The moment is always changing--and so is my axis

I've been reading about impermanence: nothing stays the same forever. I've also been thinking about my axis in new ways that bring together the idea of permanence and balance. Here's what I have so far.

I realize that I've been talking about axis as if it is some attainable location that can be found and maintained. However, being on balance, or on axis, is not a stable state. Even if I have completed a step "perfectly" and have arrived on balance in a new spot, the one thing that can make me fall over, is trying to lock my axis into place.

What if the idea of axis was a constantly moving, micro-adjusting approximation of being on balance? The proprioceptors in your ankles send balance messages to the brain, creating small adjustments to keep you upright when standing. The circulatory system (and other body systems) circulate fluid throughout the body. You breathe in and out, unless you concentrate so hard to dance that you hold your breath; causing you to fall over.

What if axis is more like a fluid held inside a mostly stable body shape? Can we use this picture to have better balance by accepting that balance and axis constantly shift?

What is Body Dynamics class all about?

Bonnie Stockman came up to me in my technique class last December, and said, "You know, you really should call this class Body Dynamics instead of Heel Camp, because this is stuff guys need to know, too." She was right, so I changed the name to reflect the real aim of this class.

Body Dynamics is about learning to dance tango with elegant, sensuous power. It is about learning to use your body efficiently, so that you have reserves to pull out when your partner and/or the music demand more from you. It is about mastering balance, axis, breath--all the challenging parts of tango. It is about finding your own voice and energy within the dance to make it YOUR dance.

What do we do in Body Dynamics? If you look at my recent posts with videos, you can see some of what we have been working on recently. This is a serious class that yields major results in flexibility, technique and dance level, in a short time. We start with about twenty minutes of tango-specific stretches: a combination of what my teacher, Georgina Vargas, taught me; with other stretches culled from my 25 years of teaching dance. Then, we do drills and exercises for the remainder of class. Each week, I focus on something that will be used in the advanced class, so that the dancers who take both are really ready to take the underlying work and DANCE it for the next hour. I also work on something for my students who take my intermediate/advanced intermediate class on Thursdays at 8 PM.

For example, one week last session, we worked on lapiz for the leaders. My advanced intermediate class then learned to use lapiz in a turn with a parada, while the advanced class incorporated it into a three-turn combination with an enrosque and leader adornos. That week, we focused on back pivots for followers, to make both turn combinations work with more power. We also learned a fun adorno for giros that helps the follower stay aligned better on tight/fast turns.

It's not too late to join the current session, even though it's the second week of the session. Sign up for Body Dynamics and the advanced class at 8 PM for $90, or take either session for $60 for six weeks; or drop in and check it out for $12. The Om Studio is at 14 NE 10th, just off Burnside. See you there!

Adornos in Body Dynamics class

Last week, we worked a lot on adornos.  Here is the video summary of class--yes, I think I finally figured out how to convince my computer to talk to YouTube (by NOT using my video editing program :-() and YouTube to talk to my blog!




Adornos we worked on:

  • lineas (lines)
  • circles (circulos or firuletes)
  • amagues
  • "the elevator"
  • "shine your shoes"
  • "double Georgina"
  • "raise and lower" (sube y baja)
  • "floor caress"
  • toquecitos (little touches)

YouTube has refused to save my video as unlisted, so any of you who know how to convince it otherwise, let me know!