Showing posts with label dance shoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dance shoes. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Styles of tango

What are the different styles of tango and why is it important?


For some time I have been intrigued by the different styles of tango as a topic for both understanding but also for how this understanding then has a huge impact on how I dance and teach. When I set topics based around understanding the styles of tango, people often ask why they would want to have this information when they simply want to dance comfortably with a partner and do all the different tango moves available while dancing with the music. For me it’s one and the same. To dance a comfortable dance with all the vocabulary options available is to be aware that each style offers different ‘natural movements’ and ‘unnatural movements’ in the body due to the choice of embrace, way of communicating/ connecting between leader and follower. But also importantly to understand that tango is a dance and music genre that has evolved and been fused with different influences through the years. So what are the different styles of tango and why is it important? Its important for the comfort and effective communication between leader and follower. Music can dictate the style or the style influences the way we interpret the music. Lastly it is a topic misunderstood and full of obscurity due to the lack of documentation about the earlier styles and that while people think they know what style they dance its usually a mixture. I hope to shed some light and at the very least bring the topic into the open for discussion.

Below I will go through and briefly explain the various styles in chronological order where possible, the music that has influenced them and the history surrounding them.

Canyengue is a dance that preceded tango and has been born, left to history and revived again with what people think was the original style and feel of the dance. Said to have been danced between 1870s- 1920s and contained the original volcada. One big difference between the old canyengue and the revival is that originally canyengue was danced in taverns or the cobble stoned streets of Buenos aires, making smooth elegant movements impossible.  Dancers adopted a more jerky hopping style which has been smoothed out in the revised version due to being danced on better floors and by dancers having a smoother stepping technique in their bodies from dancing tango. Most of my sources agree that music of canyengue was 2/4 time and contained the habanera rhythm that gave the dancers a more lilting feeling while dancing.  Steps by the women were small and contained due to the fashion of long tight dresses at the time. Dancers used a v shape embrace while sharing an axis, allowing a lot of shared upper body movement. Often danced to music from the old guard like early Francisco Canaro, Roberto firpo and Francisco Lomuto.

Roughly in the 1880s Canyengue evolved further into two different recognised styles. Probably more of an evolution than suddenly arriving Orillero (1880’s-today) and Liso (1880’s – 1910’s) styles came to the floor.  Tango Liso or smooth tango is said to be an early term for tango de salon and took on the character of small steps due to there being many dancers on the crowded floors of the inner city. In contrast Orillero developed in the outskirts of the city where there were less dancers and so this style took on a form of bigger steps and vocabulary including a lot of playfulness with Rhythmic syncopated quick steps, cortes, quebradas, sequidillas and even jumps.  In outward appearance Orillero was more staccato than the smooth Liso style.

Tango liso became Tango de salon or tango that’s danced in a ballroom (salon). Not to be confused with ballroom tango that could be said to be yet another style of argentine tango but has become more closely related to the other ballroom dances and their own unique philosophy about dance. Salon tango developed around 1910s and is the root for a lot of the modern styles today. Whatever Salon tango was in the beginning it was social, danced in the centre of Buenos aires and danced by the upper classes where Orillero was danced by the poor. It later lead to distinct styles with their own flavour.

Following the threads salon de tango lead to club style (also known in the 1940s as confiteria style or tango apilado) characterised by the couples appearance of leaning toward each other creating a shared axis, full upper body contact and upper bodies parallel in the embrace. Giving rise to more staccato movements and feet were kept close to the floor. Due to the full body contact dancers couldn’t disassociate in the same way that the contemporary tango de salon dancers could, giving rise to a number of movements that felt more natural for the Club style e.g. cortes, ocho cortado, volcada like movements due to apilado or leaning. Club style later becoming more famously known as milonguero style when people visiting Buenos aires observed the dancers way of moving. Some say it was also an advertising gimmick in the beginning of the 1990s when people used the term to describe the only authentic way to dance tango because this is what the milongueros dance in Buenos aires. The milonguero style has taken on a life of its own with avid followers have even begun to set up special events for those who want to dance with a particular dance floor etiquette including no lifted legs (boleos or ganchos), good line of dance and the use of cortinas and tandas. Which allows for the wonderful phenomenum of the cabaceo, a way of asking someone to dance using eye contact and body language.

