14:15 -0600
From:    Wayne R Williams
Subject: sore feet


     okay,

     i've thought about this more and realize my previous posting was not
     entirely accurate or complete.

     it seems intuitive that a slightly forward lean by the follower which
     is newton's third by a man (supporting counter force) could help to
     reduce some of the pressure on the ball of the foot - i offer this
     humbly acknowledging that i am outside of my area here.

     however,,,,,  there is something to be cautious about here.  the best
     women that i have danced with offer this paradoxical and delicious mix
     of feeling both dense - read present, and being effortless to move.
     so the intention behind the forward lean is about hearing your partner
     - connecting with your partner.  if the intention of the follower is
     to find support for aching feet i suspect that would alter the entire
     feeling of the dance and create some of the tension i referred to
     earlier.

     these comments are offered within in the framework of what creates a
     nice dance - obviously within my understanding of the dance.

     if your feet are hurting this is obviously a different consideration
     and you need to respect your body.  leaning on a trusted friend is of
     course fine - especially if they understand what is going on.  i also
     recall seeing some women teachers in bs as dancing at milongas in
     tennis shoes - granted casual ones like the outdoor calisita - but
     there is a message there....

     cheers,

     wayne williams
     boulder colorado
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Date:    Fri, 23 Apr 1999 11:25:59 +0200
From:    Peter Niebert
Subject: sign posts vs. leaning posts (Re: Sore Feet: Ouch)


Michael Ditkoff writes:
 <    Colette:
 <
 <    I suggest that you let the man absorb some of your weight. My
 <    teacher tells men in group lessons that our left hand has one
 <    purpose only: "to be the woman's private leaning post."



Apart of all the other replies which I agree to [supporting more than
the weight of the own arm is a killer; but it is different from
milonguero where you may think of the entire man as a leaning post
which is a very different game], there is another aspect why you might
want to search the opposite, i.e. not abuse the man as leaning post.

Tango is about COMMUNICATION WITH THE DANCE PARTNER, really like
talking.

If at those points connecting the partners there are STRONG FORCES
working it is like SPEAKING LOUDLY. A structure, where the woman leans
on the man with some weight allows only to speak loudly. Sometimes
this maybe fine, sometimes you may want to enter a MORE SUBTLE form of
communication, in particular in a more open dance style which moreover
GIVES THE WOMAN MORE LIBERTY of expression.

There is some seeming antagony between search for a lighter touch with
the left hand of the man and the right hand of the woman and the
search for a strong connection between the partners. But it only seems
so.

EXERCISE (orig. source unknown, I learned it from Josch Knust, Hannover):

(a) dance with your usual hold with your partner, but nevertheless in
such a way that each partner supports his/her weight herself (not
Milonguero).

(b) now dance in a position where the partners touch with their hands
on both sides, i.e. left hand of man touches right hand of woman,
right hand of man touches left hand of woman. The hands should touch
completely flatly (palms touch palms, fingers fingers, fingers
pointing up) and the overall position should be symmetric in any
achievable sense (distance of the hands from both bodies identical,
left and right completely symmetric, ...) with the position of the
hands lightly outside the shoulders of the couple and at some
compromise level near shoulder hight. A bit like doing pushups... The
first goal is to dance/lead/follow this way any figure you like never
giving up or shifting the positions of the hands relatively to the own
body. The second IMPORTANT GOAL is to do this touching AS LIGHTLY AS
possible. Imagine that between each hand of the man and the woman
there is something fragile you would brake when applying too much
force. Be gentle. Try to get as light as possible.

(c) Now relax and dance in normal hold again. Enjoy the difference ;-)


The aim of this exercise, seemingly oriented at the hands, really is
to increase the awareness of the partners for each other and for the
music.



Have a nice conversation on the floor

-- Peter

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Date:    Fri, 23 Apr 1999 06:02:56 -0400
From:    Jacques Gauthier
Subject: Re: sign posts vs. leaning posts (Re: Sore Feet: Ouch)


>>    I suggest that you let the man absorb some of your weight. My
>>    teacher tells men in group lessons that our left hand has one
>>    purpose only: "to be the woman's private leaning post."

