Category Archives: Posture

Killing Space Invaders with a Tango Goddess

I am a tango student and I travel to a distant world. And back. Every week.

It is at the opposite end of my universe from my world and is known as Walthamstow.

I go there again and again because there is a force there. Someone who is becoming a mentor to me and who has such a deep understanding of Tango that I will cross the universe every week on my crippled southern rail star fighter just to try again, and fail again – because that is what I need to do and that is where she is.

She  – more than any mortal – just tells you the truth. If you have the strength to take it – believe me it is what you need to hear.

Recently she has been killing my space invaders.

  • I invade her space when I simply stand – my left hip is too high so I tilt to my right to compensate – of course into her space because that is where she is.
  • I move around her – and over anticipating I tilt to my right – into her space.
  • My shoulders come forward – into her space.
  • She walks perfectly into my embrace and at the last moment I glance at her – unfortunately invading her space. Zap!
  • My connection is too high by about half an inch – she can never get to a perfect axis on her forward step – because – I am invading her space. Zap!

She is a goddess – she hates space invaders. They take away her ability to be her, to create. I come with an army of parasitic space invaders and they upset her. So she is helping me to destroy them – one at a time.

Lightsabers don’t actually go ‘Zap’ – they do something else. But I can’t spell it.

What she actually does for an hour and a half is to patiently take me apart, explain it, manipulate me – show me in both roles –  and help me to put it back together again in the way it should have been in the first place.

It is a painful process – and agonisingly slow. Because I am mortal.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda

So after 5 and a half years of studying Tango I am back concentrating on side steps, back steps and suspensions – and getting everything wrong.

But for 90 minutes at least a goddess is holding me and giving me the smallest glimpse of what might be – if only I can find the force within me.  And with her leading the way – perhaps I can.

Her name is Bianca Vrcan.


Destroying and Rebuilding my Tango Embrace

I am excited. I am worn out. My back hurts, my arms ache. My hips  feel weird. I am trying to breathe with my back. This is challenging stuff that requires hours of patient practise and analysis. For months and months – if not years.

It is a lovely sunny day out there in Hove and while the world is on the beach or outside busy bars, I am sweating away by myself in my front room.


Because some wise words that have been repeated over the years have finally, finally sunk in. As a leader the embrace is pretty damn important – and I have put mine under the microscope and found it sadly lacking.

I recently started using videos of myself dancing – which has been wonderful – and now I have taken that concept one more dangerous idea further forwards and started to freeze the frames.

Oh dear – so that is what I actually am doing, that noisy, constricting rubbish is what I am giving to the follower to express herself within. She absolutely should fire me.

And so here is one such frame, from a social dance with a talented  follower – I am just so ashamed. The video as a whole looks fine , but break it down, freeze it, and this is the rubbish I am actually giving her to work with :

Hunched embrace


She is looking beautiful in that dance not because of me, not supported by me – but because she is talented. There is simply nothing to say about my posture in this frozen frame that is anything other than a complete condemnation :

  • Head forwards
  • Hunched shoulders
  • Waving hand
  • Open Hand
  • Weight all over the place
  • Elbows not in front giving her no space
  • Shoulders Tilted… I could go on….

So I have been ignoring the rare sunny day out there, I have been sweating, everything is screaming – but I have been trying to create something like this:


new embrace

Two inches taller, hips slightly back into a true neutral, frame solid and quiet, chest up and expansive and forwards – head brought forwards only by the inflation of the embrace and still out of the way. Everything offered to the follower as her complete prerogative to how she would like to use it.

Maybe its easier when its raining outside?

Don’t be silly – this stuff is never going to be easy. But I am quietly optimistic – I have great teachers and maybe with their help I can destroy and rebuild so that I can go forwards on the kind of solid foundation that followers might enjoy – it is all about them, and the music – maybe a few more months and I can at least stop holding them back and allow them to express their beauty and individually in this wonderful dance.