Sunday, October 15, 2006

How to improve your feminine image through movement...

It strucks how unbelievably empowering it is to do tangosteps in a genuine feminine way. Simultaneously, you become your most open, your most vulnerable and your most powerful.
One tanguera, who preferred to stay anonymous, claimed the tango gives women a renewed sense of sex appeal. Argentinean Tango really transforms people, it really changes lives for the better. It has changed marriages, and it's changed the way they walk through life. There's a kind of sensuality in them that might have been fighting to get through before. Being a perfect woman means expressing yourself from within. It is combining one’s inner feelings with one’s outer appearance, allowing one’s self to be softer, kinder, perhaps even vulnerable at times, while also being more nurturing and loving. It also means letting go of some of your male strength, which is controlling, aggressive, or competitive. It's simple, feminine body language says : Female ! But women have been encouraged throughout the ages to keep their bodies square and linear while exercising. We don’t use sexuality because we are scared. Maybe the history of tango can help.
Tango was born during Buenos Aires’ flourishing prostitution business, when thousands of male labourers found themselves pumped into a city with a serious deficit of women. The innocent story goes that every night, hundreds queued up outside the most popular brothels. To keep them patient, the brothels hired orchestras to play in the streets. Then one night, two men stepped out of line, held each other firmly and so the tango was invented. True is that owning a woman capable of earning a good living at a brothel became a passion. For the women, prostitution was a response to poverty because of the hunger, religious and political persecution that many European ladies had faced in their former homelands. Arriving in Buenos Aires, this was for the bonnefemme a reasonable trade to make for the freedom from poverty, especially if she could hook a niño bien. In this triangle with high stakes, dancing tango was a diabolic seduction.

So, how do you develop a natural female walk ?
Practice ...

Getting the body moving in a more feminine, more curvaceous way is daily movement technique and more. The Martial arts and many of the Eastern meditative practices, religions and medicine have long been aware of and harnessed the body’s energy centres. Most martial artists will spend a long time learning to centre their energy and focus because without that, the techniques won’t work. One of the key energy centres is the hara. This is the centre of your life energy and also your sexual energy. It's about 2 –4 inches below your belly button or around that area, from the centre out to the sides. When you feel sexual desire for someone chances are you will have sensations here. When you focus your attention on this point and regulate your breathing, you become more solid, centred. Place your mental attention on this area of your body and begin to breathe in and out slowly. This is your true personal power in action.

You can begin to move now, you are beginning to extend your energy around your body. Do this often and become aware of feelings there and notice the difference. You will feel muscles you never even knew you had as you unlock and discover a side of yourself that you've kept captive for years. Strive for a naturalness that you don't have to think about. A natural movement unlocks the hips, it stretches and strengthens your body and moves you into the flow of your own female form. It will make a difference in your dancemovements.

Argentine Tango dancing is an event and dance is a performing art. Performing is the doing or acting out of something, it brings a sense of artistic satisfaction. From the Latin word agere meaning "to do", this is precisely what acting is.

The origin of the word dance is: Danser, Dansn , to draw; akin to dinsan to draw, the act of drawing spatially closer. Drawing can exist on two levels: action drawing and gesture drawing. Gesture drawing is related to action drawing, both involve the principle of movement, but it goes further than action drawing. Action drawing only deals with physical movement: the action line, the axis. When you do a drawing of what a tiger or a panther looks like, your drawing can be correct and competent but it will only be what the animal looks like, its appearance without a deeper emotional content. Physical movement however, has a nonphysical counterpart, a deeper intention: its essence, its movement identity, character. Borges said, the infinite tango takes to me towards everything. Y desde él construye la eternidad apoyado en sus tigres y sus espejos, que el tigre es el guapo elegante y ágil que mantiene la muerte a mano.

