Tango-E-Vita, multilingual Belgian website which focuses on the many different dimensions of performing and experiencing Argentine Tango Dance as a living, ongoing event. Online multimedia such as instructional video-clips on guiding technique and views of shows. Articles in English, Dutch and other languages, with information and thoughts on the manner and quality of couple dancing and, regarding the mind-body relation and the act of exploring non-verbal communication, the powerful contemporary value of it. A special attention for multiple perspectives on gender, social class differences and mentality changes in the history of Tango Argentino.

YouTube illustrated tangopages:
Dance interpretations on Gallo Ciego
TangoDance interpretation on Francisco Canaro's Poema
Walking the 2x4 tango rhythm
Walking Seduction
Dance is a physical need
Tangowals tangovals Milena Plebs Ezequiel Farfaro
Online Tangolessen videoclips videolessen updated
Carlos Gavito and Maria Plazaola
Showclips Forever Tango - great milongueros

Terminology, list of tango terms:
Abrazo  The embrace; a hug; or partner-dance position. In the Estilo Milonguero or Apilado (A pilado), apilado = participio de apilar: to pile up, put into a pile, tightly together), the couple dance-hold position is transformed into a Close Embrace (movie 3MB mpeg) .

Adelante  Forward.

Adorno  Adornment; embellishment /versiering. See Firulete.

Aficionado  From afición - liking; amateur; fancier: An enthusiastic admirer or follower; meaning a devotee or a fan of something, such as tango.

Al costado  To the side.      

Amague  From amagar. To make a threatening motion as a feint: An amague is used as an embellishment either led or done on one’s own, and may be used before taking a step. An example of an amague may be a beat (frappé) before taking a step. Amague also : woman ganchos herself. See Cuatro.

Apache  "Apache" is a Parisian term, it refers to the "Bohemian" of the early 20th century, particularly the 'teens (1910-1920). El Apache Argentino, porteño. "Apaches" is an interesting sign of the gradual spread of Latin influence over France and visa versa.
  * Dance instructor Maurice Mouvet (1888-1927) began presenting the infamous 'Apache', and all through the 1910s and '20s, this would become one of his most successful ballroom, theater, and Club exhibition acts.
  * La Danza Apache: A dance created in Paris by the people of the underworld, the Parisian lower classes apaches. It portrayed their uninhibited passions.   A domestic street fight between two men and a woman in front of a night club in the Paris Montmartre, was indirectly responsible for the name "Apache". A local gazette journalist reported that "The fury of a riotous incident between two men and a women rose to the ferocity of savage Apache Indians in battle." These participants, proud of their deed, formed "Apache Bands" which were actually street gangs. These gangs created their own type of dancing which reenacted the actions of that night. The apache was billed as the "Dance Of The Underworld". The woman was flung about, kicked or embraced with equal fervor. This style was later imitated in Tangos or Waltzes.   There were no real steps, patterns or routines, however they acted out their story in Pantomime. Could be done to valse or tangomusic. The females were very strenuously embraced, knives would be drawn and the women liked to be thrown roughly all over the place, in essence a domestic fight between two lovers.
  Apache dancers were common in the lineup of night club acts. Night clubs almost always had the same general lineup of entertainment from dinner and dancing through a chorus line of showgirls with elaborate costumes and maybe a boy dancer or two; a master of ceremonies who also served as a comic and singer; a feature comic or singer.
  In 1907, Mouvet danced his version of 'L'Apache' at the Cafe de Paris in France. Mouvet created many new dance steps, as well as completely new dances such as 1913's Brazilian themed 'Maxixe'. (Later danced to wide acclaim by the Castles.) His 'Junk Man Rag' (a one step) was also very popular.
 Many dance historians also feel that Mouvet is the innovator of the 'American' Tango, as it is still danced today. The Tango had gained great popularity after WW1. While Maurice was in Paris, he met a group of South Americans who were dancing their native Argentine Tango. He studied their dance steps, returned to the U. S. and began performing them in front of audiences, as well as teaching the dance to students at his own studio. It was only after WW1 that the Tango was standardized and simplified. Contra body movement, and the step now called the 'Tango Draw' or 'Tango Close' were introduced. His version is still referred to as the "American Tango" and is widely popular in the United States, Argentina, and the rest of the world. A 1914 advertisement on a Victor record envelope of "Maurice Mattchiche" as one of several used for instructional purposes at Irene and Vernon Castle's Castle House dancing studio. The label describes the selection as a "Brazilian Maxixe." The maxixe, which was also known as the "mattchiche," was a type of Brazilian tango dating back to the 1870s. The dance was popularized in the United States during the early 1910s by Maurice Mouvet.
    * The expression "Apache" is essentially parisian. "Apache"... With this nickname we include the fraudster, the filcher, the prowler at the barrier, the burglar, the cad with the concealed dagger, the man who lives at the edge of society ready to do any dirty work to avoid a regular job, the wretch who picks the locks on doors or gores a passer-by, sometimes for nothing, just for the pleasure of it. For entertainment, they went to fairgrounds and the "musette" dance-halls. This is why one easily links together the terms : musette, accordion and Apaches. Apache women, branded by the prejudices of a dominating social class which wasn't their own and free from the fatalism of workers' wives, were out of place in a time when the bourgeois thought themselves to be decent because they satisfied their vices in the maids' rooms. These urban amazons came and went about the quarters of Paris and knew their standing at the bistro, that "lounge of the poor". If needed they acted as look-outs or messengers for the gang and if necessary turned words into actions. They could often handle a knife well and were not afraid of going to prison. The epoch of the Apaches spanned the period from about 1900 to 1920. After 1920 the expression "Apache" disappeared from everyday language. Visiting "Musettes" became less dangerous. source: Le Musette dansé
  * A 1903 NY-Times Article: "Apaches" Developing Into a Society Like the Mafia. It is an interesting sign of the gradual spread of Latin influence over France which filters in across the southern frontiers that the "Apaches," as a society of criminals, are gradually assuming the importance of similar associations in Italy, and even have their affiliations among the upper classes. They have a very exacting system of membership. Each of them wears the scar of a star-shaped wound cut in his forehead at the moment of his initiation. Their headquarters are near the " Halles," in an extensive basement. The local police are so afraid of the Apaches that they do not venture to interfere with them much, though they keep them as far as possible under surveillance. A well-furnished bar is one-of the features of the Apache's club. The Apaches have a political programme, which, is Nationalistic.
  * The Apache Club: Parisian group of artists and intellectuals. Their activities involved all the arts. It lasted until 1914. Apache members: Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau, André Gide, Paul Valéry, Igor Stravinsky, Nijinsky and Serge Diaghilev, among others. They met in the home of Ida and Cyprien Godebski, a Polish family living in Paris who were originally friends of Ravel's father. The Godebskis hosted Sunday evening soirees at their home at which artists from all over Paris came to talk, laugh and make music.
  * Chinese Apache Dance The Marx Brothers Vaudeville Musical Numbers - "I'll Say She Is", Scene 5 Chinatown Street . In the whirlwind and rather daring "Chinese Apache Dance" by "White Girl" (Cecile D'Andrea) and "Hop Merchant" (Harry Walters), D'Andrea lost most of her clothes. On June 4, 1923, I'll Say She Is opened in the Walnut Street Theatre as "Philadelphia's first annual summer revue." On May 19, 1924, I'll Say She Is opened on Broadway and ran for almost two years. "I'll Say She Is" was a series of funny variety entertainment scenes, "the thrill of the underworld" represented by an illegal night-club, which can be the playground for several activities.
  * Vaudeville - Variété - Music-Hall - Vodevil - Decline: The continued growth of the lower-priced cinema in the early 1910s dealt the heaviest blow to vaudeville, just as the advent of free broadcast television was later to diminish the cultural and economic strength of the cinema. Boulevard theatre is a theatrical aesthetic which emerged from the boulevards of Paris's old city. 'Cabaret' is a form of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance, and theatre, distinguished mainly by the performance venue — a restaurant or nightclub with a stage for performances and the audience sitting at tables (often dining or drinking - cena con show) watching the performance.
  * Calle Corrientes In a relatively short time, the Buenosairean society was diversified and became more complex. Between end of the first decade of the 20'th century and the 1940's, people of the districts began to frequent "los cafés" or coffee houses and cabarets in the buenosaires center, and politicians looking for votes walked the districts making political campaigns. The extension of the free time outside the family homeworld, offered to many new encounters in a fashionable society with great opportunities. Thus a new consuming public was profiling or stereotyping itself, common people, of the districts, that listened to tangos and danced, read newspapers, magazines and went to the cinema, frequented new socialization fields, from the local club to the bar and the "society of social climbing". The expansion of the transport network facilitated an endless number of interchanges between the world of the districts and the one of the center. Buenos Aires had not only grown but was also more communicated. The mainstreet in the heart of the city, "La calle Corrientes", became the "neutral territory" on which the culture of the center and the one of the districts "were to taste".

