As you may already know, my favorite style of social tango is called "tango salon", and in particular the "Villa Urquiza" style of tango salon. Elegant and often sensual, with close embrace that sometimes opens, long gliding steps, sharp and clean embellishments, and precise musicality. It's the style I teach to my students. I've just started calling it "Rose-Vine Tango" because it works like this:
Think of a vine on which roses can grow. The vine, including its supple, intertwining branches and the leaves, represents the tango walk around the edge of the room , with its many variations (in both parallel and crossed systems) and embellishments ("drawing" to the music, mostly on the floor but sometimes in the air, with the man's or woman's free foot). The vine can also represent traveling figures (such as the regular basic, crossed-system basic, "cambio de frente", walking "ochos", and more!).
Now think of a rose that appears on the vine. That's a circular and stationary figure, one done within a square meter, (such as any giro (turn)/molinete (woman's turn around the man), forward ocho from the cross and parada/s, the sandwich, a circular ocho cortado, etc, etc, etc.). So the couple can be "walking the vine", and their tango suddenly erupts into a rose . . . or into a CLUSTER of roses, by which I mean an uninterrupted series of figures, or a combination of segments of figures, smoothly tied together. When the room is more crowded, we shorten the lengths of vine between the roses; when there's plenty of space, we make the most of our walks, leaving long lengths of vine, and making the "roses" more sparse, each one very important.
The vine segments are linear and transitory, the roses are circular and stationary.
What I do not like to experience or see is . . . a wreath, all roses packed tightly together, with no vine! That is, a tango packed with figure after figure after figure, with no walk and few pauses, leaving little breathing room for that intimate, delicious communication so many of us seek through the body-dialogue of tango!
Now I have an assignment for you! Please watch this video of Jorge and Marita Dispari, and see if you can identify where's the vine, and where are the roses!!
Jorge Dispari and Maria del Carmen (Marita), orchestra Juan D'Arienzo with Alberto Echague.