One teacher I had made us do 3 exercises.  One was for
the man to dance with the woman while holding her with
only with his right arm.  This was to illustrate that the
left arm wasn't necessary.  The second exercise was for
the man to dance with the woman holding her only with
the left arm.  This was to illustrate that the right arm isn't
needed.  The third exercise was to for the man to dance
with the woman without holding her since apparently
neither arms were necessary.

It was an interesting exercise.

Jacques

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Date:    Fri, 23 Apr 1999 11:48:03 +0200
From:    Garrit Fleischmann
Subject: What to do about Sore Feet


Hi everyone,

for all the poor followers who suffer from pain in their feet -
When talking to followers about this topic, some told me
about their strategies to do something good to their feet.

- Try to take more than one pair of dancing shoes on a long
Milonga and change them after some time

- Some women bought tennis shoes and glued a dancing leather
sole under it, so they could turn like in normal dancing shoes,
but have the shock absorbing qualtity of sport shoes - this
is great for practicing.

- try to find someone who is willing to massage your feet -
it is amazing how good this feels and how reviving it is
for your feet.


Just a word about 'the man as a leaning post':
>  My
>  teacher tells men in group lessons that our left hand has one
>  purpose only: "to be the woman's private leaning post."

My idea about the dancing hold is much different from this.
When I dance close to a woman (and that is what I normaly do
in Tango - as close as possible ;-)
we both support our weight ourselves - and also the weight
of our arms. Try to dance 3 dances with a partner who puts
some of his/her weight on your arm, and you will soon have
a nice cramp in your shoulder muscles. (I had this lots of times
while learning to dance)

The dancing hold should IMHO be more like an embrace - gentle
but firm, for both sides.

There is another problem aside from making dancing uncomfortable,
when you put your weight onto your partner:
It might give you some problems with leading and following.

I guess there are many ideas, how leading and following should be done.
Most beginning leader think, that they have to move the follower
in order to get the idea to the other. If there is a porblem
of understanding the lead, then the leader will add some force
in order to 'move the partner' even stronger. In this kind
of leading and following, both use a lot of force in their dancing hold.
If you add some weight here, it might not feel so much different.

My favourite way of leading and following has a different concept:
The leader invites the follower to do a movement, then waits for
the follower to start this movement and acompanies her in the movement.
Here, the follower has to stand on her own feet and walks for herself -
the leader doesn't move her around. But this only works fine, if both
are on their own axis, supporting their own  weight.
I principle, you don't even need to tough the other for this kind of
leading/following - in fact, you can lead the other with your eyes only
and this works amazingly good!
Now both can relax their arms and shoulders and only use them for
embracing the other and enjoying the feeling of dancing together.
If you start to put some weight into your dancing hold, you start
to leave your axis and as a follower you can't really walk on your
own, you will again need the leader to move you, at least a bit.
Plus you get much less sensitive for signals, when your muscles
are tense.

Well, perhaps this was a bit long and left the subject of
sore feet a bit, but for me, this topic of 'leaning onto your partner'
is of great importance. The longer I dance, the less I like to
play leaning post. It distracts me from enjoying the dance, and
makes my shoulder muscles hurt.

Enjoy tango dancing!

Garrit



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Date:    Fri, 23 Apr 1999 09:29:55 -0400
From:    "José A. Contreras"
Subject: Re: sign posts vs. leaning posts (Re: Sore Feet: Ouch)

(Reply to Jacques' mail:)
There are lots of styles, from pyramidal shape to inverted pyramid shape,
each one having his value, but common a fact in any style is that you
have to enjoy and feel comfortable. To achieve that, nobody has to
support the weight of the partner, each one has to manage his own weight.
Another concept is to help or assist the partner in some moments or
figures that requires it, like molinetes, or giros (turns), a small
instant during the pivot of the backwards ochos, and so on.

It is easy to confuse this two concepts. I think it was important to
mention it to contribute to the enrichment of the discussion.

Saludos

José A. Contreras


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Date:    Fri, 23 Apr 1999 13:27:01 -0500
From:    Stephen P Brown
Subject: Re: What to do about Sore Feet


     Hi everyone:

     Susan and I discovered that rolling her feet on a wide-mouthed glass
     bottle filled with ice and a little bit of water greatly helped reduce
     pain in her feet after dancing.  I found it helpful too, but I do not
     wear instruments of torture (high heels) to dance.

