Delhi Milonga

Delhi Milonga 

Dance Argentine Tango in New Delhi


Tango and Milonga in Delhi

view:  full / summary

How do you collect your feet?

Posted by kiran.sawhney on July 23, 2014 at 10:20 AM

When a beginner starts leading, I have always observed that because he does not want to step on the follower's feet, he starts walking wide. It is a very odd walk. He does not walk straight and parallel, till he is corrected. 

Similarly beginners- followers and leaders are told to collect their feet so that their walk looks neat. What happens is that they focus mainly on collection. Collect, collect, collect.  True milongueros focus on shifting the body. The free leg gets displaced and placed under the body. The focus is on shifting the body and not just collection. If you stand with weight, equally placed on both feet, you cannot move. You will fall forward, backward but would not walk. If you want to walk, you have to shift your weight on either leg, make the other leg free. As you change your axis, your body weight, you move. Follower's free leg belongs to the leaders. If the follower collects or pivots on her own, she is a heavy follower, difficult to be led.

If the follower is concentrating on collection, her energy is shifted on the free leg, which is coming towards collection. The energy should be in the weight bearing leg. If the energy is in the free leg, this leg does not belong to the leader. He cannot place it where he wants to place it. But if this leg is really free, she is a light follower. 

Collection is important. But are you collecting like marching soldiers, who bring their free leg to collect with energy in the leg? The right way to collect is collect automatically. The free leg comes under the moving body. It comes towards the weight bearing leg which has the energy. This differentiates an average tanguera from a good tanguera. Or heavy and light follower.

Where is the energy in adornos?

Posted by kiran.sawhney on July 22, 2014 at 12:30 AM

When you see a leader or a follower doing adornos like boleos, lapiz, planeo, amague, gancho, etc, you always focus on that beautiful leg that is flicking. But which leg should be focused on?

It is the weight bearing or the supporting leg. That is actually doing the work. That is the one that has the energy. The other leg is a free leg. It should dangle freely. If you focus on the free leg, you will be off axis, you will become heavy. To be on your own axis, focus on the weight bearing leg. This way you will be straighter and lighter.

The other thing to consider is "GO". The embelishment is not as important as GO. Adorno happens in between collect, pivot, aim and go. Do not take your focus away from GO.

Better Tango is Possible Through Intensive Study

Posted by kiran.sawhney on July 11, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Vast Majority

For the vast majority of dancers that come to Argentine Tango, they acquire their tango information in one of the following ways:

a.) Going to a class when they can. b.) Pick up information here and there from different people. c.) ‘Study' via YouTube videos. d.) Go to a practica and ‘practice’ on a ‘regular’ basis to pick up a few things here and there. e.) Go out social dancing at least once a month. f.) Take a class series because some amazing teacher is in town, g.) Go to a weekend where that teacher is teaching and make the attempt at ‘upgrading’ their skills. h.) Private Lessons!

Most people fall into one, if not multiple categories, above when acquiring tango knowledge. Any one of these methods is very unstructured, haphazard, unfocused, and subjective at best (especially b). There is no clear path of study, nor a goal in mind other than to have ‘fun’, just random bits and pieces of ‘dark’ or unclear information without any relation to a foundation of where that ‘bit’ of information comes from, or more importantly WHY it’s important. In short without a qualified information source, you’re essentially taking in bits of information that may or (more than likely) may not be helpful to your experience. 80% of dancers fall into the undesirable to dance with category for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is ignorance. The trouble is that they don’t know that they’re ‘undesirable’ nor will they unless there is an intervention on some level. To be clear, we’re not talking about stage performance, or social dancing at the highest levels, we’re talking about week-in/week-out every day social dancing.

