Last Tuesday at The Dance Junxion Group Class, I tried to teach the class the close embrace. In the tango schools in Buenos Aires that is the very first thing they teach… as a woman you can only ever get your posture, striding and balance correct if you are leaning forward on to your man. And as a man, you will never learn to lead with your frame and shoulders if you don’t have that close embrace. Besides without the embrace you never get that “One-ness connection”… and, in my opinion, you have never felt the deepest ecstasy of the Tango if you have never felt that one-ness.
The embrace is the first “step” of your Tango… and if you don’t take care to make this first step beautiful, balanced and connected … if that first “Touch” is not special… what will it say for the rest of your dance?
Did you ever hear someone come back from Argentina and say that all they did for their first couple of classes was walk? “They teach you to walk… and all you do is walk…”
In those first lessons, the teachers in Argentina, have clever little exercises that get the couples (even if they are strangers) to dance in the close embrace… and all you do is… you walk and walk and walk… all the while the teachers will come around correct your posture and your striding technique… after doing this for 3 or 4 classes… walking in unison - in the close embrace with good technique and posture - is almost as natural as walking hand in hand through the park.
Here in SA, my experience is that people only seem to care about learning new steps and doing fancy foot work… but perhaps it’s because they haven’t experienced the one-ness… or don’t believe it exists. Or maybe it’s because they have intimacy issues and hang ups about themselves that they don’t want to “Touch at the Heart”.
I know that for me as a guy… dancing close was difficult at first cause I wasn’t used to having someone so “in my personal space”…. And I couldn’t see what my feet where doing …and leading with my hands and my arms was almost ineffectual… and what if I had bad breath… and what if I was smelling like “a real man”…?!? yeah, I had my hang-ups. Whatever it is… whatever is holding you back… let it go. I would challenge you to go after that connection… that feeling of one-ness.
When the axis of the man and woman meet at the heart and they dance around that connection…!?! it’s something I still battle to put into words… it’s why I’m hooked on Tango…
Maybe you can’t find that connection with everybody you dance with… and maybe you shouldn’t… but if you have a partner… a girlfriend… a husband… go after it with him or her.
The thing to always remember, my friends, is that the woman provides the resistance… if she does not feel comfortable in the close embrace… we as men can not force her to dance close… wait for her to provide that resistance… wait for her to get close… and if not… respect her personal space!
‘Close embrace’ – only that makes a tango a tango … and the bra
Too much boobs! …and they are in the way sometimes - so it seems. …and some women might say that the close embrace is only something for the men… to get that thrill out of a dance. Well, I don’t know about most men but I think if anyone understands the Tango then that argument is out… it’s a thrill for us women too.
Back in Buenos Aires... dancing with the close embrace... first it made me aware of the bra I was wearing. As you know (for those who know me) I don’t need a wonder-bra or under-wire bra to enhance my boobs…. I simple have too much anyway. If it wobbles around with a loose T-Shirt and then you have to press your body against a man’s chest - that feels uncomfortable… and, yes, then you are not happy with the close embrace. As we want to look and feel good all the time, the close embrace with a wobbling feeling makes us step away from the man. Not so? you need to find the right bra... one that holds you firm... no wobbling around.
Stepping away from the men during the dance is a sign that we are uncomfortable. Not only because of the bra – the smell of the other person too close might also be a reason… or the aftershave and flowery smelling shampoo. A lot of women might never have thought of that, but also because we are not used to being so close to strangers. I always envied ‘flat breasted women’ they look more elegant and sophisticated; a women with big breast has always that sex appeal and that was for me not always a good thing. I came to terms with it and now, yes, here I am showing them off… nothing to be ashamed of.
So… now, when I took my first Tango lesson in South Africa I could not do the close embrace, I just could not do it. It was too close and I did not want to do it. I guess I did not want to disappoint my other man at the time…. It felt like a bit of a betrayal. Could that be…? But then after 256 men in BsAs it is the dance and nothing but the dance. And if 2 people enjoy the 3 minute affair on the dance floor by getting close?!? …that is all there is and that is all they might get…
We all have our own comfort zone and that has to be respected – some might like absolute closeness… some might want to step further away. And that is ok, we just have to communicate that before we start to embrace or start with the dance.