Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance


The Follower's Molinete

Every social dance has a variation of a very old idea known as a “Grape Vine Turn”, which is generally 3 steps in either a circular or linear pattern. Argentine Tango is no exception to this factoid. Truthfully Tango has spawned and borrowed and given 8 types of turns based on simple walking principles. The Eight functional types of turns of Tango are: 1.) The Milonguero Turn. 2.) The Walking Turn, 3.) The Rock Step. 4.) The Ocho Cortado (Linear & Circular). 5.) The Media Luna. 6.) The Argentine Calesita. 7.) The Colgada Turn (including The Single Axis). And #8, the topic of Today’s Tango Topic: The Follower’s Molinete. The turn itself is taught to every beginner dancer, and every dancer uses this very functional and foundational turn. Just as a side note, up until about 1980, oddly enough, The Follower’s Molinete was NOT the predominant turn. That honor goes to first turn on our list above, the Milonguero Turn. So what happened ? Why was the turn supplanted ? You can thank Gustavo Naveira and Fabian Salas for that. If for no other reason these two men aren’t considered the father’s of Modern Argentine Tango than it should be their introduction of the Follower’s Molinete to the world. Which, strangely enough, had been around in various forms for almost 50 years before they came along and … ahem … ‘discovered‘ the Molinete. Moving along, the Follower’s Molinete did go on to supplant the Milonguero Turn, and it is now the common turning element for all dancers to learn and then to dance. As this is the case, the turn is so predominant that it is the default motion for every Follower whether they realize it or not. The moment that a Lead starts to rotate their body, the Follower will default to the Follower’s Molinete. It should be noted that the Follower’s Molinete doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens due to the other side of the equation: The Lead’s Giro. The Lead’s Giro and the Follower’s Molinete co-combine to create the standard turn in Argentine Tango when we talk about turns. So without more yapping, let’s dive into Today’s Tango Topic: The Follower’s Molinete.

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Have you seen The Eight Tango Turns Series ? We showcase 8 types of turns: 1.) The Follower’s Molinete. 2.) The Milonguero Turn. 3.) The Rock Step. 4.) The Ocho Cortado. 5.) The Walking Turn. 6.) The Calesita. 7.) The Colgada Turn. 8.) The Media Luna.

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What is the Follower’s Molinete ?  The term “Molinete” means Wind Mill in English when translated from the Spanish. And as it relates to Argentine Tango this is a Grape Vine Turn with 3 steps. Forward, Side, and Back that executed by the Follower. Which is the reason for the distinction in the moniker, calling it The Follower’s Molinete. So that would lead one to believe, and rightfully so, that there is a Lead’s Molinete. And there is. But that’s a topic for a different Tango Topic. There are two primary versions of the Follower’s Molinete. And the primary distinction is whether or not The Follower’s Molinete is done in Close Embrace or Open Embrace. While the two turns themselves are functionally the same, there are some very nuanced differences between the two. However, at the 50,000 ft level, the turns consist of the 3 steps: Forward, Side, and Back. When you stop and you think about it though, there are actually 4 steps, not three. Even though we would like to use only 3 and it can be done quite easily with practice. There is a fourth step, and it’s a second side step after either the forward or back step. The Follower’s Molinete can start with either the Follower’s Forward step or the Follower’s Backstep. Both will lead to slightly different outcomes. However, the setup for both turns is usually the same: Traveling Ochos! In either case, both the Forward Step, and the Back Step are Applied Disassociative motions which are mostly, and erroneously, thought of as ‘pivots’, which lead to the Follower then extending into a rotating Side Step. It should be noted that of all the foundational moves that the Follower must master, that this is the hardest thing, physiologically speaking that they’ll ever have to do. Ever. It takes considerable time, patience, practice, and did we mention ‘practice’, solo, with a partner, in private instruction to make the Follower’s Molinete fluid. This is not watching a 9 minute video and bam, you have got it down. No. This is going to take a while. A long while. A very LOOOOOONG while. Years. However, having adequate reference material is absolutely key to that process.

