Tango is not only a fascinating dance but also a fascinating philosophy, culture and lifestyle. The search of tango is the search of connection, love, unity, harmony and beauty, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us into individuals, but tango unites us into a team, community, people and species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through fraternity, cooperation, accommodation, reconciliation and compromise. It is a dance that teaches the world to love.
June 8, 2023
Dancing with Hips
Dancing tango requires skillful hip rotation, especially for women. This is because in tango the man typically dances around the dance floor and the woman dances around the man. Since her torso is connected to his torso in the embrace, the woman needs to rotate her hips in order to step on either side of the man or dance around him. This technique, known as dissociation, works best on a woman because the suppleness of her body makes her more suitable for dancing around the man, rather than the other way around. The flexibility of a woman's body also makes the dance more appealing, hence the gender role division of men leading women and women beautifying dance.
In practice, the hips do not need to be turned too much. A 45° rotation of the hips is sufficient for her to place her right leg on his right or her left leg on his left, although some movements, such as molinete and back sacada, may require a greater rotation of the hips. From an aesthetic standpoint, however, exaggerated hip rotation can better express women's gender characteristics and femininity. As a result, in certain styles women deliberately turn their hips wider for enhanced expression.
In addition to heightening the feminine beauty of women's body, hip rotation also increases the range and possibility of women's movements. A woman with well trained body can turn her hips more than 90°. This way she can step wherever she wants around the man, even move backwards with the front ocho, or move forward with the back ocho.
By skillfully rotating her hips, a woman is able to navigate agilely around the man, fine-tune her position in relation to him in complex movements while maintain good connection during the interplay. The proficiency in hip rotation also allows her to exhibit a sense of grace and fluidity in her dancing, making her performance captivating. Women who excel in tango and stand out on the dance floor are invariably those who possess a remarkable ability to maneuver their hips with finesse.
Swiveling the hips and pivoting the lower body while keeping the upper body relatively still is not easy and takes a lot of practice to master, but it is a fundamental skill that tango women must develop. A woman's tango can be truly stunning only if she can execute hip rotation flawlessly. This is true for men also, as the flexibility of the hips and the competence to swivel them freely enhance men's ability to use their torso to lead the woman more effectively.