Apilado Style  See Milonguero Style.

Arrabal  The slums.

Arrabalero  A person of low social status. A person of simple and direct ways who speaks plainly and uses coarse language.

Arrastre  From arrastrar - means: to drag, to swap, échanger, troquer, scambiare, cambiare, tauschen. With an instep taking the partner's ankle, the part of the leg just above the foot, and swapping it with a turning movement by which your foot turns around the ankle, dragging the partner's foot. Instep: the middle section of the human foot, forming the arch between the ankle and toes. See Barrida.

Arrepentida Repentant; To change one’s mind: A family of steps which allow a couple to back away from a collision or traffic jam in a minimal amount of space and on short notice.

Atrás  Backward.

Bailar  To dance.

Bailarin  A professional or very accomplished dancer.

Bailongo  A lunfardo word to describe a place where people dance, i.e. a milonga.

Balanceo  A deep check and replace. See Cadencia.

Baldosa  A walking box figure named after the black & white checkerboard tile floors which are common in Buenos Aires. See Cuadrado.

Barrida  A sweep; a sweeping motion: One partner’s foot sweeps the other’s foot and places it without losing contact. Barridas are done from either the outside or the inside of the foot of the receiving party. The technique is different for the inside and outside barridas. See Arrastre, and Llevada.

Barrio  A district or neighborhood.

Basico  The basic pattern. There are several basic patterns the most common of which is the 8 count basic.

Bien Parado   Well stood (literally), standing straight up. See pintapostura.

Boleo  From bolear - To throw: A boleo may be executed either high or low. Keeping the knees together, with one leg back, swivel and return on the supporting leg with a whipping action of the working leg. Sometimes spelled Voleo. See Latigazo.

Brazos  Arms.

Cabeceo  From cabeza; head: Traditional technique for selecting dance partners from a distance at the milongas in Buenos Aires by using eye contact and head movements. See also Codigos

Cadena  The chain; enchainement: An athletic and very theatrical turning figure which moves rapidly across the floor turning left, in which the couple alternate amagues (cuatros) or ganchos.  Another variation involves the man stepping outside left in crossed feet and leading the lady in a change of direction to keep her in front of him as he turns to the left, alternately going around her and bringing her around him.

Cadencia  A deep check and replace, usually led by the man as he steps forward left. Useful for avoiding collisions and making direction changes in small spaces. May also refer to a subtle shifting of weight from foot to foot in place and in time with the music done by the man before beginning a dance to give the lady the rhythm he intends to dance and to ensure that she will begin with him on the correct foot. See Balanceo. 

Caida  Fall: A step in which the man steps backward, sinks on his supporting leg, and crosses his working leg in front without weight while leading the lady to step forward in outside position, sink on her supporting leg and cross her working leg behind without weight. Caida may be done to either side. 

Calecita  Carousel; the merry-go-round: A figure in which the man places the lady on one foot with a lifting action of his frame and then dances around her while keeping her centered over, and pivoting on, her supporting leg. Sometimes referred to as the Stork.

Caminada  The walking steps; a walking step.
    Click here for walking philosophy - clips

Caminando (Caminar) Valsiado  A crossing and walking step which the man initiates at 3 of basico as he steps forward right in outside right position, pivoting to his right on his right foot and leading the lady to pivot on her left foot, stepping side left (side right for the lady) and drawing his right leg under him with weight (the lady mirroring with her left). The man then steps forward left in outside left position, pivoting to the left on his left foot, stepping side right and drawing his left foot under him with weight (as the lady dances the natural opposite). The man returns to outside right position and either continues the figure or walks the lady to the cross. May be danced in tango or vals

Caminar  To walk: The walk is similar to a natural walking step, but placing the ball of the foot first instead of the heel. Sometimes taught that the body and leg must move as a unit so that the body is in balance over the forward foot. Another style requires stretching the working leg, placing the foot, and then taking the body over the new supporting foot regardless of direction. Walks should be practiced both forward and backward for balance, fluidity, and cat like gracefulness.
   The tango rhythm is based on the 2x4, 2 strong beats on 4:
  1   2   3   4
A way to make this 1-2 -mark visible in the act of stepping is ...
on 1 : lifting the knee and the heel of the foot, and slowly starting moving = expanding like a bandoneón.
on 2 : stretching the leg, fast like a clasp-knife, and putting the foot down like a knife-thrust, a thrusting flash, a strong stab to the heart, una puñalada with an Argentinian Facón.
  As stabbing happens fast, quick, the duration of the marking moment is extremely much shorter than the earlier lifting of the knee, the extending. That contrast gives a striking tension, a noticeable suspense.
It looks like: ________1________ ... /2\ ________3________ ... /4\ etc...
It sounds like La Yumba .... (click here for the pronunciation audio)
  In dancing, as in knife-fighting and boxing, it is nice to know that the flexibility of the body increases when the feet are in a more open \ /-position rather than close together, stiff.
    Click here for walk Caminar videoclip

Candombe  A type of dance originally danced by the descendants of black slaves in the Rio de la Plata region. Music of African origin with a marked rhythm played on a “tamboril” (a kind of drum). 