Another thread from the 1910s-1940s tango de salon is de Villa Urquiza style. Villa urqiza is a barrio or district in the north of Buenos aires and the dance is characterised by a smooth slow elegance and changing distance in the embrace. Some choose for a v-shaped embrace while others remain more or less parallel as the changing distance between the couple allows for a lot of freedom. When danced close it tends to be only the solar plexus contact which allows a lot of torsion which is essential for movements like pivoted giros, sacadas, and a specific range of free leg movements.

The third thread coming from the original tango de salon is caberet and later the show styles of tango fantasia and escenario. Styles in their own right and often the first thing none dancers see of tango. With influences from ballet, other sorts of show dancing and the social styles of tango. Show tango in all its forms is often said to not be the real tango and yet it has a strong identity and image in peoples minds as well as many bigger movements filtering down into the social dancing.

With any evolution there will always be a Nuevo style or new way, whether really a style by itself or a new outlook on what has been before. It depends on the time and how main stream this Nuevo style becomes. Some say that the term was first coined with Petroleo in the 1940s celebrating choreographic advancement through innovation and investigation into whats possible instead of what has been. Others would more commonly recognise tango Nuevo coming from a group of four men who came together with the idea of systemising tango allowing for a more didactic approach to teaching and learning. Gustavo Naveira, Fabian Salas, Chicho fromboli and Mauricio Castro identified more possibilities of what was already danced through this process allowing greater ability to improvise and brought new names for things already danced, one example of this would be volcadas which can be traced back to the axis sharing canyengue style but also a more recent dancer famous for the apilado (lean) style in which he danced many volcadas if not constantly in volcada, Carlos Gavito. The one big thing that did change from the 1990s with this Nuevo style is that teaching has become higher quality, understanding of tango and what we do as dancers has gone deeper than we have ever gone before and in the last few years people have been bringing the things learnt in this new movement back to the close embrace and traditional music that is so rich  and intriguing to dance on. Nuevo usually isn’t lasting in the same way, good traditional music can’t be listened to enough. For many argentines the term doesn’t even exist while many Europeans believe it to be big steps, none traditional tango music inviting open embrace and big extreme vocabulary. So whether you take any one of these three possible explanations of neuvo style I would like to leave you with this last thought. In 1940s Petroleo and his friends created a Nuevo style, in 1960s-1980s piazolla was described as making Nuevo music/neo tango music and in the 1990s Naveira and the others created a new movement with their systemisation of the dance. For me Nuevo style only exists in context with the traditional styles as its more a movement forward from what has been than an actual style of its own. What do you think? Nuevo styles in the future will be different in character but will probably use the same name.

In conclusion, one basic division in styles is those for social dancing and those danced during shows. What people understand as milonguero, tango de salon or any of the other styles seem to be blurring, making the general concensus over what these styles are nowadays move further away from what they were originally. Loosing the old dancers who were around in the times we have been discussing through this article means that now more than ever its important to find more clarity on what has been and document it before it leaves us forever. Or maybe, this loss is part of the evolution of tango and the history is carried in our steps. Food for thought. After some years of searching for the new way we have started to look for authenticity of the traditional tango.


Check out one of my other dance articles.

Make tango history and upload!
http://www.chicloca.com/2016/01/ten-things-you-didnt-know-about-style.html 

'A Vision of Tango'

'Abundant obsession', Argentine tango

Why we love Pilates (and you should too)


Thursday, 4 February 2016

The 9 Biggest Dance Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid



After years of watching dancers on the floor and working to improve the technique and posture of students. I have noticed some easy to avoid mistakes which tend to have big consequences in the dance both socially and for the dancers own health. Look at the list below and check where you stand, is there one you can avoid?


