Vocabulary for John Trimble’s Beginning Tango Class
Walking Caminar Stepping within the context of the music, the ambience, and most exquisitely, within the embrace of a desirable partner. One’s tango walk is an expression of the individual heart. When the pulse is shared, it’s said, “two dancers with four legs and a single heart”.
The Cross Cruz A distinctive position of the Argentine tango follower wherein the left foot crosses in front of the right foot and the weight is placed onto the left foot.
Molinete Forward, side, back, side... If the Cross is the distinctive position, the molinete is the distinctive movement of Argentine tango. The intricate interaction when practiced with a partner resembles its Spanish namesake, “little mill”.
Collect A position with the feet together, with the dancer’s weight entirely upon one foot leaving the free foot prepared for movement.
Embrace Abrazo The manner in which leader and follower engage each other. It should be comfortable, elegant, and functional to facilitate communication and expressive dancing. In addition to conveying the marcas (leads), the embrace defines roles for the dancers and defines the space within which they dance.
Lead Marca Movement or inclination by which the leader indicates a step, generally transmitted through the embrace. Often, the marca or lead coincides with “collect” when the follower is perfectly balanced on their axis and receptive to the leader’s “marks” indicating direction, stride, phrasing, emotion, and more. To create a dance suited to the music, the follower, and the moment.
Follow Sigue To focus one's attention fully upon the intentions of the leader and carry out one’s part with complete mastery of oneself in a graceful, complimentary and creative manner. To dance with all one’s heart within the framework established by the leader.
Cross-foot A walking relationship between leader and follower where their feet move along offset tracks: leader's-left-with-follower's-left or leader's-right-with-follower's-right. Cp.Parallel.
Parallel A walking relationship between leader and follower where their feet move along parallel tracks: leader's-left-with-follower's-right or leader's-right-with-follower's-left. Cp Cross-foot.
Ocho Term for two pivot turns in a row, so called because the free feet seem to draw a figure-eight (Spanish ocho) on the floor. In a forward ocho, a forward step is taken with the inside leg forward toward your partner. In a back ocho, a back step is taken with the free foot away from your partner.
Axis The center vertical line around which one's balance is maintained. In tango, the axis is established upon one foot or the other, and only rarely distributed to both feet. The heart is always the center of one’s axis.
Sandwich Mordida One's foot is sandwiched (in Spanish, “bitten”) between the partner's feet.
Embellishments Adornos Individualized artistic movements that are added to steps without interfering with the flow of the dance.
Turn Giro (pronounced hero) There are many kinds of giros involving molinetes and pivots.
Calesita One dancer pivots as another circles providing the impulse for their movement. Sometimes in a calesita (merry-go-round), the axis of the follower may be given over to the leader, such as in a lean during the cross.
Your comments and questions welcome!