You will notice that some common terms are deprecated in the KnowledgeBase. These are terms we avoid, because they are misunderstood, produce bad technique, or because a more clear term and technique is available.

In writing and editing, usage of a word may be deprecated because it is ambiguous, confusing, or…[has] auto-antonymic or self-contradictory meaning…[or] obsolete, either through change or superseding…[We] recommend substituting other words that are clearly understood and unambiguous… Wikipedia

Also avoided:

  • Physics: The science of physics does not involve muscles. It’s not relevant. The correct science is Anatomy.
  • Abstractions (such as the term ‘axis’) Abstracting is part of how we think. We categorize, simplify, generalize, and abstract as we theorize our world. Some abstractions are very useful, others are confusing. Tango teaching suffers from an excess of abstractions, many of which take us further from our own bodies’ physical experience, and are therefore not helpful.
  • Metaphors (cats, surfing, water…). While some students enjoy metaphor, I have found that any given metaphor is generally opaque to about half my students. That’s not good enough for me. One of the few metaphors I use is the “arch” of connection. I tried not to use it, but found that students were organically introducing this word to describe their experience with what I was teaching them.
Deprecated Here
  • Axis - In anatomy, the axes of a body are defined without any reference to the position of the body or its relation to the floor or gravity. This concept has nothing to do with balance, function, or movement. The way dancers use this term is not accurate. The scientifically correct concept to which dancers are referring is ‘orthostasis’, but even […]
  • Collapse - The term ‘collapsed hips’ has been deprecated. The anatomical term is ‘drop hip’ and the cause is internal rotation of the hip joint. Internal rotation of legs and arms is to be avoided. External rotation engages the hip and shoulder stabilizers (piriformis and rotator cuff) to support the joints. and enables the muscles to work […]
  • Collect - Collect (deprecated) is a technique often taught to beginning dancers in which Revels are exhorted to grab their legs together at the end of each step. While we do indeed want the legs to pass close to each other for a moment between steps (with a sexy relaxation of the knee and ankle of the […]
  • Compression - The anatomical term for what is sometimes called compression (deprecated) is co-contraction.
  • Contra - (Disambiguation) Contra is used in two contexts. It is often used to teach walking. The contra walk is deprecated as it is often counterproductive. Similar to the term disassociation, contra is an instruction both imprecise and excessive. Arbitrary implementation of contra motion at the wrong point in the step weakens the body by causing internal rotation […]
  • Core - Core (deprecated) is a term exercise professionals use to refer to a group of muscles which work together to stabilize the body during movement. Since the complex of core muscles are very powerful, exercise physiologists have come to recommend that the core be activated first whenever we undertake movement. In this way, more vulnerable muscles […]
  • Cross-system - Cross-system is deprecated, as it is too easily confused with the movement called the cross. It is replaced with the accurate term for describing this four-legged gait, ‘trot-system’ and with the geometry of gait on tracks in the floor.  
  • Disassociation - Disassociation (deprecated) is a term often used to teach tango, but its lack of precision results in bad technique. The first problem is that Disassociation is used to refer to two quite different things: torsion in the body, and separation between the embrace and the legs. Torsion in the body When we create torsion we […]
  • Energy - Our muscles burn fuel for the energy to contract. Muscles do not create energy (deprecated), they use energy. These contractions create power, which is expressed as force and velocity.   Wikipedia Power is created through different kinds of contractions (concentric, eccentric, isometric). Force, at a velocity, is transmitted to the partner. The structure of the arch of […]
  • enganche - In Castellano, a gancho is a hook. Enganche means to hook something. This term is used in tango to refer to a wide variety of hooks, from double-gancho to back cross. Since enganche does not refer to a particular movement, it is deprecated. Please see the individual movements.
  • Entrada - Entrada (deprecated) is a weak sacada.
  • Frame - The purpose of frame (deprecated) is to maintain perfect connection. In place of frame, we build an arch of connection. The embrace completes the arch. We use external rotation of the shoulder joints (contracting the rotator cuff muscles) and gentle contraction of the triceps to stabilize the elbow joints while allowing for agility in adjusting to […]
  • Freeze - Freeze was one of the 2011 TangoForge 5 Competencies. It has since been deprecated. The purpose of a freeze is for the Mark to let the Revel know that you don’t want her to move from her current base position. This instruction should not be necessary as Revels should never leave their bases without being […]
  • Mirror system - Former replacement for ‘parallel-system’, both now deprecated in favor of pace-system. When walking front and back, we need two concepts to describe precisely the improvisational possibilities. The first is where we are walking. We can walk on two, three, or four tracks. The second concept is which pair of legs move simultaneously. When both partners […]
  • Oppositional power - Oppositional power or force is deprecated. We adjust the position and quantity of muscle contraction in our arcs to maintain the arc of connection at all times. The maximum muscle power is provided by co-contraction.
  • out-of-axis - In anatomy, the axes of a body are defined without any reference to the position of the body or its relation to the floor or gravity. This concept has nothing to do with balance, function, or movement. The way dancers use this term is not accurate. The scientifically correct concept to which dancers are referring is ‘orthostasis’, but even scientists […]
  • Parallel - The term parallel is used in several ways. Walking in parallel system (deprecated) refers to walking on two or four tracks in pace-system. We reserve the term ‘parallel’ as it is used in contemporary ballet to describe the orientation of the hips and feet.
  • Suspension - People use the term ‘suspension’ to describe is a wonderful feeling of floating and timelessness. It facilitates smooth transitions, provides space-time for adornos, and feels great. The biomechanics for creating suspension (deprecated) is the arch of connection (not your hands or shoulders, that just creates tension).
  • Tension - Tension (deprecated) is a vague term which is used to describe the gentle muscle contractions we need to keep our bodies connected (for example contraction of triceps muscle to keep the embrace taut) intense muscle contractions we need to support dramatic moves like rebvolcada and colgada excess habitual muscle contractions which block communication.. What is […]


Variations of Each Element