  1.  Bad quality shoes or wearing really old ones might very well be beautiful or super comfy, but do very little for you feet. Ranging from breaking when you only have one pair of shoes with you to physically placing your feet in an estranged position affecting muscles and alignment.
  2. Cling filming. What is that you say? well imagine the super thing plastic rapped around a vegetable and then imagine that this is what many women do with their hips. Rapping the guys package that in the least can be annoying and make guys avoid dancing and girlfriends won't like it. Make the social side of dancing easier and take your hips away from the leader. Its titillating and to all the women out there, that guy who loves to dance with you while you are doing this probably doesn't dance with you for your skill!
  3. Not caring for each others bounderies and the bounderies of the people around you. Often we become more relaxed about contact as we become more advanced in dancing. Caring for the bounderies others have around you takes a little bit of thought and can make a huge difference to the relaxation of the social environment. Respect individuals, their relationships and your own.
  4.  If you have a storm cloud above your head people won't ask you to dance in social settings. Imagine you are in their place and you see someone sitting there, obviously wanting to dance but is really saying with the body language that you will have a terrible time if you dance with me. You are probably very unlikely to go and ask them to dance.
  5. The dress that always moves up and too tight trousers. While the rules in dancing about clothing is often more relaxed so good pointers would be to make sure you choose clothes that won't become indecent when you move and avoid tight ones that will hold you back. A short tight dress will always move up.
  6. Not warming up before dancing. this is a well known one i think but well worth mentioning. Whether its light exercise or a rigorous workout, warming up the body is essential and gives time for the mind to get into the flow too.
  7. Apoligizing too much when things don't go well. This is a little counter intuitive but saying sorry for every mistake will not only make the others around loose focus but also make the likelihood of more mistakes higher. Everyone from beginner to advanced dancer is making mistakes all the time. The only difference is that higher level dancers aren't worried about it and actively search to deal with the thing that happens like regaining balance, rather than stop the dance to say sorry.
  8. Doing all the dance moves you know in the first dance. Whether you are a solo dancer or a couple dancing, bringing out your whole repertoire is usually overkill especially with a new dance partner who has to decipher or an audience who don't have enough time to absorb some of the great things you are doing in the barrage of steps. In many cases less is more.
  9. Expectations of dancing with the best dancers or an amount of dancers in one evening. I think we all fall into this trap at times, but consider this. If for example you have a storm cloud over your head (point 4) would you dance with you? probably not so why go into an evening expecting a certain number of dances. Secondly if you are less experienced why go creating a pressure that you must dance with all the best dancers in the room in order to have a good evening. Often as one of the experienced dancers in the room i will active avoid those who want to dance with me because i am a teacher and instead will go to those who see me as a person and with whom i can have fun with at what ever level of dancing. Going without expectation can give some pretty incredible evenings full of fun, socialising and dancing.



Any more things to add? I am sure there are a whole load more for this list. Add suggestions to the comments section below or check out one of my other dance articles.

Make tango history and upload!
http://www.chicloca.com/2016/01/ten-things-you-didnt-know-about-style.html

'A Vision of Tango'

'Abundant obsession', Argentine tango

Why we love Pilates (and you should too)

 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

5 fantastic dances to improve your fitness, which fits your personality type?

Ever wondered why some people tango and others do rock and roll? With a few exceptions that like to mix it up, many people get attracted to different dances. What brings people to a dance in the binning and what keeps people training once they have started? Well I am not sure i have the answers to this but to have a little fun, I have listed 9 dances below and their personality types.


Bohemian thinker / artist

Argentine tango is a mixture of introvert and extrovert. Both for show and social, in full view and danced for the couple alone. Scientists and artists looking for a way to communicate, usually finding hard to do this in every day life. It appeals to the masculine mind with its geometric concepts of lanes and line of dance, circles and angles for turning and much more. Sophistication and trampery in one foul swoop, not to mention the more commonly seen variations in dance couples, men leading men, women leading women gives tango the title Bohemian dance of the group.

