Other than the walk, a big differce in Tango Styles revolves around the embrace. What are the different Tango Embraces? This is a hard question, and what you’ll get here is my opinion, which is very open ended. Some consider a more open hold is not really an embrace, and history might have things defined differently that what I shall explain. What I’m going to describe is more of what I’ve experienced things being described or how the different terms are used in the social settings I’ve been exposed to.
Close Embrace and Open Embrace relates to your body contact with your partner, usually your chest contact. A Close Embrace is when your chests are touching, and an Open Embrace is when they are not. Simple enough right…?
When it comes to your Embrace, where the connection is, the lean, body position, all may signify a different type of embrace that may be named. For instance in the social scene I’ve experienced people who dance chest to chest where the connection doesn’t rotate on the upper body and the connection remaining rather static, is a Milonguero Embrace. This can also be in a V-Embrace where the chest body connection is offset and not straight on. A V-Embrace is not always a Milonguero Embrace as you can rotate your body along the connection for turns or similar.
Milonguero & Salon are not used as official terms, and are in fact quite mis-labeled, as many dance instructors in South America don’t label their dance style. These are how I’ve noticed those in the US label their styles and the similarities.
A V-Embrace can also be considered Salon Style when it comes to tango depending on where you are. Salon may also be a term some use for Open Embrace as a whole, while others can consider it a style used in a Close Embrace as well. Salon is attributed to a more upright body posture a majority of the time but terms float around. If you think this is confusing yet… you also have more Open Embrace “Styles” like Fantasia, American, or Turkish, and other close styles like Canyengue (which is similar to Kizomba dancing from what I’ve seen), and it all muddles. Labeling gets very complex and many can be incorrect (I’m sure mine above might be as well).
The History of the different embraces is pretty sound and you can find out more at Tango Voice to get into it quite deep. Proper use of terms is something that many Tango communities differ on, so when you hear the different embraces, even if you are informed, what may be used could be widely different than what you expect.