The Molinete. The word “Molinete” comes from the root Spanish word “Molino” which loosely translates to English as ‘Grind’, or more appropriately, ‘Mill’, as in a “Windmill”. As far as Argentine Tango is concerned the word refers to what is common to most social dances, a ‘Grapevine Turn’. This is Tango’s version of that turn. 🙂 From a Tango perspective the turn consists of three steps: 1.) A disassociative Backstep. 2.) A circular Side step. 3.) A disassociative Forward step. Typically there is a Side step between the Back and Forward steps, and while you can start with Backstep, you can also start with a Forward step. The Molinete is usually the first turn structure that is taught to every dancer at the beginning as part of their Foundation.
Commonly there are two parts to the Molinete, one for each role. Depending on the disposition of the Molinete and how it’s being invoked, there are also two different ways that it can be executed.
The common methodology (#1) is referred to as The Follower’s Molinete, meaning that the Follower will take those 3 steps in a circular pattern of steps around their Lead, while the Lead would engage the Lead’s Giro at the same time.
The less common methodology (#2) is referred to as The Lead’s Molinete. And in this case the Lead (the person) would lead (the action) themselves to take those 3 circular steps around their Follower, while the Follower is free to embellish or adorn (depending on the music) or is being led (at the same time) to rotate over one or both feet.