Cangrejo  The crab: A repetitive pattern of walking steps and or sacadas in which the man advances turned nearly sideways to his partner. 

Canyengue  Canjengue / Cañiegue: A very old way of dancing the tango or the milonga, own of the compadrito or of the orillero (suburbs), style 1890-1920 . The music from this era had a faster or peppier 2/4 tempo (some say it's 4/8) so the dance had a rhythmic flavor similar to that of modern milonga.
A lunfardo word with several meanings. It refers to somebody or something from the slums, i.e. low class. It also describes a gathering where people from the slums dance. It is also a certain way to perform or dance the tango with a slum attitude. Canyengue describes a streetwise quality from the end of the Nineteenth Century, and originally meant lower class, the dance done by the immigrants and the poor who were creating Tango in the earliest period, the lower class (cangyengue) people who lived at the edge of the city (in the orillas).
Caminar cadencioso, see Cadencia, marked rhythm for bending the knees, big Afro influence.
Also: A musical effect , hand impact on the instrument. Leopoldo Thompson (Buenos Aires 1890-1925), Afro creador del efecto canyengue: hitting the string of the contrabass with the free left hand , and the "baqueta", the arch of the bow, with the right hand.
Canyengue dance is almost without figures, freely from choreographic signal element sequences, but with fast play of the feet, with playing, elastic legs. A dance in which rhythm is everything.
The rapid tango movements, cortes (the introduction of figures to interrupt the forward walk of the dance) and quebradas (bending or breaking the line of the spine backbone). Men held women close and they danced head to head, perhaps because they needed to see what their feet were doing, and the couple danced lifting their feet off the ground, because of the dirt floor at the slaughterhouse district. Also a unique posture, couple more side by side and man's left arm much lower
Around 1900, maybe because of the Bandoneóns, tango gets slower. Bandoneón made by Heinrich Band , he called it Band-Union.

Carancanfunfa  (also carancanfun) In the lingo of the compadritos, the dance of tango with interruptions (cortes) and also those who dance it that way in a very skillful manner. 

Caricias  Caresses: A gentle stroking with the leg or shoe against some part of the partner's body. They can be subtle or extravagant. See Adorno, Firulete, and Lustrada.

Carousel  A term used for molinete con sacadas to the man’s left, the lady’s right, with ochos and or ocho cortado to exit.

Carpa  The tent: A figure created when the man leads the lady onto one foot as in calecita and then steps back away from her, causing  her to lean at an angle from her foot to his frame.

Castigada  From castigar: to punish; a punishment: A lofting of the lady's working leg followed by flexing at the knee and caressing the working foot down the outside of the supporting leg. Often done as an adorno prior to stepping forward, as in parada or in ochos.

Chiche  (pl. chiches) Small ornamental beats done around the supporting foot with the working foot in time with the music, either in front or in back as desired. See adorno, firulete.

Cintura  Waist.

Club Style  See Milonguero Style.

Cocoliche (Cuccoliccio)  Italian e'migre' who imitates the native; eccentric for one night of carnival. Also referring to the cliché psychology of the Buenosairean: melancholic, vain and uncertain in search of its own identity.
Cocina Cocoliche: The kitchens of the conventillos were located in row throughout the patio, like small spaces in which the housewives cooked, elbow to elbow. Women, by curiosity and serious poverty, were forced to the spontaneous interchange of ingredients, techniques and prescriptions. Italian cooked next to an Irish or Lebanese immigrant, resulting in a culinaria of Buenosairean sauces, so giving the cocoliche kitchen its multicultural character, which is a consequence of the conventillo interchange.
The cocoliche kitchen continues in Buenos Aires, as culinaria neococoliche. The kitchens are spontaneous and their protagonists are anonymous, simple inhabitants who try to eat every day as they can.

Codigos  Codes: Refers to the codes of behavior and the techniques for finding a dance partner in the milongas in Buenos Aires. See Cabeceo.

Colgada / colgado  Colgaer: Hanging to the outside ( \/ ), the inverse of volcado - volcán - milonguero-pirámide ( /\ ).

Compadre  A responsible, brave, well behaved, and honorable man of the working class who dresses well and is very Macho.

Compadrito  Dandy; hooligan; street punk; ruffian: They invented the Tango.

Compás  Beat, as in the beat of the music.

Confiteria Bailable A café like establishment with a nice atmosphere where one can purchase refreshments and dance tango. A nice place to meet friends or a date for dancing.

Confiteria Style  May refer to a smooth and simple Salon Style as in Tango Liso or to Milonguero Style.

Corrida   From correr: to run. A short sequence of running steps.

Corrida Garabito   A milonga step in which the couple alternately step through between each other, the man with his right leg and the lady mirroring with her left, then pivot to face each other as they step together. May be repeated as desired.

Corte  Cut: In tango, corte means cutting the music either by syncopating, or by holding for several beats. May refer to a position in which the torso is erect over a flexed supporting leg with the working leg extended forward to a pointe with the knees together which the man assumes when touching the lady’s foot with his in parada. The lady moves to the same position from parada as the man closes over her working foot in mordida, and pivots on her supporting foot in this position whenever the man leads an outside barrida. May also refer to a variety of dramatic poses featuring erect posture, flexed supporting legs, and extended dance lines by both dancers, used as a finale. See Quartas.

Cortina  Curtain: A brief musical interlude between tandas at a milonga.

Crossed Feet  Occurs whenever the couple are stepping together on his and her right feet and then on his and her left feet, regardless of direction. The opposite of parallel feet.

Cruzada  From cruzar - to cross; the cross: A cruzada occurs any time a foot is crossed in front of or in back of the other. The lady’s position at 5 of the 8 count basic. May also be called Trabada.

