Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance

If you were logged in, you’d see the full free version of this Article which includes the Follower’s, Lead’s, & Dancing Perspectives! Just sayin’… 🙂

DIASS – FIve Social Variations

Dancing In A Small Space. Typically the idea of dancing within a confined or restricted space is a fearful one for the inexperienced Lead or Follower. Most of that fear exists in either hitting something or someone, or not being able to contain or control what one is doing. So when things in the line of dance get really confined some people get really nervous, and they can’t think outside the box that they’ve put themselves into. The idea of dancing in this environment plays it’s out in a few places, either a crowded local milonga during a special event like a live orchestra, or at a Marathon, an Encuentro (in Europe, not in the United States), or at any Milonga in Buenos Aries. Tango Topics has defined this idea before of what that means and issued two (actually 3, and now 4) videos on the subject of Dancing In A Small Space which we call “DIASS” for short. Today we further the ‘DIASS’ idea a bit by adding a few variations to a theme. The theme being the Five Common Social Figures or the 5 things that we do constantly on at Milonga within the line and lane of dance. Those Five Common Social Figures are as follows:

1.) Walking.
2.) Ochos.
3.) Turns.
4.) Crosses.
5.) Cortados.

To be clear, as there’s a lot of room for interpretation in what those five things actually mean. So let’s clear that up right now:

1.) Walking. Means that we’re engaging only 1 (Parallel System on 2 Tracks) of the 6 Ways of Walking as a foundation of movement.

2.) Ochos. Typically the idea of Ochos engages 2 of the possible 8 types of Ochos > The ‘Lazy’ or Milonguero Ocho or the Traveling Ocho (Forward or Back).

3.) Turns. Turns in Argentine Tango refers to 2 of the possible 8 types of Turns that are commonly used in Argentine Tango. The Follower’s Molinete to the Lead’s Giro, and The Milonguero Turn.

4.) Crosses. Usually when we’re talking about Crosses, we commonly only refer to one type of cross. However, there are in fact multiple variations and several types of Crosses. In this instance we’re only referring to 1 out of 256 types of Argentine Crosses – The common or Normal Cross.

5.) Cortado. In most people’s minds there is only one type of Cortado. However, if you’ve been following this site for some time, you’ll note that’s not the case. In this instance, we’re only referring to the Linear Ocho Cortado from the Closed Side of the Embrace.

These are the Five Social Figures. For more detail on the subject, please go look at the full video in the tangotopics archive.

Using these five figures as a foundation we can create numerous variations on a theme that work with in the line and lane of dance. Those ‘variations on a theme’ are the foundation of this video which are Five Social Figures Variations that we’re exploring today in today’s Tango Topic.

learning tango is challenging. registering makes it easier. 😉

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

mark found the habanera in gold madness. you can too! 🙂

First a reminder of What is “Dancing In A Small Space” (or ‘DIASS’ as Tango Topics refers to this idea) ! There are two parts to the answer to this question:

First, in it’s simplest form, it’s all about the vocabulary and engaging Five pieces of Tango vocabulary. The Five Pieces ? 1.) The 5 of the 6 Ways of Walking. 2.) Milonguero Ochos (sometimes referred to as ‘Lazy’ Ochos)3.) Milonguero Turns (not the Follower’s Molinete). 4.) Back and Forward Crosses (not the Argentine variety, there’s no space!). And 5.) Linear (and Circular) Ocho Cortados. This is all done in Close Embrace. Note that there are no Sacadas, Colgadas, Volcadas, Ganchos, Boloeos, or Death Drops and/or Drags. None. However, there are a whole bunch more pieces of Tango vocabulary that almost never get talked about, or thought of here, that can also be applied, such as Calesitas, Paradas (Step Over), Pasadas (Drags & Sweeps), ’Patter’ (sometimes referred to as ‘Pitter-Patter’), The Incrementals (see Golden Nugget Extensions), just to name a few.

Secondly, there’s the actual ‘Dancing’ part of the statement which is more about movement more than anything else. Said movement is done in a very confined space, no bigger than one meter square, if that. The people that practice this way of dancing, while they may not be conscious of it, there is a sincere desire to not to take up space, mostly because there isn’t any space to begin with. This is moving in milonga environment really, where the distance between couples, on all sides, is no more than about the length of one hand (about 17 centimeters). So from the perspective of the Small Space Dancer, there is precious little space to ‘do’ anything at all due to the conditions of the ronda, so as a result of this confinement, the dancing part is really about the minimal. Everything is done either around the lead, or the space that the couple current occupies and does not extend beyond that space. Quite factually, depending on which city we’re in when dancing this way (Buenos Aires comes to mind), one would take up no more space than the space that one’s feet occupy at that moment in time, and no more than that, but without moving from that spot!

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 ? 🙂

FREEMIUM REGISTRATIONpractical tango advice, open articles, free videos

you can do better, all it takes is practice and time.

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.


learning tango is challenging. registering makes it easier. 😉

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.

Learn > Ocho Transitions

mark found the habanera in gold madness. you can too! 🙂

Have you seen the Milonga Madness series ? Over 2.5 hrs of pure Milonga Instruction GOLD with one of the best Social Milonga Teaching couples alive: Detlef Engel & Melina Sedó! It covers everything you need to know to get you up and running today with Milonga. Don’t delay, subscribe today!

Milonga Madness with Detlef Engel & Melina Sedo

explore your dance with a subscription! 😉

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. 


register for the site at no cost & get more great, and detailed content from tango topics!


Scroll to top
Hide picture