Open and Close Embrace in Tango

March 21, 2018 Dancing Arts

close embraceArgentine Tango Embraces

Argentine Tango has two main kinds of positions or embraces. Those addicted to tango will tell you there are many variations, but most would agree there are two main kinds of embraces — the close embrace and the open embrace. In the close embrace, you are basically chest to chest.

Inviting a Close Embrace

Leaders: If you are dancing with a new partner, it may be good to start with a more open embrace — with your hand on the followers left shoulder-blade and then when you want to invite a close embrace move your hand to her right shoulder-blade. A follower can then accept the close embrace by leaning forward slightly to assume the chest-to-chest position and by moving her left hand up from just below his deltoic musicle to around the leader’s back or neck.

Moving to Open Position

The leader can easily move to open position by moving his hand to the follower’s left shoulder place and pressing gently against her side (near her scapula) to open the position. This often happens naturally on count 5 of the basic. The follower can suggest that she would like more space by moving her hand back to just below the leader’s big deltoid muscle. If he doesn’t get the hint, the follower may press gently (not squeeze) to move herself to a more open position.

A move from close to open position is a very good lead that a more complicated dance figure is about to come. At this time, when in open position, a follower’s eyes will be sparkling and will be riveted on the leader’s chest!

Ochos in Close Embrace

Close embrace usually works best with simple walking and rocking steps and steps 1-4 of the 8-count basic. But it is possible to do other steps, for example, ochos in close embrace. Here’s a video by a sweet couple in Montana in which they discuss this. When watching the video look for these key points:

  • The way you take an embrace at the beginning can effect the rest of the dance.
  • It can be helpful to make an embrace, take a breath, and then change it to see how the follower’s respond.
  • The leader can keep a close embrace but shift it slightly to open to allow for pivoting by the follower as in ochos.
  • An impulse from the leader’s shoulders can help to suggest a slight opening of the close embrace.
  • The follower can relax her hips in close embrace to pivot more easily.
  • The leader can let his right hand “float” to allow for more space during an ocho.
  • Experiment with a partner when practicing to see to what degree you can keep in a “semi” close position and still do steps requiring pivoting

Remember, every day that you don’t dance is lost forever.