A mutual embrace

Terpsichoral tells us how she likes the soft and elastic embraces of dancers at Milonga 10 that move between open and closed.  It’s the choice for many, but it’s not for me.

A few nights ago Alito and I went to the milonga in Salón Leonesa.  Another milonguero joined us at our table.  During our conversation, he told us about dancing recently with a woman who didn’t want to embrace him.  He stopped dancing to explain how he gives everything when he dances.  He wasn’t trying to excite her sexually in his embrace.  He expected a mutual embrace from her.  He walked her off the floor and didn’t finish the tanda.  Tango is all about the embrace for him.

I’ve known this milonguero‘s embrace for ten years, and we danced to Di Sarli.  Wow!



8 Responses to “A mutual embrace”

  1. b Says:

    One time at a milonga where some people dance open nuevo and some don’t, I took the women into an embrace and she said, I’ve never danced closed embrace before. I said, Well, open embrace really isn’t tango, is it?

    One of the most evil things done in tango was sticking the words Open and the words Embrace together, which is a lie, since Embrace means “in the arms.” For years I have called open embrace remote grip, distant hold, you smell bad, or I don’t like you.

  2. terpsichoral Says:

    Thanks for the mention of my blog, Jan. I should clarify that I also enjoy dancing milonguero-style in an exclusively close embrace, which is never opened throughout the dance. I have very wide-ranging tastes in tango. And I love and celebrate tango diversity. And yes, I completely agree, the style danced at Milonga 10 is not for everyone.

    I personally also feel that if you open the embrace it should be for a reason — because the way you interpret the music leads you to want to lead a particular step or steps which require more distance to be executed comfortably. You should open the minimum distance for the minimum time and close again as soon as possible. And, since dancing in close embrace is such a lovely thing, I can well appreciate that many people don´t want to lose that contact or open the embrace at all. And, if you don´t want to, you certainly shouldn´t.

    Thank you for continuing to share your own experiences with us!

    Warm abrazos milongueros.

  3. Chris, UK Says:

    Well said, B.

    I recall my visit to a local (UK) dance-school milonga where I forgot to observe adequately before inviting a girl and taking her into the embrace. She squirmed out of it, took one step back, composed herself and said “Could we please use the normal hold?”.

    Quite a learning experience for me…

    There are a few close-embrace dancers in the UK, but overall I think here must be the most embrace-averse country to be found outside the tango third world.

  4. jantango Says:


    I don’t know why any woman would want to break from a man’s embrace. I agree with B’s comment above that there is no “close” or “open” embrace; there is only an embrace or no embrace at all.

  5. June Says:

    I, unfortunately, have occasionally wanted to break from a man’s embrace. Several reasons, the most obvious one being that it was too tight for comfort and I could not move without getting my joints out of alignment. Other reasons – heavy breathing, garlic breath, tuneless singing in my ear…Now, since I can’t speak Spanish, I choose to say nothing but politely end the dance as graciously as possible. If the man speaks English, I ask for more space in the embrace since I am feeling the heat in a poorly ventilated area. As much as I enjoy dancing in the embrace, I also like variations of the hold during the dance.

  6. Chris Says:

    I don’t know why any woman would want to break from a man’s embrace.

    It is usually where a woman’s starting point is not the embrace. From the report of Milonga 10, it seems most of the attendees are actual or wannabe dance workers. There’s very little dance work to be found in the embrace of a partner. For the dancing described there and its e.g. “huge bursts of explosive speed“, the embrace is an impediment.

    This account of Milonga 10 dancing reminds us why it’s called alternative tango. Or more accurately: an alternative to tango. Social tango dancing is about the embrace with partner, music and ronda. Huge explosive speed dancing is something else entirely.

  7. jantango Says:


    If he’s holding you too tight, simply move your body. He should get the hint. It works for me. If the tanda is really unpleasant, the only thing you need to say is “gracias.” That ends it.

  8. Chris Says:

    Well said Janis – don’t be afraid to simply move your body back to your seat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s