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Sticking your butt out?!

April 15, 2010

When I first read MIM’s post , I laughed out so hard that my colleague thought I just hit the jackpot. Too bad the comment was off. Although it is a misguiding and provoking title, what they described in the post was roughly the same experience that I have had. A subject has been long in my mind yet never put into words. I am glad that they’ve taken the heat first. :-)

Their second post explains one of the important technique: pulling your hips back. Another technique, that was not mentioned in their posts, is “Show off your breast” for the woman. Bring the chest up proudly. Together with pulling the hip back slightly, the culo will naturally “stick out”. Most of the female dancers have tight and round behind, firm legs due to the exercise they have been doing for years. I might be called sexist by saying this: the posture is the sexiest and most beautiful thing to watch.

And nobody, at least nobody whom I have learned from, has taught or being heard teaching anyone to “stick her butt out”. The visual is the consequence of the techniques. In some cultures, women are inhibited to show their feminine characters. Naturally, they are less inclined to accept this aesthetic aspect of the posture.

How this posture, despite different views on its aesthetic merit, actually feel on my side of embrace? When it is right, the moment I embrace the woman, I could feel that it is the beginning of a blissful journey. The connection from the moment the embrace completes is far stronger than the connections that I have experienced with other postures. (And I can’t tell you how much I dislike embracing a woman who stand straight and connect from waist up, which is probably the reason that I stop going out here.)

There are more techniques and benefits of this posture, which deserve another post or two to explore. But let me tell you this: I was in heaven almost every time I danced with certain women who have learned this way. I just wish there were more of them this part of the world.

Here is an example:

A few examples of the postures from different dancers:

[pro-player] [/pro-player]






Last but not the least


From → learning tango

  1. I ended up with a posture somewhat like that (I don’t normally see myself dancing, so I don’t know if it’s exactly the same) after getting the following advice:
    – Connect at one point, and one point only. The exact point will vary based on the leader’s height, but it should be around the sternum.
    – Keep the core engaged, which will pull the stomach/torso away from the leader.
    – Step so that you are holding yourself up at all times (i.e. the leader could step away, and you are able to stay balanced). This prevents excessive leaning.

    This is one of those things that I think works best when people stop obsessing over it. Don’t think about your butt—just focus on your core, your axis, your connection…everything else will fall into place.

  2. There’s also this other post on MIM that talks about not having to dance on the balls of your feet? Any thoughts? ;) I wish they would expand on that idea… Most everyone tells me I should dance on the balls of my feet…

    Thanks for the videos, I hope to watch them after work… =)

  3. Thanks Pilgrim. Glad we could make you laugh :)

    Margo – we promise the post about dancing with the weight in your heels will come soon (within a week).

    • @MIM, Well, It was the thought of the heat that you were going to get that amused me. :-P I certainly could testify how much difference a woman felt after she made the adjustment in her posture, in the matter of less than five minutes. How interesting some people would dispute anything that is beyond their own imagination or experience, without first investigate!

      @Margo, It was MiM’s post and they promised to share with you soon. So let’s all wait for their next post. :-)

      @MT. I agree. The goal is to make the good posture a second nature.

  4. Game Cat permalink

    Hmm. As a leader, I’m in two minds about this based on the women I’ve danced with across a range of levels who do this. If it is done well, the connection can be fantastic, I can feel where her feet are always and you’re less likely to clash feet because of the slight extra distance between your feet and hers.

    On the flip side, if it is done less than “very good”, it can feel very uncomfortable to lead. This is especially so during giros. I have the utmost respect for Javier and Andrea, and admire a lot of what they do, but the giros they do in their first clip above (dancing to D’Agostino, 4th clip from top) don’t look very comfortable (esp. for Javier). That’s just my initial reaction from the video, which may be worth nuts, so no flaming pls.

    I’m all for women who are taught properly to do this well, and would much prefer if people didn’t get taught this badly.

