The health benefits of tango are well documented, not only on a physical level for exercise but on a deeper level having a transformative effect on physical and mental well-being. Dancing reduces stress levels, increases serotonin levels and cognitive functions.
Dancing tango requires mindful control of the body. And you can practice body awareness through different disciplines like Pilates, Yoga, Feldenkrais, to mention some. In my experience as a Pilates Instructor, students find that they gain greater body control, not only when dancing tango but in day to day life due to increased muscle tone and strength as well postural alignment, balance and flexibility.
Dance better by being aware of your body
In dance it is very important understand the music, and understand how your body moves in response to music. It is never too late to learn how to be more aware of your body.
As a dancer, your work tool is your own body. This is why it is very important to understand it and become familiar with it; get to know its needs, limitations, and abilities. This will allow you to control it more confidently and naturally.
Becoming familiar with all body parts requires a lot of focus. Muscle memory is a side effect of muscle awareness. As you develop more awareness of your body, it will become easier to remember moves and positions. It is ideal to dedicate time and energy to this self-discovery process supervised by a trained and experienced teacher.
Posture and body language are completely related. How you stand says a lot about you, and that directly translates into the dance, whether you intend to or not.
Body awareness and Pilates
The benefits of Pilates are numerous. It works the core muscles of the body, improving posture, strength and flexibility. It also improves breathing and centres the body, which can relieve stress and release tension. Pilates helps all the parts of the body to work together in balance. As the body is worked and strengthened, another benefit of Pilates becomes increasingly clear – a greater sense of body awareness.
After taking Pilates classes regularly for a while, you should naturally begin to feel it when your muscles or joints are out of alignment. In Pilates, so much depends on using the correct forms and positions. If the positioning isn’t correct, muscles and joints may feel worse over time instead of better.
Greater body awareness has many benefits for the Pilates practitioner. Knowing correct posture from your classes will spill over into the other activities of your life – sitting at your computer or at your desk, standing in line, and of course, DANCING. It will start to feel natural to pull your abdominals in and push your shoulders down.