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