Apparently the subject of head position came up in a recent class. How do I know - since I wasn't in the class? The same way I find out everything else that happens in the most recent classes and/or workshops - someone instucts me on the milonga floor. Surprisingly, the position of my head had never bothered this particular partner before (we've been dancing together for over 5 months) but because it was addressed in class, it was now an issue.
Fine. Something else for me to be terribly self-conscious about. Have been looking bad all this time?
I normally dance with my head facing over my partner's shoulder, usually slight downward (depending on the height of my leader). Like this (that's actually me in the picture):
Apparently, it's more graceful and appealing to dance like this (from Tangoandcoffee.org):
I can definitely see the difference - it looks like a more confortable alignment for this couple. I'm trying it out more and more - but it simply doesn't work with every partner. Height is an issue - as well as comfort with that partner. With this particular leader it means resting my forehead against his jaw (giving me a very clear view of his adam's apple and very little else).
Janis Kenyon addresses the subject on "A Woman's Approach to Milonguero Style"
In the article she states that there are three acceptable head positions:
"There are three head positions for the lady:
1) your left cheek bone to his right cheek bone (for salon style)
2) your right side of face to his right side of face (for milonguero style)
3) your nose and forehead to the right side of his face (alternatepossibilty for milonguero style)"
I've been dancing 2) and this partner has said that 3) is the preferred style.
There is further exploration on this topic on Tango and Chaos's Embrace Page.
So that is my newest experiment - head position. Which style(s) do you prefer?
No. 2 can be fun for a while, but you don't have to stick to it for a whole tanda. I agree with Tango and Chaos that the best thing about it is getting a good photo with both faces.
No. 1 is just find for both salon and close embrace (milonguero).
For nuevo and open salon there can also be no head touching, rather a loose connection through the gaze if you are dancing in a very open style.
No. 3 is very sweet--seems like the most intimate connection to me since you are not looking past each other. My favorite.
The worst--no physical connection in salon or milonguero.
The worst worst--ballroom style with the head tilted up and away.
I'm no expert--just a milonguero from New York.
I attended a Viennese Ball this weekend and witnessed all Ballroom Tango styles on the dance floor.
WExcept for me, the other dancers tilted their heads up and away from each other and proceeded to "flick" constantly down the line of dance.
It was like the Ballroom version of the zombie movie "28 Days Later!" hahah
Seriously, though, I enjoy #1 most often, find #2 limiting to my neck movement, and #3 the most enjoyable and sweet, as you say.
Great thoughts, Mari.
I use them all. It depends on the partner, on the embrace...
PS. you look very nice :)
Preferred by whom? Is the question that occurs to me. I certainly know some people who will only do the third alternative with a very special partner. And although it makes some kind of sense in a V-embrace, I'm personally not inclined to do anything that means that my head is facing in a different direction from my chest without a good reason. Or that my neck is under any pressure, because it's going to hurt soon.
I most often do the first, looking over the leader's shoulder. Because of my height, turning my head toward the leader often results in my nose jabbing into his forehead. Not fun for anyone! With other leaders and embraces, I sometimes turn my head ... but it just depends so much. I find that head position, along with preferred embrace, is something that is negotiated with each leader (and renegotiated each time we embrace!).
I use the position that gives me the best view of the dance floor, I do have to ensure that with each follow I dance with I wish to ensure they feel safe on the floor. Mari You do look really cute in that photo.
Wow - thank you everyone for your input! I think it's definitely going to be a dance-by-dance partner-by-partner thing - really, how could it be otherwise? There's a milonga tonight so I'll get to practice and experiment a little bit to see what's natural and comfortable for both my partner and for me.
Pete: "It was like the Ballroom version of the zombie movie "28 Days Later!" " - that cracked me up!
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