More on close hold

New Year is a good time to relax and enjoy the company of friends. We had been at a party, where we danced in the New Year. After we had helped to pack away we drove over to Chester where we had been invited by Tom and Kwai of Clan Cuban

I think it was meant to be more dancing, but we had arrived late so we just sat drinking and talking dance. As you will by now gather from this blog, I can talk a good dance, even if I do not actually dance it that well.

Talk inevitably got onto close hold and what Tom calls the choo choo hold. I think Tom finds it useful as a means of conveying, not only the move but also the lead. Kizomba despite its similarities is quite different to Tango and the way the embrace must be allowed to open is more akin to Nuevo tango than the more traditional tango I love.

Still though, this practice embrace can have its uses in tango teaching, but only as a means to an end.

I can see no benefit in teaching a class the whole time in practice embrace and then telling them to dance close hold. If you want to dance close hold, then the only way to learn is to learn in the embrace.

Tom, who has been teaching some time now comes up with a lot of things that I find useful for tango, even though, as yet, he does not dance it. One thing we talked about was the problems with close hold, and the difficulties people have with it.

I am not quoting anyone here but the ideas have sprung from the conversation that we had, so I will offer credit for them, but any blame (if anyone should choose to disagree) should all be upon me.

British men have a problem holding women. Not a sexual problem, but to hold a woman very close in a non sexual way, I think is alien to them. So when they first come to close hold dancing they are uncomfortable, to get that close is seen as something sexual. This is transmitted to the women, who will see it as either being too fresh or just creepy.

We all need time to adapt. The men need time to get comfortable and to not get aroused. The women need time to relax and understand that this is just a warm comfortable place to be, and most of all we all need to understand that this is nothing to do with the mating game.

Only by spending the whole class in close embrace with several partners can we ever become more used to this. I honestly believe that it is harder for us men to adapt, why? I do not know, but women seem to me to be more comfortable in close bodily proximity than men. This is why; I think women are more able to dance together than men, and why it has taken so much persuading to get men to dance with me.

So I believe that once we men get comfortable with the close embrace the women will just melt into our arms, and what joy this can bring.

Women who find the close hold uncomfortable, I believe have their views coloured by dancing with men who themselves are not comfortable. Men who are not comfortable are so because they have never experienced a true embrace and uncomfortable women will not give it to them.

So it is up to those of us who have spent time with tango and other close dances to share our knowledge and joy with others.  When the world can all enjoy a hug and a smile, when a man can embrace a woman with a love that is not sexual and we can all take to the dance floor with a joy and a desire to share with our partner a love of the music, then I think we are well on our way to peace and nirvana.

Finally can I take this opportunity to wish all my readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year? Felicidades y Prospero Año Nuevo a Todos.



Filed under Dance Venues and Schools, Tango

4 responses to “More on close hold

  1. tangobob

    To paraphrase a certain (ex) California governer “I’ll be back” watch this space around May.

  2. Bob, you said it so well! There is nothing like an embrace freely given, and that is the position to dance the tango.
    Happy New Year! Hope to see you soon again in BsAs!

  3. Anna

    I agree. The tango I love is tango in close embrace, there is nothing better then melting into my lead’s embrace, hearing their steady breathing and moving off as one. It saddens me when leads who have been dancing tango for years still shy away from close embrace. I would like it if we used close embrace more in classes and practicas (dancing close at least half the time).
    The only occasions when I find close embrace uncomfortable are when leads grip me in a bear hold and manhadle me around, rather than lead me. Leads who have poor technique in practice embrace do not transform to good leads in close embrace but their bad leading can be more physically unpleasant up close.

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