Some Clarity About The Methods

a.) Going to a class now and again is lot like picking up a book in between other important things in your life. It’s a passing entertainment from the real show that is your life. You may glean a point here and there but there are other things to do. Right ? b.) Feedback from people is a good thing to a point. The downside of using this process of gleaning the finer points is that the people that you get that information from aren’t critical in their assessment, and they have no wish to hurt your feelings. Nor are they likely to be detailed, clear, or concise. Then there’s the possibility that their understanding of the underlying technique is flawed, but you’ll never know that (and neither will they)! And on top of all of that they aren’t adept at creating multiple pathways to clarity in their points (side note: most teachers aren’t able to do this either, so be aware!). Most people learn in radically different ways, one way of explaining does not fit all people. c.) You can learn quite a few things from YouTube videos...cutting out paper animals, why the country that we think of Holland is actually called “The Netherlands”, the history of English in 10 minutes (which is actually quite amusing), and the like. The one thing you can’t learn from a YouTube video is Argentine Tango. You can learn a few steps and figures, absolutely. The one thing you can’t learn is how it’s supposed to feel. For that, you need a qualified instructor and a room full of people all doing the same thing. You can combine both (I know several people that have done exactly that), and the results will vary widely. Not to mention the quality of the instruction is … questionable. Ahem. Let’s just say it’s not exactly the best method and leave it at that. You can however use video as reminder information once you’ve been through a series with a teacher. Videos can be very helpful in that respect, however as the sole source of information, not so much. NEXT!!! d.) A complete waste of time for 95% of dancers because most people treat the practica as a Social Milonga, and not the fertile ground of individual solo practice and feedback on technique. There is no discussion of what happens or what you’re doing at a practica, women don’t ask men for a dance, men don’t dance with other men, women don’t lead at practicas (mostly)….etc. In short, the practica’s only function is that it is a social playground to see your friends and that’s about it. Furthermore for those that do go to the practica to actually ‘practice’, it’s ‘dancing’, instead of working on the one thing that you need to…your foundation. Dancing is all fine and good but there’s no analysis to go with it. You’re not getting clear, critical, structured feedback from your partners and on top of that you’re not asking for it. And then there’s the part where ‘regular’ isn’t all that regular…it’s more like once a month if that! You don’t make a daily routine of your study or practice and you don’t actually take that out to a practica and ask others for their feedback…nor is there any personal investigation in what your teachers have told you…no self discovery, you just accept blindly what your teachers have told you is tango truth! e.) Social dancing once a month is not enough….more is required on a regular basis! At the very least, twice a week….at minimum. f & g.) The complete time suck and waste of your hard earned cash….the visiting instructor comes to town and you spend 100 - 150 (dollars/euros) for a weekend of…what did you learn exactly ? Have you looked at the video you shot ? Have you even practiced once what that teacher told you ? Nope. You are being indoctrinated into a way of dancing WITHOUT understanding the underpinnings of that teacher’s foundation (which will take some time understand, not just an hour!)….true you’ll learn a very nice combination that only applies in 10% of the dance, and that you will never use on a social dance floor...but at least you’ll feel good about it! Lastly, h.) Private Lessons are….expensive, and not always effective, and the reason is really simple...because you go to lessons expecting to magically fixed, without doing the underlying work or the compulsory study that is required. A one off private lesson here and there will give you a few reminders but the simple fact is that this is not going to change your dance in any meaningful way over time for the reasons already stated.

In short, the way that you’ve been going about your tango education is about as useful as a small kitchen appliance, unplugged!

Is there a better method ? Yes. Intensive Study. Some of the better dancers that I have had the pleasure to dance with have bucked the trend above and instead went a little tango ‘crazy’. They set themselves on a path of personal intensive tango study and discovery, and in the end this made all the difference on multiple levels.

What is “Intensive Study" ?

This term can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And frequently it's a very misused title to describe a few 'longer' private lessons (still an hour in length) where said teacher will blow smoke up your ass about how good you're doing, all the while taking your money and smiling about it. It’s a marketing ploy to part your money from your wallet or credit card. Especially if it’s taught by a visiting YouTube star. I won’t name names here but I’m certain you can think of a few.

