Two women who say it better than I can . . .
An excerpt from Ms Hedgehog's post on Technique:
"To feel somebody's heart through a good suit jacket, you have to zone in and he has to be in the right place as well. And even then, it only means anything if other things are right. It's awesome. I feel like I shouldn't talk about it. But the better I dance, the more those moments happen and the more awesome they are. It's that simple."
Read more of this great post here: http://mshedgehog.blogspot.com/2011/07/technique.html
And from Terpsichoral Tango, who also shares some great ideas for solo practice, makes this point particularly well:
"Of course, solo practice is not a substitute for practising with a partner or for social dancing in a milonga setting. When I am actually dancing, I want to be able to focus on quite different things - in particular, the interpretation of the music, the connection with my partner and the embrace - and not have to worry about technicalities such as my posture or whether my weight change is soft or clunky and elephantine. Like a pianist playing endless scales, I concentrate now on the boring, repetitive and purely technical challenges in order to free myself up to think about more artistic elements of the dance later."
The rest of her excellent post can be found here: http://tangoaddiction.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/solo/
Thanks for linking to me!
I'd like to comment about the leader's heart beat. At the risk of stating the obvious, the heart is on the left hand side of the chest. The closed side of the embrace is on the follower's left and leader's right hand side. Even in milonguero style, the embrace is never COMPLETELY 100% symmetrical, meaning that the follower is always a teeny bit open on her right and the man's left side, making it difficult for her to feel the leader's heart. A friend who is a doctor thinks it is only possible if the leader has a very large heart or dextrocardia (an uncommon condition in which the heart is on the right-hand side).
It has happened to me personally on only one occasion. I describe it here:
I'll quote the relevant part:
The dances with SF are surprisingly lovely. The dance floor is very crowded, there is barely room to move -- but there is room to embrace each other. SF is one of the few guys here whom I have a genuine soft spot for. He holds me very close to him, so we take up less space on the packed dance floor. We move slowly (another set of ballads is playing). I feel the play of the muscles in his back as he twists and corkscrews in the typical tango way, feel the breath entering and leaving his lungs, and try to copy its rhythm, and I can feel his heartbeat, very clearly, as if it were beating in my own chest. It´s a beautiful feeling.
A couple of side notes: a friend of mine told me that the reason the closed side of the tango embrace is on the man´s right-hand side and the woman´s left is so that he can feel her heartbeat. The leader, of course, in tango, has to keep his eyes open and a cool head. He needs to negotiate the floor and pay at least as much attention to the other men as to his partner, sometimes. Following is a totally different experience: your focus is divided between only two things, the music and your partner. And if he is musical those two things merge into one in the most magical way. So it´s the woman´s heart which is most likely to be going like the clappers.
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