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Tango Apilado / Milonguero Dancing Style

Apilado (sometimes called Milonguero, Almagro, Cafe or Confiteria) means piled up in Spanish, in which the dancers have an especially strong lean against each other. It is a style beautifully crafted by the maestro Carlos Gavito.

Tango Apilado

Apilado / Milonguero position (photo attributed to Paco Romero)

Apilado / Milonguero has the following attributes:
  • The lead and follower lean against each much more than usual.
  • Both dancers are leaning forward with their axes on the edge of balance, particularly the follower - there is variation allowed in the strength of the lean, but it is sufficient such that if one partner is removed, the other will fall. The lean is preserved throughout the dance, with constant contact.
  • The follower's right cheek connects to the lead's right cheek.
  • Danced in close embrace, with variations in the dance to allow for constantly maintaining the embrace: for example backward ochos with minimal or no pivots.
  • The apilado is a prerequisite for the volcada.
  • Knees are flexible, perhaps bent slightly, particularly for the follower.
  • Bodies are aligned - midline to midline and chest-to-chest contact. The spines are kept straight with bodies relaxed, creating a triangle between the two dancers and the floor. This imparts a unique flowing sensation of shared energy to the dance, known as cadencia by the milongueros, tuned by the inhalation and exhalation of the leader's breathing.
  • To preserve the orientation and lean, the lead will step forward and put his front foot on the floor before the follower places her back foot on the floor.
  • Both lead and follower are highly responsible for maintaining their own axis and balance.
  • Steps are small, and feet are kept close to the floor.
  • The embrace is high: the follower's arm is typically placed behind the man's neck, over the top of the shoulder.
  • Leading is done by moving the body along with moving slightly forward from the feet and tilting the axis slightly.
  • There is the concept of the apilado connection - a connection that is enhanced by the use of this style. This connection, which is enhanced by a meeting of the bodies at the rib cage, is close and constant without undue pressure.
  • It is especially advantageous for taller women.
Enhancements to the original version of this article came as a result of very constructive feedback from Barbara Bill.

Apilado - Carlos Gavito and Geraldine Rojas

Apilado - Carlos Gavito and Maria Plazaola

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