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Monday, February 4, 2013


Rumour is right!
I'll be DJing in Wellington on Saturday night (9 Feb) but I'll be back for class on Sunday afternoon!

Classs will kick off at 5pm and I will open the doors at 4.45.  We will be focussing on the Embrace.

The Importance of the Embrace
I am loving the classes at present.  We have been spending a lot of time focussing on the connection and the flow of the dance begining with the embrace and how to set it up so that it is as comfortable as possible for both lead and follow.

The embrace sets the tone of the dance and is what allows the dance to be fluid, comfortable and expressive. 

Remember when setting up your embrace start with your posture.  Make sure your feet are comfortable on the floor, followers with your weight slightly forward to release the weight off the heel.  Leaders move your weight slightly forward so as to "present" yourself to the follower.  Both lead and follow have soft knees.  Both of you "grow tall" whilst staying  grounded in the lower half of your body and "light" in your upper body.  Soft and relaxed.  Lengthen your waist.  Leaders check that your shoulders are in line with your hips - not forward nor behind your hips.  Followers draw your belly button to your spine strengthening your core as you do so.
Are you a very tall leader? Leaders if you are very tall please don't try and come down to the followers height or worse still lift her up to your height - this creates a "challenging" posture for both of you and is at the very least uncomfortable. 
Leaders if your follower is taller than you please don't try and compress her into the ground to become your height!  I know it sounds crazy - but as a tall follower I have seen all the tricks!  I do not want my body forced into an unnatural position... this leads to injuries and uncomfortableness and a not so pleasant dance for both of us because I probably won't be able to dance what you are suggesting in the dance!

If we find it hard to dance with someone taller/shorter than ourselves - guess what we have to do?  Work on our good technique to become better dancers!  An unlikely combination of heights is possible!

Cheeky Business? Do not force your cheeks to meet.  If they happen to meet in the dance that is fine - but do not position yourself so that they meet.  Sometimes body shapes do not allow this and it can become uncomfortable for the person being forced into this position.
The embrace should be relaxed and engaged all the time whether you are embracing in close embrace, open embrace or the practice embrace.  It is this consistancy that encourages the follower to be fully self expressive in the dance.  In class I talk about the flow of energy and keeping the embrace consistant and not to move the arms independantly of the torso.  Remember we engage our "little wings" (top of the lateral muscles) releasing any tightness or anxiety in the muscles on the top of the shoulders (the trapezius)   Leaders we know you have lovely biceps but it is not these that we want to focus our attention on when dancing!  We want a smooth disassociation with relaxed arms connected to and moving with your torso.
Followers I like to imagine that my arms are connected directly to my torso, just under the bust so that my energy is low and I am not holding my arms with tension.... my shoulders are relaxed and my arms engaged from my core. 
How much pressure should there be between your extended arms/hands in the embrace?  There should be a light and equal pressure between both partners that can be increased  for "special" moves with the follower absorbing the extra pressure from the lead through her arms and into her body ..... another blog on this another time!  Remember both leaders and followers to keep your elbows in front of your shoulders.... and here's to many many hours on the milonga floor without stressing our bodies or eachother!
See you on Sunday for class :-)
Embraces in Takaka!

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