• John Lowry

Understanding Social Tango 2

Updated: May 2, 2019


(Extracted from Tango Voice; The Vanishing Art of the Milongueros)

Milongueros have served as role models for developing male tango dancers for decades, first in Buenos Aires, and thereafter throughout the world. Milongueros value the tango embrace and the emotions shared with one’s partner. Their compact movements respect the space of other dancers on the milonga dance floor. The direction of their movements (i.e., navigation) prevents contact with other couples on the floor. The unique contribution of milongueros is the interpretation of tango music in their dancing.

Juan D’Arienzo “Amarras”


This is a relaxed dance, with the partners maintaining the embrace throughout the dance. Both Ruben and Enriqueta keep their feet close to the floor with small steps, creating a smooth dance. Much of Ruben’s dance consists of walking, using both single and double time steps in playing with the music, but he is never in a hurry. His steps are simple, including some back ochos, the ocho cortado, and giros, but with the exception of several sacadas, nothing that is particularly attention attracting. Enriqueta occasionally uses subtle ornamentation; the few boleos she uses are all led and maintained close to the ground.


This dance is characterized by long steps and therefore rapid movement. Ezequiel’s use of paradas on several occasions breaks the connection with the music. His dibujos are conspicuous in covering a wide radius. Noelia lifts her feet high off the floor on several occasions, and even her low boleos have a wide radius. On a few occasions Ezequiel uses deep sacadas as well as a deep gancho (i.e., both make contact high on the thigh); use of these movements at a milonga could be considered vulgar because of their invasiveness. There is frequent interwrapping of legs that is a conspicuous feature of this dance.


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