BPATS | A Guide to Tango Terminology

This list is part of an ongoing effort to provide an online resources to assist in the education of our members. Major sources for this information includes Daniel Trenner’s Dance Vocabulary, Cyber-Tango’s FAQ - Definition of Tango Terms, several sources on the internet, far too many to mention. As an ongoing project, we will continue to update the definition and add more terms to the list.

Alphabetical Index

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Tango Terms

 

A

Arrastre

Arrastre means 'drag'. Here the leader literally drags or pushes the foot of
the follower's free leg to another position, whilst her axis (body weight)
remains in the same place. This is different from but related to the barrida.


B

Barrida

A tango illusion, which looks as if the leader 'sweeps' the foot of the follower's free leg, with the foot
of his free leg - or vice versa. However, the barrida is actually a lead from the chest, inviting the
follower to take a step; the barrida action is a 'fake' which accompanies her natural movement
as she moves her axis (body weight) from one spot to the next. This is how the leader can lead
the follower to barrida him! For more advanced dancers: most barridas work more effectively
if you incorporate an element of 'arrastre' movement within them. This ensures a good connection
between the barrida-ing feet.


Boleo

Back
Usually performed by the follower. The free leg swings freely from the hip (and hinges at the knee,
depending on the height and style), around and behind the follower. The movement is created from the
hip, and the leg continues the flow. There are low boleos and high boleos, both led through
countermovements. The back boleo is a fairly advanced figure.

Front
Usually performed by the follower. The free leg swings freely from the hip, hinging at the knee,
around and in front of the follower. The movement is created from the hip and expressed through
the leg. The lead is through counter-movement or overturn depending on the style (eg. salon, nuevo).
The front boleo is a fairly advanced figure.


C

Caminata

Spanish word for 'walk'. For simple walks, we (and most tango teachers) use the English word 'walk'
(see definitions below). We sometimes use 'caminata' to refer to more complex walking patterns.


Calesita

Means 'carousel'. The follower is pivoted on the spot, whilst the leader walks around her. She has the feet together - perhaps crossed - but can add in embellishments in keeping with the music, if she wishes.


Caminada

The walking steps; a walking step.