Party animal

Salsa - generally extraverted unless you see the natives dance (people dancing a long time to a high level), then it can be slow and sensual. Salsa tends to attract the younger generations who like to party but want something more than simply bouncing around. Full and curvacious, even men will discover hips in this dance. Culture and modern music mixed in a party atmosphere with bright colours and vivacious music filling the whole room,  think carnaval. This dance is queen of the party.

 Sorceress / magician

Flamenco - dramatic outward appearance and a lot more going on inside, strong rhythmic movements. Masculine and feminine mixed together with energy and purpose. Traditional feel and dress exuding the best of old times in performances that make your hair stand up on end. The duality of the masculine and feminine found in this dance rarely seen so equally standing side by side make this the dance of those who want to explore their inner power and expression enabled by the play with live musicians. Making this dance the one divine connection of all things.

    Hippy fest

    Folkdance or Balfolk - high energy, fun with simple movements compared to other dances. Great for getting everyone up on the dance floor, its the social animal of all the dances listed here to the point of attracting all those who don't want to go mainstream. Cross culture sharing, hippy hugging and live music create lots of great sharing experiences with this dance.

    Chilled out groover

    Swing - with different moves set groovily in the 1920s-1940s jazz scene. Golden oldy or nostalgic young one who likes to get a feel for the richness of a whole range of different dances included in this genre. This dance brings lots of great historic references together with the dance that is still very actively danced today and increasing momentum by all accounts. This dance is king of chilling out and variety.

    Please take this as a little fun, i love dancing and think every dance has its charm. 

    Liked this? then it would be great if you share you dance personality, even if its not the dance you actuality dance at this moment. I often wondered at the personalities of different dances and there are so many that aren't on this list. i made a shortlist this time but maybe another time its nice to broaden it out. i hope you enjoy.


    Other articles in the dance genre:


    10 Quick Surprising Tips About dancing
    http://www.chicloca.com/2016/01/10-quick-tips-about-dancing.html

    'A Vision of Tango'

    'Abundant obsession', Argentine tango

    Why we love Pilates (and you should too)

    Friday, 8 January 2016

    10 Quick Surprising Tips About dancing



    As a professional dancer i have picked up quite a few little tricks over the years. Usually because i made a whole handful of mistakes and endeavor not to repeat them. Here are 10 quick tips to help dancers whether beginning students, experienced dancers or professionals (probably you have your own).

    1. Build body memory. For each simplified basic movement of the dance or movement activity you wish to improve in. In the end a good teacher can simplify anything you need to understand, but you can't fudge the repetition needed to make a movement become learned.
    2. Increase body awareness. With body awareness its a much quicker process to learn any movement based activity. Without it you can spend years trying to make changes that either will take longer to happen or your body simply won't understand on an intrinsic level.
    3. Find your learning style. Become aware of the ways you learn best e.g. visual, kinesthetic, audio etc. Use the ones you are strongest in while translating to others you are less good in. The translation process makes the learning more profound. For example, i learn visually and kinesthetically but when i first started to teach i had to structure things in a verbal way for my students. Especially with questions but also to relate to the many students who aren't able to learn from a simply visual perspective. I found by making this translation of dance into words i learned a great deal myself too and continue to enjoy this new found learning style.
    4. Give yourself time to find the learning space. Many students arrive at the start time of the class.  Totally understandable with the busyness of most of our lives. But it often results in feeling rushed, not something that promotes learning. With a bit of careful planning you can give yourself 5 minutes to acclimatize before the class starts by arriving a bit earlier. This 5 minutes is great for letting your brain become ready to learn.
    5. Warm up before classes and social dancing. Sometimes it feels silly but warming up the body is really important. The more the activity asks from you, and this is personal, the more you should prepare yourself for it. When you are warm you also most better and more fluidly. The chances of one of those dances you will remember is much higher.
    6. Learning is forgetting. Keep in mind that to learn something and take it in at a deeper level we often need to see it several times. Similar to body memory but for the brain. Let yourself forget things as part of the learning process. 
    7. Make sure your clothes don't hold you back. Depending on the type of activity you do, make sure your clothing allows for the movements you want to do as well as keeping you sufficiently covered. There is nothing worse than trying to do something and finding you either can't do it or don't want to as it leaves you exposed.
    8. Take time for your own translation. Particularly for partner dancers but also for students who take a lot of classes. Its useful to take 5 minutes by yourself to put all the things you have learned into your own words and understanding. You can take a step deeper to try and link other things you do as part of your activity into this and check it with a trusted teacher or more experienced dancer. I always invite my students to check ideas with me and also tell them when its possible but not my personal approach or maybe i don't have the answer due to it being outside my expertise or comes down to a choice for the student i can't answer for them. After all i am not a guru but a dancer. 
    9. The first time you learn something sticks with you forever, or until you do a lot of hard work to change it. The first time we properly learn something we take it into our memory in a more profound way than the second and third times. Its good to make sure that you understand it correctly this first time and that you are getting quality information. This way you will avoid many bad habits that form due to misinformation. Secondly the amount of work it takes to change this first memory once made. 
    10. Ask your teachers why. If your activity is anything like Argentine tango then the question why is a good one. In tango everyone and anyone can teach, with a huge range in abilities to dance and abilities to teach. There are good dancers and terrible teachers, good teachers and terrible dancers and everything in between. The question why tends to cut through the crap. If they can give you a solid and clear reason why, then they probably know what they are talking about. If not then you can think on this. Just be a little aware of the difference between question about a step or subject being taught and questioning the teacher themselves. The second one is unpleasant on the receiving end and feels as though you are being asked for you credentials as a teacher. This is likely to close up most teachers making this a moot point. Active learning is essential to efficient learning and becoming more proficient. Its also rewarding and personally i find it gives a lot of enjoyment. 