     Like Garrit I am not all that happy to have women lean all over me to
     relieve their foot pain.  As Garrit wrote:

     >Try to dance 3 dances with a partner who puts some of his/her weight
     >on your arm, and you will soon have a nice cramp in your shoulder
     >muscles. (I had this lots of times while learning to dance.) ...

     >There is another problem aside from making dancing uncomfortable,
     >when you put your weight onto your partner:  It might give you some
     >problems with leading and following.

     In my experience, a leader (follower) who shifts his (her) weight onto
     his (her) partner is likely to prevent his (her) partner from properly
     executing her (his) portion of the dance.  Brute force quickly
     replaces finesse.

     I agree with Garrit:

     >My favourite way of leading and following has a different concept:
     >The leader invites the follower to do a movement, then waits for the
     >follower to start this movement and acompanies her in the movement.
     >Here, the follower has to stand on her own feet and walks for herself
     >- the leader doesn't move her around. But this only works fine, if
     >both are on their own axis, supporting their own  weight.

     >Now both can relax their arms and shoulders and only use them for
     >embracing the other and enjoying the feeling of dancing together.

     With best regards,
     Steve (de Tejas)

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Date:    Fri, 23 Apr 1999 16:38:42 -0600
From:    Brian Salisbury
Subject: Leaning Post


Garrit responded:

Just a word about 'the man as a leaning post':
>  My
>  teacher tells men in group lessons that our left hand has one
>  purpose only: "to be the woman's private leaning post."

My idea about the dancing hold is much different from this.
When I dance close to a woman (and that is what I normaly do
in Tango - as close as possible ;-)...

Yes!  but it seems only gallant (and in the spirit of tango) to provide
the "leaning post" for neophyte followers.  They haven't developed
the finely tuned muscle coordination necessary for keeping balance
during  "step-collect-pivot-step" etc. but still want to have an
enjoyable experience during their initial forays.  I do see the danger
of forming habits of dependance [sic] that cause problems later on,
but given the choice of being correct or showing the lady a good
time...

Brian Salisbury
Wasatch Tango
Salt Lake City, Utah  USA

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Date:    Fri, 23 Apr 1999 20:01:46 -0400
From:    "Walter M. Kane"
Subject: Re: Leaning Post


 From: Brian Salisbury  Friday, April 23, 1999 6:38 PM

> ... it seems only gallant (and in the spirit of tango) to provide
> the "leaning post" for neophyte followers.  They haven't developed
> the finely tuned muscle coordination necessary for keeping balance...

If a little extra force is need (with either hand) to help a partner keep
her (or his!) balance at any point in the dance, that will come
automatically as a response to the need, particularly if there is good
frame and contact in the first place. But this has nothing to do with
preventing or relieving sore feet, which was the original context.

If a woman weighs, say, 120 pounds, then, when she supports her weight on
the ball of one foot, without assistance, that metatarsal is going to
experience a 120-lb. force against the floor. It will be somewhat greater
than that when she is pushing off with that foot. The acceleration she is
imparting to her body through the metatarsal's contact with the floor adds
to the normal, "g" force.

Any thought of being able to provide sufficient support with the
gentleman's left hand to relieve that force is evidence of a creative
imagination. What fraction of  120-plus pounds is that hand going to lift?
Maybe 3 lbs.? or 5?

Better to rely on Dr. Scholls.

Tangringo
____________________
Walter M. (Tangringo) Kane
Harriman, NY
oldzeid@frontiernet.net
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tango Lyrics in Spanish and English at
http://www.hooked.net/~tangoman/letras.htm
Por el fomento y progreso del Tango
===================
Visit the Hudson Valley Tango Web Site at
http://www.nycdc.com/hvtango

P.S.: I have no financial interest in Dr. Scholls.

P.P.S.: If you really tried to support your partner's weight with you left
arm, you would BOTH have sore arms by the end of the evening. You from
lifting, and she from bearing down. You know, that action and reaction
thing.

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Date:    Fri, 23 Apr 1999 20:01:39 -0400
From:    Melinda Bates
Subject: Balance and Leaning


I've been very interested in this discussion.  When I started tango two+
years ago it was with a partner who is a very good swing dancer and was an
intermediate tango dancer.  He insisted that our dancing be based on
strength.  We leaned hard into each other, and pushed hard with our extended
hands.  Many times he would insist that I push harder at his left hand, and
many times I would be frustrated - I've been working out for 12 years, but
as a woman, there is a limit to the strength I could bring to this movement.