There are 5 things that it should mean:

1.) Repeated stress of the fundamentals, a complete review of your foundation and continually working on improving the foundation of how you move, how you walk, how you extend your legs, where you land on your feet, how you land your feet, where and how to hold your arms and hands. The importance of Body Position and Body Placement (two different concepts that almost no one talks about) for both Lead and Follow. Understanding the differences in the styles or ideas of tango and why they work and why the fail (exceedingly important) to understand what you’re looking at, and what’s going to cause you lots and lots of pain later on down the line. This part is about retraining you to listen to how your body is moving and to make it do something far more stable and clean. How ? Not thru dancing, dancing teaches to you respond to another person (which is a requirement), but through solo drills and individual study of walking foundation, movement foundatioon to increase 3 things -> a.) your balance, b.) your agility, and c.) your kinesthetic awareness.

2.) Learning about the Music. Is it any wonder that some social dance floors look like a traffic jam in Mumbai ? As much as this is due to Navigation, it’s also about how people are taught (or as is the case NOT taught) to actually hear the music. To be clear this is not interpretation, it’s a matter of not being able to hear the beat, the pauses, and later on the musical phrases (which can be open to interpretation - later on). Tango music is insanely, and deceptively, complex. Because of that fact most people end up hearing or identifying the wrong things and then more than likely end up moving to the melody and not the beat, confusing up with downbeat, not engaging pauses which are insanely important for a variety of reasons for both lead and follow, etc. Failure to actually hear what’s happening in the music (in tango, vals, or MILONGA) and you’re just asking for trouble, which is exactly what happens! The primary issue is that most western music contains a drum, tango music does not! Without the percussion instrument telling you what and WHERE the beat is, and where the pauses are (if there are any in modern music I haven’t heard it), it’s just racing around the floor, which is typically what happens. There is no relationship to what you’re actually dancing to and more importantly WHY you are dancing to it. Furthermore, very few teachers spend time on the orchestras, their history, their discography, and more importantly, their STYLE of music and what the difference is between Francisco Canaro’s version of “Soñar Y Nada Mas” and Alfredo De Angelis’s version and why this distinction is important on multiple levels. Understanding WHO you are dancing to informs your choice of dance partner for a variety of reasons!

3.) Going out social dancing twice a week at least, plus going to practicas and setting up practice sessions either daily with others OR working by yourself (yes you can practice by yourself each and every day).

4.) Codigos, the codes of the dance, or how to operate at a milonga. Frequently you’re given tango lessons, and you show up at a milonga and are just expected to understand the way to ask for a dance, the way to decline a dance,....and so on. Very few teachers talk about about how to operate at a milonga because it’s not sexy, it doesn’t sell lessons, but is an absolute requirement to learning the dance.

Lastly 5.) Teaching you to Lead *AND* Follow at the same time, with 2 sessions a week to do each (1 lead, 1 following).

An intensive study should be a series of sessions (about 20 to 30 of them, over a short period of time, about 3 months) that encompass these 5 things over a series of topics. Each session should be about 1.5 hrs in length with video examples, video tutorials, and video review of your progress.

Most people can see the purpose in the first 4 items….fundamentals, music, codigos, social dancing, and so on…but what’s this business of learning both roles ? The purpose of teaching you to Lead AND Follow at the same time is so that you have a complete picture of the whole process not just your side of the embrace. It’s the underpinnings of how something is done, what to expect, and how things should work vs. the haphazard, vague understanding and EXPECTATION of the way things SHOULD BE done and have been done. You are a Lead and you may never dance the Follower’s role socially or vice versa, but this practice gives you a greater understanding and empathy for what you are asking of your dancing partner! In short my father always used to say to me, “never ask a man to do a job that you haven’t done yourself”, this axiom holds true in the process of learning the other role!

What are the benefits ?