    I hope these were useful. Try them out and if you want more information post a comment below. It would be great if you can spread the word about our new blog using some of the buttons below.We will regularly be posting information about dance, health and a little on Argentine tango.



    Other articles in the dance genre:


    'A Vision of Tango'

    'Abundant obsession', Argentine tango

    Why we love Pilates (and you should too)

    Wednesday, 6 January 2016

    How to Solve the Biggest Problems With dance shoes



    Shoe problems for anyone who relies on shoes for a particular purpose will find it annoying to get problems. Whether you are a runner, cyclist or dancer, your shoes and in fact clothes are important to enhance what you are doing and able to bring. Read this article further to find out some of the problems faced by dancers and tips for working around them or avoiding them altogether.

    Top 6 categories for problems dancers have with shoes:


    1. Breaking in new shoes: Especially as there is often a recommendation to start with a smaller size than you actually wear. This is due to the material expanding and as dancers we want an as near perfect fit as possible. The what degree smaller depends on the dance, the shoe and type of material its made from.
    • Tip, I would suggest here with leather and suede shoes is to put them on a heater for 20 minutes before wearing them. Note that the heater shouldn't be hot enough to damage the shoes, just warm them past body temperature so the material expands. When you place them on your foot the material is softer and if this is repeat a number of times it begins to mold the shoes to your feet, fitting them perfectly without the normal process of wearing them in.


    2. Getting used to different heel heights (even for men with cuban heels). Many women aren't used to heels and when they come to dance they find it difficult as suddenly they are asked to don heels in many dances. Dancers are rarely taught how to use their shoes in the movement. Its all very well putting good looking shoes on your feet but if you don't include them in your technique they will trip you up.
    • Tips is to wear new shoes on uneven surfaces, or ones that make your ankles work. Usually when we put on new shoes we forget that we need to accustom our bodies and in particular muscles to the changes created. Ankles are often too weak to offer stability when someone wears high heeled shoes for the first time. The thicker the heel the easier it is on your ankle, the lower the heel the easier too. The other thing is the that a dancer needs to build their technique to include shoes as a tool for the trade or hobbie. Simply sticking shoes on our feet regardless of how beautiful is a common mistake.
    3. Shoes that don't fit correctly can be a pain, quite literally. Either through rubbing, being too small or so big that you are unable to move properly in them. The style of the shoe is also important when working with feet of different proportions.
    • Tip,  Length, width, high arch, flat foot, shape of foot are all factors to consider when buying new dance shoes. Best thing is to ask a dance teacher or a knowledgeable shop assistant. Good ones are often trained in dance shoe fitting. After owning a few pairs of shoes you can also look back and see which shoes where the most comfortable and worked best for you in terms of shape and style.


