Tango Speak

A collection of terms as they are used in the world of Argentine Tango.

The Music

cortina a piece of non-tango music played between tandas to separate one tanda from another. We’ll play full swing, latin or ballroom songs to dance to.

tanda a set of two to four related songs played consecutively. At Practica Tango+, tandas generally last around 7 minutes, shorter than at traditional venues.

tango, milonga, vals these are the three categories of music played at tango dances, in 4/4, 2/4, and 3/4 time, respectively. We’ll play all three.

The Dance

en baldosa a figure danced in place, as opposed to a traveling figure that brings the dancers forward in the line of dance. This makes reference to the black and white square tiles (baldosas) traditionally used in courtyards where tango was danced.

barrida a sweeping motion created after a tomada, created when foot movement is lead while keeping the contact between the feet.

cadencia the rhythm of tango music, indicating when weight transfers can happen.

cambio a change (of rhythm, style, direction, axis, etc.)

caminada the art of walking in tango, in terms of travelling along the line of dance as well as dancing in place.

corrida literally, a run. Steps taken in quick succession, travelling in one direction.

corte cutting the music either by syncopating or by holding several beats.

cruzada a step crossing one foot in front of, or behind, the other.

enrosque twisting the torso while keeping the feet in place, causing the legs to entwine.

molinete a figure en baldosa that has a dancer moving around their partner.

patada a precisely-timed kicking motion, usually directed between the partner’s legs.

salida a step to the side.

tomada a dancer places their foot such that contact is made with their partner’s foot.

traspié a transfer of weight, usually syncopated, from one foot to the other.