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Tango terminology


abrazo: "embrace," the basic dance hold

bandoneon: a type of accordion imported from Germany; the essential instrument in any tango music

barrida: "sweep," a step where one partner sweeps the other's foot to the side

caminar: "to walk," the basic step in tango

cortina: "interlude," a short non-tango song that clears the floor between tandas in traditional milongas

cruzada: "the cross," the figure created by crossing one foot in front of or behind the other

milonga: a tango party or the club where such a party is held; also a dance that directly preceded (and closely resembles) the tango

milonguero: a style of tango where the partners dance very close together; also the old men and other tango fanatics of Buenos Aires who dance this style

salida: "exit," which can be a bit confusing: in the context of tango, it means "begin" or "the beginning"; think of it as "going out onto the dance floor"

salon: a style of tango where the partners dance a little farther apart than in milonguero; permits some dramatic embellishments not possible in milonguero

tanda: "group," a set of four songs; in traditional milongas, dances are always in sets of four, with a cortina as an interlude between each tanda

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