Cuadrado  A square; A box step: Used mostly in Milonga and Club or Canyengue style tango. See Baldosa.

Cuatro  A figure created when the lady flicks her lower leg up the outside of the opposite leg, keeping her knees together, and briefly creating a numeral 4 in profile. This can be led with a sacada or with an arrested rotational lead like a boleo, or it can be used, at the lady’s discretion, in place of a gancho or as an adornment after a gancho. See Amague.

Cucharita  The spoon. A lifting of the lady’s foot with a gentle scooping motion by the man’s foot to the lady’s shoe, usually led during forward ochos to create a flicking motion of the lady’s leg.

Cuerpo  Body; torso.

Cunita  Cradle: A forward and backward rocking step done in time with the music and with or without chiches, which is useful for marking time or changing direction in a small space. This movement may be turned to the left or right, danced with either the left or right leg forward, and repeated as desired. See Hamaca.

Derecho  Erect, straight. See Postura.

Desplazamiento  Displacement: Displacing the partner’s leg or foot using one’s own leg or foot. See Sacada.

Dibujo  Drawing; sketch: A dibujo is done by drawing circles or other small movements on the floor with one’s toe. See Firulete, Lapiz, and Rulo.

Eje  (pronounced ay-hay) Axis or balance. See Postura.

Elevadas   Dancing without keeping the feet on the floor. This was the style before the turn of century when tango was danced on dirt surfaces in the patios of tenements, low-class taverns, and on the street. Once tango went uptown enough to actually be danced on floors (wood, tile, or marble) the dancers fell in love with the floor, thus we now refer to 'caressing the floor'.   

Enganche  Hooking; coupling; the little hook: Occurs when a partner wraps a leg around the other’s leg, or uses a foot to catch and hold the other’s foot or ankle.

Enrosque  From enroscar - to coil or twist: While the lady dances a molinete, the man pivots on his supporting foot, hooking or coiling the working leg behind or around in front of the supporting leg.

Entrada  Entrance: Occurs when a dancer steps forward or otherwise enters the space between their partners legs without displacement.

Entregarme  Surrender: To give oneself up to the leader’s lead.

Espejo  Mirror: To mirror the movement of ones partner as in "Ochos en espejo", a figure where the man and woman both do forward ochos at the same time.

Etiquette   In the boliches de tango, single men are sitting on one side, single women on the other and couples in the back. You make eye contact with a partner and get up as the music starts. It is the beginning of a tanda, a set of 4 or 5 similar tangos, milongas or valses. During the first number, streams of people fill the dancefloor. Guiding means moving and keeping the woman at the outside of the dancefloor, to the tables, as near as possible to the sitting public. So she has some space to move and gets no feet kicks. In the milonga-discothèque, dancing is like sharp driving in the overcrowded Buenosairian traffic. An unaware dancer gets driven in the center, gets stuck and stamped in the massas. To avoid sweatting, suspicious behaviour or claustrophobia, social talking makes 1/3 of the dancing ritual. One is supposed to stand still and talk in a relaxed way till the next song is nearly halfway. At the end of a tanda, the sound of the cortina comes like a bell. Now, the floor must be empty to make new eye contact possible. So if you want or not, you must rush back to your personal seat. Miniral water is used and while the next tanda goes on, one sits. Then the cycle repeats itself.

Fanfarron  A rhythmic tapping or stomping of the foot in time with the music for dramatic and emotional effect. Boisterous behavior. See Golpecitos.

Firulete   An adornment; a decoration; an embellishment: Complicated or syncopated movements which the dancer uses to demonstrate their skill and to interpret the music. See adorno, and lapiz.    Firulete - The word derives from the castellano word FLORETA, which refers to some type of embroidery or arabesque, and also to some specific dance moves. In the general sense of the word, FIRULETE is an adornment, a decoration, an embellishment that a person wears or dons to look prettier, better, more handsome, marvelous, etc. In the dance of Tango, FIRULETES are the complicated steps that the dancers execute to demonstrate their skills. El Firulete is also the name of the Argentine Tango Newsletter.

Freno  To stop and hold; brake. 

Gancho  The hook: Occurs when a dancer hooks a leg sharply around and in contact with their partners leg by flexing the knee and releasing. May be performed to the inside or outside of either leg and by either partner.
Some say that Juan Carlos Copes developed the ganchos steps for women in the 1950's or 60's for the stage, yet it seems that men and women did simultaneous ganchos / gonchos in the 40's. After a gancho, the follower often does an amague - woman ganchos herself, because it feels better.

Gaucho  Historically, as a social class, gaucho means the countrymen who were born and lived on the pampa plain, originally descendents of Spanish settlers with the more approachable of the native Indians from the north of the country. In earlier times they lived off the herds of wild cattle and horses introduced by the settlers, selling hides etc.; later as the land became more controlled, by working on the estancias (ranches).
  Gaucho in common speech is more a description of the characteristics evolved from this way of life: horsemanship and skill in dealing with cattle, courage and total self-reliance in their isolated primitive life.
  As fighters the gauchos were typically fierce, following their own laws of honour and chosen leaders; hence they were a considerable force during the nineteenth-century struggles for power in the land – the dictatorship of Rosas (1835-52) was founded on their loyalty to him.
  To city people gaucho was often a synonym for barbarism, but with time the less violent aspects of gauchos prevailed in popular imagination, and by extension gaucho comes to be a description of anything strong and simple, well-done or well-made.
  A gauchada in modern Argentine slang means the action of a friend, doing a favour. There are diverse theories of the origin of the name; one being from guacho, orphan.

Giro  Turn: A turning step or figure.

Golpecitos  Little toe taps: Rhythmic tapping done with a flat foot on the ball or underside of the toe as an adorno. See Fanfarron and Zapatazo.

Golpes  Toe taps: With a tilted foot tap the floor with the toe and allow the lower leg to rebound keeping the knees together. See Picados.

Grelas  A lunfardo term for woman. See mina.

Guapo  Handsome: A respectable and desirable man. A compadre.

Habanera  A side together side together stepping action entered with a side chassé, commonly used by the man as he leads backward ochos for the lady in crossed feet. An Afro-Cuban dance from the mid 19th century which contributed to Tango.

Hamaca  Another term for Cunita.

Junta  From juntar - to join or bring together (as in, one’s feet or knees); close: In Tango it is essential that the ankles and knees should come together or pass closely by each other between each step to create an elegant appearance, preserve balance, and to communicate clearly the completion of the step to one’s partner. This applies equally to the man and the lady.

