Some Tango Vocabulary – as requested by my students

Here’s a short list of some of the tango terminology used in the classes I lead. I always give the english word too but recently some students requested I write the spanish words down for them….

adorno: decoration, (adornment) or embellishment, can be by follower or leader and are usually unled though the timing should be in accordance with the lead.

boleo (or voleo): leg whip, usually by the follower, either initiated by the lead or as a decoration – the b & v are often interchanged in castellano.

enrosque: (from the verb meaning “screw” or “turn”) a pivot on one foot where the other foot comes to cross behind or in front

gancho: leg hook (literally means a “hook”)

ocho: literally “eight”, the shape of the eight is drawn by the woman’s feet and hips when she does this step.

ocho cortado: short or cut ocho (cafe cortado is a short coffee!). Here the leader stops the follower from completing the ocho and slices her back into the 5th position cross.

parada: stop – in tango, the leader stops the followers foot by blocking it with their own foot. (from the verb parar – to stop)

rebote: rebound step that is led (eg step back and forward again)

rulo: a type of adorno or embellishment, small or large circle drawn by the toe on the floor

sacada: displacement – in tango, a foot or leg displacement initiated by the leader to the follower (from the verb sacar – to remove or take).

salida: the tango basic 8-step of which there are a few variations, we usually learn this in the first class (from the spanish word for exit or opening, the verb salir means to go out)

sanguich or sanguichito: “sandwich” or “little sandwich”, a step where the leader stops the follower’s foot with his foot (parada) and then sandwiches it by blocking it with his other foot on the other side.

These are only some of the words we commonly use, I will keep adding to the list!



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