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Argentine Tango Terms
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ADORNO: Any embellishment.

AMAGUE (from amagar): An embellishment either led or done on one's own. Keeping knees together, bend one leg in front of the other in a very quick motion. An amague is used as an embellishment i.e.; the foot may execute a frappe (beat) before taking a step.

APILADO (from APILAR): A vertical A-frame position of two dancers in close embrace.

AXIS: The center vertical line around which one's balance is maintained.

BARRIDA or SWEEP: Sweeping motion. A leg push; one partner's foot sweeps the other's foot along the floor. Also called llevada.

BOLEO or VOLLEYING BACK & FORTH: A whipping action of the leg. Knees should be close together bend one knee in back of the other. Swivel on the supporting leg with a very sharp motion.

CADENCIA or RHYTHM: Any steps done in a rhythm of syncopation.

CAMINAR: To walk; important part of Argentine tango dancing.

CALESITA: The lead steps in a circle around the follower - keeping them on their own axis.

CORTE or CUT: Cutting the music either by syncopating or by holding several beats.

CRUZADA or CROSSING: To cross - left foot over right.

DESPLAZAMIENTO or DISPLACEMENT: Displacing partner's leg or foot using one's leg or foot.

DIBUJO or TRACE: To trace your partner's foot.

ENGANCHE or HOOKING/COUPLING: Occurs when lead wraps a leg around their partner's leg. Leader displaces follower's feet from inside.

ENROSQUE (from enroscar): To coil or twist. While the partner does a molinete, the lead spins on one foot hooking other foot behind spinning foot.

FANTASIA: Style of tango used for performance.

GANCHO or HOOK: To hook. A quick motion of the leg bending at the knee, catching partner's leg.

GIRO or TURN: While partner does a molinete the lead turns on one foot placing the toe of the other foot in front and executing a sharp turn.

LLEVADA (from llevar): To transport. See barrida.


MOLINETE or CIRCLING: Forward and back ochos (figure 8-s).

MORDIDA or SANDWICH: One partner's foot is sandwiched between the other partner's foot.

OCHOS or EIGHTS: Figure 8-s (similar to fans done in other Latin dances).

OPEN/CLOSE: Refers to the arms and hands while in dance position. The "open" position is the lead's left hand and the follower's right hand. The "closed" position is the lead's left arm and hand and the follower's right arm and hand.

PARADA or STOP: To move and stop a partner's foot by pushing their foot with your own.

PASO BASICO or COMMON BASIC: The base of many tango patterns.

POCKET: Anytime the lead walks on outside of partner - either hip.

RESOLUCION or RESOLUTION: Ending of a common basic.

SACADA or REMOVE/WITHDRAW: To displace - to move your partner's foot with your own.

SALIDA or EXIT: To begin.

SALIDA CRUZADA: The first half of a common basic.

SALUDO: Front leg wipe.

SALON: Style of tango best suited for social dancing. Always following line of dance, being aware and be courteous to others.

SECOND: Open position or side step. Body is balanced over open feet.

SENTADA or SIT POSITION: A sitting action. Weight on one leg with bent knee; other leg out straight, with knees together.

SYNCOPATION: To modify rhythm by a shift of accents on a beat.

TRABADA or TRAPPED: To lock. A cruzada - also called lock step.

LITTLE FOOT: When ball of follower's foot pushes into the floor. Comes from a pivot lead from the leader and is always on the ball of the back foot when leg is extended.

VALS or WALTZ: Tango waltz.

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