Lapiz  Pencil: Tracing of circular motions on the floor with the toe or inside edge of the working foot, while turning or waiting on the supporting foot. These may vary from small adornments done while marking time to large sweeping arcs which precede the lady as she moves around the man in molinete. See Dibujo, Firulete, and Rulo.

Latigazo  Whip. Describes a whipping action of the leg as in a boleo.

Lento  Slowly.

Liso  Smooth, as in Tango Liso: An early term for Tango de Salon.    

Llevada  From llevar - to transport; a carry; to take with: Occurs when the man uses the upper thigh or foot to “carry” the lady’s leg to the next step. Barridas interspersed with walking steps in which the man takes the lady with him across the floor.

Lunfardo  The Spanish slang of the Buenos Aires underworld which is common in tango lyrics and terminology.

Lustrada  From lustrar - to shine or polish; the shoe shine: A stroking of the man’s pant leg with a shoe. May be done by the lady or by the man to himself but is never done to the lady.  

Marcar  From Marque; to plot a course; guide: To lead. (la marca = the lead)

Media Luna  Half moon: A sweeping circular motion of the leg similar to a ronde in ballroom but always danced in contact with the floor, never lofted. Usually danced by the lady and often led with a sacada to the lady’s leg. May be used to bring the lady to an inside gancho

Media Vuelta  Half turn: Usually done when the man’s right foot and the lady’s left foot are free. The man steps forward outside right (3 of 8 count basic), leading the lady to step back left, then side right across his right leg, and forward left around him as he shifts weight first to his center, then onto his right foot as he then pivots on both feet ½ turn with his partner, the lady pivoting on her left foot. Media Vuelta is used by itself to change direction or maneuver on the dance floor and as an entrance to many combinations. 

Milonga  May refer to the music, written in 2/4 time, or to the dance which preceded the tango, or to the dance salon where people go to dance tango, or to a tango dance and party.
   Milonga - (3 meanings)  1. an Argentine social dance where three types of dances are danced, namely the Tango, Valz and the Milonga styles.   2. A style of dance to a fast beat music composition; similar to Tango written in 2/4 time. The Milonga is a Spanish dance first originated in Andalusia.  3. Cabaret girl, dances with many men.
   As the fascinating music traveled the world it assumed various aspects. In Buenos Aires the Gauchos danced it in what is called a closed position (close embrace - milonguero) , in the lower class cafes. Here their interpretation of it emerged into what today is our Tango.    The Milonga enjoyed a popular resurgence some years ago through the Juan Carlos Copes group who performed it the world over.
   The early "milonga camperas" ("from the countryside") are the contribution of the gauchos to the tango. The milongas one is familiar with as a dancer (like La Puñalada, Milonga de mis Amores etc...) are faster and known as "milongas urbanas" ("city milongas"). These appeared relatively late, in the beginning of 1930, "invented" by the duo Piana/Manzi. "Milonga sentimental" (1932) is often quoted as one of the first true "milonga urbanas". Pieces of Piazzolla that have "milonga" in their title are extremely slow. Piazzolla hated dancers, so it is likely that he was more inspired by the "milonga campera" than the "milonga urbana".

Milonguero  (feminine; Milonguera) Refers to those frequenting the milongas from the early 1900s to the present who were or are tango fanatics. A person whose life revolves around dancing tango and the philosophy of tango. A title given by other tango dancers to a man (woman) who has mastered the tango dance and embodies the essence of tango.

Milonguero Style  Term originally given by Europeans and some North Americans to the style of dancing in a very close embrace; also referred to as confiteria style, club style, apilado style, etc. Usually used in the very crowded clubs frequented by singles in the center of Buenos Aires. Milonguero Style is danced in a very close embrace with full upper body contact, the partners leaning into each other (but never hanging on each other), and using simple walking and turning steps. This style relies on music of the more rhythmic type as characterized by orquestas like those of D’Arienzo or Tanturi.

Milonguita  Young cabaret girl from 14 till her early 20's, dances with many men. The typical tango-lyric story of "la milonguita" is marked by poverty, ambition, the easy life and then... the fall, decay, death often through tuberculosis. Her story is part of the urban changes that turn Buenos Aires into a metropolis. In a relatively short time, the Buenosairean society was diversified and became more complex. Between end of the first decade of the 20'th century and the 1940's, people of the districts began to frequent "los cafés" or coffee houses and cabarets in the buenosaires center. It was in that world of interchanges that the milonguita's melodramatic trip form from the district to the city center took place, of her moral fall and "pale tuberculosis end". The life of these taxi "milonguitas" and "milongueras" (women between 25 and 40) was hard. The leaving from the district to el "centro "is in poems the moment of treason to the origin, the home, the maternal love. It changes the scene, and in that change, the identity of "la muchacha de barrio" or the district girl, begins to alter itself. The tango lyrics place the "milonguita" in city center and particularly in the night club.

Mina  A lunfardo word for woman. See grelas, paicas, or pebeta.

¡Mira!  From mirar - to look; see; observe; take notice: Look at this. Observe.


Molinete  Windmill; wheel: A figure in which the lady dances a grapevine on a circumference around the man, stepping side-back-side-forward using forward and back ocho technique and footwork, as the man pivots at the center of the figure. 

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Mordida  From morder: to bite; the little bite: One partner’s foot is sandwiched or trapped between the other partner’s feet. If the other partner’s feet are also crossed it may be referred to as Reverse Mordida. Sometimes called Sandwiche, or Sanguchito: glided (Mordida / sandwich / Le danseur entoure le pied avant de la danseuse avec ses deux pieds, sanguchito).   

Mordida Alto  A variation in which a dancer catches a partners knee between both of their own.

Ocho  Eight (pl. ochos); Figure eights: A crossing & pivoting figure from which the fan in American tango is derived. Executed as a walking step with flexed knees and feet together while pivoting, ochos may be danced either forward or backward and are so designated from the lady’s perspective. El Ocho is considered to be one of the oldest steps in tango along with caminada, the walking steps. It dates from the era when women wore floor length skirts with full petticoats and danced on dirt floors. Since the lady’s footwork could not be directly observed the quality of her dancing was judged by the figure she left behind in the dirt after she danced away. 

Ocho Cortado  Cut eight: Occurs when a molinete or an ocho-like movement is stopped and sent back upon itself. Typical in club style where many such brakes are used to avoid collisions.

Ocho Defrente  Ocho to the front: Forward ochos for the lady (i.e., crossing in front).

Ocho Para Atrás  Ocho to the back: Back ochos for the lady (i.e., crossing behind).

Ochos Cortados  Cut eights: A common figure in Milonguero or Club Style Tango which is designed to allow interpretation of rhythmic music while dancing in a confined space.

