Tango Terms


literally “piled up”.  A more extreme form of the Milonguero style where the woman leans further forward against the man.

(from barrer, to sweep away.) Also called llevada. A sweeping motion. One partner’s foot sweeps the other’s foot.

The traditional way of asking a lady to dance.  This is very elegant and can be a face saver.  Rather than approach the lady and ask  her direcctly, the man keeps his distance and tries to establish eye contact.  If she looks away it’s “no thank you” but if she wishes to accept the invitation she returns his eye contact,  perhaps with a gentle nod and smile.  He can then approach and she will stand to join him.

means “cut”.  Often used to indicate that a step is interrupted and the direction reversed,
as in Ocho Cortado.

literally “Curtain” –  a short interlude of non-dancing music between Tandas.

A hook where a dancer’s leg hooks unde rthe leg of partner. Considered inappropriate
for crowded salon tango.

pronounced “hero.” A Turn. Can be done either direction, combining elements of the Ocho
and side steps

literally “Pencil”. A circular figure executed with one foot drawing on the floor.

1. The music of a dance that preceded the tango, usually in 2/4 time, quicker and more upbeat
than tango, basesd on the Habanera rhythm.

2. A Tango Ball or Dance event, ie. where people go to dance tango.

1. One who frequents milongas

2. Tango enthusiasts from the 1940’s and 50’s

3.A style of dancing from that period, adapted to dancing in crowded halls, in a close embrace with both partners forwards leaning slightly on to each other.

Literally “Eights”. Pivoting forward or backward with the feet together during the pivot and extended during the step.

A Stop or Block by placing a foot against the partners foot.

An informal dance session, distinct from a Milonga, for the purpose of practising.

To displace your partner’s weight by moving your partner’s leg out of the way gently with your own.

Literally “Exit” Originally it referred to stepping outside one’s partner. Now it has come to mean the the basic eight pattern often taught as a sequence. We do not teach the Basic Eight as it fixes a pattern in the dancers’ minds which they later find it difficult to escape from. We positively discourage the first backward step, as it is thoughtless to other dancers and potentially dangerous – especially at a crowded Milonga.

A style of dancing for the milonga or small club, similar but less extreme than the Milonguero style.

Three or four dances grouped together into a set of a similar style of music – speed, rhythm, composer etc.

Waltz. The Argentine Vals as danced at Milongas is in triple time but usually faster than the European waltz tempo. A direct descendent of the Polka, it is easier to think of it as ‘one in a bar’ rather than three.