Flying step

Argentine Tango Encyclopedia

Flying step is a small-scale leaning step (volcada or colgada).

Usually we don’t distinguish movements by scale or intensity, but in this case we make an exception because flying steps are less scary than full volcadas and colgadas, and also they give a very different musicality.


The mark for all leaning movements is initiated with a change of embrace to give permission for the lean.

Unlike volcadas and colgadas which are often marked with a vertical circle, flying steps are marked directly, with just flexion or extension of the elbow joints, creating linear entry, whereas many volcadas and colgadas have circularity.


Once the permission has been communicated, and the embrace adjusted, the Mark can now fulfil the flying step.  To do this, he intensifies the arch structure, increasing hip flexion (by pulling his tailbone back while keeping his torso close to upright) while extending his shoulder joints. He may extend his knees or flex them. He may also extend his elbow joints further.

In every case the counterbalance follows one vector through space.

The Revel’s hips and shoulders and base leg’s knee will match his exactly.

Both partners intensify the co-contraction in their upper legs (quadriceps+hamstrings) to support the intensified arch.

The structure of the bodies must sustain the arch throughout the movement, keeping the two arcs aligned on one vector. If the arcs mis-align, the partners will not be able to balance one another, and they will fall.

The weight and drama of the movement correlate to the size of the Mark’s hip and knee flexion + shoulder and elbow extension.

The Mark should not try to hold on to the Revel! She holds herself, with both hands at first. If the arch is perfectly aligned the partners may feel comfortable dropping one side of the embrace.

Projection & Variations

The projection of a flying step can be made in many different shapes, a projection along the floor, a projection above the floor, points and taps toward the floor, arabesques perpendicular to the body, and linear voleos. If the projection is a linear voleo, be sure to flex the free leg’s hip and knee and then extend the knee.

The timing of the projection may vary. It can happen before the permission, during the development of the structure, or after the final position has been set up.

Variations of Each Element


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