A performance comprises an event, something happens in people, they behave in a particular way in the presence of other people. An event is something that happens (phenomenon - phenomenology, the phenomenal body keeps in touch with life's impulses within the body. Merleau-Ponty), in an unique limited duration/time, for example a football match, a Pugliese tango. In information processing, an event is a change in the properties received by an observer after being transmitted from an object.
Seeing a good performance will give an aha-erlebnis, a discovery of a new gestalt, the phenomeon that happens. Sometimes the dividing line between performer and audience may become blurred, as in the living participatory dancetheatre where people might get involved in the theatrical event. In dancing bodies connect, this connection is a potential event. Positive things can happen:
Liking (Friendship) : intimacy
Infatuation (Love at first sight) : passion
Empty love (Charity) : commitment
Romantic love : passion + intimacy
Companionate love : commitment + intimacy
Fatuous love (Whirlwind romance) : commitment + passion
Consummate love : commitment + passion + intimacy (bingo)

From a gestalt point of view, the connection is inevitable if the other is an aha-experience. Lets get back to the female walk. What is the essence ? The best way to catch it is by looking into yourself. How does it feel ? Practice in a mirror, good for a check-up but better to feel it with your inner-awareness through movement (Moshe Feldenkreis, Rudolf Steiner). Get inspiration from video's or... go to milongas !

Milonga - (3 meanings)
1. an Argentine social dancingplace (salón) where three types of dances are danced, namely the Tango, Valz and the Milonga styles.
2. A style of dance to a fast beat music composition; similar to Tango written in 2/4 time. The Milonga is a Spanish dance first originated in Andalusia.
3. Cabaret girl, dances with many men.

In Buenos Aires the Gauchos danced it in what is called a closed position (close embrace - milonguero) , in the lower class cafes. Here their interpretation of it emerged into what today is our Tango Argentino. Tangodance was created by men and in the old days, men first danced together to get better and then they went out and danced with women.
Closed position : The leader's right hand is on the follower's back, its exact placement on the back ranges from the waist to the left shoulder blade. The follower's left hand is on the leader's right shoulder, or the upper arm near the shoulder. The other two hands are clasped together at or near chest or shoulder height.
Close embrace : very closed position, leader and follower stand in 1 axis, leaning together like a pyramid (piramide).
Milonguero Tango
developed in the 1940s and 50s in closely packed dance halls, so is danced in a very close embrace, chest-to chest, with the partners leaning - or appearing to lean - slightly towards each other to allow space for the feet to move. Milonguero / milonguera also means the man/woman who dances that style.
Tango Canyengue was danced in the 1920s and 30s when the long tight fashion in dresses restricted the woman's movements. Consequently the style involves short steps. The dancers tend to move with knees slightly bent, the partners slightly offset and in a closed embrace.
Liso style Tango developed in small and crowded dance halls, where there was only space to take a few paces, before having to circle around each other while waiting for a space to open. This tangoing style is danced with an upright posture, usually with each dancer slightly offset to the right of their partner. If a close embrace is used, it is relaxed to allow the woman to preform turns.
Tango Orillero is thought to have developed away from the town centers in the outskirts and suburbs, where there was more freedom due to there being more space on the dance floor. The style is danced in an upright position, and uses various embellishments including rapid foot moves, kicks--and even some acrobatics, though this is a more recent development.
Show tango, also called Fantasia is a more theatrical and exaggerated form of Argentine Tango developed to suit the stage / tango for export.
Tango de Salón An elegant and very social style of tangoing characterized by slow, measured, and smoothly executed moves. It includes all of the basic tango steps and figures plus sacadas, giros, and boleos(voleo). The emphasis is on precision, smoothness, and elegant dance lines. The dancing couple do not embrace as closely as in older styles and the embrace is flexible, opening slightly to make room for various figures and closing again for support and poise.

Milonga Music : The early "milonga camperas" ("from the countryside") are the contribution of the gauchos to the tango. The milongas one is familiar with as a dancer (like La Puñalada, Milonga de mis Amores etc...) are faster and known as "milongas urbanas" ("city milongas"). These appeared relatively late, in the beginning of 1930. "Milonga sentimental" (1932) is often quoted as one of the first true "milonga urbanas". Pieces of Piazzolla that have "milonga" in their title are extremely slow. Astor hated dancers, so it is likely that he was more inspired by the "milonga campera" than the "milonga urbana".