Ochos en Espejo  Ochos in the mirror: The man and the lady execute forward or back ochos simultaneously, mirroring each others movement.

Orillero  Outskirts; suburban. 

Orillero Style  The style of dance which is danced in the suburbs, characterized by the man doing many quick syncopated foot moves and even jumps. See seguidillas.

Orquesta  Orchestra: A large tango band like those of the “Golden Age” of tango frequently referred to as “Orquesta Tipica.”

Otra vez  Another time; repeat; do again.

Paicas  A lunfardo word for girl. See mina, or pebeta.

Palanca  Lever; leverage: Describes the subtle assisting of the lady by the leader during jumps or lifts in stage tango.

Parada  From parar - to stop; a stop: The man stops the lady, usually as she steps crossing back in back ochos or molinete, with pressure inward at the lady’s back and at her balance hand and with a slight downward thrust, preventing further movement. When properly led the lady stops with her feet extended apart, front and back, and her weight centered. The man may extend his foot to touch her forward foot as an additional cue and element of style or he may pivot and step back to mirror her position (fallaway).      Parada   - when doing a parada (stop) it is not the leader's foot touching the follower's that leads the parada. That is an optional element, that can only act to add one more cue to the more important leads. These are: pressure against the follower's back keeping him/her from continuing to move, pressure on his/her balance hand opposite to the push on hi/r back, downward pressure on both points. This has to be timed just right (a little over her reaction time to events, plus a fudge factor dependent on how familiar (or not) s/he is with paradas). But done properly, a good follower with no exposure to paradas will respond as the leader intends.

Parallel Feet  The natural condition when a couple dance in an embrace facing each other, the man stepping on his left, the lady on her right foot, and then the man stepping on his right, the lady on her left foot, regardless of direction. The opposite of crossed feet.

Pasada  Passing over. Occurs when the man has stopped the lady with foot contact and leads her to step forward over his extended foot. Used frequently at the end of molinete or after a mordida. The lady may, at her discretion, step over the man’s foot or trace her toe on the floor around its front. Pasada provides the most common opportunity for the lady to add adornos or firuletes of her own and a considerate leader will give the lady time to perform if she wishes.  

Paso  A step.

Patada  A kick.

Pausa  Pause; wait: Hold a position for two or more beats of music. See titubeo.

Pebeta  A lunfardo word for young woman or girl. See mina or paicas.

Picados  A flicking upward of the heel when turning or stepping forward. Usually done as an advanced embellishment to ochos or when walking forward. See Golpes.  

Pie  A foot.

Pierna  A leg.

Pinta Appearance; presentation: Includes clothes, grooming, posture, expression, and manner of speaking and relating to the world. See bien parado.

Pista  The dance floor.

Planchadoras  The women who sit all night at the milongas without being asked to dance. The main reason for that, is because they don't know how to dance well enough. Yes, it may seem cruel but one of the many tango lyrics actually says something like, "let them learn as a consequence of sitting all night."

Planeo  Pivot; glide: Occurs when the man steps forward onto a foot, usually his left, and pivots with the other leg trailing (gliding behind) as the lady dances an additional step or two around him. May also occur when the man stops the lady in mid stride with a slight downward lead and dances around her while pivoting her on the supporting leg as her extended leg either trails or leads. Can be done by either the man or the lady.

Porteño  (feminine; Porteña) An inhabitant of the port city of Buenos Aires.

Postura  Posture: Correct posture for tango is erect and elegant with the shoulders always over the hips and relaxed, and with the center carried forward toward the dance partner over the toes and balls of the feet. See derecho and eje

Práctica  A practice session for tango dancers. 

Quartas   Poses: Dance lines struck and held as dramatic flourishes at the end of a song. Large dramatic ones are used for stage or fantasia dancing, smaller softer versions occasionally in Salon style, and not used in Milonguero style at all. See Corte.

Quebrada  Break; broken: A position where the lady stands on one foot with the other foot hanging relaxed behind the supporting foot. Sometimes seen with the lady hanging with most of her weight against the man. Also a position in which the dancer’s upper body and hips are rotated in opposition to each other with the working leg flexed inward creating a broken dance line. 

Rabona  A walking step with a syncopated cross. Done forward or backward the dancer steps on a beat, quickly closes the other foot in cruzada, and steps again on the next beat. Adopted from soccer. See traspie.  

Resolución  Resolution; tango close: An ending to a basic pattern similar to a half of a box step. 6, 7, and 8 of the 8 count basic.

Ritmo  Rhythm: Refers to the more complex rhythmic structure of the music which includes the beat or compas as well as the more defining elements of the song. See compas.

Rodillas  Knees.

Rulo  A curl: Used frequently at the end of molinete when the man, executing a lapiz or firulete ahead of the lady, curls his foot in around the lady and extends it quickly to touch the her foot. An older term for lapiz. 

Sacada  The most common term for a displacement of a leg or foot by the partner’s leg or foot. Occurs when a dancer places their foot or leg against a leg of their partner and transfers weight to their leg so that it moves into the space of and displaces the partner’s leg. See Desplazamiento. 

Salida  From salir - to exit; to go out: The first steps of dancing a tango, or a tango pattern, derived from “¿Salimos a bailar?” {Shall we (go out to the dance floor and) dance?} Basispas.

Salida de Gato  A variation on the basico in which the man steps side left, forward right outside the lady, diagonal forward left, and crossing behind right with a lead for forward ochos for the lady. The lady is led to step side right, back left, diagonal back right, and crossing forward left, beginning ochos on her left foot. This figure enters ochos without using cruzada.  

Saltito  A little Jump.

Sandwiche  See Mordida. 

Sanguchito  See Mordida.

Seguidillas  Tiny quick steps, usually seen in orillero style.

Seguir  To follow.

Sentada  From sentar - to sit. A sitting action: A family of figures in which the lady creates the illusion of sitting in, or actually mounts, the man’s leg. Frequently used as a dramatic flourish at the end of a dance.

Stork  See Calecita.

Suave  Smooth, steady and gentle, soft, stylish. 

