Finding the "Sweet Spot"

28th January 2009

(More Next Steps articles.)

"A sweet spot is a place, often numerical as opposed to physical, where a combination of factors suggest a particularly suitable solution." ~ A Wikipedia quote from someone who's never had sex...

Wand tango

On the "Harry Potter The Order of the Phoenix" dvd there's a clip of Natalia Tena's wand training. (snippet here)

What's interesting is that although it's taught as a series of steps / poses, what really makes it work is the dynamics. Indeed, at the end of the lesson, he tells her to go away, practice and make them her own.

So "Tonk's" wand fighting will have a different (probably more manic) feel to it than Hermione's, despite them being essentially the same moves.

Whip Tango

Another example is cracking a whip.

You could go through these series of poses

and so on, but what makes it work is the "feel" of the motion. Too soon, too late, too fast, too slow and it won't work properly. Like Goldilocks it has to be "just right".

Wrong Tango

There are quite a few things that can cause problems with tango moves:
  • Your relative positions
  • The timing and energy
  • Body mechanics
Take a boleo.

You have the follower balanced on one leg and you rotate her about her axis, first one way, then the other. It's notable that teachers talk about the feet making "triangles" and "pieces of pie".

Try standing in different positions. You should find that some are clunkier than others and that there's one "sweet spot" where it all flows.

Now play with the timing of when you reverse her direction and the energy you use. Again different combinations will work better than others. Body mechanics are trickier. Lead the move when you're stationary.

Now try leading it when you're moving in different directions. See what happens if you change your posture, relax or tense.

Sweet Tango

Mistakes compound. It makes sense to get the "flow" right between the first two parts of the move before going onto the third. And gradually build up.

You're looking to project a flow of energy through her, but like music it has rises, falls, accents and so on.

On the bright side once you've found the "sweet spot" in one move you'll probably find it's in others. After all a clockwise pivot is a clockwise pivot, regardless of whether it's in an ocho, a boleo etc.

 - Christopher O'Shea, 28th January 2009

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