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The Milonguero Turn

The Milonguero Turn is a very useful piece of tango vocabulary and yet it is almost never taught anymore, sadly. It has been supplanted by its sexier kissin’ cousin, the Follower’s Molinete. Put simply, when you really stop and think about the Milonguero Turn, is nothing more than a backcross, a side step, and a forward cross (from the Follower’s perspective). This isn’t rocket science, it’s Argentine Tango, and as such there’s not a whole lot of complexity to this particular well worn, and exceedingly useful, but highly underrated Tango vocabulary. The fact is that this was the predominant turn for almost 70 years before Gustavo Naveira came along and changed everything with the sexier Follower’s Molinete, so the story goes. So without further yapping, let’s dive into The Milonguero Turn!

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Have you seen The Eight Tango Turns Series ? We showcase 8 types of turns: 1.) The Follower’s Molinete. 2.) The Milonguero Turn. 3.) The Rock Step. 4.) The Ocho Cortado. 5.) The Walking Turn. 6.) The Calesita. 7.) The Colgada Turn. 8.) The Media Luna.

Learn > The Eight Tango Turns

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What is A Milonguero Turn ? First let’s define the words there, as they require a bit of clarity. ‘Milonguero’ is yet another made up word used for marketing purposes that is a bastardization of the true meaning of the word itself. A ‘Milonguero’ is someone who was raised in the milongas, they would pick up discarded tickets to get into the milongas to then watch how people danced and then emulate that so that they could then dance with the pretty girls. This all happened in a 25 year time period from about 1930 to about 1955. If you were born in that time period and ran with this crowd of dancers, then you could rightfully (and distastefully, because it was a term of disparagement in those days) be called a ‘Milonguero’. There are very few of these men left in the world. Very few.

These men didn’t take classes. They didn’t go to special Tango schools. No. They didn’t have the money. They learned on the floor while watching other people dance, and deconstructed what they saw. They then tried to one-up each other, trying to outdo each other with tricks and what not. While the game was certainly about getting the girl, it was also about showing off. In a lot of ways, the Milongueros of yesteryear bears a striking resemblance to the forerunners of modern hip-hop, minus the gang mentality. This is a ‘Milonguero’.

The term, so the story goes, was developed as a marketing tool, as a way to describe what one specific teacher saw in the clubs and milongas of Buenos Aires. This was called ‘Milonguero Style’ dancing.

A Milonguero Turn, on the other hand, is representative of the type of turn that existed prior to Gustavo Naveira (re)discovering the Follower’s Molinete. Again, so the story goes.

In it’s simplest form, the Milonguero Turn is where the Lead or Follower, typically the Follower, is led to a clean back-crossing step, an arced side step, and then a clean forward cross. The cleanliness of the crossing steps is noted elsewhere on tango topics, known as the “Dirty Cross“. The Milonguero Turn is one of the easiest of turns to accomplish with regards to Argentine Tango for a variety of reasons, most notably because there is no hip rotation for the partner that is performing the turn, there is no ‘pivot’, nor is there any Disassociation or Applied Disassociation. The turn allows of the couple to stay with each other and also allows for an easeful experience vs. the Follower’s Molinete that is the default turn today. And last but not least, it allows for the partnership to stay facing each other, while at the same time not expending a great deal of energy to ‘turn’ whereas the Follower’s Molinete does precisely that. While the Milonguero Turn is not sexy, it is in our estimation the more desirable and elegant turns. It is, however, easy to see why it was abandoned in favor of its sexier cousin. That said, don’t discard it simply because it’s not sexy, use it because it is insanely functional!

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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 ? 🙂

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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.


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About The Video. This video comes in at 07m:10s in length in 7 Sections. Both lead and follow technique are combined into the video.

Section 1 – Introduction – 00:00:25
Section 2 – Lead The Backcross – 00:02:41
Section 3 – Follower Technique – 00:00:55
Section 4 – Lead Details – 00:00:38
Section 5 – Follower’s Big Side Step – 00:00:40
Section 6 – Lead Footwork – 00:00:30
Section 7 -Example/End – 00:00:47

Related Videos Mentioned In This Article: 

The Six Ways of WalkingDownload
Close Embrace SacadasArticle/Download

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The Missing Information. Dearest Reader. TangoTopics is glad that you want to read this Topic, so that you can dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, you’re missing three important parts to this Article: The Follower’s Perspective, The Lead’s Perspective, and The Dancing Perspective. Which can change your thinking by informing of some important pieces of information that you may not necessarily be aware of. Watching a 5 minute video will not help you to change. Change is a concerted effort and requires a little thinking on your part: Becoming a Freeium User! As the name implies, it’s FREE. Register. You get to see everything above, and a whole lot more! 😉 Have a nice day.

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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. 


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