The Ghost Guide to Social Tango 2nd Edition: Giros

7th March 2010

"I'm holding out for a hero" ~ Bonnie Tyler


OK, so again giros often suffer from being thought of and danced as a sequence, usually back-side-forward-side.

It's not Pokemon, you don't have to catch 'em all. You can use as many or as few steps as you wish. You're also not obliged to keep to grapevine pattern, though if you want to lead variations you will need to be clear
MsHedgehog: Followers are often taught to keep going back-side-forward until stopped, so we sometimes stop listening for other leads. I think it's better for my dancing that I listen and go one step at a time. Making a few 'mistakes' with people who don't really lead it is much better than shutting off the other possibilities with people who lead well.

Giros can go cw, acw, in circles, straight lines, weird figure of 8s. Lots of possibilities.
MsHedgehog: Literally it means 'turn' - there's French 'girer', and Italian 'girasole', sunflower (turns-sun).

Musicality and floorcraft

Giros are another example where the follower will do double-time fairly easily. However as the example below shows, normal, half-time and pauses are all perfectly doable too. It's another nice example where the leader can make his steps to a different rhythm to the follower's thus allowing them to interpret different instruments at the same time.

Floorcraft is a bit trickier. In close embrace you often can't see to your right, though you can get around this by opening up the giro a bit. Although close embrace giros don't take up much room, they take up more than the other examples given in this Guide and some floors may be too crowded.

Practice Sequence

The following clip is a good thing to practice. Not necessarily in this exact order, but just taking the giro one step at a time, and occasionally reversing it.

There are several really important things that the follower is doing in these clips.

  • a) There's space between her feet when she steps. Otherwise it's nearly impossible for the leader to do blocks, sacadas etc.
  • b) She's dancing on time. Again this is important if the leader wants to put his foot or leg in between hers.
  • c) Each step in controlled. The leader is able to block each step without tripping her up.

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.


Remember to stay heart to heart, even in back ochos part. It's important the leader doesn't go faster than the follower can follow and also that the follower keeps up with the leader.

- Christopher O'Shea, 8th March 2010

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