Whether you started dancing the tango or are already a professional, it's necessary to keep practicing what you have learned. Practicing makes the skills stay fresh, and your body is used to the movements. Dance training is full of elements that accompany our learning and progress throughout life. For a tango dancer, the mirror can be a training company with plenty of benefits.

Hernan Brizuela setting up for Solo Exercises class - ‘live’ on zoom - every Tuesday at 8:30 pm

Most of the time, when we start learning to dance the tango, it is normal to get stressed out and lose patience because we want to see results right away. However, we must not forget that we are dancing for pleasure and passion. Having that in mind will be the only thought keeping you motivated to enjoy what you are doing.

Besides learning about sensations, the structure of the dance, and musicality, much of the dancers' training is through sight, usually with the mirror as an aid. Mirrors will allow you to improve your technique and practice the tango choreography. A mirror can help you to recognize the things which your body cannot yet acknowledge through sensation. It's also an excellent tool to work on your lines, shapes, postures, and positions.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, show me…

Even when the mirror shows us what we do not necessarily want to see, we don't need to be afraid of what we are looking at, and instead understand, that the reflection is there as a helping hand. Using a mirror gives you multiple ways to step out of your comfort zone and start dancing until you are ready to integrate with others on the dance floor.

The right posture is fundamentally important when dancing the tango. Observing our posture in the mirror will help us to find balance and learn the right posture without the risk of falling. Additionally, when you are practicing your Tango technique, seeing your reflection will help adjust your shape, line, alignment, and find the perfect movement space.

Watch your steps

Discovering the necessary control of movement to dance the tango makes the correct placement of the feet and legs a key factor. For tango dancers, the mirror is a significant help, as what feels right, does not always look right. Seeing is believing and thus the reflection offers you quick feedback and helps you to implement the correct placement much faster. Assuming you are paying attention, of course.

However, we need to be careful about how we use the mirror. Continually gazing at your reflection causes you to rely on visual cues more than your proprioceptors, the sensors that provide awareness of where your body or its parts are in space. That's why we should let our body flow, instead of focusing too much on the image we are watching. Once you found the precise placement and repeated the movement correctly a few times, try shifting your focus toward points relevant to the choreography sequence or in the direction you are moving, just as you would on the dance floor.

Look natural

Seeking awareness and reorientation while practicing will allow you to improve your skills and still look natural. Use the mirror to verify your position, correct yourself, and continue. Internalize what "correct" means on a deeper physical level, perhaps by briefly closing your eyes. This trains your muscle memory, allowing it to reproduce the element without looking mechanical, more easily. Focus on transitions, quality of movement, and art. The goal of using the mirror to improve your technique is that you will eventually take those movements to the dance floor.

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