Tango Tribu

Tango Gancho, the artistry and passion

Tango Gancho by Chicho Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda

The gancho, meaning “hook” in Spanish, is a pivotal element in the Argentine tango.  A captivating dance characterized by its passionate embrace, intricate footwork, and dramatic interplay between partners. This intricate move called Gancho basically involves wrapping one’s leg around the partner’s leg. This demands a connection that adds depth and complexity to the dance. While seemingly simple, the gancho requires techniques in order to avoid injuries. The proper technique will give you precision, balance, and a deep understanding of tango’s dynamics.

Origins and Significance

The origins of the gancho can be traced back to the 1900’s, emerging from the vibrant milongas* of Buenos Aires. As tango evolved, so did the gancho, becoming increasingly refined and incorporated into various dance sequences. Today, the gancho stands as a cornerstone of tango, embodying the essence of the dance’s connection, sensuality, and improvisational nature.

Types of Ganchos

The tango gancho encompasses 3 arrays of variations, each according to the position and adding its unique flavor to the dance. So, all of the Ganchos can be easily identify in one of these groups:

  • Side Gancho: The basic gancho, involving a simple wrap of one leg around the partner’s leg.

  • Forward Gancho: A variation of the gancho simple, where the wrapping leg is sharply pulled away, creating a dramatic effect.

  • Back Gancho: A more complex move involving two wraps of the leg around the partner’s leg.

Execution and Technique

Due to its super dynamic and dangerous nature, mastering the Gancho requires a technical proficiency before moving to the artistic expression. The following elements are crucial for executing a well-defined gancho:

  • Placement: Proper placement ensures performing the gancho is safe and nobody will get kicked. But it also allows you to continue seamlessly with the overall flow of the dance. In social dancing, it’s mostly the follower who perform the Gancho. For a good Gancho, the foot shot be touching the floor until her legs contacts his leg. Then, (not before!) when her hamstring is ready to perform the Gancho by bending her knee and achieving now full contact also with her calf.

  • Timing: The natural and therefor most typical rhythm for the Gancho is the quick (also known as off-beat). And, due to the dynamic nature of this movement (that makes it a bit dangerous), the timing is second in importance. However, once you know the placement, then the timing becomes the most important aspect of the Gancho!
  • Connection and Embrace: a well executed Gancho reflexes also the deep connection between the partners, emphasizing the tango’s intimate nature. Maintaining a well connected embrace throughout the move is crucial to enjoy this fun movement.

  • Exit: as a first rule, the exit is pretty much as if the leg that executed the Gancho makes a rewind in its movement. As simple as that! With practice, you can find other ways of exiting, such as lifting that leg, lifting and stretching it (which is actually it’s very difficult and not recommended for social dancing), freezing the gancho for a mini second, etc

Tango Gancho by a dance couple

Improvisation and Embellishments

The gancho serves as a foundation for dynamics and improvisation in tango. It allows dancers to express their creativity and personalize their performances. Once we master the natural quick and dynamic swing of the leg, we can start exploring more advanced options. These options are: embellishments, freezings, slowing downs, accelerations, syncopations and elevations. Theses changes from the basic dynamic of the Gancho allow us to achieve a richer expression of your own feelings.

Here you have a short but complete step-by-step course for you to learn some of the fundamentals of Argentine Tango. Get it now!

Learning and Practice of the Tango Gancho

Learning the tango gancho requires dedication, consistent and conscious practice. Attending tango classes with experienced instructors is an excellent way to grasp the proper technique and nuances of the move. Additionally, practicing the gancho with a partner is essential for developing, above all, a good coordination. This will later allow a better timing, and the ability to respond to each other’s movements.


The Tango Gancho stands as a testament to the artistry and passion of Argentine tango. Its intricate footwork, expressive nature, and ability to convey a spectrum of emotions make it a captivating element of Tango. Through dedication and practice, dancers can master the gancho and add a touch of elegance and intrigue to their performances.


*Milongas is the name for the Tango dance halls worldwide (all Tango enthusiast use it to refer to the same thing). However, “Milonga” it’s also the name for the other rhythm that we dance socially. So, you go to the Milonga to dance Tango. But this also means you can also dance Milonga or Valz. Why is like that? Well, the Milonga as a specific rhythm was born before Tango. So at that time people would say “I’m heading to the Milonga”. Years after, Tango took over its popularity, but the name of the dance halls remained the same.