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Tango Canyengue Dancing Style

Canyengue (sometimes called Orillero) was originally used around the early 1900s to denote a lower class or 'street' tango. Nowadays, Canyengue is used for a particular style of tango characterised by playfulness, musicality, bent knees and a lead-right-cheek to follower-left-cheek contact.

Tango Canyengue

Canyengue position (photo attributed to Tango City)


Canyengue has the following attributes:
  • The lead and follower have bent knees.
  • The Canyengue is extremely playful and charismatic - often described as "incisive, exciting and provocative"; in the old guard of tango, it was said that the dancers had the 'Canyenguero mice' in their feet.
  • A characteristic is for the dancers to quite often walk together side-by-side or forwards.
  • Generally danced in close embrace, in a V-offset.
  • Both lead and follower share one axis.
  • Dancing is done with firm contact on the ground. Steps are small, historically limited by the tight fit of the women's dresses around the 1900s.
  • Canyengue makes significant use of the cortes, or stops - accentuated by the knees being bent. This is combined with a steady on-off beat (2/4) of dancing.
  • Another feature of the Canyengue is the corrida: small, quick steps to a run or almost run.
  • The joints from the waist up (shoulder, elbow and head) are much more mobile than normal tango, called body dissociation.
  • The spine is slightly soft, not rigid.
  • Contact is maintained chest to chest.
  • The follower is significantly offset to the lead's right, with the lead's right cheek in contact with the follower's left cheek.
  • The man's embrace is low compared to the woman's: The lead has his arm around just above the waist whereas the follower has her arm over the man’s shoulder.
  • Generally the cruzada is absent.
  • The contacting hands are often seen extremely low compared to other styles.


Tango Canyengue - Roxina Villegas and Adrian Griffero



Tango Canyengue - Roxina Villegas and Adrian Griffero



Tango Canyengue - milonga by the MCCA (Movimiento Cultural Canyengue Argentino)



Tango Canyengue - Martha Anton and Manolo 'El Gallego' Salvador



Tango Canyengue - Anna Karrassik and Ernest Williams



Tango Canyengue - Anna Osvaldo



Tango Canyengue - Nahuel Barsi and Maria Cieri






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