Two words: BETTER DANCING! On a level you can’t begin to imagine, and the reason you can’t begin to imagine it is because you’ve never had an experience of the kind of dancing that these feeble words attempt to convey. Yes you’ve probably had a ‘magical’ tango experience here and there. No denying that. However, are you able to reproduce those experiences at will ? Furthermore, can you do that with each and every partner ? (or nearly) Can you pick any piece of music and dance to it, with each and every partner, without error ? Are you able to pick out the orchestra name, and the title of the song ? Do you know why this is important ? Are you dancing with all the best dancers in the room, continually ? Is your facebook page strewn with smilies and happy faces from all the people that you have danced with, is there a legend about your skills ? And lastly is there a long line of people for you to dance with at every milonga, no matter what city you’re in ? If the answer to any of those questions is NO (and more than likely they’re all ‘NO’;) then you my friend are ripe for Intensive Study so that you turn all of those “NO’s” into “YES’s”. The benefits far outweigh your ego being bruised a little bit, or your time to other things missing for a little while.

Truth be told, if your teacher is worth what you’re paying them, you should start to see results in about 4 to 6 weeks, a complete overhaul of your abilities, a transformation. This assumes that you have hit the fundamentals and foundation hard, and that you are doing drills and practicing those drills daily, and assuming you are following the regime that’s laid out above.

Side Note: Concerted study with a singular teacher is a great idea. It gives you unfettered access to their process and shows you how they create a dancer from the ground up. However this method usually teaches you to dance like a parrot of that teacher’s ideas which is NOT what you want. You ideally want to study with a teacher that will teach you HOW TO MOVE and not to parrot them! The best teachers teach you how they move then ask you to explore other options and ideas or the present a range of ideas and movement styles!

The private lesson route, which really is the only way to fly, is going to be insanely costly! There is no doubt about that. However because you’re buying a load of sessons (not lessons) in BULK you have some leeway in terms of pricing. Remember, you’re buying in bulk so it’s no longer and hourly lesson plan, and you’re doing about 30 (or 45 hrs) of these things, the content doesn’t’s the time that matters the most. So you should see a drop in the rate by almost 30% or take one of my intensive study courses (shameless plug … see links below).

While I specialize in this form of study and have become exceptionally successful at creating dancers that literally change in the span of 3 months on their way to better, you can set up something similar for yourself with your local teachers.

The whole point of this process is so that at the end of your tango educational experience you can go anywhere in the world, dance with anyone, and answer “YES” to all of the questions above. And trust me when I say this, you want to answer “YES” to all of those questions above.

Miles Tangos is an international teacher that leads “Tango Intensives” worldwide. He has several upcoming Intensives, in Boston, MA (, Hamburg, and in Buenos Aires in January 2015 ( He also writes a daily Tango tidbits facebook page called Tango Truisms which he strongly suggests you read religiously, ( or buy the book of Truisms for $9.99 US -> You can find out more at his website, 

Why tango is such a good metaphor for life

Posted by kiran.sawhney on July 9, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Article written by Veronica Toumanova for Delhi Milonga blog.

In my years of tango I have heard many people mention how useful tango is for them as a metaphor for other things in life. Tango seems to be a rich source for personal growth, if one is willing to go in that direction ­ and sometimes even if one is not willing. In tango you can both stay on the surface of things, taking it as a fun physical activity that you do now and then, or you can dive into it as deeply as you want. Basically, there is no limit to how deep you can go in terms of discovering things about yourself and life in general through tango. No matter your questions, it will provide answers sooner or later. The fascinating thing about tango is that it is at once a social couple dance you do in your spare time and an excellent way to Know Thyself.

Tango is not the only activity that inspires personal development but there are aspects that make tango special. As an activity tango encompasses three of our most basic needs: movement, touch and connection to another human being. It is difficult to say which of those is more go to mankind. Science shows that people all over the world react with the same emotions to the same musical patterns. Music is capable of uniting us strongly with others, moved in the same way.

