Useful tool or Over-the-top Stage Move?

In an effort to keep my "energy directed upward" and "be tall" in my torso while dancing, I've been watching dozens of YouTube videos and studying posture and technique. (Of course I'm not just using this as an excuse to watch tango on YouTube all day - how dare you suggest such thing! This is research!) Anyway, I noticed several tangueras reach their arm over (and behind) their leader's head before they settle into the embrace. Sometimes it's clear they're doing it because the leader's much taller than she is. Other times though, it looks as though this movement puts her torso int he optimum positon.

I always thought that the arm lifting thing was a dramatic affectation - since I saw it in so many performances. Now, I'm wondering it might be a valuable technique to try. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Not surprisingly, I found a video of Maria Plazaola reaching up very dramatically over Carlos Gavito's head.

What do you think, useful tool or over-the-top affectation?


Frances R said...

Yes, at some point it has helped me to correct the posture and improve the connection.

tangocherie said...

This movement here in the video is a choreographed stage move that begins when he touches her upper left arm--it's as if he is the impulse for that arm to go up and over. Very dramatic way to begin a dance.

I would feel like an idiot doing that in a milonga.

Actually, Gavito used to teach that move as an adorno, but I think it's time has come and gone.

I will say though that if the woman is conscious of "being able" to lift her arm off the shoulders of the man at any time, then she will not lean on him. So it can serve as a "check."

Mark Word said...

Not over-the-top. BUT you cannot do this with me because it would ruin our embrace because of our height differences. If the guy is short enough and your arm long enough, you can do that AND pat yourself on the back. :-)

I agree with "Tangocherie" fully and add to her observation... watch in the video how she changes her arm. Don't wear Velcro sleeves. It feels like I am losing in a wrestling match if she won't let go!

Golondrina said...

One of my teachers has said in the past that I was ever so slightly leaning on my left hand side and he could feel the weight around my left elbow, which meant I was slightly off-axis. Since then, when dancing I've tried to be more aware of this and by lifting my arm its been the test to ensure I'm not leaning in too much.

Sophie Tango said...

Note that Maria lifts her arm but not her shoulder. The placement into the embrace is a personal choice, and I can see that such a move enables to check that the shoulders are free and relaxed, that the arm is lifted and not dumped onto the leader, and that the posture is adopted before the embrace is completed. It is definitely dramatic and a very aesthetic way of settling into the embrace, so I think it looks good on stage. I personally sometimes do it in the milonga when I need to check my verticality and readjust it before a dance (I've sat for a while or it's very late and I'm tired...). I actually sometimes do it in the middle of the dance if I feel I'm out of verticality.
DEfinitely something that a tanguera should play and experiment with.

Mari said...

Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions. The video definitely shows a choreographed, more dramatic "stage" move, but I think, as some of you said, I can see the usefulness in a smaller, more subtle version just to check for the shoulders and alignment. We'll see how it plays out at the next practica!