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Plaza Column - View article
Written by : Max M Ali MD
Date : 11-05-2004
Title : Compression in Tango
Article: Dancing Tid-bits Issue #203, Thursday, November 4, 2004

Today's Topic: Compression in Tango

Max, Since I have received a very detail answer to my previous question (hands and arms in rumba), I am up to my next question.When doing ladies "forward driving" steps in tango, I am being told by my instructor to "compress" before driving forward.Still struggling with understanding how to do this.Could you help with a little more explanation? Thanks,
Zoya from Australia

As I received this e mail from Zoya I did not think of it much and told her to use more push from the supporting leg. It just happened that the next day, I had a session with Mireille Veilleux. As you all know she is the lovely wife and dance partner of Pierre Allaire from their championship days. You know; the most wonderful thing about "Miray" is that she doesn't hesitate to dance with you and always shows the joy and love of dance even when she is coaching. Same is true of Jennifer Hillier. They are so much fiun to be with.. Are all champions like that?...I don't know.

Anyway we just happened to decide on Tango and I told her "I will do some basics and we will go from there". So, I started a basic routine with 2 walks, Prog. Link, Close Promenade and on and on with all bronze level figures around the floor once. I gave her a good lead and she followed all my steps and as I finished, I was quite happy. Then came the time, "How did I do?" and I saw a little blankness on her face and she was thoughtful. I said again..What do you think. Hesitatingly she said.."Max! I understood everything you did...BUT".... and I said what do you mean. She said "Every thing was good but....did we really do Tango?" Not going into too many details, we were talking about Tango Style, Atmosphere, Technique and this word came again and again, "COMPRESSION".

As we went further, Compression was then combined with Rotation and musical interpretation with delaying of the back leg etc etc. The compression factor became the single most important element of Tango Technique. So, Zoya! not only when lady is going forward, compression is an important part of Tango, no matter man or lady, forward, back or promenade, it is all about compression.

For sake of brevity, I will end this Tid-bit here. Next week more after I attend Hillier's Lectureand dance with Jennifer; In the mean time you contemplate what is meant by "Compression". See you...Max

Announcement; Hilliers are back at Dancesport Academy, Dearborn, Michigan. Tuesday to Wednesday, the 9th, 10th and 11th of November 2004. Lectures are: Tuesday: "Rotations, Spins and Pivots" Wednesday: "Tango Technique"and Thursday is "Ballroom Picture Lines". 8 PM Lecture and 9 PM Practice Party. Phone: 313 724 3262. This should be a wonderful week.