How many times have our tango teachers told us (and not always gently) that our shoulders and arms are too tense?
They’re right, of course. But it’s extremely difficult to loosen up those body parts on command. Unless we’re asleep or unconscious, they’re almost never in a natural state of relaxation.
It sounds pretty weird, but it takes a great deal of concentration in order for us to keep shoulders and arms relaxed enough for good tango. And when we achieve that optimal level of relaxation, we shouldn’t just use it for dancing. Preventing tension in our shoulders should be approached the same way we learn any step…through lots of practice.
Fortunately, there are ample opportunities to do so, because if we pay attention we’ll see just how much tension we carry throughout the day. Notice how our shoulders feel when sitting in front of a computer, while driving, reading, texting, during meals, while attending boring staff meetings, etc.
Excessive tension might be one of our worst tango habits because it started off as a bad life habit first.