Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance


Pulling. According to Webster’s Dictionary the word ‘Pull’ is a verb that means “exert force on (someone or something), typically by taking hold of them, in order to move or try to move them toward oneself or the origin of the force”. It comes from the old english word ‘pullian’ meaning to pluck, pull, tug the feathers off a foul. It also has a cognate in Middle Low German ‘pūlen’, meaning to strip off husks. And the Old Norse ‘pūla’ meaning to work hard. And that’s exactly what this means in today’s Tango Definition: Pulling in Tango!

Tango Pulling or Pulling in Tango occurs when we use both our arms as either a Lead or a Follow. In the case of the Lead, they may pull with their Left arm and hand, and/or at the same time with their Right hand, forearm, bicep. The Follower usually only pulls with their Right hand and arm.

General Usage. Pulling, as in the case of Pushing, occurs from the Leading perspective of when an  Open Embrace Molinete or Close Embrace Molinete is about to occur, or on either side of a Linear Ocho, or Circular Ocho, or on the Forward Step out of an Argentine Cross. It may also happen in Colgadas, Volcadas, Sacadas, as well as Soltadas, and a host of other places, but those are the most common forms. From a Follower’s perspective, they’ll ‘pull’ just before the open side circular forward ocho, or open side forward step of the Molinete, this is done for stabilization.

Belief ? The belief is that no one believes that they use their arms, or hands to pull their partners around the floor.

Reality ? Upwards of 70% of Leads and Followers use their arms and hands to pull on their partners.

The Tango Topics Opinion: Tango Pulling is something we need to keep a watchful eye on as it is a less-than-desirable aspect of engaging the Embrace (no matter which one you employ). There is nothing useful here in any way, shape, or form of how to dance with your partner by pushing them with your arms. No one likes to be pulled on…it’s that simple. To be clear, this is a hard habit to break with some Leads and very hard for Followers to break. This is not something you’re going to learn about in 5 minutes on youtube somewhere (mostly because there isn’t anyone aside from this author, that’s talking about this stuff), this stuff takes time and patience and constant reminders to unlearn what you have taught yourself to do. Lots and lots and lots and lots of reminders.  #SocialDance #ArgentineTango #TangoDancing

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