What I’m working on now in my tango journey . . .
After recording and reviewing a video of myself dancing, I was able to get an idea of a few things I need to focus on. It’s one thing to know that certain things feel off, or unstable, or wear me out a little too soon – it’s another thing to be able to see video evidence of what’s causing it. It’s still hard to watch myself dance, but I always get so much more information from it (after I get done wincing and cringing).
(Photo 1) The biggest problem lately – actually, it’s been the biggest problem for a long time, is my tendency to “sickle” my left foot. (See photo below of me dancing with one of my teachers, Stephen Shortnacy, of Georgetown Tango.) As I extend into my back steps, my tendency is to land on the ball of my foot then roll out toward the outer edge of my foot and through the heel. The goal is really to keep mostly on the inside edge of feet, which I’ve been able train my right foot to do. But I’ve been having a lot more trouble with my left foot. Not only does this make me a lot less stable, it can make me feel heavier on my partner’s right side and cause soreness in my back and legs.
(Photo 2) The next thing, though it was hard to get a picture of from the video, is my tendency to raise my shoulder (particularly the left) and drop my hip. I also, even though I’ve made some improvement on this, occasionally pull my shoulder blades together, which pulls my shoulders back and away from my partner. Again, this adds to my back pain, and makes it harder to lead me.
(Photo 3) And, I’m still not collecting consistently. After learning even the tiny bit I know about leading, I can tell you it’s tough to keep track of where your partner’s feet are if she doesn’t collect. I’m far better than I was, but during milonga tandas especially, I tend to overlook collecting.
So now I have a new list of strengthening and flexibility exercises that are helping a great deal. Plus I have the usual list of musicality, breathing, relaxing, walking, balance items from my "tango laundry list" to work on as well.