We’ve all seen these “poor” postures in Tango. We usually refer to them as the “E.T. head” and the “Leg Humper”.
Having good posture in Tango often translates into looking elegant. We are often told that we have nice posture and dance elegantly. But honestly, this is not something we try to do. It is something we are. With a background in ballet for K and years of ballroom training for Jorge, good posture and elegant movement are just part of the package.
We find it interesting to note that young tangueros tend to be dissed for having good posture. You won’t hear milongueros being dissed for their good posture. Milongueros such as Jorge Garcia, Nito Garcia, Gerardo Portalea, to name a few, stand straight and look great!
Perhaps then, you can understand why attempting to change our posture in Buenos Aires was something we did not like and decided against. We tried it for a few months and realized it simply was not working for us. We did change a lot about our posture, but we did so following our Maestro’s advice in a way that only enhanced our dance. What happened (and it was an exception) was that a milonguero we love and respect wanted Jorge to hunch/bend over and the both of us to really bend our knees. To this milonguero, bending over and bending knees is where Tango is found. Unfortunately, it’s not where our Tango could be found.
On a purely aesthetic level, picture two thin individuals who reach 5’11 (once shoes are on) bending their knees a lot and hunching over. Add to that a “v-embrace” with a slightly open head for K. Keep in mind we are the same height with heels on so the result is that our heads get in each others’ way. Add to that K’s lack of chest “endowment” and the result is a lot of space between our chests. Since our heads are in the way, it creates extra inches between our chests, but the lack of “boobage” means we are no longer touching chests unless K arches her back!? We promise you, it is not a pretty site (or a comfortable embrace for either one of us).
People everywhere are dealing with the results of having bad posture in everyday life. It’s not a surprise that many of the problems dancers deal with in their dance are a direct result of having bad posture (ex: balance issues, sore backs/necks/etc, difficulties walking with a partner, etc). Why would anyone purposely teach people to Tango with bad posture? Or why would teachers, especially teachers with an understanding of the body, allow their students to continue dancing with bad posture without correcting it? One answer we’ve come across is that teachers want to let students find their “own” Tango. Now that’s just crazy.