Other women commented on his lead, (not positively) but, since he was my
partner, I worked hard to accommodate these "rules".  Then one day Mama
Pugliese came to town and in a group class danced with my partner.  She was
horrified.  And quickly told him he could NOT push or lean on a woman this
way.  I was SOOOO grateful!  What he would not hear from me, he could hear
from her. We began to work on being our own balance.

Then Lorena Ermocilda (sp?) came to town and gave a wonderful class for
women.  I watched her smoothly move herself across the floor in a fluid line
of front and then back ochos.  Clearly, she did not require a partner to
execute her movements.  I immediately set my goal to improve my balance to
do this.  I started standing in front of the practice mirror and doing
repetitions of front and back ochos, on my own, the length of the room.  I
noticed no one else did this, but I also noticed my balance improve a lot!

In opportunities to dance with Pablo Veron, Fabian Salas, Metin Yazir and
other visiting tango masters, one of the common aspects of their lead is
that it is feather light.  The extended hands barely touch each other.  The
hand at my back holds securely but without pressure.  Leading is always in
invitation, never a direction.

I stopped dancing with my original partner a year ago, and began to dance
differently.  Leaders, often way above my level of dance, consistently tell
me I am very light to lead.  (I am not a small woman.)  That is a compliment
that is very dear to me, as I put in a lot of time before the mirror walking
back and forth.  Now I know how precious good balance is, and have
confidence I did not have before.  My new partner lets me know right away if
I get lazy and lean on him - he hates it!

I believe even beginner followers should be encouraged to balance their own
weight, and leaders should be encouraged to not push or pull us off balance!

That is my current tango 2 cents.

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Date:    Fri, 23 Apr 1999 18:02:18 -0700
From:    Pat Cummings
Subject: Re: Leaning Post


One of my teachers, Michael Espinoza (el Indio), explained that the
"tango lean" is an illusion.  He used to illustrate it by standing
erect, then rocking his entire body forward at the ankles only.  The
line of his body was thus preserved, but HE kept responsibility for his
own balance.

His partner likewise did the same illusory lean forward (made easier by
her high heels, of course), meeting him in a close embrace that
resembled an upside-down Y.  Often in instructing us in this, he and
Yolanda would step away from each other while keeping the "lean" in
place.  This made it obvious that leaning was not a transference of
weight to the partner, but simply an elegant body position.

As for "catching" your partner when a slip or bobble occurs, it's true
the man can't hope to hold up a 120-pound (or even a 90-pound) woman
with one hand.  He can, however, move slightly "in the direction of the
skid" to relieve her balance. If the woman is off balance because she's
anticipating or back-leading, he might try slowing down to "force" her
to settle between steps.  This may also help his own balance.

It's all part of the subtle, silent communication that takes place to
the rhythm of the tango...

--Pat Cummings
--(of Pat&Ken)

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Date:    Fri, 23 Apr 1999 20:41:41 -0600
From:    Robin Young
Subject: Re: Leaning Post

(Reply to Walter's mail:)

Ah Yes, the thinning metatarsal pad pain can be helped on some feet by
wearing a clear non-medicated Callus Pad made by Dr. Scholl. It is a
clear gel-type cushion, adheres to the skin, is washable, costs about
$4.00 and lasts about 3-4 months when worn to every dance. I use them.
Robin, RN


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Date:    Sat, 24 Apr 1999 00:50:51 +0200
From:    Helaine Treitman
Subject: Re: Sore feet


I agree with Garrit about changing shoes and getting a foot massage.

But as I wrote privately to Colette, as a beginner I used to suffer from
soreness on the balls of my feet until I learned to put my heels down.  It
immediately solved the problem of soreness there, and helped my balance,
too - helped me find my axis so I put no weight on the leader . . .

I like to break the rule of putting no weight on the leader when it happens
that both partners are moved to lean into each other and it feels like
you're both taking energy from the ground and sending it up to your partner
while you receive their energy; you do it because it works for that dance
and that music.  I especially like doing this with milongas.  It's a pretty
exciting sensation.  (I think I still put my heels down most of the time
even when I lean.)

