Tango is not only a fascinating dance, but also a fascinating idea, philosophy, culture, and lifestyle. In many ways, tango is a metaphor of life. The pursuit of tango is the pursuit of connection, love, unity, beauty, harmony and humanity, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us as individuals, but tango unites us as a people or species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. We are humanists. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through connection, cooperation, reconciliation and compromise. If you share this conviction, please join the conversation and let your voice be heard, which is urgently needed and long overdue.

Together we can awaken the world.

June 16, 2012

Dissociation and Gear Effect

The woman's weight must be on the ball of the foot so that she can pivot as if on a fixed pin. But she does not pivot her whole body. She only pivots her lower body from the waist down. The waist is like the swivel that joins the upper body and the lower body. Since her upper body must face and connect to the man in front of her, she has to turn her lower body sideways in order to dance around him. This is known as “dissociation”.

An experienced woman knows that a small twist of her torso by the man indicates, and must result in a big rotation of her lower body. The man leads her by turning her torso slightly to the direction that he wants her to go. On receiving the signal, she needs to swivel her hips until they are perpendicular to her upper body. In this twisted position she is able to walk on the side of the man while her torso is connected to his. The technique suits the flexible body of the woman and highlights her femininity, as she alternately turns her hips side to side while her chest is constantly facing the man.

A typical figure using dissociation is the ocho, in which the man leads her to draw an S on the floor with one foot, and then draw another S on the floor with the other foot. The two S’s are overlapped in the opposite directions so they look like the figure 8. To dance the ocho, she has to swivel her hips to one side and make a forward step with one leg, then swivel her hips to the other side and make a forward step with the other leg, and then swivel her hips back to face the man. A similar figure using this technique is the back ocho, in which she dances the ocho backwards. She first swivels her hips and steps backwards to one side of him with one leg, then swivels her hips and steps backwards to the other side of him with the other leg. A third example using this technique is the molinete, which is a combination of a front ocho, a side step, a back ocho, a side step in a circular motion. In all three examples the woman keeps her chest connected to the man and rotates only her hips from one side to the other side alternately.

The rotation of the hips causes her chest to roll on his torso, generating a pleasant sensation know as "gear effect". The chest is the center of her attention through which everything, including emotion, music interpretation, intention and seduction, is expressed and exchanged. The woman should not glue her chest on the man's torso, but should let it roll side to side as she swivels her hips. At each swivel, the weight of her chest is shifted to one side. As she swivels her hips to the other side, her chest rolls along until the weight is transferred to the other side. 

The rolling of the chest is caused by the rotation of the hips. To create the gear effect, the woman has to swivel her hips fully until her chest rolls along. She needs to make the rolling void of abruptness and bumpiness so it feels smooth, musical and comfortable, which is not easy to do and needs a lot of practice to master. A beginner who can't do dissociation often keeps her hips still and crosses her leg instead. Consequently, her chest sticks on his torso and does not trundle. Tango is a dance in which both partners pleasure each other with their bodies. An experienced woman knows how to use her body to seduce the man, just like an experienced man knows how to display the feminine beauty of her body. (See Revealing her Beauty in Tango.) Gear effect increases the sensual pleasure of the dance - a feature of close-embrace tango that is missing in the open-embrace style. It is one of the things that make the two styles fundamentally different.

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