ARGENTINE TANGO DANCE TERMS
by Marisela Rizik
Most classes in argentina are in Spanish. Please become familiar with these terms.
abrazo: embrace (as in dance hold).
amague: from amagar. To make a threatening motions. An amague is used as an embellishment either led or done on one's own and may be used before taking a step. An example of an amague may be a beat (frappe) before taking a step.
barrida: sweep. A sweeping motion. One partner's foot sweeps the other's foot. Also called llevada. .
barrio: a district, neighborhood. .
boleo: from bolear. To throw. A boleo may be executed either high or low. Keeping knees together, with one leg in back, swivel on the supporting leg with a very sharp motion..A whipping action of the leg. Knees should be close together.
caminar: to walk. The walk is similar to a natural walking step. The body and leg must move as a unit so that the body is in balance. Walks should be practiced for balance and fluidity. Some dancers may start with the heel or the ball of the foot.
corte: cut. In tango corte means cutting the music either by syncopating or holding several beats.
cruce: cross. A cruce occurs anytime a foot is crossed
desplazamiento: displacement known as Sacada. Displacing the partner's foot or leg using one's leg or foot.
dibujo: drawing, sketch. A dibujo is done by drawing circles or other small movements on the floor with one's toe.
enganche: hooking, coupling. Occurs when partner wraps leg around the other's leg. >Leader displaces follower's feet from inside.
enrosque: from enroscar. To coil, twist. While woman executes a molinete, man spins on one foot, hooking other foot behind the spinning foot.
giro: turn. While woman does molinete, man turns.
Fantasia: stage tango, used for performance.
llevada: from llevar. To transport (see barrida).
media vuelta o media luna: half turn.
milonga: may refer to music or the dance which preceded the tango, written in 2/4 time; or may refer to the dance salon or event where people go to dance tango.
milongueros: refers to those frequenting the milongas and considered tango fanatics.
molinete: Little windmill or fan. Molinetes are forward and back ochos (figure 8's) done in a circle. The follower moves in a circle around the leader, doing a footwork resembling forward and backward ochos.
mordida: bite. One partner's foot is sandwiched between the other partner's foot.
ochos: eights. Pivoting forward or backward.
ocho atras o adelante: ochos backward
ocho cortado: Cut eight where the leader brings the woman feet back to a cross.
Orillero: outskirts. A style of dancing from the suburbs characterized by the man doing many quick, syncopated foot moves.
parada: stop: To move and stop a partner's foot by pushing their foot with your own.
Pista: dance floor.
salida: exit, or start. (a place to start).
salida cruzada: the beginning of a pattern with a cross; or cross system
Salón: A style of dancing for the milonga or small club, as opposed to stage tango or Fantasia.
sanguchito: One partner's foot is sandwiched between the other partner's feet.
seguir: to follow.
sentada: a sitting action.
sacada: a displacement, to move your partner's leg out of the way gently with your own. see desplazamiento.
trabada: fastened. It is a lock step –
Vals: a vals criollo or tango waltz done.
Other USEFUL DANCE VOCABULARY
peso, (el): weight.
piso, (el): floor
pista, (la): dance floor
preguntar: to ask.
piernas: The legs
rapido: fast. You will hear "mas rapido." or faster
Eje: axis. The center vertical line around which one's balance is maintained
Calesita/carousel: The lead steps in a circle around the follower - keeping them on their own axis