Argentine Tango Encyclopedia



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 space, this modification poses no hazard to other dancers.

A contra piernazo with a lot of power can be a hard and intense (but safe) snap around the Mark’s body, and is sometimes called castigada.


In back piernazo, the Revel is making a back voleo. She must rotate her base leg to maintain external rotation and extend her free leg’s hip. The Mark needs to put his body in a place that allows her leg to move backwards. He must also allow her base leg (and torso) to pivot to the correct position.

In front piernazo, the Revel does not need to make much modification. For dramatic effect, the Mark can flex his knees a lot, with the result that her leg will strike higher on his body.

  • To modify a gancho into a piernazo, project the Revel’s free leg up and/or out before the gancho’s co-contraction. (An option for projecting her leg out is to use a tiny colgada.)
  • When the Mark uses a back sacada to enter the Revel’s side or back step, he can modify the geometry to step closer to her base leg. This produces a piernazo without any special projection. He must not hold her tightly. She needs to pivot away from him so that she can arrive to a beautiful position, so he must allow her to move within the embrace.

Variations of Each Element


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