Ghost Guide To Tango: Giros


Giros ("turns") are figures where the lady dances a grapevine-pattern (forward-side-backward-side-forward-etc.) around around the man, using similar footwork to that of an ocho. The man simply turns at the center of the figure. Giros are very common in Argentine Tango.

Giros are a good way to practice principles. The follow's sidestep and backstep covers almost all walking and pivots, except for cross and taking off axis.

Giros are also sometimes called Molinetes or "windmills".


  • Lead's elbow shows position of follow's next step.
  • Tension is gathered and released in the waist
  • Remember to stay heart to heart, even in back ochos part.
  • Follows may be aware of the possibility of reversing the giro at the front ocho step.
  • The further away she is, the faster she has to go.
  • Good way to build up speed / momentum for next move
  • If doing giros at speed and you do a barrida, retract foot rather than parada.

Practice sequence


Left - sidestep to back ochos

Right - lead follow one backstep, then sidestep right to back ochos. (If just sidestep right will probably get front ochos)

Anticlockwise giro

The position of the leader's left hand changes. His left arm opens out more (pretty much as far as possible) so his hand is now further away from her than the previous mid-point.

Clockwise giro

The embrace changes. Effectively put her right hand in towards her right rib so that she has to turn more to re-form the embrace on her right side. Leader's right hand is also on the back of her right ribs adding an impulse. The position of the leader's right elbow changes. His upper right arm opens out more (pretty much as far as possible) so his elbow is now further back.

Linear giro

Get slightly offset to the left of follow to cause the first move after the sidestep to be a back ocho. Can end in a cross.


Principle: To coil or twist

Entrance: Sidestep left. Pivot acw and lead's right foot ends up crossed behind left

Technique: Lead doesn't pull his left foot in. Instead he turns hips and keep thighs together to corkscrew it in. Lead makes sure his right shoulder doesn't hunch forward. Bend knees on pivot.


Lead's foot touches the follows behind as he leads her to reverse the direction with a forwards ocho. Follow pasadas (steps over) lead now need to either retract his paradaing foot or rotate it slightly to allow her to pass. The exceptions are if he wants her to barrida his foot or to block her to reverse direction for a gancho


Can adjust giro pattern with barridas / sacadas to make it:

  • side - front ocho - side - front ocho


  • side - back ocho - side - back ocho

Some quotes

To lead the ocho components - "Torso rotation works best, if it does not take place using the centre of the body as the hub of the wheel, but uses the opposite shoulder to the side of an ocho. Imagine the lead's torso and right shoulder as a door hinged on my left shoulder. If I want to make the follow feel free to step to the right I need to open the door for her" ~ A Passion for Tango.

In close embrace - "the woman can perform the grapevine manoeuvre minimally. This means practically no pivots. The same formula of side, back, side front was required. The difference was that these could be crossed steps, almost like a series of side steps alternating with a cruzada but with the replacing crossing foot travelling alternatively in front of the opposite ankle and behind." ~ A Passion for Tango

 - Christopher O'Shea