    4. Dance shoes that break are a problem.
    • Tip: many can be fixed easily and its well worth training a cobbler or shoe repairer in your city to mend dance shoes. Particularly if you are a professional and wear shoes out like no tomorrow.
    5. Our old dance shoes affecting our movement. This can come in the form of wear and tear that simply means you have to work harder to maintain balance and equilibrium in old shoes. The other problem that arises for newer dancers who have drastically changed the technique of how they use their feet, is that the wear of the shoe often reinforces old habits. How does this work? well if you imagine someone moved and danced with all their weight on the outside of the foot and mostly on their heels. You will find that the outside of the heel is worn down and the engineering of the shoe starts to break with wearing the shoe in a way its not built for. Yes there is shoe engineering and design that enhances certain things we want as dancers in our shoes.  Ballet shoes are a great example of this.
    • Tip: Even though old shoes are at their most comfortable and if worn a lot are dear friends, know when their time it up. Comfort is usually a sign that the engineering of the dance shoe is breaking down and past a certain point it doesn't do anyone any good. Get to know a cobbler in your city who can repair some aspects of aged shoes, particularly if the shoe is good but its the heel that has worn down. This is often easy to fix, as are straps that have got loose due to expanding and worn out soles.


    6. The engineering of shoes. Have the shoes been balanced correctly, basic test for this is if they can stand up by themselves without falling over. Other factors include twisted heels, the foot pattern being well proportioned, the orientation of the heel distributing weight to different parts of the foot if not aligned properly. Then you get into things like distance between the heel and the place where the ball of the foot meet the floor. Its rare to find a shoe that is perfect and rarer still to find two. So the suggestion here is to be aware of what you have, don't buy something that is terrible quality and work with how the shoe balance affects you.
    If you find any other problems it would be great if you add them in a comment. I hope this list and tips help. More articles like this will be coming soon. 

    Other articles in the dance genre:


    'A Vision of Tango'

    'Abundant obsession', Argentine tango

    Why we love Pilates (and you should too)
    'Abundant Obsession' Argentine tango dance
    'Abundant Obsession' Argentine tango dance

    Tuesday, 5 January 2016

    Why We Love pilates (And You Should, Too!)




    Pilates is such a great exercise system both holistic and hands on. Its often underestimated as yet another class you can do at your local gym. But it can be so much more in terms of fitness, health, a great figure and not to mention great for dancers. Find out what Pilates can do for you and some great links to professionals near you. Find out the great things it can do for your health below.

    The top 6 reasons you should include Pilates into your daily routine:


    1. Increase circulation and relieve tension - Great for when you have been behind a computer all day and your circulation is sluggish due to inactivity. 

    2. Improves posture - For those style conscious people who love to wear nice clothes. The better you look and feel about your body the more you can make out of the things you wear.

    3. Enhances body awareness - In this day and age of computers and technology, people are loosing the sense of moving in their own body. Sound strange? Building up greater body awareness can help to improve core body strength and movement. Not to mention make  dance and movement activities fun while technique is quick to integrate.

    4. Improves muscle tone - working with the core muscles of the torso as a central focus for powering the arms and legs. Giving a powerhouse for controlling the multiple movements we do in everyday life. With the right muscles toned and active it also decreases the likelihood of injuries. 

    5. Improves breathing practices and energizes - The Pilates system uses a thought out and deliberate way of breathing during exercises. Consciously used doing particular types of movement for different effects. Many people these days don't have good breathing practices. These would be to breath efficiently using the stomach and lungs each time you breath in and out. We get into habits like not breathing through the nose or short shallow breaths. Breathing slower and deeper energizes the body while being more efficient. 

    6. Great for people with mobility problems - many exercises are done on the floor, sitting in chairs and using other props for help and support. You don't need to be a dancer to try this, in fact quite the opposite applies.

