Friday, May 30, 2008

With a heavy head...

This just popped into my head because I happened across a YouTube video of one of the Seduced by Tango audition tapes. The guy was really sloping his neck forward.

Ya know the expression "heavy handed"? "With a heavy heart." "Don't be the heavy." "Heavy D."

We leaders need to watch out for being "heavy headed". The tell tale sign is the dramatically sloping neck - as if the leader is holding a bowling ball by his teeth (with a string or sling or something or other...it's the only heavy imagery I could think of...) and trying to keep his face vertical...not looking at the ground in other words...although that is a whole 'nother problem in and of itself...

I think it also comes from wanting to (or unknowingly) make contact with the follower's head. Ms. Hedgehog recently wrote about a variant of the forward slope - "the sharp incline to the right".

Neck straight (in the X and the Y axes)...head up...chin up...gaze to the horizon...like there is an invisible string supporting your head...

Here's Pablo Veron ::



Here's Adrian Costa ::



I'm focusing on the positive...the best posture, in my view. I'm sure you can find some good examples of heavy headedness on your own. Unfortunately, it's pretty common.

6 comments:

msHedgehog said...

Those are both great. I notice how Amanda, though properly snuggled up, can and does keep her head in its natural position all the time.

It's funny how often it happens. I dance with a few really skilled dancers who can deliver lots of interesting things but do have this tendency to drop the head. It seems to affect tallish men a lot; except that those, like you, who are properly tall tend to think about it a bit more carefully and take care to solve the problem so they can advance. I can see from your pictures that you keep yourself straight, so how do you approach it?

For a short follower, it makes it very hard to get a connection. For the follower who is nearer his height, it can be very tricky to find a safe and comfortable place to put her head. If she faces over his shoulder, she can get the sensation that she's looking away from him and breaking the connection. If she faces inwards, and his head is well forward and waggling about, she can easily get bopped unpredictably on the nose.

Malena said...

I hadn't seen this video before - amazing! One of those perfomances where you not only see the talent, but the magic as well. Thank you for posting, Alex!

Alex said...

Hola mshedge...

I had to break myself of the bad habit through sheer force of will.

I still, on occasion, have to visualize the string pulling up on my head, another sting pulling diagonally on my solar plexus, and my eyes just below the horizontal - gazing to the horizon.

Anonymous said...

I'm a tall follower. The trick for me is to use my upper belly a little bit more to keep contacts with a short lead. It seems to be working when dancing close. Can leads do the same without dropping heads? My partner is very tall, often dancing with a gravity-driven head. His excuse is that he has to check out floor in case of bad dancers walking bad. Any thoughts?

Alex said...

Hi anon! Thanks for the comment!

Your partner is joking right? Tongue in cheek?

With shorter followers I really have to resist dropping my head. Looking at the floor would seem to just make it worse.

My "gaze to horizon" (just below horizontal) mantra seems to do the trick for me. This was taught to me by Tom Stermitz (Denver). There are neurological reasons not to look down, not to look up (or above horizontal) and not to look perfectly horizontal. Gazing just below the horizontal plane is best. I forget the actual scientific reason.

Anonymous said...

Alex,
My partner was only half joking about watching people walking backwards. I notice some leads do stick their legs out way too much when taking back steps, with their weights still in the middle. You can not tell if they are going to walk back some more, do a giro, or go forward from there. To make it worse, the movements are not with the music, it seems to be a bit hard to dance next to them within 2feet distance. I got hit couple of times because my foot was already out on beat and that big long step came in the middle of next beat. Tips you can give to my partner? It'll definitely save me from more scratches. HahaHa.