19 Oct 2007

Female embellishments: Part I

In the present moment, Oct 2007

This Sunday 21 de Octubre is El Dia de la Madre (Mother's Day) in Argentina. It is not intentional on my part but this month's musings have a strong female favour.

My thoughts on the subject of female adornments was sparked off by Milena Plebs, who wrote her views on this in her column in this month's El Tangauta:

"When taking tango classes, women request a lot to be taught embellishments. That is to say, the foot movements added by women, that are not, specifically, a response to the movement proposed by the leader"

"I perceive a lot of anxiety in a great number of the women attending our classes to learn to do embellishments. Many, pretty, varied and complex as possible!"

Milena Plebs, Page 35, Oct 2007 issue of El Tangauta

Milena went on to explain that early in her career, she too was preoccupied about how many decorations she was able to "put in" when dancing, feeling that her partner always "did more" than her... (since) the responsibility and complexibility of the creative part and the leading of the dance lies with the man.

Then she says "It is a priority to work on the basic technical facets of tango before devoting ourselves to decorations. Without a good base, balance, connection and response to our partner, we are not prepared to beautify our dance." She points out there are 2 groups of female embellishments: those done by the woman during the dance that should not interfere with the man, and those during the moments when the man pauses, giving opportunities for the woman to do embellishments.

Milena continues "It is important to be alert to the environment and to grasp the timing in the dance floor, so as to not over-extend ourselves.....without interrupting the energy by doing them and keeping the connection with the partner at all times"

"Choose the ones that feel comfortable to you, and it is better not to repeat or copy what others do.... At times one can see women that do too much, perhaps that is part of the anxiety that I mentioned before.."

And finally, her observation is this:

"A time arrives when one relaxes, no longer worried about how many and how various embellishments one does, and paradoxically, they (the embellishments) begin to flow naturally, they respond to an inner security and an enjoyment of the female dance role."

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