Ghost Guide To Tango: Ganchos

Principle: to hook

Like a swingball or bolos. Interrupting a circular movement of her leg with the lead's thigh and completely reversing it.

Return the foot to the centre of the wheel - usually collect before you do the gancho (reversing a pasada is an exception.

Easier to lead a forward gancho to the right and a backwards to the left due to the asymmetry of the embrace.

Knee of lead's ganchoing leg should face direction of follow's movement and flex more as gancho occurs.


Concentrate on your standing leg, not the one doing the ganchoing.

Want to get the leg that's being ganchoed as close as possible to hers. Ideally touching. Lead bends his leg to facilitate this. Don't think of it as bouncing her of your leg as it won't work. Treat it like you're leading her to back step normally, let the positioning stop her.

Can do Gancho to boleo is one beat without leading her to step forward in between.

Pivoting the follower. Look at where the leg you want to gancho is. you want to lead her to take a back step perpendicular to this. NB the angle will change as she pivots because it opens the lead up slightly too. The lead doesn't place his foot to bounce her's of it. He keeps turning and she catches him up and bounces off. But because he's moving away she's get's pulled into the gancho rather than smacking dead into a brick wall.

Slight lifting motion with left hand / right hand (depending on which they follow).

Can also do slight bobbing motion once in gancho to invite Caricias.

If you don't quite get the gancho, you can gancho her then re-invite it.

Don't place any weight on the ganchoing leg.

Distinguishing between boleos and ganchos

The difference between a front boleo and a gancho lead is in the direction of her chest.

Put her chest in the direction you want her foot to go. So for a gancho her chest is turned away from you, but for the front boleo her chest is towards you. Also in a boleo you contact the side of her thigh or lower. In the gancho you contact the back of her thigh and no lower. Another important difference is timing. The sacada to front boleo happens early on in her motion whereas the gancho happens at the end. In a gancho the leader flexs his lg slightly to receive it. in the sacada he straightens his leg to repel hers. The gancho cuts the line into the leader's leg. The sacada curves out away from it.

To practice distinguishing between a front boleo and a gancho lead:

Sidestep left lead offsets to the left, lead's right leg anti-clockwise sacadas follow's left leg around to back ocho / planeo.

For example:

Image: Front boleo

Slight carpe. Overturn the planeo acw, lead bends his knee and leads follow to a backstep. Results in a gancho.

Straighten lead's leg to sacada her out into a front boleo

For example:

Image: Sacada to front boleo

There is a bit of leeway for the leg to re-adjust his left foot position slightly either while his weight is on his right foot or by stepping / scooting slightly as he transfers his weight to his left foot.

Can also do as an enganche by changing lead's initial left foot position. See Enganche below.

Practice Sequences

From a sidestep left

From sidestep left place heel of lead's ganchoing foot by the toe of her right foot.

As she pivots to left for back ocho her heel will move left making space for lead's toe in enter. Important to turn her clockwise.

It works well to imagine the teacher standing off to the left watching the move. At the end you want to be facing them so you can ask what they thought.

The follow's pivot is very important. you want them at least 45 degrees of the original line.

For example:

Image: From a sidestep left


Interrupt the sidestep of a giro. Same as "from a sidestep" above, but the dynamics of a giro make it a bit easier.



Sidestep left sacada her left leg to b ocho / planeo - bring right foot next to her right and lower (almost sit) reverse the planeo and stand. Should get swingball effect as her left leg envelops your leg to gancho. Works better with slight carpe on envelopment.

For example:

Image: Envelopment

Alex's gancho

From cross system offset so right foot in front of hers lead steps forwards with right foot.

For example:

Image: Alex's gancho (the couple on the left)

Follow is rebounded ie not fully allowed to settle / weight transfer onto her back foot. Lead steps his left foot back as if starting a back sacada. Pivot acw from waist ie no dissociation to change direction and step in with right foot inside her left leg to gancho at beginning of change of direction.

For example:


Luis' colgada


Sidestep left to lady sandwich lead's right foot. Lead her into b ocho and transfer weight to lead's right foot. Reverse ocho and swing her back around cw.

For example:

Image: Luis' colgada

Can end in a volcada

For example:

Image: Volcada

or lead steps back and brings follow with him

For example:

Image: Step back

or follow ganchos lead's right leg with her left

For example:

Image: Follow right

From 1/2 back ocho reversed - basically a very tiny volcada - so lift then take off axis into gancho.



Interrupt the sidestep of a giro.

For example:

Image: Enganche

Morgan's gancho

Sidestep left to lady sandwich lead's right foot. Barrida her left foot slightly out to right. Take her in to a slight carpe and both turn cw. Her right foot will ride up the lead's left lead, but in a different orientation to a normal gancho.

For example:

Image: Morgan's gancho

Hailey's gancho

Linear boleo

For example:

Image: Hailey's gancho

to forward lunge with follow's right foot (lead step's backwards).

For example:

Image: Hailey's gancho 2

Lead places his right foot inside her rear foot.

For example:

Image: Hailey's gancho 3

Both turn acw and effectively swap axes with each other by both changing direction 180 degrees. Follow ganchos lead's right leg with her left.

For example:

Image: Hailey's gancho 4

Lift up. Now reverse into a cw pivot but stay in close and the follow will naturally gancho with her right leg on lead's left.

Ends in Americana.

Technique: The lunge to first gancho is one continuous move.

From a parada

Technique: Don't let her unweight her rear foot. Leader's parada-ing foot turn slightly towards follow to create a "hook". As lead blocks and takes her back, he creates a shin-to-shin relationship with the paradaing legs. Lead's non-ganchoing foot rotates slightly towards the follow.

If block is inside her foot, then lead makes two adjustments. First his ganchoing foot offset slightly behind hers. Secondly his non-ganchoing foot turns out slightly away from her. The leader's ganchoing foot ends up facing the opposite direction to the follows weight-bearing foot.

Rear ganchos

From back sacada

If you freeze with left leg in back sacada position and reverse her she can either

Front sacada your leg out of the way to giro.

For example:

Image: Rear ganchos

Gancho your left hip - can add in small volcada

For example:

Image: Volcada

If you freeze right leg where it is but retract left leg she can gancho your right leg.

For example:

Image: Gancho right leg

From a back ocho


Anti-clockwise giro - the position of the leader's left hand changes. His left arm opens out more (pretty much as far as possible) so his hand is now further away from her than the previous mid-point. Also as if he's taking her hand to just outside his left shoulder.

Clockwise giro - the position of the leader's right elbow changes. His upper right arm opens out more (pretty much as far as possible) so his elbow is now further back.

 - Christopher O'Shea