Most molinetes follow the standard follower's footwork. There are two useful variations that can be used on either very crowded dance floors (milonguero variation) or very empty dance floors (linear variation). Also, in the simple molinete / giro the follower dances around the leader. A more advanced form has both partners dancing around a common point.
What to look for when watching a Molinete / Giro / Media Luna
The follower's footwork identifies a molinete and always follows some part of the same cyclical footwork of back, side, front+pivot, side+pivot. Here's what I look for:
- Direction. Is it clockwise (toward the closed side) or counterclockwise (toward the open side)?
- Start. Which follower step does the leader start the lead with (typically side, front ocho, or back ocho)?
- Exit. What is the exit? It's possible to exit the molinete on any step, sometimes with a parada or gancho.
- Extent. Is it a half molinete (media luna), full molinete, or multiple molinetes?
- Leader turn. How does the leader turn? One step for each step of the follower? Hook behind and swivel? Large dissociation + swivel or pivot? Wedge rotation steps (penguin turn)? Step in front before swivel? Mirror image of follower's steps? Etc?
- Timing. Are all steps even or quick-quick-slow-slow?
- Showy extras. Are there extra showy steps (rulos, sacadas, barridas, ...) that let the molinete continue?
- Power. Who is powering the turn? Normally it would be the leader, but when you see a lot of fancy leader footwork in an extended molinete, it's clear that the follower is providing the power.
Giro with barrida
- Tango 201: Full turn with barrida 2:12 Aug 24 2016
- Nice demo of molinete/giro with barridas by the Los Angeles Tango Academy. Bare feet!?
- Argentine Tango Lesson - Giro/Lapiz, Molinete, Gancho 1:13
- Ross & Edie give a brief review of their class. Has nice rulo move by leader leading to parada. Then they demo a half giro with a sacada and interesting underarm action.
- Dancing the Argentine Tango : Modern Argentine Tango Steps 1:13 Molinete at 0:36
- Gabriela Shaffer. This short video has some more advanced show moves but has a nice molinete at 0:36 with parada, adornos, and gancho.
- Tango 200: rhythmic turn to the right 1:26
- By Los Angeles Tango Academy. Nice short demo of clockwise giro with variations including sacadas etc.
- 11a Grapevine (Giro) 4:42
- Dario & Claire's version of the media luna where the leader steps around the follower.
- How to dance the tango eight count Giro demonstration 1:12
- By Alberto Paz & Valerie Hart. Note: "to mark" = "to lead" (from the Spanish marcar meaning to lead).
- Gotta Tango DVD - Giros y sacadas 9:18
- By Alberto Paz & Valorie Hart.
- Elegant media luna and turn with traspies 12:52 Media Luna starts at 7:00
- By Georgina & Oscar Mandagaran. Doesn't start the media luna until 7:00.
- Tango 101: rock steps 2:13 Molinete at 1:40
- By Los Angeles Tango Academy. This dance demonstration shows how simple steps can be made elegant. It's worth watching the entire video, but the only part the has any relevance to the molinete starts near the end just after 1:40. Two things stood out to me: the leader walking backward at the start of the molinete, and the follower using milonguero footwork (replacing the front with a cross) even in the open embrace.
- The Milonguero Dip 4:36
- By Clint Rauscher & Shelly Brooks. The follower's footwork is in the molinete category, but the leader's footwork is a little different, with two crosses in front. Nice move. If you search for "Milonguero Dip", you'll find that it only applies to one aspect of the leader's footwork in leading a front ocho.
- Traspie y Giro Milonguero a bailar 11:35
- Georgina & Oscar Mandagaran. In Spanish. Milonguero molinete/giro - like media luna but replaces the front ocho with a cross.
- Tango - Workshop con Sebastian Achaval y Roxana Suarez 3:17
- Although this is a performance and not an instructional video, it contains so many Molinetes that it seemed appropriate.
Adding adornos (embellishments)
Both dance around common point
Milonguero style (close embrace) variation
When dancing in close embrace (milonguero style), front ochos are difficult. For close embrace, the molinete/giro can be modified so that each front ocho becomes a cross. This is typically done counterclockwise so that the follower's left crosses in front of the right, as in the normal cross.
Linear molinete variation
In contrast to the milonguero style which is most useful on a very crowded dance floor, a linear form can be used on a big open dance floor. The leader can lead the follower straight down the line of dance with the follower making the same front, side, back, side steps. This linear form is typically called a grapevine in English (Spanish?), but follower should be sure to pass their feet close to each other and pivot in tango style. [No video yet.]