Helaine


--The International School of Art in Umbria, Italy
 06057 Montecastello di Vibio (PG),  Italy
Tel / Fax +39-075-8780223  US Voicemail 212-386-2705
http://www.giotto.org/

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Date:    Mon, 26 Apr 1999 00:34:01 +0000
From:    Larry Carroll
Subject: Leaning + Leading with the Body


A little bit of a lean toward your partner helps to weld you together &
improves your physical connection. And it can feel good subjectively.
But more than a very few ounces of pressure against hand or arms very
quickly adds up to cramped muscles. More than a very few pounds of
pressure against the torso can lead to upper or lower back pain. I'm
big & strong, but even tiny women can hurt me enough to ruin an entire
evening, & maybe several to come. I avoid women who do this to me.

On leading with arms versus body: It's not a simple matter of doing
one or the other. Basically, the upper body gives & gets the signal
to move the entire body in some direction, or to change directions.
The arms are an extension of the body; except for a slight spring-like
give & take they should usually stay the same in relation to your upper
body.

There are some exceptions to this rule, though. I won't go into them;
it's too late at night. But until you master leading with your upper
body, working on those exceptions will ruin your ability to lead (or
follow) well. If you let impatience or ignorance lead you to ignore
this advice, you will pay for it.

As time goes on you'll discover or be taught what those exceptions
are. Also the man will learn how to refine the overall body motion by
using the hand behind a woman's back. This should, however, be in
ADDITION to the signals you give with your upper body, NOT as a
replacement for them.

                        Larry de Los Angeles
                        http://home.att.net/~larrydla

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Date:    Mon, 26 Apr 1999 10:54:20 +0200
From:    Alexis Cousein
Subject: Re: Leaning + Leading with the Body


Larry Carroll wrote:
>
> A little bit of a lean toward your partner helps to weld you together &
> improves your physical connection. And it can feel good subjectively.
> But more than a very few ounces of pressure against hand or arms very
> quickly adds up to cramped muscles.

That is why I observed that the styles in which partners *do* lean
towards each other are most commonly with chest contact. I *have* danced
a style with a common point of gravity for both partners without chest
contact, and with everything carried on the arms, but only as an
academic exercise -- though I can heartily recommend it to any couple
who wishes to combine tango with masochism[1].

In this discussion, I have heard a lot of comments from people who are
obviously from one end of the (two separate axes / one common axis )
spectrum comment on the essentials of the other end as "not right" or
"an illusion" [2] -- but we should just accept that these are different
dancing styles, each with a perfectly coherent set of resolutions to the
common problems.

And there's even a continuum, even though dancing *without* chest
contact pretty much forces you firmly at one end of the spectrum, just
because of what Larry wrote.

If you have one set of solutions to a problem, don't try to change just
one thing to see if it works, then conclude it doesn't because you're
obviously torturing yourself -- if you really want to see if something
else works, be humble and start from scratch, preferrably with the help
of someone who *has* found a good working solution different from yours.



[1] Well, in this particular case, *both* partners are maso -- quite
uncommon ;)

[2] I can assure anyone that some women I dance with *do* lean, and
they'd *really* fall if I were to change into thin air! I regard the
example of some people who tried to show dancing an A-style frame
*without* leaning as another example of an academical exercise -- though
it's a theoretical possibility, if you don't want to lean, you're not
going to make it difficult for yourself, so you won't adopt that type of
frame in Real Life.

--
Alexis Cousein
Systems Engineer
SGI Belgium



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Date:    Mon, 26 Apr 1999 09:20:30 -0700
From:    Ted Crowley
Subject: Re: Leaning Post


Group --

A follower leaning on my somewhat usually isn't any
problem for me. But here are a few problem cases
and/or comments:

1. In Milonguero (inverted-Y, chest-to-chest lead) any
"weight" is pushing sideways, not down on you. Some
followers push very heavily, some medium, some light,
some with literally zero push, 100% their own balance.
Some teachers teach very heavy, others less. None of
this is painful or uncomfortable to me as a leader.
But 100% 'zero push' is very difficult to lead. As a
leader the most fundamental thing is knowing what foot
my partner is on at any moment, without which I can't
lead the next step. I don't lose track often, but it
occurs most often in this "chest not arms" leading
when the follower chooses zero push.

