Why are foot exercises so important for tango dancers?
Strong metatarsals are needed in order to make the transfer of weight seem effortless. When the foot has a good arch to it and the toes can extend to the floor when stepping, this adds to the quality, artistry and ease of each movement. A pointed foot also helps the whipping movement of boleos, ganchos and patadas.
Here are three of my favourite exercises that strengthen the feet and will help your tango technique:
Here’s a sequence for practising jumps that have a directional change. I’ve used circular rulo adornments between the jumps but you could do them from backward ochos that end with a cross in front, from which you can plie.
If you’ve never done these before, try leaving out the back leg whip and concentrating on the action of the leading leg first.
Here is a practice video showing forward ochos with pique adornments.
I’ve started with a cross behind the supporting foot, which makes the piques easier to accent. To get a crisp pique, think of the accent going up like a sewing machine needle picking up stitches. Once you have perfected your piques this way, try them without the cross.
Here is a short sequence set to Piazzolla’s Escualo, to practice some fast footwork.
To break it down, it’s actually quite simple and consists of 4 sets of pivot steps (pivot forward left right, pivot back left right and son on) then on the fifth step a back and front boleo, two weight changes followed by a patada with change of direction. Repeat this four times to complete the exercise 🙂