An adorno is an adornment of a movement, like a decoration, made with the free leg. Both Marks and Revels adorn their movements. Revels’ adornos include a large range of gestures, many of which can be marked. But we will use the term adorno for what is more precisely an “unmarked adorno”. Since your free […]


Alteraciones are rebotes which change direction after the co-contraction. Alterations are used to create energetic changes of direction, and acceleration. They are a wonderful addition to musicality. To mark an alteracion we create a strong co-contraction in the rebote’s receiving leg. Flexion in the receiving leg keeps the revel’s free leg extended and gives the mark the power to pivot. The […]


A barrida (sweep) is way to move the Revel’s free leg which is not projection. Instead the method of movement is direct contact with the Mark’s foot. (El Pulpo expanded this system up the entire leg; his system is now called Pulpeades.) This movement happens within the room of the arch of connection. Barrida is often […]

Butterfly voleo

A butterfly voleo can be an adorno, or it can be marked. We start with a low linear voleo, front or back, with the free leg’s knee extended. Then we pivot the base and rotate the free leg. The foot hovers over roughly the same point of the dance floor during the butterfly as the free leg […]


See giro for disambiguation. There are three giros: double-giro (both partners walk), single-giro (Mark is in the center of the circle, Revel walks), and calesita (single-giro with Revel in center of the circle, Mark walks). Technique Both partners support the movement through: Vigilant attention to their arcs. Using obliques to pivot. Supporting one another with […]

Change of foot

Changing feet in place is one of the hardest moves, because it’s so small and feels subtle. The slightest misplaced tension in the embrace can block the information. Variations There are four distinct possibilities for change of foot: Pace-system, both partners change Trot-system, both partners change The Revel is marked to change foot alone The Mark changes foot […]


In colgada, the partners lean away from one another. This is an intensification of the arch of connection, with a wider base, forcing the partners to rely on the arch for balance. Permission The distinct aspect of the mark for this movement is communicating the permission to lean. This is a change of embrace. The change […]


Any gancho can be a double-gancho. The Mark transfers his weight to the back leg, and uses the power of the co-contraction for the Revel’s voleo to enter a voleo himself. The partners support one another by intensifying the arch of connection with hip flexion, co-contraction of the base legs and intensified triceps contraction. It’s easiest […]


See giro for disambiguation. There are three giros: single-giro (Mark is in the center of the circle, Revel walks), calesita (single-giro with Revel in center of the circle, Mark walks), and double-giro (both partners walk on the circle). Technique In double-giro, the partners are moving lateral to one another in opposite directions. As in any […]


An enrosque is a mark’s adorno during pivot. It’s most common during single-giro. Either before or during the pivot, he crosses one foot in front of the other and pivots with it crossed (either in front or in back). When crossed in front he usually points his free leg’s toe straight down to the floor for […]

Flying step

Flying step is a small-scale leaning step (volcada or colgada). Usually we don’t distinguish movements by scale or intensity, but in this case we make an exception because flying steps are less scary than full volcadas and colgadas, and also they give a very different musicality. Permission The mark for all leaning movements is initiated with a change […]


A gancho is a voleo, interrupted by the partner’s leg, creating a hook between the legs or around the body (piernazo/castigada). There are three architectures, each of which has many variations. Revel’s gancho to one of the Mark’s legs, with both of his feet on the floor. Mark’s gancho to one of the Revel’s legs, […]


The word ‘giro’ in Castellano just means turn, which is pretty vague. If you take classes in Buenos Aires you will see all kinds of things referred to as turns. English speakers generally reserve the term ‘giro’ for sequences in which the partners are walking around one another on a circle. Note that a giro refers to progress […]

Lapiz / Pencil

The Lapiz is a mark’s adorno. He draws a semi-circle on the floor with the toe of his free leg. He can do multiple semi-circles or change the direction. Use flexion in your free leg’s knee to create the circle, keeping your ankle extended with pointed toes. The mark may also pivot during the adorno. When performing any […]


In tango, we are never standing completely alone. We relate our standing bodies into a partnership through the arch of connection. We also sometimes lean on each other. These leaning movements (aka ‘off-axis’ or ‘out-of-axis’, deprecated) are very beautiful and fun. We can lean away from each other (colgada) or toward one another (volcada). Flying […]

Molinete lineal

Molinete lineal is a lateral walk, meaning continuous steps in which the couple moves laterally (as opposed to moving front or back). The molinete is tango’s default method of walking lateral, by interleaving back and front steps with side steps. The pattern can start at any point. Molinete lineal can be used to walk in the […]


Ochos are one of the most basic movements in tango, and very easy to communicate about (unlike change of foot, which is infuriatingly subtle). But ochos are the most mechanically complex movement. On one level they are very simple: a pivot followed by a step. And there are only two variations (front and back). But the […]

Ocho cortado

Ocho cortado is a popular cross from side step with a distinctive 90-degree pivot. Procedure The partners pause momentarily in any side step. Then the Mark repositions the arch to trot-system, meaning that he transfers his weight to one foot and, instead of bringing the Revel with him to the mirrored foot, he directs the […]


A parada is a stop, which can happen at any point in the transfer of a step. It’s also possible to stop a pivot; see pivot-parada. In truth we shouldn’t think of parada as a distinct movement because the process of transfer involves a control system: the extension of the joints of the old base leg. We […]


