THE CODE OF THE TANGO   4 comments

For many dancers it may not be clear what it is meant by the “code of the tango.”

The ‘code’ is simple an agreed prescription for the way the woman crosses one of her legs relative to where the man is (her right or her left) when she dances around him.

When she dances to the left of the man, her left leg crosses inside and outside the embrace alternating until her direction changes. The salida simple is the most common consequence of applying the code. After her initial lateral step, the woman first crosses her left leg outside the embrace with a back step, follows with an inside back diagonal with her right leg, and then she crosses her left leg inside the embrace in front of her right as she steps back .

When she dances to the right of the man, her right leg alternates crossing inside (in front of her left) and outside (behind her left leg) until her direction changes.

The importance of the code is that it establishes the natural position of the woman’s legs within the structure of the dance and serve as the basis for the man’s option to improvise.

The use of the word code was first introduced by Valorie Hart and Alberto Paz in the pages of El Firulete in an attempt to clarify the concept of the original Spanish word CODIGO, i.e. rule, agreement, to the teaching of tango.

4 responses to “THE CODE OF THE TANGO

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  1. Hola!
    It’s very confusse your explanation…What’s mean “The women FIRST cross…..
    TERRIBLE!!! que BARRABASADA! WHEN in all history of the Tango, the womens go FIRST to do samething!??? is litterally wrong and “the Code” IF is exist, is about all rules around the behaiver in the dance floor, NO in the steps!!! Please, dont invent or diffuse same self interpretation, it’s not :”serve as the basis for the mans§§§ My GOD! Do you never hear about ?? Do you never hear about the man leads and the women follows, even when the men improvise!!!
    Very desapointed! Mana

    • Amigo Barrabasada,

      The description of the sequence in which the woman dances around the man (the steps of the giro) has nothing to do with “all history of the Tango,” or “inventing or diffusing,” or whatever confused you so much due to your lack of understanding of the English language.
      My advice to you, after having being in the business for 20 years, having published a best selling book Gotta Tango, and having developed an international reputation for being one of the most advanced tango teachers, historians and mentor of many younger stars, is that you sign up for some anger management therapy, learn the English language properly, or ask before engaging yourself in nonsensical pelotudeces like the embarrassing rant you displayed here.
      Now, we’re not sure whether you’re Argentine living in France, or just plain rude Frenchman. Either way, shame on you for your lack of manners.

  2. I’m with Mana here.
    Never heard ‘code’ used to mean a particular way of doing a move in Tango.
    Didn’t understand your description.

    ‘A rule’ perhaps, but not ‘the rule’ or ‘the rules’.
    Generally ‘codigos’ mean etiquette, politeness or more specifically ‘floorcraft’.

    Google [codigas tango OR milonga] to see what we mean.

    • Thank you for your comments, and forgive me for not having the foggiest idea who Mana is. However I hope you’re enjoying the good company.

      You’re right in saying that you “never heard ‘code’ used to mean a particular way of doing a move in Tango.” I agree with you that you didn’t understand my description. I apologize for not having done a better job of explaining. It has definitely nothing to do with a particular way of doing a move in tango. So, relax, nobody is trying to play Big Daddy telling anybody how to do moves in a particular way.

      We are talking about an agreed way (a codigo) in which the woman dances around the man. When the woman moves around the right side of the man, she alternates crossing her right leg inside and outside her other leg, or in front or behind (forward step or back step). When she goes around to the left of man, she uses her left leg to cross in front and behind.

      In the native language we call that, “el codigo” that defines the motion of her right leg or left leg as she goes around the man.

      We’ll make the necessary corrections to avoid any additional confusion, and thank you again for your feedback.

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