Guest Post: Connection in Tango

From fellow tango dancer and blogger, Jan Ulrich Hasecke, a lovely guest post on connection and embrace. (Thank you again Jan, for letting me post your thoughts on my blog.)

Connection in Tango
Jan Ulrich Hasecke

I promised to write something about my thoughts about connection in #tango.

"What does connection in tango mean to you and how do you create it?" I was asked on Google+. I bragged that I could talk the whole day about connection in tango but was too busy to do it at once. Ok, I won't talk the whole day about connection and maybe I won't find the right words to describe what I mean, but here I deliver on my promise.

Connection in tango means everything to me. It's the reason I dance. Showing some cool steps is nice but I can only enjoy them when they add to the connection and don't spoil it. A great dancer and teacher once said in his workshop that tango is the only dance, where you dance /together/. To get and to keep the connection is what I want to achieve while dancing.

There are a few things I can do to create it. I always try to get in a good position with my partner. I adapt my height to the height of my partner so that our torsos are on the same level by bending my knees. I always have difficulties to dance with a partner who is much smaller than me. It is easier for me to dance with someone who is rather tall, even taller than me.

When I feel that we lose our connection during the dance I try to adapt my height again. This helps often. This may sound a little bit technical, but I discovered in a workshop that it is very important that the center of the two bodies are on the same level. If the two centers are on the same level the energy of the movements can better flow from the leader to the follower and back again.

Of course I try to keep the connection during the dance and avoid all things that would destroy it, but the connection is dynamic. It gets stronger and weaker with the music, there is tension and relaxation, there is willful playing, allurement and intense, calm moments.

Sometimes, with very few partners, I feel something that I'd like to call a spiritual connection. The connection is so strong that my interpretation of the music is instantly reflected by my partner. It feels as if not me but the music leads us or something inside of us leads us. And at the same time we are both very aware of each other.

About Jan:  
Born in 1963, Jan works as an independent text writer for advertising agencies and companies. He discovered Tango Argentino in 2003. He had never danced before, because he never liked the way standard or Latin dancers behaved on the dance floor. Two dance courses with 15, that was all. He began taking real courses in 2004 together with his wife. So they've both danced for seven years. Tango has really changed their lives, but this is a story many dancers know… ;-)


TP said...

The picture is ultimately the example of why people have connection problem: bad postures and embraces.

Christian Theune said...

In saying that you're looking at an example of bad posture/embrace? Just wondering because I can recognize Jan on the picture. Comparing his posture to what he writes it looks like a good example of him adjusting to reach "connection".

TP said...

This is a common problem with a lot of people who have never really taken a class or two on embrace and posture. They just try to hug each other. It is OK when they stand still. The moment they start dancing, the connection is gone.

Obviously, both have posture problems. The man has hunched back and bending knees. His chest is caved in. There is absolutely no way the woman can get any information from his chest. And the woman stands straight and inside of the man's frame. Her face forces the man's face turn slightly left. I just can't image how these two can walk two steps straight. NO WAY!
And I am pretty sure that the woman left hand will put weight pulling the man while she is taking back step.

Sorry to be straight. But both should start working on correct postures and embrace, before their ankles and knees give out. Connection comes with right postures and embraces, naturally.

TP said...

Naturally, I didn't really read the post after I saw the picture. Now I have scanned it, here is one tip: don't ever bend your knees to accommodate a woman. Too much height difference and she is not a very good dancer? Don't dance with her! It doesn't look good, doesn't feel good, what is the point?


Anonymous said...

I just try to imagine someone dancing without bending knees. Must look like a lumberjack after eight hours of hard work. ;-)

Barbara_Warren said...

You're kidding, right? I can't think of a worse way to ruin connection than to dance with your knees constantly bent. Apart from putting awful stress on your knees, it actually pulls your center away from your partner and ruins your balance. Plus, a woman's center is located around her belly button; a man's around his solar plexus. Try to bend your knees enough to match those up!!