Passé is a term from ballet. In tango we use a passe that would properly be called a parallel or closed passé, used only in modern ballet. classical externally rotated passe and modern parallel passé The hip and knee of the free leg are flexed and the toes are pointed and touching the knee. Passé […]


Patada is a charming move, fast, sweet, and cute. Both partners can do patada. Place the kicking leg perpendicular to and centered in hole made by the receiving step, about 15cm off the floor. When receiving a patada the Mark can adjust the angle of his step to intercept the revel’s kick. To create a fast but soft kick: flex the […]


Any gancho can become a piernazo, enfolding the mark’s hips instead of hooking through his legs. The piernazo can be marked distinctly from the gancho. It can also be an artistic or functional modification initiated by the Revel. (It’s especially useful if the Revel is much taller than the Mark.) Since a piernazo moves only within the couple’s […]


A pirouette is a full turn on one foot, which, in tango, requires a soltada. Both partners may pirouette. The partners may maintain contact with the hands by making a change of embrace or may drop it completely. Whether you have contact or not, when making a pirouette, use lateral shoulder flexion to draw your […]


One of the most popular, iconic, and delicious tango moves is a parada to the Revel’s front pivot. It’s not an easy one. The Mark stops the Revel on one foot, curving his body around her as she is still spiraling. To decelerate we always use the control system of the extension of the joints during […]


Planeo is an arc of the revel’s free leg in the horizontal plane, with toe pointed and touching the floor. It is sometimes called voleo baso. Some revels prefer to keep their toes on the floor, so they choose to do planeo instead of voleo circular (which arcs through the horizontal and vertical planes. Planeo is […]


Maestro El Pulpo applied the rules of barrida to the entire leg, creating a delicious and surprising system of play for the partners’ legs. Because of the softness and twisting interplay that results from these movements, El Pulpo was named “the octopus”. The key to these movements is flexion of both legs’ hip and knee joints with minimal […]


A rebote (rebound) is an elastic step that bounces back to the original position. It’s easiest to talk about this movement by thinking of a sending leg and a receiving leg. Rebote depends on correct technique during the transfer of weight. If we flex and extend the joints deliberately during this process, we can interrupt and […]

Rebote cadera

Rebote cadera is a rebote (rebound) of the revel’s cadera (hips). It’s a fast and sharp reversing pivot with the revel’s legs touching. It’s a special effect created by co-contraction, applied in a contra direction to her pivot (front or back), with a change of embrace to block. In contrast to a contra voleo-circular, where the mark’s […]


Sacadas are a beautiful and dynamic tango movement. Your next step can always be a sacada and you can dance a whole song in which every step is a sacada and it could be wonderful. Sacada is a displacement. One dancer enters the other’s step, arriving to the place their partner just departed. Most sacadas are […]


Sandwichito is a cute little move in which one partner (often, but not exclusively, the Mark) sandwiches one of the partner’s feet between his own. It begins from a parada (any parada). To find a parada, just stop a sacada! That means from any sacada you can parada and then make a sweet sandwichito. In […]


See giro for disambiguation. There are three giros: double-giro (both partners walk), single-giro (Mark is in the center of the circle, Revel walks), and calesita (single-giro with Revel in center of the circle, Mark walks). In a single-giro, the Revel walks around the Mark using the default method of lateral walking, molinete. Single-giro is the […]


A soltada is a release of the embrace. We may release one or both hands or simply change the embrace (for example, so that we are holding hands on both sides). It’s exciting to feel the same intensity of connection without touching. Rules The Revel should continue dancing in the improvisational context shown by the Mark […]


This entry covers the technique for a single step. Walking discusses additional issues when we move continuously in one direction. We step in 5 ways, each of which requires its own technique. Although there are some consistent principles, due to the front/back assymetry of the body, there are also some differences in the motion in […]


In volcada, the partners lean toward one another. This is an intensification of the arch of connection, with a wider base, forcing the partners to rely on the arch for balance. Permission The distinct aspect of the mark for this movement is communicating the permission to lean. This is a change of embrace. The change is flexion of the elbow […]

Voleo Circular

A voleo is a special effect in which the Revel’s projection is maximized into the air. Voleo = projection + power. If it’s a front projection, you get a front circular voleo. If it’s a back projection, you get a back circular voleo. The power comes from co-contraction. The mark creates co-contraction and the revel’s body mirrors it. The […]

Voleo Linear

Linear voleos maximize the extension of the revel’s projection without pivot, creating an arc in the vertical plane, but not the horizontal plane (voleo circular). There are only two circular voleos (front and back) but there are three linear voleos (front, back, and side) Voleo lineal back is an arc that returns. Front and side voleo […]


This entry discusses continuous motion/consecutive steps in one direction. Be sure to check steps for all the technique needed to make just one step in the various directions. Argentine Tango is, famously, a “walking dance”. Walking is highly refined, and more subtle and demanding than showy moves. Proper execution of a gancho can be taught […]


Most sacadas are perpendicular steps.  It’s also possible to sacada while the couple walks together in the line of dance. Technique The Mark needs to sneak his step into the line of the Revel’s step, displacing her leg during the second projection, just as the leg becomes free. If he does it when there’s still […]