Windup and intention
Updated: May 16
by David ("Argen")
(First published in The Curious Tanguero by Dimitris Bronowski.)
Great moments in sports! A table-clearing pool shot, a game-winning field goal, a strike-out pitch. What do they have in common? The windup.
If we give no windup, our partner has no warning, and we have no power.
A windup loads our muscles, readying them for action to express our intent. Bruce Lee's famous one-inch punch notwithstanding, most of us need to wind up our "springs" (muscles) to get the most out of them.
I like to picture the windup as a spiral similar to that of a softball pitcher’s arm swinging up and away, back down and around front for an underhand throw.
When we initially sway away from our intended direction, it does three things:
Loads our opposite-side muscles, preparing them to push, and at the same time removes weight from the leg we want to move with
Brings our partner toward us, making a stronger connection as we continue
In our mirror-image relationship, our preparation to move in any direction provokes what our partner needs for their preparation. Side to side — we both first send our weight to load up the opposite side, preparing it for the push to our intended step. Forward or backward — our forward is their backward, and vice-versa.
We use a conscious preparation, the windup, before the start of any new movement. Then when we continue a movement, such as walking forward or backward, the preparation is built-in as part of the arrival of each step. But when we are starting a new step or changing directions, we’ll prepare with some degree of windup.
When we use our bodies in this well-organized, highly efficient way, our intentions become crystal clear as we signal, receive, and carry them out.
In the Game, we make a BIG deal about the importance of solo practice. This is why. Regardless of the roles we prefer to dance, when we practice solo to move with well-organized power to the music, we bring a more valuable gift to our partner. A bright, clear gem in a secure, flattering setting.