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Instep Dance Magazine Articles

Reprints of monthly column as first appearing in Instep Dance Magazine (no longer in print).

May 2002

Applying Better Balance to Dance

By Rick Allen, DC

"Better health leads to better dancing."

Let's apply the basic science and improved sense of balance you have (hopefully) gained from last two month's articles to improving your balance. The best example that I have found in the world of social dance is in Argentine Tango. Dan Timmins has been teaching me the basics of this lovely, intricate dance and, more recently, the finer points of keeping the lady in proper balance.

Properly Balanced Turns and Gonchos

Take a look at the pictures below of Dan and his partner, Judy Campagna. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so study the pictures carefully.

Note the position of Dan's shoulders and chest. Dan has admonished me to stand up tall and proud, with my shoulders square and back, chest out and facing the lady. It takes active concentration at first to remember to do this. But, after a while, it becomes unconscious and natural. (I must admit that I am still working on it.)

Note Judy's position, which is a result of where Dan has guided her. In the "good form" pictures she is able to stand at ease. Dan avoids tipping her or applying painful torque to her shoulders. Dan tells me to "Imagine that you have put your partner on a vertical rod. If you bend or lean the rod, she'll be off balance and must take a step – or fall! If you keep her carefully upright, you can actually walk around her while she keeps her balance." Note also that she is able to raise her leg with ease in the goncho because Dan has been aware of her position, keeps her in balance and gives her the space she needs.

Keeping your balance in the midst of a busy Argentine Tango milonga is quite a trick – and fun when you perfect it. Keep at it! It may take months. And I understand that good milongeros keep learning and improving forever.

Tango form photo montage

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