Frequently Asked Question
— The "Ask Shahrukh" Archives
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Q. What is the so-called "Close Embrace" or
"Milonguero Style" of Tango dancing?
A. It is difficult to find a good explanation of what Close
Embrace or Milonguero Style Tango really means, so let
There are really at least four separate concepts that people often refer
to when they talk about this:
- A body position between partners where their upper torsos are in
contact. This permits a very strong yet very subtle communication between
partners that looks and feels good when done correctly. (It can initially
feel difficult or awkward because you don't have as much space between
partners, but in my Milonguero Style class we will learn to adjust to this
- A set of figures that are more commonly done in this style, and
adaptation of other figures to this style. Some figures (e.g., the ocho
cortado) really are designed for the "close embrace" style. Others like
giros and ochos need to be adapted and feel quite different. Yet others
like back sacadas simply are not done in the "close embrace" position.
- A type of very rhythmic music (exemplified by Biagi and D'Arienzo, and
particularly popular in the early-to-mid 1940s) that fits very well with
this style of dancing, and consequently the very strongly rhythmic
movement associated with this style of dancing.
- A style of dancing that permits for very compact movement when
necessary (e.g., on a crowded dance floor). This is partially a result of
the closer body position and the choice of figures, but also refers to how
they are used in navigation.
The words "Close Embrace" literally just refers to the body position,
which really is the way almost everyone dances in Buenos Aires, to all types
of Tango music. "Milonguero Style" is a much looser term really referring to
some combination of all four things (the name reflecting a perceived
preference or style of the milongueros or traditional Tango dancers
from the 40s-50s). But regardless of ones age, it is considered a compliment
(especially for a non-Argentine) to be called a milonguero by Tango
dancers in Buenos Aires.
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