Change of Embrace

Argentine Tango Encyclopedia



The embrace changes, slightly, with every step, and throughout the step, to accommodate the realignment of the arch of connection. These changes are constituted by allowing our arcs to move as needed inside the space of the existing embrace, whatever that is.

When the partners are moving in the same direction, shoulder-flexion and elbow flexion should not change.  (An excessive attempt at “contra motion” in the Mark’s front walk may take the form of vertical shoulder-flexion which confuses the communication and breaks the arch of connection.)

Adjustable tautness in the embrace is maintained by gentle contraction of the triceps.

When the partners are moving in the same direction, the vertical and lateral shoulder flexion angles do not change

Many movements require a change of embrace. Indeed the change of embrace often initiates the mark of the movement.

The Mark can often begin the change of embrace in the step before the movement that requires it. This prefiguration of the shift helps to smooth the transition and enables the revel to adjust not only physically, but emotionally (she may be in a near-trance so it’s good to give some warning).

When opening and closing the embrace, the Mark should always move into and out of the revel’s embrace, rather than pulling her to him or pushing her away. He does this by stepping to her to close the embrace and stepping away from her to open it. (He does not pull her in and push her out.) When moving out of a close embrace, the mark should tenderly pull his heart away from the contact first, and then initiate vertical shoulder-flexion, rather than separating everything at once.

Variations of Each Element


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