Syncopation  Syncopate; syncopated; syncopa: A musical term adopted by dancers and used in a way which is technically incorrect, musically, and leads to endless arguments between dancers and musicians. Musically it refers to an unexpected or unusual accenting of the beats in a measure such as the two and four beats of swing music rather than the more common accent on the one and three beats. Dancers have come to use the term to describe cutting the beat, or stepping on the half-beat, which annoys musicians all to heck. Maybe if they could dance the tango we would pay more attention to them. A syncopation or syncopated rhythm is any rhythm that puts an emphasis on a beat or a subdivision of a beat that is not usually emphasized.
   Related:   What do dancers hear ? The sound of music  or the beat of the metronome ?
  Dutch intermezzo:
   Beat-inductie is het proces waarbij een regelmatig isochroon patroon, de tel of puls, geactiveerd kan worden bij het luisteren naar muziek. Deze beat, die vaak door musici met de voet meegetikt wordt, is een centraal concept in de verwerking van muziek. Maar ook voor niet-experts blijkt het proces van beat-inductie een fundamenteel aspect van de verwerking, codering en beleving van temporele patronen. Om enkele voorbeelden te geven: de geïnduceerde beat `draagt' de tempo waarneming en het vormt de basis voor de temporele codering van ritmische patronen. Verder bepaalt de beat het relatieve belang van de verschillende noten in ondermeer de melodische en harmonische structuur.
 Na slechts enkele noten kan een sterk gevoel van "beat" of puls door een patroon geïnduceerd worden (een "bottom-up" proces). Na de inductie van een stabiel beat-percept kan deze gaan functioneren als een referentiekader voor de verwerking van nieuwe informatie (een "top-down" proces). Dit referentiekader maakt het mogelijk dat een zgn. syncope waargenomen wordt, als er een beat verwacht wordt op een moment waar geen noot gespeeld wordt - dit introduceert een mate van spanning in een ritme. Dit referentiekader is echter niet geheel rigide. Als er bijvoorbeeld genoeg evidentie is voor een veranderende beat (of metrum) dan zal het oude percept afbreken en een nieuw percept opgebouwd worden. Deze interactie, waarin een beat geïnduceerd wordt vanuit een patroon, maar waarin tevens een reeds geïnduceerde beat de organisatie beïnvloedt van het inkomende materiaal, is moeilijk te modelleren.
 Beat-inductie is een snel proces, met zowel bottom-up als top-down invloeden. Na enkele noten kan een syncope (een beat die niet met een noot samenvalt) "gehoord" worden - een bewijs dat er reeds beat-inductie heeft plaatsgevonden.
Soms is het metrische referentiekader zo sterk dat syncopatie kan worden aanhouden over een aantal beats zonder dat het beat-percept wordt aangepast (bijvoorbeeld bij reggae ritmes). Maar een te grote mate van syncopering kan het beat-percept instabiel maken - vooral als er een alternatieve organisatie mogelijk is. Dit geeft het belang aan van de tijdsrichting in de verwerking. Een ritmisch patroon dat omgekeerd in de tijd gepresenteerd wordt kan een andere beat induceren.
Dat maakt dat het proces van beat-inductie essentieel een incrementeel karakter heeft: muziek ontvouwd zich in de tijd. Maar als een musicoloog een partituur bestudeerd, het hele stuk in één keer overziend, komt de beredeneerde beat volgens een ander proces tot stand. Het is belangrijk dit onderscheid in de theorievorming expliciet te maken.
  Een ritmisch patroon kan tegelijkertijd verschillende interpretaties hebben. Verschillende luisteraars kunnen in een dergelijk geval een andere organisatie verkiezen.
De notie van de `correcte' beat is dus geen juist concept. Vanuit het beat-niveau kan ook temporele regelmaat op hogere en lagere niveaus waargenomen. In dit proces van metrum-inductie is de beat slechts één laag in een hiërarchisch systeem van tijdsdelingen. Als de term beat op meer abstracte wijze gebruikt wordt voor een willekeurig niveau in de metrische hiërarchie, dan wordt de term tactus aangewend om aan te geven op wel specifiek niveau men met de muziek meetelt
 De mechanische traagheid van het bewegingsapparaat bij het geven van een respons (zoals het meetikken met de voet) noodzaakt tot anticipatie en planning.
Syncopatie, lange noten die niet met de beat samenvallen veranderen de beat. In Desain (1992) werd een gedistribueerd model van ritmeperceptie gepresenteerd dat, gegeven een temporeel patroon, een profiel van verwachting voor de toekomst postuleert. Dit profiel bestaat uit componenten, bijgedragen door ieder tijdsinterval dat impliciet in het invoer patroon aanwezig is.
  De verwachtingscurve representeert wanneer, en in welke mate, nieuwe noten worden verwacht. De als beat herkende gebeurtenissen krijgen een hogere weegfactor bij het opwekken van nieuwe verwachtingen. Daardoor wordt het isochrone karakter van de beat als vanzelf verkregen. Indien er geen noot aanzet optreedt rond een dergelijke piek dan wordt de ontbrekende beat toch als gebeurtenis aan de invoer toegevoegd, weliswaar met een lage weegfactor. Deze temporele ankers dragen hierna ook bij aan de verwachtingspatronen en maken zo een correcte verwerking van een aangehouden serie syncopen mogelijk.
  Bron: http://www.nici.kun.nl

Sube y Baja  Literally, to go up and down: A milonga step in which the couple dance forward-together and back-together in outside right position with a pendulum action of the hips. See Ven y Va.

Tanda  A set of dance music, usually three to five songs, of the same dance in similar style, if not by the same orquesta. The tandas are separated by a brief interlude of non tango music called a “cortina”, or curtain, during which couples select each other. It is customary to dance the entire tanda with the same partner unless the man is rude or very disappointing as a dance partner, in which case the lady may say gracias (thank you) and leave. See Codigos, Cortina

Tango  Popular music from the Rio de la Plata region dating back to 1885-95, defined by a 2/4 rhythm until the 1920s when a 4/8 rhythm became common. A popular dance originating in the mid 19th century which descended  from the Candombe, Habanera, Milonga, and (by some tango scholars) the Tango Andaluz. The exact origins of Tango are a historical mystery. 

Tango de Salon  An elegant and very social style of tango characterized by slow, measured, and smoothly executed moves. It includes all of the basic tango steps and figures plus sacadas, giros, and boleos. The emphasis is on precision, smoothness, and elegant dance lines. The dancing couple do not embrace as closely as in older styles and the embrace is flexible, opening slightly to make room for various figures and closing again for support and poise.

Tango Fantasia  This is a hybrid tango, an amalgam of traditional tango steps, ballet, ballroom, gymnastics, ice-skating figures, etc. This is what most people see when they buy tickets for a tango show. The moves include all of the basic tango moves plus, ganchos, sacadas, boleos of every kind, sentadas, kicks, leaps, spins, lifts, and anything else that the choreographer and the performers think that they can get away with. Alas, this style of dancing shows up from time to time at the milongas, usually badly performed by ill-behaved tango dancers and frustrated tango performers who insist on getting their money’s worth even if they have to kick, step on, bump into, or trip every other dancer on the floor. This behavior is NOT socially acceptable.

