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Hints & Myths about Argentine Tango
Senor Tango The Tango dance has hundreds of moves and positions, each with variations; many have specific names; many, including giros and boleos, were invented or reworked by Petroleo in the 1940s.

Simplistically, all are based on four core moves

(1) Linear side step

(2) Linear forward step

(3) Linear back step

(4) Rotation

Each step can be varied in length and speed by indication from the leader and acceptance by the follower and the leader may choose to mirror the follower's step he has led or do something different; all in the spirit of the music being played and the ambience of the dance floor at the time.

Here are descriptions of some of them; the book The Way to La Yuegawill have photographs - and maybe some video clips!

Senor Tango, Buenos Aires


8-count basic:

    Some of the best Argentinian teachers use the Basic 8 as the basic learning tool for beginners as it demonstrates many features of Argentine Tango and, if used with caution, very quickly gets beginners onto the dance floor. Once students have mastered these basic steps, they are ready to learn the ochos that lead to the giro and all the leg play that can be built around it. The 8-count basic is featured in this extract fromThe Way to LaYuega

8-step giro:

    Petroleo's giro developed by Mingo Pugliese into a basic teaching tool for use once the caminita and basic 8 have been mastered. It has two directional variants. The 8-count giro is featured in this extract fromThe Way to LaYuega


    any of the many decorations that can be used to enhance the appearance of a step without disturbing communication between the dancing couple


    a move in which the direction of a move is altered during its execution


    a move in which, usually, the leader's foot actually drags the follower's foot into a new position


    any move in which one partner's foot appears to push or pull the other's foot along the floor as they make a step together


    any move in which the follower's free leg appears to whip energetically across her in front or behind her weighted leg


    a repetitive sequence of moves in which the couple each execute a series of - usually four - similar moves in a chain around each other


    a move in which the follower is drawn to lean forward balanced on one foot while the leader walks, forwards or backwards , in a tight circle around her. The calesita is featured in this extract fromThe Way to LaYuega


    the Tango walk; actually just like a walk should be, upright posture, hips always orthogonal to direction of travel, torso moves gently to show intention of changes in direction and speed


     a move in which the two partners move their torsos apart and turn together on the same axis while remaining vertical


    a "little run" in which the dancers take three short double-time steps so the feet appear to run while the bodies continue to move at the same pace


    a move which is cut part way through


    at a milonga, a short piece of non-tango music played between tandas to refresh the dance floor so waiters can serve tables and new couples form


    a position in which the free foot is crossed just in front, or just behind, of the axis foot


    a pivot in which one leg is crossed in front of the other


    any move in which one or both partner's lower legs seem to hook around the other's thigh


    any turn, but more usually refers to a sequence, invented by Petroleo, of backward, side, forward, and side steps around the leader; ocho derecha rotates the follower to the right while ocho izquierda rotates her to the left. Mingo Pugliesemade extensive use of the 8-step giro as a basic teaching tool.


    any position where one or other partner appears to draw circles or other patterns on the floor with their toe


    a move similar to the barrida but with slightly raised feet


    can refer to any tango dance event or to the primitive form of tango danced to the tum; ti-tum,tum 4:4 milonga beat. Milonga tango style is featured in this extract fromThe Way to LaYuega


    a position in which one partner's foot is sandwiched between both feet of the other


    a sequence made from alternate forward ("ocho adelante" or backward for "ocho atras") steps and pivots executed in front of the leader so the follower's steps make a figure eight pattern on the floor


    an additional flick of the follower's foot after the main flourish of a boleo


    a move in which the leader balances on one leg with the other gliding along the floor as his partner steps around him (or vice-versa)


    an illusory move in which one partner appears to displace the leg of the other, in practice the displacing leg moves into space just left by the other partner

salon tango:

    a close style of tango with small-scale delicate moves, popularised in the mass milongas of the 1930s and 1940s in downtown Buenos Aires

sobre paso:



    a position in which the free foot is crossed just in front, or just behind, of the axis foot


    a close embrace step in which the leader causes the follower to tilt or lean forward off her axis so her leg drops, before catching her again to recover the step.
Explore and enjoy!      
Carlos Estevez
How my journey started
What you must do first
Getting around
Intertwining those legs
Having real fun
Swirling around the room
No limits
Tertulia Tango Bar
The Cambridge Tango Bar
Circulo de Belles Artes
Stunning UK Venue
Tango's nerve centre
Fun City
Friendly Natives
Close embrace maestros from Amsterdam
Teaching excellence
Teaching fun
Teaching fantasia
Petroleo's apprentice
Milonga star
My first tango teachers

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2002-2013 Frank Morris