the Game of Argentine Tango

Everything is a range of possibilities

Windup reveals intention

If we give no windup, our partner has no warning, and we have no power.

What and why

People who don't know the secret think that tango looks like magic. “How are they communicating all of those movements to each other?”

The secret is windup! We have an idea of what we want to do next. We call this our intention. By preparing our body to move, our partner feels that and prepares to move. Then magic begins.

Video and transcript

English transcript

Transcripción en español


Baseball pitchers wind up to create power when they throw a ball. Dancers use a windup for better grounding and greater clarity, to better connect with our partners, and to prepare our muscles to move our body weight. Windups start with a spiral movement (like a softball pitch) first circling to the direction opposite the throw or step, then coming around to the intended direction.

The windup helps us to be well Grounded. If our movements aren't well placed, they can create balance and stability problems for either partner. Grounding keeps us strong and stable even when some “Oops!” moment threatens to upset us.


  • Solo — practice windup in all four directions, on both feet. Try to focus on the windup guiding the movement.
  • Partner — test windup communication. Can our partner correctly identify the direction we intend to move?

The windup → grounding is the way we build energy for our next move.

  1. We create spring-like energy by first loading our muscles in opposition to our intended direction.
  2. This preparation, with clarity and good timing, gives the partner notice of our intentions.
  3. It looks grounded and powerful because it is more grounded and powerful.