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Open Embrace. Sometimes you’ll see this embrace format from beginner dancers or dancers that have been trained with other embrace ideas. Open Embrace can be, but is not limited to, a (Open or Closed) Vee Embrace, a Berlin Embrace, or a Square (meaning to line up buttons-to-buttons with your partner).

Open Embrace is typically defined as: Where the bodies of the partner’s torsos are not touching but with clear space between them, about 4 to 6 inches of distance between the partnership. As to the embrace itself, meaning the position of the arms, usually the Lead’s Left forearm is raised upwards at a 60 to 70 degree angle perpendicular to the floor (as shown above), and their Right hand is placed just the side of the Follower’s rib cage, about 6 inches under their armpit. And the Follower’s arm position is the same on their Left, but with their Right arm, they’ll lay it along the Lead’s arm, resting VERY lightly (fabric to skin contact without weight or downward pressure in any way, shape, or form), with their hand resting lightly on the Lead’s bicep, and their thumb in closed position. The Follower’s hand should never be on the Lead’s shoulder, nor creating downward pressure on the Lead’s bicep as this creates unwanted pressure and drag on both partners.

It should be noted that the idea of Open, Close, Vee, or anything in between is a purely a North American construct. The Argentines would refer to their embrace as solely “El Abrazo”. The embrace. And there is no distinction between one idea and the next. This is the North American way of being specific about the dance.

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