Tango Liso  Literally, tango smooth: A way of dancing tango characterized by its lack of fancy figures or patterns. Only the most “basic” tango steps and figures such as caminadas, ochos, molinetes, etc., are utilized. Boleos, ganchos, sacadas, sentadas, and other fancy moves and acrobatics are not done. A very early term for Tango de Salon.  

Tanguero  (feminine; Tanguera) Refers to anyone who is deeply and seriously  passionate about any part of tango, such as its history, music, lyrics, etc. In Argentina most tangueros are scholars, of lunfardo, music, orchestrations, Gardel, etc. One can be a tanguero without being a milonguero and a milonguero without being a tanguero (very few milongueros would be referred to as tangueros). And of course one can be an extremely good tango dancer without being either, such as stage dancers, who are quite disdained by real milongueros and tangueros, unless they go the extra distance and become milongueros by going to the milongas, and/or tangueros as well. An aficionado.  

Taxi Dancers  See: Milonguita, young cabaret girl. In recent years, especially since Argentina's disastrous economic crisis of january 2002, tango tourism has become an important source of revenue for the city's economy and Argentinian males can get an income as a taxi-dancer. Taxi dancers rent themselves to foreign tangotourists for the social dance only.

Tijera  Scissor: A movement, usually danced by the man, in which an extended leg is withdrawn and crossed in front of the supporting leg without weight so that it remains free for the next step or movement. May also refer to a figure in which the man steps forward in outside position (left or right) caressing the outside of the lady’s leg with his leg (as in 3 of basico), then crosses behind himself which pushes the lady’s leg to cross in front. May also refer to a jumping step from stage tango where the lady swings her legs up and over with the second leg going up as the first leg is coming down (frequently seen as an aerial entry to sentadas). 

Titubeo  Hesitation. See pausa.  

Trabada  Another term for Cruzada.

Traspie  Cross foot; triple step: A walking step with a syncopated cross. Using two beats of music the dancer does step-cross-step beginning with either foot and moving in any direction. See rabona.                                   

Vals  Argentine waltz: Sometimes referred to as Vals Criolo, or Vals Cruzado, and danced to what is arguably the most beautiful dance music anywhere (editorial bias).

Vareador  From horse racing; a man who walks the horses but is never allowed to mount them: In tango it refers to a man who dances and flirts with all the ladies but never gets involved with anyone. May also refer to a man who is a clumsy or inconsiderate lead who “might just as well be walking a horse.”

Ven y Va  Come and go. See Sube y Baja. 

Viborita  Viper; the little snake: A figure in which the man places his right leg between his partners legs and takes a sacada to first her left and then her right legs in succession using a back and forth slithering motion of the right leg and foot.

Voleo  See Boleo.   

Yumba  A phonetic expression that describes the powerful, dramatic, and driving musical accent of a moderate or even slow tempo which is characteristic of the music of Osvaldo Pugliese.

Zapatazo  Shoe taps: A dancer taps their own shoes together. See Adorno, Fanfarron, and Golpecitos

Zarandeo  A vigorous shake to and fro; a swing; a push to and fro; to strut about: In Tango it is the swinging back and forth, pivoting in place on one foot, marked to the lady in time with the music.   

20/10/2004: La Tercera-Cultura  Un libro bilingüe, que saldrá a la venta en Buenos Aires, ordena de forma alfabética todos los vocablos relacionados con la danza del tango y hace una primera aproximación a los variados estilos de este baile.
   "En tanto años de historia, hasta ahora no se había publicado un glosario sobre el tango como danza.
Ni siquiera hay un diccionario", dijo hoy a EFE Gustavo Benzecry Sabá, autor del "Glosario de la danza de tango: términos claves en la danza del tango argentino".
   El libro presenta "de la A a la Z" definiciones de 300 términos relacionados con este baile, una aproximación a sus diferentes estilos, un apartado con expresiones coloquiales y fotografías ilustrativas de sus más famosas figuras.
   Benzecry Sabá, bailarín y profesor de tango, señaló que este glosario "busca unificar criterios" a partir de los variados términos que se usan en su enseñanza.
"Es además bilingüe, español-inglés, no sólo por el interés que despierta en todo el mundo, sino también para que los extranjeros aprendan a llamar las cosas por su nombre y en español: si la figura se llama 'ocho adelante', que no digan 'eight forward'", dijo el autor.
Benzecry Sabá, que da clases de tango hace cuatro años, tuvo la idea de esta obra hace dos años cuando escribía un libro sobre metáforas entre la vida y este baile, y buscaba un diccionario con definiciones de figuras que le prestara algo de inspiración.
   El glosario cuenta con prólogos de los reconocidos bailarines argentinos Juan Carlos Copes y Carlos Gavito y cierra con un texto de Miguel Angel Zotto, creador de la compañía "Tango x 2". Benzecry Sabá consultó a una docena de profesionales del ritmo del "2 x 4" para elaborar las definiciones e intentar echar luz sobre uno de los costados más polémicos del tango, el de los estilos de baile.
   "Yo compilé como una decena, desde el canyengue hasta el de salón. Es un tema controvertido porque, para algunos maestros sólo hay dos estilos, el tango de escenario y el de salón, mientras que para otros el de escenario no es un estilo sino una profesión, y otros apuntan que el canyengue, el original, no existe más", explica el autor. Según el bailarín, "el tango se distingue internacionalmente porque es el que introduce al abrazo como aporte a la danza universal" y esta característica se mantiene en su variante de salón, "donde el hombre contiene con su brazo a la mujer y sus pechos están en contacto". Aún así, y haciendo gala del "espíritu democrático" que quiere reflejar en su obra, Benzecry Sabá también hace referencia al "tango nuevo", surgido en la década de los 80 y que se permite romper con el acercamiento entre el hombre y la mujer en pos de lograr figuras más vistosas y exhibir la destreza de los bailarines. El glosario, que como una de las variantes del tango será "for export" y se publicará en Europa, comienza con la palabra "abanico", voleo "bajo y simple que se ejecuta con suavidad dos o tres veces en forma continuada". Y el último término de esta lista tanguera es "zig-zag", un movimiento empleado en el baile de milonga.
   Más allá del glosario, el libro ofrece un apartado de expresiones usuales del mundo de la danza del tango como "sacar viruta al piso" (ser un bailarín experto) o la de "arrastrar heladeras", expresión con la que el milonguero define a las bailarinas "pesadas de llevar".



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