Molinete lineal

Argentine Tango Encyclopedia

Molinete lineal is a lateral walk, meaning continuous steps in which the couple moves laterally (as opposed to moving front or back).

The molinete is tango’s default method of walking lateral, by interleaving back and front steps with side steps. The pattern can start at any point.

Molinete lineal can be used to walk in the line of dance and it’s often used when dancing fast.

When the lateral walk travels on a circle, it’s a giro.


Both dancers must:

  1. Pivot 90 degrees between each step, establish their arcs with base leg in external rotation.
  2. Be able to stop in first projection (without falling into the step).
  3. Make the speed and size of every step equal.


  • The Mark uses his obliques to pivot between steps, produce lateral intention for the Revel.
  • To convey continous lateral intention he must keep arm abduction constant despite the lateral shoulder flexion he must make to adjust the embrace around the contra motion.
  • The Mark may always modify the pattern of his steps from default molinete without disturbing the Revel’s pattern.


  • Be aware that the Mark may start with the default pattern, but the fun is in changing the pattern and speed. Be ready. And remember not to get carried away with fast. Be ready to stop on a dime, with your free leg relaxed so the Mark can change the dynamic to a voleo or sacada.

The mark may choose to change the pattern in any of the following ways. Every variation from the default must be marked.

  1. offsetting the basic pattern, so that the partners steps are not mirrored.
  2. shortening the side step so that it is essentially a change of foot
  3. accelerating the side step
  4. altering the sequence: front-side-front, back-side-back, or side-change of foot-side


Technique for [4, illustrated above]: After the first step in the diagram above, the Mark must establish the arch, extend his knees to bring her feet together, and mark a controlled and small change of foot (he may or may not mimic this). Only after this change of foot does the mark introduce a block (exactly like rebote cadera) which will reverse her expected direction. His base leg’s knee is extended to make the step small. Immediately after the block the mark must flex his base knee so the next step will be a normal size.

It’s interesting to mark this 3-step sequence for the Revel while the Mark takes only 2 steps…




Variations of Each Element


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