Media vuelta and salida del 40 (tango vals review 2)

Vals timing for steps

1 . . 1 . . 1 . . 1 . . (step on the first beat of each measure, leaving beats 2 & 3 alone)

1 . 3 1 . 3 1 . 3 1 . 3 (step on the first and last beat of each measure, leaving beat 2 alone)

1 2 . 1 2 . 1 2 . 1 2 . (step on the first and second beat of each measure, leaving beat 3 alone)

1 2 3  (step on all three beats): I'd never do this more than once in a row!

Mix and match these timings as the music speaks to you. This session, we used valses from these three orchestras: Donato, D'Arienzo, and De Angelis because both Robert and I like nice medium-speed, well-marked rhythms for learning musicality (not because they began with 'D'!).

Media vuelta

Although there are many ways to begin a media vuelta, we did it in class from traveling back ochos.

The main idea is the the turn (media vuelta means "half turn") of the follower goes counterclockwise around the leader, using the follower's back, side, front steps. It truly IS a half turn (although I've been known to get all the way around on a particularly zippy one), and thus works really well to get back to line-of-dance (LOD) if you are facing the wrong way; or you can combine it with other elements to make a full turn more interesting. 

  • The trick for a zippy media vuelta: The leader uses a slight rebound step to initiate the turn and make it zippy: he steps slightly forward and slightly to the left diagonal, with the left foot; and then rebounds back to his right foot. I usually add another step as I turn in place for balance, but sometimes I stay on my right and spin; try both!
  • Timing: This makes a turn that works well for 1 . 3 1 for the follower (what I like usually), or 1 2 . 1 for the follower (what Robert likes usually). In either case, the follower steps left, right, left for the sequence.
  • Easy ending: After turn, follower has right foot free. The leader can either exit with the left for parallel, or with the right for crossed system, and contine dancing.
  • Continuous (linked) media vueltas: Continue turning so that the follower does a fourth step around to complete the turn (1 . . ) WHILE leader shifts weight (1 . 3 or 1 2 . ) and then initiates another media vuelta, again starting facing LOD. This makes the follower's and leader's steps both syncopate, but in series (ex. follower 1 2 . 1; leader 1 2 . 1; follower 1 2 . 1, with each person doing the quick quick staccato timing while the other person is executing a 1 . . count on their step.

Salida del 40 (1940s style salida)

I was taught this as a normal salida when in Buenos Aires, but I've noticed that most people call it a "salida del 40" so I'll continue that usage. There are many variations on this theme, but the one we taught was Robert's preferred version:

  • Leader faces out of the room (back to the center of the floor), and takes a side step with the left, LOD; follower takes a right side step, also LOD.
  • Leader steps together in place, onto the right foot (the couple are now in crossed system) and pivots the follower so that her/his next step will be backwards, down the LOD.
  • Optional adorno for the follower here: use the left (free leg), making a tiny U shape around the right foot--make sure the KNEES touch, with the left back of the knee touching the right front of the knee. This has to be small, fast, and on balance!
  • Optional adorno for the follower here: after being pivoted to move LOD, facing RLOD, you can tap your (still) free left foot next to your right before stepping backwards. Make is subtle--this is an adornment, not the main step :-)
  • Leader steps LOD with the left; follower steps LOD back with the left (some versions have only the follower step here). This is a smaller step.
  • Leader steps LOD with the right; follower steps LOD back with the right. This is an energized, strong step.
  • Leader leads the follower to cross without changing the leader's weight. Follower crosses, transferring weight to the left foot.
  • Exit in parallel.


1 . . 1 . . 1 . . 1 . . is the underlying pulse of this step. The leader's step to change to crossed system works well as 1 . 3 or 1 2 . so that the follower's step stays on the 1 . . 1 (and the same is true for the follower's cross, which works well as 1 . 3 or 1 2 .). Of course, other timings work well, too, but I'd say this is the most traditional version.

Ocho cortado and ocho cortado turn

I covered ocho cortado and ocho cortado turns on March 19, 2010 and April 5, 2010. You can either search by "ocho cortado" among my topics, or look for those dates to review those moves.

Vals timing

For ocho cortado, the two rebound steps can be any of the vals timings I listed at the beginning of this post. In the turn, the most traditional timing is to syncopate the rebounds, AND make the turn 1 . . 1 2 . 1 or 1 . . 1 . 3 1--you choose! Of course, you can always stick to straight 1 . . 1 . . 1 . ., but where's the extra edge of challenge?