This combination makes tango not just something you do but a world that you enter. This tango world has its own rules, although in reality they are merely guidelines that work in a social context. If you don’t care about the rules you can still have a good time with others who don’t care about the rules either. Tango invites you to look for things that bring you joy and to develop important to us, but as humans we literally cannot live without either of them. Besides, tan wraps this all up in beautiful music, possibly the most universal and unifying art known your own preferences. It also functions as a filter, bringing together people that share comm characteristics. This makes tango a world we can trust, where we feel that we belong, yet ar completely free to follow our own path. This way a social dance becomes a miniature of life general, its knowledge applicable to other domains.

Another reason why tango is a such a good metaphor for life is because it is about improvising ar together. Tango is a system of movements with a certain logic, building blocks and gramm rules, like a language, very rich in expression. The connection in the couple is of primary importance and the truly significant things happen inside the couple, they are felt rather than be more “simple” than just walking together embracing each other? Yet in my classes I see every day that this is the most difficult thing to learn. an seen. It is a dance that on the outside may seem simple, yet in depth is quite complex. What can be more “simple” than just walking together embracing each other? Yet in my classes I see every day that this is the most difficult thing to learn.

Fully connecting to another person while improvising together often feels like a meditation. It requires you to focus completely on what is happening with you and around you, which is what most meditation techniques are about. This is why after a particularly connected and enjoyable go cortinas were not used in Europe and couples would go on dancing seven to ten tandas with tanda you feel refreshed, happy, almost reborn. I remember how in my first years in tango cortinas were not used in Europe and couples would go on dancing seven to ten tandas with each other, until the world around them simply disappeared. I recall how after such dances I would go to a corner and sit there quietly alone for some moments, feeling like a cup filled to the brim with the fullness of my experience, not wanting to spill it just yet.

Tango, like a conversation, is in the first place about spontaneous expression. Improvising means controlling the controllable yet fully allowing the unexpected and the uncontrollable. It is like going down a river on a boat, flowing with the current in some moments and steering and rowing in others. In tango you never know what is going to happen, yet you still feel in control most of the time, paradoxically, and you trust this current to bring you somewhere good. Tango shows us how to live in the moment gracefully, fearlessly, curiously and with joy, and intuitively we understand that this is how we would like to live our life, always.

A Tanguera from India describes her tango journey

Posted by kiran.sawhney on July 4, 2014 at 7:40 AM

 My article published on Tango Folly. Check

It says

Passionate Tango in the mystic land of India



A Tanguera from India describes her tango journey

 When the dance becomes a spiritual practice, it transcends every barrier of this earth. It escalates to become something heavenly.

 Inspired by Indian yogic teachings, where deep-rooted practice of dance is referred as “sadhna”, my traditional roots have intermingled with my practice of Argentine tango. Indian classical dances, consider “sadhna” as a spiritual practice. They require the practitioner to surrender and have one point of focus that brings mind, body and soul together.


In India, we give a lot of importance to “Guru” - The Teacher. An Indian classical dance teacher, does not only teach you dance, but gives you a philosophy of life. He shows you the right path and leads you from darkness to light through training and knowledge. There is a very strong relationship between Guru and his student. The place of Guru is above parents. In the old days, small children were sent away to stay with Guru in “Gurukul” and study with him, to become knowledgeable. The Guru would teach many things - books, arts and dance, archery, etc.


I hail from this traditional background. My “karma” led me to a teacher, with whom I was fortunate to stay and study Tango with. Daniel Trenner is a very well known teacher of Argentine Tango. He has made a small and cute abode where his students go and stay with him and he gives them not just Tango but a philosophy of life. I was a meek and timid follower. Daniel said,


“What are you waiting for - A lead from the leader? Don’t you know that he is an idiot? One look at him should have been enough to tell you, not to trust him. If you trust him, he will fail you. Dance your own dance. Play chess with me and not checkers. That timid girl might be cute but that confident woman is very attractive. And if your man says, ‘you are wrong’, say ‘yes dear’ and then do exactly what you want to do. But shhh! He cannot know that he is an idiot. Because if he knows, then he will be very upset.”


