WHAT ARE DRILLS?
When we talk about drills, we're referring to exercises that we do to train our bodies for tango. Sometimes these exercises are steps taken directly from the dance. Sometimes the exercises are more abstract and are used to build strength, to test balance, or to help us feel certain sensations.
When we do our solo drills, we do them without holding on to anything. Hence, balancing becomes more difficult. Be patient with yourself and remember that it's part of the process; our balance is just like any muscle that need to be challenged in order to grow stronger.
There are countless benefits to solo practice, here are our top three:
balance: When we learn to catch our own balance without the use of our arms, we can find more ease with a partner. By creating the movement of the dance with our whole body, our embrace can be used to create nice sensations and effortless communication.
strength: When dancing with a partner there is an exchange of energy that flows back and forth between the lead and follow. When working solo, we must generate 100% of the energy and movement on our own. Developing this skill, allows us to have a more sophisticated and sensitive communication with our partner.
coordination: When we dance tango, movement flows through the body in a particular way. By practicing creating that flow in our bodies solo, we are coding that way of moving into the body. Creating a new second nature so that when we dance, we don't have to think about it.
HOW DO WE PRACTICE?
Repetition and consistency is important when practicing. When we practice, we generally do each exercise for an entire song. This helps build strength and endurance but also helps solidify habits. It’s important to spend a lot of time repeating the same or similar exercises for the same reason. Learning to do these exercises well and with ease is a process that never ends. So instead of looking for a finish line, we continue to dive deeper into refining our movement.
Some ask “What if I practice incorrectly? Won’t I engrain bad habits?” To that we say, it’s part of the process; practicing some things “incorrectly” along the way is inevitable. What is important is that you always try to pay attention to what is happening in your body and continue to engage with the process. As your sensitivity and awareness grow, you will be able to keep polishing the movement.
When we are dancing in life, we aren't thinking about technique, so our bodies just do what is habitual. We practice technique solo so that our technique will support us when we are not thinking about it.