Staying with the example of rushing the cross, let's turn to our tangueras.
How many women rush into the cross and rush right out? They do this even when their partners lead a Regular Basic which, when led properly, gives women the luxury of taking the time they want to cross, as they feel the music. Or if in the Regular Basic the man chooses to lead them to the cross at a certain speed (whether fast or super-slow), women can savor the nuance of that lead and really enjoy this little game!
Even the Crossed-System Basic, which forces a cross in syncopation, is not a rushed step! It is a syncopated step.
It's very common that women rush into and out of the cross, and it's only for two reasons:
1) They are terrified of making a mistake, as if they're thinking: "OMG, it's the cross!" I call it "the panic cross", and it's caused by the woman's anxiety. This kind of rushing anticipates the lead; the step may be correct, but they're doing before it's actually led.
2) Even tangueras who feel relatively confident in their dancing may still rush the cross . . . because they haven't taken the time to get 100% in balance, or "in axis", on their right leg before crossing with their left. Rather, they leave some of their weight on their left leg and must quickly yank their weight off to cross "on time". This creates a big balance problem at the cross. Women who do this also have no control over the speed with which they cross. They do it as quickly as possible, to try to find their stability in the cross. But stability isn't possible this way. Most women who are have this problem have no idea that they're doing this!
But men complain to me all the time that, even when they try to lead it slowly and decisively, MOST WOMEN RUSH THE CROSS.
Ladies, you really must take the extra split second you need to finish transferring ALL of your weight to your right foot before you can cross.
You can only cross properly if your left leg is relaxed and truly free of weight.
If you're neglecting to find your balance, or "claim your axis", as some teachers call it, on the step before the cross, it also tells me that that you're neglecting to find your balance with every step of your tango. How you do anything is how you do everything!
(I help every beginner who learns with me, as well as every tanguera who comes for more advanced training or fine tuning, to master crossing in balance before I allow us to move on. In no more than half an hour, every woman "gets it". When women have changed the way they cross, they often say, "I feel so stable and strong! I feel empowered!" Unless you have this sensation with every step, you'll be dependent on your partner for so much of your tango. )
Remember: There is no rush in tango.
Rushing = anxiety.
Food for thought - here are some online definitions of "anxiety":
Google - "A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome."
The Free Dictionary article on "anxiety" starts with: "Anxiety is a multisystem response to a perceived threat or danger."
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Tangueras and tangueros, if you see yourself in any of the tango examples above, or in last week's article, "What Are You Afraid Of - Part 1" I'd like you to seriously ask yourself these questions. Take your time reflecting on these questions, and make note of your answers:
- "What am I afraid of while I'm dancing tango?"
- "What am I afraid will happen if I slow down?"
- "Why do I avoid pausing, lingering in a pause, staying still for a moment in my tango?"
Shedding the light of truth on something you may be avoiding can really start to improve the quality of your tango.
Next week, I will post an assignment to help everyone slow down and savor their tango!