Difficulty Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Why You Need This! There are many moves, steps, and figures to Argentine Tango that are really cool. What you may not realize is that they are mostly ‘fluff’, they’re nice to have, they’re nice to know, but honestly, you’re not going to use them that often! This ain’t that! This one is one of the more venerable selections of Tango Topics that you will use frequently like Walking, Milonguero Ochos, Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete, Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross. We take this stuff very seriously, and we say that because we use this stuff ALL – THE – TIME! 🙂 That said, you do actually need to watch it. You can learn what you need from this and then apply it. No lie. No gimmick. As always YMMV and to remember that the video is only a stepping stone! You will need some private lessons to go along with it to get the ‘feel’ of things.


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About The Video.  This video comes in two parts, the Open Embrace version (00:24:12), and the Close Embrace version (00:08:34). This is a combined video format, lead and follow technique are mixed together.

Open Embrace

Follower/Lead Embrace – 00:09:35
Lead Footwork Details – 00:05:47
Follower Footwork Details – 00:08:32

Close Embrace

Introduction – 00:01:10
Two Lead Accommodations – 00:00:37
Lead Hip Detail – 00:02:27
Lead Space Detail – 00:00:43
Lead Footwork – 00:01:10
The Close Embrace Dip – 00:01:03
The Recap – 00:00:51

Related Videos:

6 Ways of Walking – The Walking Bundle – Download

Applied DisassociationDefinition/Download
Applied Disassociation ExerciseMember Only

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The Missing Information. Dearest Reader. TangoTopics is glad that you want to read this Topic, so that you can dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, you’re missing three important parts to this Article: The Follower’s Perspective, The Lead’s Perspective, and The Dancing Perspective. Which can change your thinking by informing of some important pieces of information that you may not necessarily be aware of. Watching a 5 minute video will not help you to change. Change is a concerted effort and requires a little thinking on your part: Becoming a Freeium User! As the name implies, it’s FREE. Register. You get to see everything above, and a whole lot more! 😉 Have a nice day.

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Why should you subscribe instead ?  Several reasons.  1.) Probably the biggest reason is to save a boatload of money. Buying these things outright isn’t cheap. Besides when you buy you only have access to the one video. Subscribing, on the other hand, gives you access to everything else so you can see the foundational material that goes with this stuff. 2.) Even if you’re a Free User, you’ll get access to free tips that aren’t available to anyone just reading the post like this one. 3.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 4.) Because the Dancing Perspectives (Lead, Follow, and Dancing) are hidden to the open user. And that’s where all the information is at, unless you actually subscribe. Until you do, those very important textual descriptions of what’s going on for both Lead and Follow you want to read. 5.) And the real reason you should subscribe ? If you’re used to YouTube videos where you’ll see a performance, those Youtube videos don’t explain or walk you through how these ideas work! That is why! What you’re seeing is a presentation, a performance. Not how things work! And what you really need to see is how things work, and more importantly why they work! This website shows you that and more! 

Remember that what you’re seeing is a couple that is performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they’re not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about ‘Social Dancing’  or how to make things function on a social dance floor. Social Dance floor ? Your local milonga! They’re showing flashy moves as a presentation! But not stopping and talking about how this works, why you’d want to put that piece of vocabulary there, or how to make things fit. This website is all about those things and more!

You could watch those videos and thereby spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that particular situation. Bend your body this way or that, twist and force this position or that. Place your foot here or there and figure it out. This is known as Tango Twister.  Which can be a lot of fun, but more than likely it won’t help you, because you’re missing something: The explanation from an experienced teacher showing you how to properly excute this stuff from a Leading Perspective as well as from a Following Perspective!

The goal of YouTube videos is to get you to study with those teachers in person. The goal of Tango Topics videos allows you to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own space, so that you can play them over and over again to improve your understanding of the vocabulary or technique being described to therefore better your dancing experience. The goal of classes and workshops is to get you to come back over and over and over again, thereby spending more money with that teacher. This website and the videos under it are here to act as a resource for you to help you to improve your dance. Pay once and you’re done.

Eventually, one way or another you’re going to pay for this lesson, either here and now, or with them. TANSTAAFL! The difference between that lesson and this ? Is that you get to play this lesson over and over and over again. Further still, there are supporting materials (other videos) that help to explain the language and the underlying technique of how and why things work, so you can easily reference those things in the corresponding articles that go with the material, and or any language in the Tango Topics Dictionary. 


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