Chapter 14   Leave a comment

The media vuelta

A working understanding of floor navigation and the dynamic interplay of the body positioning, create plenty of opportunities to enjoy a Tango, any Tango, with any given partner, and with floor conditions in effect at the time that you step on to the dance floor. During the learning process, certain patterns and figures become so internalized by sheer repetition, that body memory inhibits the ability of dancers to improvise with creativity out of many situations created by the presence of other dancers and their own trajectories around the dance floor.

For, example, walking on the side of the partner, (Body alignments 2 and 3) can be boring and repetitive if the result is another cross for the woman followed by a resolution or an occasional forward ocho. What should be used as a base from where to build a variety of movements becomes “the basic” and it limits the possibilities of flowing around the dance floor in a seemingly continuous pattern that includes the three fundamental body displacements (forward, backwards and sideways) connected with rotations of the bodies over the support axis.

The term media vuelta is commonly used to describe a body turn north to south for example, if we call north the direction in which the body is facing before the execution of a media vuelta. Either of both dancers can do a media vuelta at the same time or individually. Visually, a media vuelta is a body rotation over open legs, that is, after the legs open in a forward direction for example, the body turns in the opposite direction of the leading leg. To clarify further, visualize the typical forward ocho. The turning on the forward ocho is in the direction of the leading leg. What differentiates the media vuelta is that it is done with both feet on the ground which allows the dancer to continue moving in either direction, north or south after the turn, depending on how the weight is transferred at the end of the turn. In the case of the man, this allows him to correctly mark the next move for the woman.


[Left] After stepping on the right side of the woman with the right foot, the man marks a side step to the right for the woman with a rotation of his upper body). [Center] Once she is on the man’s left side (body position 3), the man marks a forward step for the woman as he continues to rotate his upper body to the left. As she sets her left foot down, the man is half way through the media vuelta. Their bodies are perpendicular to each other (body position 4). [Right] As the man finishes his rotation, he marks a pivot for the woman on her left who then completes the first part of a forward ocho. At this point they both are in body position 2 again, and he can indicate the next movement bringing her forward to complete the ocho, or sending her back by advancing on her side.


A media vuelta to the left begins after the right leg is opened forward. Weight is transferred forward so the right foot is flat on the ground and the knee is naturally flexed. The left foot remains on the ground, firmly pushing down with the metatarsus. At this point, the body is supported by both legs. Next, the upper torso begins to rotate left as both legs elongate to keep the heels off the ground. Most of the weight is now on the right metatarsus which serves as the initial rotating axis. At the end of the turn, the body is facing opposite to where it started, and the forward leg is now the left. To continue in the new direction, the weight is transferred to the forward leg. To go back in the original direction, the weight is transferred to the trailing leg. The object of weight transfer is to provide a balanced axis for the body so the free leg can naturally close and then open in the direction of travel.

If this media vuelta is executed by the man, the woman connected throught the embrace, will begin with a back step, then open to her right moving to the left of the man, and as he begins the rotation she’ll advance forward and turn on left leg to end facing the man in body position 2.

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Posted January 7, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Tutorial

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