Argentine Tango Steps

The Carousel or Calesita

The Argentine Tango Calesita is a type of turn. The word “Calesita” translates as ‘Carousel’ or ‘Merry-Go-Round’. The letters ‘sita’ or ‘cita’ that end a Spanish word means small or tiny. So Calesita is a small carousel, or a small merry-go-round. The Argentine Calesita is a basically a small turn. It’s a variation on El Giro De Caminando or the Walking Turn.

In terms of leading and following, the Calesita is in some respects nothing more than walking for one of you and nothing more than standing still for the other. One of of the partners (the person receiving the Calesita) will stay in the center, while the other (the person walking the Calesita) will walk around the other. There are several variations of the Calesita. But the most straight forward and the one to begin with is the Follower’s Forward Calesita. In this Calesita, the follower walks forward around the lead.

There are two common components to the Argentine Calesita:

  • The common entry points to a Calesita. The most common is a simple side step in either direction (to lead left, or to lead right). A Calesita can be generated in either direction. However there are a variety of entry points that you’ll want to consider, that can create a dynamic ‘wow’ moment, and relaxing of the embrace.
  • The Common Exit points from a Calesita. There are really only 3 exit points from a Calesita. Learning these exit points and understanding why they’re  important to keeping the dance moving and the room moving is essential.

The concept of walking around one’s partner sounds straight forward. However, there are some challenges that cause the move to go wrong:

  • Stepping away from one’s partner. This is the primary reason why a Calesita will fail. Whichever partner is walking the Calesita, if you step away from your partner, this is going to create instability for the partner standing in the center of the Calesita. In fact, the further away you step, the more instability you’re going to generate.
  • Stepping too close to your partner. The other primary problem with the Calesita is stepping too close to the person that’s standing still in the center of the Calesita! By stepping too close to their feet this creates the sensation of toppling over one’s partner which again creates instability.
  • The ‘Too Rigid’ Embrace. Another cause of problems in the Calesita is an embrace where either the Lead, or the Follower, is too rigid with their arms and hands, and just simply holds onto their partner much too tightly. This rigidity again creates instability.
  • Poor Posture. The Calesita needs to have good posture. You should not tilt towards or away from your partner, or break at the waist, or point your head at the floor while watching your partner’s feet. Poor posture like this again creates instability.
  • The Unstable Walk. An unstable walk again creates instability for the partner at the center of the Calesita

The other versions of the Calesita build off this foundational concept but add some interesting variations. These variations include the Lead Forward Calesita, The Lead Back Calesita, the Follower Side Calesita, the Follower’s Back Step Calesita, and the Lead Molinete Calesita.

Here are a variety of Calesita videos to study:

Los Angeles Tango Academy


The Calesita and Split Weight Figures

Calesitas and Shared Axis

Dario’s Tango Guide

Parada to Calesita


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