Saturday, 1 November 2008

Connection enhancers

Big, fat men are easy to follow. I can just settle like a butterfly, and go.

Getting the same connection with thin, shallow-chested men requires more skill from me. I have to be particularly careful with my posture. I'm dancing closer to the boundary of my skill level, and I'm much more likely to lose it now and then. (Different, or the same, for you? In the Comments, please). It's a common thing with East Asian men, and it is true even if they're really lovely dancers.

My outfit for a Halloween milonga (Gothic look) included a pair of Marks and Spencer's Plastic Tits.

I go up a cup size, and the problem disappears.

I had no idea that this could be solved by shopping. A quality product, £25.

12 comments:

Psyche said...

I find very skinny guys tricky too; hard to connect at the chest. Also very tall guys, whose chest is in the wrong place for me. I have to make an effort not to curve myself in towards them, which destroys my balance, hurts my back, and doesn't create a proper chest connection anyway. I just have to accept the distance between us, which works fine if they have a triangular half-open kind of embrace, but very difficult if they have a square-on embrace.

Orange shirt guy said...

I'm a south east asian man, and I surely had a most wonderful time dancing with you when you went to Seattle.

Oh, and my halloween costume this year is attached to the URL for your perusal.

:)

Foxy said...

Try making the connection a bit lower down - at stomach rather than chest level. I mean stomach - just under the diaphragm - not abdomen which would usually be too low. When you dance with a portly gentleman this probably happens naturally because his stomach is what protrudes - not his chest. When you dance with a skinny person your effort to connect at chest level may distort your posture, making you lean forward in your upper body, which is not good for balance.

Same comment applies to "psyche" - why are you trying so hard to connect at chest level? Is that what you were taught to do?
It may work well with some people but IMHO posture should never be sacrificed for connection. Try varying the connection point - usually lower down works better - and maybe you won't have to compromise posture or accept a distance between you.

Obviously if your relative heights are very different more adaptation is needed - you need to find the right connection point with each partner every time you dance. For a small woman with a tall mean - maybe her chest- his stomach might work. Short man/tall woman - well, probably a higher point on his stomach- a lower point on hers. In BsAs short men seem to love dancing (in a close embrace of course) with taller women especially when their face is somewhere near her breast level!

You mention "shallow-chested men" - and herein may lie another problem. If the man's posture is poor - for example he hunches his shoulders, hollows his chest or sticks his head forward - this may prevent a good connection and then open embrace may be your only option.

I believe that if both partners maintain good posture and are actively seeking a good body connection in a close embrace, it will be possible to find it, whatever the body types and heights.

msHedgehog said...

Of course it is always possible to find it; but with some people it requires a higher skill level than with others.

@Orange; you struck me as more what I think of as a Pacific Islander build - quite strongly built and deep-chested in fact, and not the kind of thing that makes it difficult at all. [Added: and I typed that BEFORE looking at the picture!]

Anonymous said...

do these improve the connection worn by men or women .. not sure?

msHedgehog said...

Well, it would certainly work either way!

Game Cat said...

Ms H, as a lanky concave-chested E. Asian, I think you're very accurate (sigh). While I had never attributed the failing to my race, I have been struck by how much my leading has improved by putting home-practice time into the embrace. So I like to believe a good connection is almost always possible if people look for it (as Foxy pointed out).

Perhaps you could start a post about what leaders and followers do to get a good connection? Curious to hear what others think (and I'm happy to chip in if you do).

Re Psyche's comment about triangular embrace.....I think it's bad IMHO....difficult to lead with half the chest connection and heroes to the left are murder if the leader doesn't consciously under-turn!

Re your M&S solution - are better endowed followers really easier to lead? From my experience of a limited sample of similarly skillful regular partners, may not be true.....others pls comment?

msHedgehog said...

@Gamecat, I don't know whether well-endowed women are easier to lead. I know one who is very easy to follow. But a tip I would give to a beginner follower if she is selfconscious or tentative about close embrace would be to wear a bra with a bit more structure than she would normally. So it could be that the difference these things make to how the woman feels in herself is as important as any physical effect. And that depends on where the woman starts from.

I suppose that the naturally gracile man who bulked up his shoulders a little with weight training or push-ups would notice a difference, too. But again, it may not really be about a change of shape. I dance better when I do more regular push-ups, too, but I never do enough to make a difference to my appearance. All it does is make my body stronger inside, and that influences my posture and embrace in all sorts of subtle ways.

msHedgehog said...

@psyche - I don't know how tall you are, but have you ever watched Paul and Michiko dancing? What do you think of their solution to the difference in height? (My thought is that it's plainly the right one, but very few leaders know how to deliver it, or even realise it's possible).

OwenM said...

:-D A subject close to my heart, so to speak :-D

I've a fairly broad chest, and am in the process of losing the tum to lots&lots of swimming.
- it definitely changes the embrace
- larger breasts are still more challenging to lead, as the connection through the chest is cushioned just a wee bit too much
- now the tum is moving away, I'm FAR too conscious of those boobs that never used to be leaning in to me as much....

Re. the height issue, I find shorter women more difficult to embrace - I can hold 'em, but not embrace... at least without bodily lifting them!

Anonymous said...

For me the trick starts less with skinny vs portly than with the height: anyone distinctly shorter than me (i.e. who struggles to see what's behind me) I find hard to dance with, and if the man happens to be skinny or only fairly slim - it all falls apart - I feel like I'm going to crush the poor thing down. I'm definitely much more comfortable with slightly taller, wide-shouldered men. But it could really all be in the head rather than on anything really physical...

John said...

So maybe I need a plastic belly-enhancer...

I once did a workshop in London with a Dutch couple who teach close embrace. We spent the first 25 minutes leading and being led with belly to belly contact only. I'm not sure how much it improves tango because you have to push your belly out to contact another belly: whereas if you pull in your belly your back tends to arch and your chest goes up and out, which is a more useful tango position. However,it was an interesting social experience.

Beginner leaders are often told to lead with the shoulders but that can result in the dreaded 'kung fu tango'. Really, leading is with the torso, and the lower the point of contact the lower the centre of gravity will be, and the lead should be clearer and more stable. I must remember to stuff a couple of towels down the front of my shirt...