Definitions and Usages
for the Tango Vals Lessons

Amague: Spanish, a feint. The flicking movement the leader performs as he walks forward.

Calesita: Spanish, carousel or merry-go-round. The movement where the leader holds the follower on axis and steps through a circle or arc around her.

cross foot and parallel foot systems: Parallel system footwork means the couple moves on the feet on the same side as they face each other, for instance his R & her L, or vice versa. Cross system means that the couple is moving on the same foot, both on the L foot, or both on the R.

collect, close: bringing the feet together at the end of a step with no weight change

dance frame: consisting of a dancer's chest and arms, by which directions and requests are transmitted from leader to follower

grapevine: a pattern of steps consisting of a side step, a forward step, a side step, a back step. A fundamental pattern for followers often done in a small circle around the leader. In Argentina, the grapevine sequence is referred to as a molinete ("little windmill").

L: left foot

left: in the direction of

left turn: counterclockwise turn

line of dance: the customary direction of travel on a dance floor which is counterclockwise around the room

measure: In waltz, a measure of music has 3 beats.

media luna: half-moon in Spanish, in this case describing a figure with a half or 180º turn.

ocho: eight

ocho cortado: cut-off eight

ocho technique: The most comfortable way to perform these steps is to remember to observe this order of activity:

front ocho: back ocho:
Let your lower body, your hips and feet, face completely the direction of your next step before you take that step. Now repeat, starting forward on the other foot. If you practice at a mirror or something stationary the result should be a figure 8. In the dance, depending on the leaders movement the result may be stationary or not, and the movement may lose a little of its figure 8 quality.

parallel and cross foot systems: (same as "cross foot and parallel foot systems", above) Parallel system footwork means the couple moves on the feet on the same side as they face each other, for instance his R & her L, or vice versa. Cross system means that the couple is moving on the same foot, both on the L foot, or both on the R.

R: right foot

right: in the direction of

right turn: clockwise turn

Rulo: Spanish, a curl or something round. Used to describe the circular embellishments done with the free leg in tango.

Rhythm patterns used in this section:

1, 3, 1: Step on 1, no step on 2, step on 3, step on 1, no step on 2 or 3 of the next measure.

1, 2, 1: Step on 1, step on 2, no step on 3, step on 1, no step on 2 or 3 of the next measure.

1, 2, 3, 1: Step on 1, step on 2, step on 3, step on 1, no step on counts 2 or 3 of the second measure. This run of four steps over two measures is a faster, more challenging, and less common rhythm pattern.

sacada: Spanish, from the verb sacar, to take out. The element in the dance where one partner seems to invade the space of the other, usually the leader taking the follower’s space by putting a foot between her feet.

salida: departure, going out

step: a change of weight from one foot to the other, however demonstrative or subtle.

syncopating, syncopations: changing weight more than once within a measure in Tango Vals

tango vals: tango waltz in Spanish

vals con cruzada: waltz with a cross, another name for tango vals

valsecito: little waltz, a popular way to refer to tango vals

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