Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance


Mordida. (pron: mor-dee-dah) According to Webster’s Spanish Dictionary it is a masculine noun which when translated to English means “bite” or the plural “bitten”.

Usage. In the case of Argentine Tango, we use, and define, the word Mordida in a very specific way. We mean to define what one dancer can do to another dancer’s feet, to ‘sandwich’ one feet between two others. Typically this is done to the Follower by the lead in one of 4 pieces of Tango vocabulary: Volcada, Colgada, Parada, or Barrida. However, a good portion of Leads, employ this idea every time they come to a stop, which an error.

Clarity: You won’t hear this word used all that much, and that’s because it goes by another name, the ‘sandwich’ thing.

Lead, Follow, or Both ? Typically this is a Lead thing. Meaning that the Lead will invoke this upon the Follower. However in the case of the Parada, the Follower has to invoke this onto the Lead! 🙂

Technique Video: There is no specific video on this vocabulary element, however, the Social Colgada, Single Axis Turns, Social Volcada, and the Dark Side Salida, all contain the element as it is part of the vocabulary video. Please see the bolded links for each article, and the price links for direct links to the product videos. 🙂 YMMV.

The Tango Police: No one is dictating to you to use or not this thing. However ideally we want to use it sparingly as it is an indicator, or set up for something else.

The Tango Topics Opinion: The Mordida is a very useful tool. It can be used as an indicator but is frequently not used as such. It’s overused as a stopping point and under-utilized in its true function. Which is to say that a good portion of Leads invoke this thing willy-nilly without a care or thought as to the message that it’s sending. Once a Lead learns how to invoke them, they tend to use them everywhere. Sadly this is an error that never gets corrected. Unfortunately most leads don’t realize that they’re stopping the Follower’s motion with a Mordida, and as such, when it’s poorly executed (either because it’s too weak, or too much foot compression in the sandwich via the Lead, or stepping too deep…eeeeek!), they’re creating a less than desirable visual relationship that we don’t want to project (e.g. a broken visual vertical line between the couple). #SocialDance #ArgentineTango #TangoDancing

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