2. In salon any "weight" is more likely downward, but
only the following situations are actually painful:

(a) leaning heavily forward (like Milonguero "heavy")
but without chests touching, putting all her weight
on my forearms (which makes it "down" weight). This
felt like something you do in a gym and stop after
20 repititions -- it was painful within a half minute
and too painful to continue before the song was over:
the only time I've ever stopped dancing during a song.

(b) putting heavy weight (downward) on her left hand
on a particular spot on the top of my shoulder. The
choice of spot is the problem: 20 pounds of weight on
1 square inch of my muscle/sinew becomes very painful
after a few minutes. On a different spot it would be okay.

3. Not painful, but makes it almost impossible to dance:
some followers (in either close embrace or open salon
position) put their left hand behind my upper shoulder
blade and exert a constant pressure in a pulling direction
to balance their movement. The pressure varies with what
they are doing: I'm being used as a "ballet bar" rather
than a "leaning post". It doesn't hurt but can throw me
off balance severely. I've learned to do tango two ways:
(a) 100% on my own balance (b) leaning into my partner.
But I haven't learned to do it (c) leaning my upper body
away from my partner (right side only) with some force,
and it's even harder if that force varies unpredictably.

-- Ted


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Date:    Mon, 26 Apr 1999 11:44:00 -0400
From:    Michael Ditkoff
Subject: Sore Feet

   Dear List:

   It seems I started a firestorm with my response to Collette
   about using the man's left arm as a "private leaning post."
   Responses were sent at 3 AM!

   It's obvious that I didn't express myself as well as I should
   have and I apologize for not being clearer.

   I never meant to suggest that a man should absorb 5 pounds of
   weight in his left arm. That definitely would cause pain. I
   meant that the left arm can be used to help steady a woman's
   balance. Furthermore, there's nothing wrong with a woman
   leaning into a man. Writers who mentioned milonguero style
   understand completely the Argentine expression:

                          4 legs
                          2 bodies
                          1 heart

   because when you dance with one heart, you're experiencing
   tango, not just dancing tango. At times I feel so much
   electricity, I'm glad the floor is wooden and not metal.

   Part of dancing milonguero style is a woman leaning into the
   man. It's not so much for support but as a conductor of
   electricity.

   Another thing my teacher told me (I hope this doesn't start a
   firestorm) is for men to think of the dance from the woman's
   perspective. Examples include knowing which foot she is
   standing and to always accommodate her, as in waiting for her
   to complete the ocho before moving in the opposite direction
   and not moving quickly in a circle while she's dancing a
   molinete around me. (I need to add Spanish to spell check.)

   I appreciate the comments, even from those who disagreed with
   me. I'm getting an education.


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Date:    Mon, 26 Apr 1999 13:36:22 -0400
From:    "Walter M. Kane"
Subject: Accommodating your partner's footwork (was: Sore Feet)


----------
> From: Michael Ditkoff  Monday, April 26, 1999 11:44 AM

>
>    Another thing my teacher told me (I hope this doesn't start a
>    firestorm) is for men to think of the dance from the woman's
>    perspective. Examples include knowing which foot she is
>    standing and to always accommodate her, ....

No firestorm here, Michael. I practice sometimes with my eyes closed (when
there's no danger of collision). One of the benefits is that I learn to
sense where my partner's feet are without peeking. If I'm marking the steps
properly, I'll control where they go, but sometimes I will miss, and then I
have to readjust to accommodate her "misstep." Doing this with my eyes
closed forces me to be more sensitive to reading her balance and her whole
body, including her feet.

One of the other benefits of "dancing in the dark" is that by blocking out
one of the senses, I can experience the music better. I understand why some
women close their eyes whenever they tango. Touch and hearing take over
completely.

>    .... as in waiting for her
>    to complete the ocho before moving in the opposite direction
>    and not moving quickly in a circle while she's dancing a
>    molinete around me.

What I find more of a challenge than accommodating by *waiting for her*, is
accommodating by *keeping up with her*. We've had past discussions about
this. Not my sweetie, but other partners will rush into cruzada or will
zigzag a fast ocho ahead of the beat and ahead of my intent. Sometimes I
can control it, but I've heard opinions from more experienced dancers than
I am, that it's better to just "go with it."

Tangringo
____________________
Walter M. (Tangringo) Kane
Harriman, NY


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Garrit Fleischmann April '99
Email: kontakt(at)cyber-tango.com