       

       

       My personal experience and your, build up some knowledge about yourself


      I have mixed a number of pilates exercises into a daily routine which keeps my body toned and working effeciently. I have to admit to off times where i don't practice, but always feel the difference when i get back into the flow of regular practice. My body loves it.

      For me its important to find out what you need from a daily or even 2 times weekly workout. Manageable sessions that can be repeated are key here. Important factors can include:

      • Strength
      • Flexibility
      • Build
      • Proportions of the body.
      • Movement Activities hobbies or work.
      • Health issues or weaknesses in the body



       

      Taking the above list and using myself as an example:


      • Strength - I am very strong in my legs and strong in my core muscles. weak in my arms and neck.
      • Flexibility - I am super flexible in my lower back, less in my upper back, not naturally flexible in my legs while arms and shoulder blades are very flexible.
      • Build - I am tall, with long legs and arms, medium shoulder width and hourglass figure.
      • Proportions of the body - I have longer legs than my torso but have a balanced proportion, with a long back.
      • Movement Activities hobbies or work - I am a professional dancer for my work, i like to learn other dances and movement forms to a high level including pilates, yoga, kung fu amongst others, fashion and posture are important to me as they bring an extra quality to how i look and feel.
      • Health issues or weaknesses in the body - I am super flexible in my hips and have to watch for injuries when exercise. Health issues around digestion and dizzyness due to an operation I had on one of my ears affects me from time to time.


      Find the answers for yourself:


      How to find out where you are stronger and weaker? 


      Think back to times when you are lifting things, this should give you some good answers. Otherwise check with a health specialist like Pilates, dance, or health related teaching/practitioner. This information can help to tell you where you need to work on your strength and where you should maintain your current level.

      How to find out your areas of flexibility?


      Do some simple stretching exercises and be careful of your bodies limits. Again ask a dance teacher or other movement professional for some exercises if you are unsure which ones to use. This information can help to tell you where you need to work on your flexibility and where you should maintain your current level.


       What type of build and body proportions do i have?


      Body build is often a bit difficult to know offhand. Ask some people around you what they think and find people in the street who match how you see your self and then ask where you would but their build on the scale of things. There is a lot of great information on the web about build and proportions so maybe give google a try. Otherwise get in touch with our contact form, i am happy to help. For proportions get a long mirror and ask yourself 2 questions: 1. Is my body longer than my legs or vice versa, 2. what are the general lengths of my arms, legs, torso in relation to the size of my head.

      This information can help to tell you where you about your body, how to work with posture and also how the length of the body often shows the things you can work on. Longer limbs usually need core body exercises and movement control/awareness while being naturally graceful. Shorter limbs often get more tension and need to work with relaxation. These are gross generalisations. Its difficult to describe the complexities of proportions and body build here and its always best to get expert advice in person.

      If you find some funny things out, please don't worry. When we really look at ourselfs we reallize we are a bit strange looking and beautiful. Keep in mind everyone who does  this will probably feel the same. You are unique and beautiful, don't forget it.


      Why are my health weakness's, work and hobby activities important?


      These allow you to keep in mind important factors that you should keep in mind while exercising. Any health problems of weaknesses you might have should be taken into account when trying Pilates or any other activity alone. Notify your teacher if doing a class. In places where you body is weaker do less repetitions and lower level intensity exercises to build up the strength in that area. Too much can lead to injuries, take care of yourself.

      The movement things we do for work and hobbies are useful bits of information. It tells us how fit we are, whether our body is used to moving or not and the types of movement it knows in its body memory already. A more movement active person can often learn things faster and take more intensity while those less used to moving need a little more time to build up on knowledge and intensity.

      Couple your growing knowledge with a great exercise system like Pilates and you are made for life. If Pilates doesn't workout then try one of the other great ways to exercise and experiment until you find one that is right for you.

      Other articles that may be of interest in the fitness genre are:

      What is the relationship between nutrition, healthy eating and fitness
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      Womens health and body building
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