And then I danced as a leader and he said,


“Be a man. You are the man of the universe. You are the king, who says to his troupe - Charge! Take hold and lead her like you are the man. But shh! She cannot know.”


That is when I realised the truth of not just tango but also of life. My teacher or Guru drilled in me a philosophy of, life through tango or tango through life. I have solved many riddles of life by incorporating tango.


Tango surpasses just being a dance. Tango is a way to live your life.


Here 100 + 100 = 100.


Wasted time: Musicality Classes for Followers

Posted by kiran.sawhney on July 4, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Article written by Mark Word for Delhi Milonga.

Mark word has a wonderful blog that can be seen here. It is called Tango Therapist. 

"Don't listen to me; listen to the music!"

If you are a "follower" you may be wasting your money on musicality classes. However, if you are a dual-listener (listening to the leading of La Música's voice and your partner's body), then musicality classes make sense!

I have had women say that it doesn't make sense to take musicality classes because they have to listen to what the man hears in the music. Yes, I can understand why a "follower" would say that because that is what she hears in the word "leader" and what is specifically said by some teachers! However, if the English-speaking community will start paying attention to how great couples dance, we all could easily dispense with "lead-and-follow" and start paying attention to what is truly making tango so magical.

Both in the traditional roles--el rol masculino and rol feminino, both are listeners--but still very much different. The person with their left hand up; however, is the listener-GUIDE, and the person with the right hand up, is the dual-LISTENER because of needing to especially follow the leader (the music) and her partner's interpretation of the leader. The Yang energy (male) as I understand it as a musician is the tone, and the Yin energy (female) is the silence between tones. Without both of these energies staying in their own lane music and dancing is not possible. So listening is different in each role, but nonetheless, listening. I step forward with clear intention (a tone), she hears why I stepped forward because the music said so! She creates a silence in her body posture, a pause, a rest that allows yet another intention from me as we both listen to the music. 90% of the possibilities will come from listening to the music. No matter if we are so-called "leaders" or "followers" not to know musicality is to be ignorant of the 90% of what is going to happen next! Musicality is the key to better dancing equally for both roles.

In dialogues with tango dancers of both roles talking about their desire to listen more to the music. Musicality classes are helping them, they say. Also, more and more people want to listen to their partner no matter what their role is. So it is time that English-speaking community comes together to consider other terms than "lead/follow" for the magic of movement of tandem dance in tango. Each community has voices, speaking out loud, wondering if the terminology of "leading" and "following" do more harm than help to students of the dance. Let's just say we will never abandon English-speaking tradition, and "lead/follow" is here to stay. Just let's humor ourselves and talk about this subject as if we were from another planet, and we were observing this wonderful thing called tango. Maybe the aliens would notice a few things.

The might notice, for example, a three part process as we begin to form up to dance at the behest of the true leader, La Música. The inhabitants of earth who dance tango:


  •  Earthlings follow the music's voice and form up on the dance floor, and both listen and follow the music.
  • Earthlings follow each their partners. Each time a new partner changes, often extremely different dancing ensues not matter if a male or female.
  •  Earthlings follow the rules of respective roles one as a listening-GUIDE and the other as a dual-LISTENER, including respect for tango's "vocabulary" of movement, and floorcraft rules.


Avoid being "Weak and Broken Link" in tango's chain of listeners!

Musical elements of Europe, South America and Africa listened to each other and tango was born and grew up in Argentina. The community of dancers throughout time and even presently listen and create rules of movement, which are called "tango." Some dancers dedicate themselves to follow the music, and they begin teaching and codifying what the community has created together. The students follow the teacher as best they can, but also create interesting (and sometimes not so interesting) interpretations of what started by listening to the music. Now it is my turn as a dancer: Am I now going to lead someone now and break all the golden-chain-of-listening that has gone before me? :-) Why would I want to be the weak and broken link in such a magical chain of listeners by proclaiming myself a "leader"? Dear God in heaven!