    • I couldn’t agree more. :-) That’s why the previous post which stresses the building of proper technique. I have been brewing a post about styles, pro and cons. Briefly, each style, if you will, has its advantage and disadvantage. Giro in close embrace is often problematic. A lot of times, dancers break away from chest to chest connection and turn on separate axis. Turn while remaining a close connection requires good disassociation. Aesthetic wise, it breaks the line of the dancers. So it appears uncomfortable or maybe even feel awkward for some. From my study with them, they are always improving how movements feel in the dance. That’s why I am so obsessed with their teaching. Because everything they have taught me or I have learned from them makes me feel better in the dance. That, feeling great in the dance, is utmostly important for me. :-)

  5. Game Cat permalink

    Giros in close embrace…..fascinating topic I’ve heard so much discussion about. Do write about it if you get the chance please.

    Broadly, I’ve seen it done with no/little change in the embrace and where the embrace adapts (without fully “opening” up). In the first, the front-to-front connection is maintained, and often the woman crosses her feet in her “back step”…it’s not really “back” anymore. In the second, the embrace is still close and connected, but you give her space to rotate her trunk in your embrace, so she steps back. Needs more flexibility but it is smoother and feels great when done right. That said, I’ll probably do the first more often as I get older and less flexible!

    Btw, re the “pulling the hips back” – I was taught to do this as a man too (though less extreme then for women). I think you can see this in some really good men on youtube too. Any other men out there were taught to do this?

    • Hola Game Cat,

      Again, I agree. :-) Although I am disinclined to talk about technique specifically unless it is fundamental and essential. And I am open to hear and learn different techniques and concepts. You never know what you can discover. That is why tango fascinates me.

      About the posture, I learned to bring the chest up and visualize it expanding infinitely and tuck the belly in slightly. Naturally the hips stay back. This posture makes the man more grounded. When the embrace happens on the chest only, the sensation is great. A lot of freedom from the chest down, the connection is much better than other ways that I have experienced. As you noticed, quite a few good men have that posture.

  6. Oskar permalink

    With correct posture, we all look “show off our breasts” and “sticking our butt out”. See Figure 1 of the link:

  7. It is sad to see that a dance as natural as a hug has been turned into something so contrived. This has happened over the last few years with the increase in exhibitions by young dancers. At least they are attracting other young dancers to tango, but most are learning tango as an exhibition dance rather than a social one.

    The first video in the post demonstrates how young women are buying this new technique and losing the naturalness of the dance. They are all working hard at learning bad technique for tango.

    I was curious as to where this technique is being taught in BsAs; now I know.

    • How you know it is a bad technique? Have you danced that way? Does anyone tell you that you are a fantastic dancer and your posture is the best? I have danced with so many different women. This is the embrace that i feel the most. And don’t even try to tell me or imply that I don’t dance tango. I danced in El Beso, Cachirulo with some of milongueras who have been longer than you’ve staying in BsAs. I got pat on the should from the old milongueros. So before you start criticizing, do you own investigation, try to take a class or two first. Otherwise, you could probably stay in your own blissful ignorance.

  8. and one other thing… This idea of pulling the hips back has to be one of the most unusual techniques taught in tango. Perhaps it is the only way young women can be comfortable dancing with a man without getting too clcse. The result of pulling the hips back is the butt sticks out more than necessary, but the men don’t mind one bit. They enjoy the showing of swinging butts at the milongas.

    If the focus was on the music, we wouldn’t be talking about this. We would be dancing naturally rather than prancing.

  9. Their blog is much fun, but sometimes they are a bit off in order to keep their provocative style. I can’t wait to read about how we are all to pivot on our heels :-P

    My two cents if anyone cares is that it feels great to dance with women dancing this way :-)

  10. I’m with you Simba, all of my teachers have always said (for followers) “heels down”, but not with weight on them. Perhaps when walking it’s not such a big deal, but if they start weighting their heels any other time, I’m screwed. This one, and the “no collecting” has me scratching my head.

  11. Game Cat permalink

    Jantango: Those are strong views. Why do you think that it is “bad technique”? Is there something intrinsically harmful to the lady or her partner or other dancers in the milonga? If so, I’d really like to know so we can have a proper discussion about it.

    I agree that the music should be the focus, but good technique is what helps dancers enjoy the music better.

  12. tango junkie permalink

    Jantango, I don’t consider your opionion represents what the traditional tango is all about. If people only want to be natural and hugging, it can be done anywhere in everyday life. Walking a few steps in “natural” state to the music make you a so-so dancer. Don’t mistaken it as true milonguero. Any form of dance needs posture, needs techinque and needs willingness to learn.

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