Earlier this year, I wrote about the importance of maintaining the embrace in tango. What I didn’t do then – but what I’ll do here – is offer some quick but important thoughts on posture. For both leaders and followers, good posture makes the embrace easier. No big surprise there.

And the mere act of looking confident, or projecting confident body language, can lead to real confidence on the dance floor. We’ve probably heard this advice before giving a talk, presentation, or going on a date.

But while tango dancing, we’re moving around while embracing another person. That’s a different situation than standing alone in front of an audience.

Unlike a step or sequence that has a beginning and end, our posture is always being tested. It’s easy to forget about it once the music starts. But it doesn’t stay in place on its own, and requires constant attention.

If we’re not dancing as well as we’d like and starting to get flustered, posture is the first thing we should check. And when we’re feeling exhausted towards the end of the milonga, we can leave a good impression during the last tanda simply by taking the time and energy to prevent our shoulders from slumping.

When things start going right (or wrong) in tango, the explanation is rarely dramatic or mind-blowing. It can usually be traced to something as simple as remembering (or forgetting) to stand tall.

bear standing up


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