I will leave leading up to la Música. I am a listener-guide. Nothing more or less than that.

Choose your Tango heels

Posted by kiran.sawhney on July 2, 2014 at 2:50 AM

My personal recommendation is 7.5 cm

Leather or suede soles

Suede grips the floor better, and is particularly good on slippery floors. Suede will need to be brushed every now and again to keep its surface optimal.

Leather soles are more resilient, and slide better.

The most important difference however is that because of its flexibility and softness, suede soles will make the entire shoe much more flexible, and your feet will have a more intimate contact with the floor. The flexibility is great, but means that the shoe will offer significantly less balance to the foot. We personally prefer and recommend leather soles, but that said, many women enjoy the flexibility and contact that suede provides.

Tango terms

Posted by kiran.sawhney on July 2, 2014 at 2:25 AM

 Tango Terms

 Adelante- Forward

Al costado- To the side.



Arrastre- A drag. E.g., to drag your partner's foot with your own.

El abrazo- The embrace, as in dance hold.

Abrir- To open.

Amago-(from amagar, To feint, to make a threatening motion.) An amague is used as an embellishment, usually a flick of the foot done before taking a step. It may also be a frappe, a beat done with the foot before taking a step.

Bailamos?-Shall we dance? This is more commonly said than a complete, formal sentence, like "Quisiero bailar contigo" (I would like to dance with you). Also, you sometimes hear "Quieres bailar?" (would you like to dance?).

Barrida- (from barrer, To sweep away.) Sweeping your partner's foot with your own. Also called llevada.

Barrio-A neighborhood in an Argentine city.

Boleo- (from bolear, a type of throwing/swiveling that gauchos do with the boleadoras (a rope with balls at the end of it) in order to tumble down the cattle.) An ornament. Throwing or swiveling one leg with the knees locked together, usually one behind the other. A boleo may be done with the toe touching the floor or higher.

Los brazos- The arms.

Cadena- Chain. A movement of two people across the floor in a circular motion. One partner displaces the other partners leg and rolls across the front of their body. The other partner continues the motion. Must be seen to be appreciated.

Caminar- To walk.

Candombe- A type of dance done by the descendants of black slaves in Argentina. A type of tango music with a marked rhythm played on a drum. The place where blacks went to dance (synonymous with 'milonga').

Canyengue- An older style of tango.

La Cintura- The waist.

El compás- The beat

Corrida- A running step used in milonga, a series of small steps in double-time.

Corte- Cut. Corte means cutting the music either by syncopating or stopping for a moment, taking something away from the principal move. Opposite of Firuletes.

Cruzar- To cross.

Cruzada- The cross. Crossing one foot in front or in back of the other.

Derecha- Right.

Derecho- Straight.

El cuerpo- The body

Los dedos- The fingers, toes

Despacio- Slowly.

Desplazamiento- displacement-Displacing a partner's foot or leg using your own foot or leg.

Dibujo- A drawing or sketch. A dibujo is done by drawing circles or other small movements on the floor with the toe.

Doble Tiempo- Double time.

El eje- The axis (of the body).

Enganche- Hooking or coupling, wrapping your leg around your partner's leg.

Enrosque- From enroscar, to coil, twist, or screw. To spin on one foot while hooking the other foot behind, usually while the woman is executing a molinete.

Escuchar- To listen.

Fantasia- A style of tango for the stage characterized by large sweeping moves, and often many ganchos. Considered inappropriate in a small club or salon.

Fijarse- Pay close attention to.

Gancho- A hook. Used primarily on stage, considered inappropriate for salon tango.

Giro- Turn. When the woman is doing a molinete, the man walks in a circle to his right or left (can be done either direction), sometimes turning sharply, sometimes slowly. One of the basic walking patterns.

Guiar- To guide, also to lead.

Izquierda- Left.

Juntos- Together. From juntar to join together, as in one's feet or knees.

Lápiz- Pencil. A circular figure executed with one foot drawing on the floor.

