This is part 3 of our series of blogs about building an elegant, comfortable tango frame – the Holy Grail in becoming great to dance with and even greater to watch.


Read part 1 and part 2 of our blog.


The open embrace

The open embrace is similar to the close embrace, simply a bit more ‘open’ allowing more space between partners. In the open embrace, the follower’s hand rests on the leader’s right biceps instead of the shoulder blade. The connection is just enough to be able to feel any movement the leader makes for a quicker reaction.

In Europe, most beginners will start their tango journey in open embrace and will gradually close the embrace as they progress. As a dancer, you should never feel pressurised into closing the embrace if you’re not comfortable with it, although there’s nothing to worry about. With proper technique, tango dancers find the close embrace easier, as dancers start to rely more on their sense of touch and balance more than sight, which can be misleading. Some may argue that they can’t see their partner’s feet if the embrace is close: this is true, but you shouldn’t be looking down anyway!

The practice embrace

The last type of embrace, the practice embrace is more self explanatory; it’s used when training and learning new steps for the first time, although not all tango dancers use it – some go straight into the open or close embrace. It’s largely down to personal preference.

See you soon on the dancefloor!


Nathalie and Emma
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