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Milonguero Turn ‘Trick’ Personalized

You’re out social dancing, and you’ve been practicing your Milonguero Turns with your favorite partner, and you feel like you’ve got it down, so now it’s time to take it of the lab and put it on the floor and try it with other dancing partners. This, by the way, is not how we want to create a good practice regime. We do have a treatise on what to practice and how to practice. But more on that later in another article. 😉 You’ve accepted a request to dance with someone else, it’s a Di Sarli Tango tanda, and you smile, and you walk to the floor with your partner, engaging a the Lead’s Cabeceo! Stepping onto the floor, and engaging in your partner’s embrace, you settle into each other. Readjust, hopefully employing the “The Readjustment Phase” of the dance, a very important component, and then begin to dance, slowly, patiently, cautiously figuring out each other, rather than throwing every known piece of vocabulary at your partner in the first 30 seconds. Or some crazy cool move that you think is cool but your partner may find somewhat ‘annoying’ at best. Especially dancing to Di Sarli. Tsk, tsk, tsk. It’s around this time near the end of the first musical paragraph that your partner initiates their first turn. If you’re Leading you discover immediately that what your partner heard as a turn was in fact the Follower’s Molinete and not the Milonguero Turn that you intended. If you’re Following at this point, you’re wondering why the Lead keeps turning or why the Lead is squeezing the living daylights out of your back and what that’s all about. As far as you’re concerned you’re doing what the Lead asked invoking a Milonguero Turn by default because you know the rule but they keep squeezing and turning. Uuuugh!

Scenario over!

Today’s Tango Topic deals with that moment right there where there is obviously some confusion, a bit of a hiccup in what would have otherwise been a lovely and near perfect dancing experience.

The Milonguero Turn is one of Tango’s underused but extremely elegant turns. However it comes with a tiny little problem embedded in it. The problem ? Default Behavior and Default Expectation. The Default Behavior ? The Follower’s Molinete as the response to a turn. The Molinete/Giro structure is one of the seven basic moves of Argentine Tango that is used so often and with such ubiquity that we almost don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just that we start turning and magically a Follower’s Molinete occurs. However, as in the case above, what happens when the Lead wants to invoke a Milonguero Turn instead ? A hiccup is what happens and from there things get ugly quickly.

That’s what Today’s Tango Topic is all about. So without further yappment, here’s Today’s Tango Topic on The Milonguero Turn TrickPersonalized.

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Have you seen the Walking Systems video ? This video series showcases the Six Ways of expanding your walk in Tango using: Parallel System Walking, Cross System Walking, Three Track Walking, ‘Lazy’ Ochos, The Snake Walks, & Alternate Walking.

Learn > The Six Ways of Walking

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What is the Milonguero Turn Trick ? First and foremost, the Trick itself isn’t a ‘trick’, it’s more of a reliance on Follower Default behaviors. Secondly, the ‘Trick’ only solves the first major hurdle of the Turn itself – The Follower’s Back Cross.

The problem with the Milonguero Turn, and it is a problem, is the opening step, the Follower’s Back Cross. By default, the Follower will not want to cross behind or back cross, unless this is their default turn or default behavior. Truthfully there are very few Milonguero Turn default based Followers. Usually the Follower has been trained in the Molinete/Giro structure as their default. So the moment that the Lead starts a turn, the Follower thinks and responds with “Molinete”. This is not desirable. While the Molinete is a very sexy turn, it’s not what we’re wanting out of the Follower at all. We ideally want the cleaner, less stressful, Milonguero Turn for a whole bunch of reasons.

Before you go any further you’re going to ask, “Well, if the Lead led it then the Follower should follow what was led!”. True to a degree but then again, you’re dealing with default behavior, and that stuff is insanely difficult to override, most of the time. That’s why this ‘Trick’ exists.

The opening back cross presents a problem: How to generate it ? And that’s where the Milonguero Turn ‘Trick’ comes in. It says, “Fine…the Follower has default behaviors, one of them is to come to collection, still another is not to a leg fly away from them, still another they have a desire to make things as small as possible, less work”. All of these default behaviors can be used to the Lead’s advantage if properly invoked. And that’s what the Milonguero Turn Trick does, it invokes all three of those defaults and overrides the Follower’s desire to Molinete. It supersedes it almost immediately so that the Follower never, ever wants to Molinete!

In its simplest form the Trick is a Simple Sacada, but a fully unrealized one. The reason this is said, is because a Simple Sacada should and would take the place of the Follower, but it doesn’t. In its more complex form, it overrides the Follower’s default behavior to Molinete and replaces it with a back cross.

Remember that the turn trick only solves ONE problem – Initiating the Follower’s Back Cross. It doesn’t solve the entire Milonguero Turn, you still have to learn to lead and follow those things.

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

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Why this video exists ? It exists for 3 reasons. 1.) It was part of a longer lesson for this particular student on the Milonguero Turn, and Elements of Turning itself. 2.) To give the student  a reminder tutorial for when I wasn’t there. 3.) I taught a Milonguero Turn class rather recently and then discovered this a few days after the class, and realized that this is actually a perfect reminder for anyone that wants to play with the Milonguero Turn on how to build it and what should happen.

Further this video exists with the student’s consent. So don’t get all persnickety that we’re showing you a private lesson without the student’s knowledge. They’re fully aware of the video and fully endorse it.

There’s a lot more to this ArticleThere’s the extensive Lead’s Perspective, the deeper Follower’s Technique Perspective, and sometimes we throw in a complete Dancing Perspective part, all of which are only visible to Tango Topics Freemium Registered Users, Gold Subscribers, Diamond Level Users, and Milonga Madness Users. To become a Freemium user, Registration is absolutely 100% FREE, click the button below, and you get access to this article, and over 400 videos, hundreds of articles on a wide range of Tango Topics. So what are you waiting for, go register, then login to your Tango Topics Library page and then select the “ARTICLES” button and you’ll see this article with all that good stuff in there. Easy. No ? 🙂

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The Reality of WHY You Need This: There are many moves, steps, patterns, and figures to Argentine Tango that are really cool. What you may not realize is that most of that stuff is ‘fluff’, they’re nice to have, they’re nice to know, but honestly, you’re not going to use them that often! Mind you this is one side of the argument. This ain’t that! This piece is one of the more venerable selections of Argentine Tango that you will use frequently like Walking, Milonguero Ochos/Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete/Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross. Tango Topics take this stuff very seriously, and we say that because we use this stuff ALL – THE – TIME! Our case is that you need this stuff because > This is all about foundation, or one of the Seven Foundation Steps that we use all the time to create the dance that we know as Argentine Tango. That’s why! 🙂 That said, you do actually need to watch this stuff. You can learn what you need from this video and then apply it. No lie. No gimmick. As always YMMV and to remember that the video itself is only a stepping stone! You will need some private lessons to go along with it to get the ‘feel’ of things. That is the reality of WHY you need this stuff. So subscribing for a few months to TangoTopics to get what we’re on about wouldn’t kill you. Further, it would probably help to hear another person saying what your current tango teacher has been saying all along. Think of this stuff as one more reminder that you absolutely need to hear.


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Have you seen our Ocho Transition Series ? This important four-part series covers the four important transitions between the two common type of Ochos (Traveling & Milonguero), and the 2 common types of turns (Molinete/Giro, and Milonguero). Each one is a challenge on its own. And each one can seriously up your dancing abilities.

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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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on Dec 31, 2020 at 12:01 Tango Topics will cease operation

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