Llevada- From llevarto carry. Similar to a barrida. The man can move the woman's foot with his own, carrying it off the floor or across the floor.

La Marca- The lead. From marquar, to lead.

Media vuelta- Half turn.

Milonga- 1) The music of a dance that preceeded the tango, usually in 2/4 time, quicker and more upbeat than tango.

2) A dance, where people go to dance tango and milonga.

Milonguero- An older tango dancer, one who frequented the milongas during the 1940's and 50's. May also describe a style of dancing during that period.

Mirar- To look.

Molinete- Little windmill. When the follower moves in a circle around the leader, doing a footwork resembling forward and backward ochos.

Mordida- Bite. One partner's foot is sandwiched between the other partner's feet.

Ochos- Eights. Pivoting forward or backward with the feet together during the pivot and extended during the step.

Ocho cortado- Cut eight.

Orillero- The outskirts of the city, suburban.

Orillero style- A style of dancing from the suburbs characterized by the man doing many quick, syncopated foot moves.

Parada- A stop.

Pasos- Steps.

Patada- A kick.

El pecho- The chest.

El peso- The weight.

El piso- Floor

La pista- Dance floor

Preguntar- To ask.

Una pregunta, por favor.- A question, please.

Las piernas- The legs

Quebrada- Break. The woman is standing on one foot, often hanging her weight on the man. The other foot is relaxed, often slightly raised with the toe touching the floor.

Rápido- Fast. Usually heard "mas rapido."

Resolución- Resolution. An ending to a basic pattern.

El Ritmo- The rhythm.

Las Rodillas- The knees.

Rulo- A curl.

Sacada- A displacement of the feet.

Salida- A start, or a run. The beginning of a pattern.

Salida Cruzada- The beginning of a pattern with a cross, stepping side left crossing right foot behind left or side right crossing left foot behind right.

Salón- A style of dancing for the milonga or small club, as opposed to stage tango (see Fantasia).

Seguir- To follow.

Sentada- A sitting move, the woman sits on her partner's bent leg or waist.

Sacada- A displacement, to move your partner's leg out of the way gently with your own.

Trabada- Fastened, a lock step. The step that the woman takes when the man steps outisde his partner with his right foot and then straight forward left, together right. At this point the woman crosses and this cross is referred to as trabada.

Una vez mas- One more time.

Vals- Waltz, done to tango music in waltz time.

Don't you know that he is an idiot?

Posted by kiran.sawhney on July 2, 2014 at 1:30 AM

Daniel Trenner, my teacher told me a a follower, " One look at him should be enough to tell you that he is an idiot. That you should not trust him. Because if you will trust him, he will fail you. Don't you know that he is an idiot? But shhh!! he cannot know. This is a secret. Because if he knows, he will be very upset. "

His words resonate in my ears whenever and wherever I am dancing as a follower. I could dance confidentally with best leaders in top most milongas in Buenos Aires and do well. I only had my teachers words echoing in my ears. 

Further, Daniel added, "And if he says- you are wrong. Say- Yes Dear. Then do exactly what you want to do."

Recently at a milonga in Delhi, I was dancing with a leader, who was fighting more than dancing. The feeling was of tug of war. He was pulling, pushing, trying to imbalance (very deliberately), just so that he could make a fool of me (a well known tanguera and a teacher in Delhi- falling on dance floor would be a sight).

That was the time my teacher's words came so handy- Don't you know that he is an idiot. You are not supposed to trust him. He tried super hard to make me fall. I could have stopped the dance and say, "thank you". But I rather accpeted the challenge.

In between, while dancing, he even whispered, "balance". And I retorted back, " Do not bother about my balance. I will be on my axis. Take care of yours." Needless to say, it was not pure Tango we danced but was more of a fight. But like Daniel said, "Play chess not checkers". I did play chess very well. 

When I finished, someone said, " Hey Kiran, you were good." I was not good. I had danced only with my teacher's words in my mind.

Note to all the followers, if you want to dance well, remember what Daniel said.