Hugging Technique

Tango is, without a doubt, found in the music and the embrace.  It is a dance of the people – for the people.  We understand that and we only truly learned it and understood it after 8 months of living (and inhaling Tango) in Buenos Aires.  We also understand, as people who have danced the majority of their lives, that having good technique only enhances one’s Tango.  There is no debating that having better posture and good balance are going to make the dance feel better for both yourself and your partner.  Having “perfect” feet – well, that isn’t so important.

In Tango, we can all understand that the embrace is a hug and that we’re giving our partner a hug that lasts a whole song.  However, it has been assumed by some that there is no technique to hugging and people don’t need to learn how to hug.  If students need to learn to walk (and they do), hugging (which is something they do far less than walking) is definitely going to have to be taught.   If you think that hugging and walking are easy for Tango students, go observe a beginner class to see how the majority of students end up walking on bent legs (something they didn’t do before arriving to the class) with their hips and feet leading the way.  But this is a topic for another time.

We previously wrote about the “Culture of Touching” that exists in Argentina and how living in a country that does not have this type of physical interaction leaves many at an “embrace disadvantage”.  There is a reason that many people mock the North American hug with its minimal touching.

This might be a bit of an exaggeration…

We have been the recipient of innumerable awkward hugs (in and out of Tango).  Hugging may be natural, but it is NOT normal or comfortable for many people.  We have been given crushing hugs, limp hugs, half hugs, and soulless hugs (to name a few).  The truth is, many people DO need to learn how to hug – especially how to give consistent hugs in Tango to friends and strangers alike.

About Movement Invites Movement

We are relatively young Argentine Tango dancers and teachers who are married both to each other and the dance. We truly found Tango after making an 8-month Tango pilgrimage to Buenos Aires and we are using this blog to share our thoughts and feelings about our Tango experiences. We are not aspiring authors and our writing skills are questionable, but we write our truth. View all posts by Movement Invites Movement

4 responses to “Hugging Technique

  • jantango

    Wonderful post. Yes, people need to be taught. We all want and need to be hugged. Tango is a great way of getting our daily supply.

    I’m glad to see that your posts are open to comment. I’ve been reading them for a long time and can finally let you know.

  • Phil Seyer

    Great post!

    You wrote:
    >> The truth is, many people DO need to learn how to hug – especially >> how to give consistent hugs in Tango to friends and strangers alike.

    Can you give some hugging tips? How do you teach consistent hugging in tango? What do you do? Say?
    Thanks. Phil Seyer

    • Movement Invites Movement

      Thanks Phil.

      Here are some of the points we repeat to our students:
      – the embrace is like an actual hug you give your friends/family
      – women should “glue” themselves to the man’s chest and men should make their chest present and like a shelf for the woman’s chest
      – do NOT be light as a feather; be present

      J&K

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