Argentine Tango Encyclopedia



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 do not want in fact to separate the embrace from the legs! To use that torsion we need to keep the chain of muscles attached! If we are not alert to maintaining our arc of muscles, excess torsion will cause loss of hip flexion and internal rotation of the hip and knee joints, which prevents the leg muscles from working powerfully.

Instead of taking arbitrary positions such as “keep your chest facing your partner”, we want to take care of our muscle strength first (by maintaining external rotation of the legs and arms), and then connect our strength to the partner using the arch of connection.

Disassociation is sometimes used to describe the natural contra motion of walking. Here too, the exhortation results in dysfunction, especially vertical shoulder flexion which should not occur when the partners are moving in the same direction, and also loss of hip flexion.

Separation of the embrace from the legs

There are several situations in which in some sense we do “disassociate” the embrace from the body

  • Contra movements (rebotes and co-contractions) in which the lower body moves while leaving the embrace more or less where it is. The correct biomechanics of what is happening here is lateral shoulder-flexion.
  • Change of embrace, when the mark moves his body closer or further from the revel, moving his body inside the current position of the embrace. This is vertical shoulder-flexion.
  • Mark’s adornos, in which he disassociates his free leg from the rest of the body to make sure the revel doesn’t perceive an intention from his movement. To do this correctly, he needs to maintain the arch of connection in its current position, making sure that he does not allow motions of the free leg to disturb the arch.
  • Mark’s change of foot, in which he shifts the base of the arch of connection while keeping it pointed in the same place, so that the revel does not change foot. (The same technique is used for calesita, turning colgada, and when the mark wants to change position relative to the revel without moving her.)

Variations of Each Element


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