So, get all dressed up and hit the milongas. Yes, tangoing is a beautiful bonding experience. Allowing your body to move the way it wants to move naturally, being overtly sensual without apology, gives an enormous sense of satisfaction. If you dare you can create yourself an alter ego, a more daring persona passionata, developing a steamy new you will help you shed your inhibitions and leave you free to do anything you want. ImproTango, improvise ...
Is this allowed ?
Homo sum, et nihil humani generis a me alienum est. (Berlusconi)
This improvising element makes tango more alive and one improvises with more than the feet. According to Stanislavski (Method Acting), an actor must use his own instincts to define a characters response to internal and external stimuli. Through improvising, one can learn to trust his instincts. Improv is also useful in its focus on concentration. Attention, being attentive is the string that brings the couple together.

So, go to a place where there are lots of people and observe how women walk. How her hips, legs and feet move. How she carries herself. How she holds her head. Your goal is to integrate your feminine style.

Why ? A much more womanly way of walking gives much more dance expression, especially in contrast with the man's leading role in tango, which is only leading the tangowoman in expressing the story of the music. The way how you move yourself makes the difference, what you do much less. Certainly in tango this is true because there is nothing like your own caminar. As the immigrants and gauchos lost their identity, they found a new one in a way of walking. The energy and the way a body moves from A to B is the magic, not A and B. Movement is living motion, a phenomenon.

The way you step has great impact, also on yourself. It seems it not only make women feel more confident about themselves sexually but also about their bodies. It helps them own their body no matter what. One woman thought she had a big butt, she went ‘oh no they are going to see my big butt’ and then she claimed it, she went ‘yeah! They are looking at my big ass’. You could see it in her moves! It was a beautiful moment. She didn’t give a damn! This is when I realized that it doesn’t matter what you look like it’s about how you move your body. She was a big girl, but when those hips moved the men were riveted. She was beautiful. Women have such erotic power. Using it discreetly and delicately makes you the center of attention. Suddenly it seems as if your whole world has opened up. Men that never paid attention to you, now can't seem to get enough of you. Some husbands like it too : This is the best thing that has happened to my wife in her whole life and I am glad that I can be part of it.

Excercise : lets look at men and women. A man makes the contrast:
Women have naturally looser bodies. This is probably due somewhat to less muscle mass than males, but also to evolution. Females, being the child bearers, need a more flexible body to accommodate the changes her body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth (estrogen causes looser joints). Women's forearms are connected at their elbows at a more obtuse angle than males, so they swing farther out and don't hit their wider hips when walking.
When standing still, and sometimes when walking, women tend to hold their arms above their waistline. When you rest your hands on your hips, turn your hands so your fingers are facing backwards and your thumbs forward.
Males generally hunch their shoulders forward, probably to emphasize their musculature and as a sign of aggressiveness. Women, on the other hand, tend to draw their shoulders back. Stand in front of a mirror and hunch your shoulders forward, then back. They will look noticeably smaller pulled back. This will also help your arms swing in a more feminine manner.

Females have wider pelvises and a higher fat distribution on their hips. This gives them the characteristic feminine swaying hips that is so attractive. Males generally have smaller hips and less fat in this area. Female's legs swing looser from the knees. Walking in the classic female manner of putting one foot in front of the other will move your hips more. Practice in front of a mirror, find the feminine but not overly effeminate, womanish.

Women tend to slighty bob, or nod their heads from the chin, when walking. Men hold their heads stiffer with the straight-back, stiff-necked military posture being the extreme. Also, a woman's head pivots from the top of her neck, whereas men's heads tend to move more with their necks.

Men are socialized to be aggressive and it shows in their walk. They tend to lean forward when they walk, probably in an attempt to get where they're going faster and push their way through crowds. Females are socialized for unaggressvieness and tend to yield and hesitate more when walking.

Glance at people's faces. Smile.
Women and men smile differently, too !

Besos y Abrazos

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