The golpecito is the most basic type of embellishment in tango, in which the free foot does one or more taps as part of a step or during a pause. It has a number of variations including the punto, the golpeteo, the fanfarron, the picado and the zapatato.
The golpecito can be executed by both lead and follower.
The punto (also known as the golpeo - the strike) is the most popular variation of the golpecito. It involves tapping the toe of the free foot.
During a step (which may be forwards, backwards or more sophisticated such as a planeo) the lead or follower may tap once or twice. During a pause, the lead or follower may tap any number of times (though more than twice is unusual) ensuring balance, axis and weight transfer are maintained.
The golpeteo involves tapping the underside of the free foot - in other words the heel or the ball.
During a step, the lead or follower may tap once. During a pause, the lead or follower may tap once or twice.
The fanfarron is the complex version of the golpeteo; the foot is rhythmically tapped in time to the music. This embellishment is sometimes also called chiche (delicate ornament).
The picado is an upwards flick of the heel, done when stepping forwards or in the turn, typically an ocho.
Zapatato (foot stamp)
The zapatato is an embellishment in which the shoes are tapped together.
Punto - Alp y Paula Tango
Punto - Alp y Paula Tango
Golpeteo - Alp y Paula Tango
Fanfarron - Alberto y Esther
Fanfarron - Alp y Paula Tango
Picado - Alberto y Esther
Galpeteo followed by picado - Gavito and Geraldine
Zapatato - Gavito and Geraldine
Take the Embellishments Tour
The following tango embellishments are covered by clicking on the relevant links below. Each page gives further details and instructional videos on each embellishment.
AGUJA (NEEDLE) - this embellishment is performed by the lead keeping his free foot vertical whilst pivoting, as the follower dances around him.
AMAGUE (FEINT) - the embellishment is a 'fake move' such as a foot stamping, or by leading a step to the side of the follower, but quickly reversing.
BOLEO (WHIP) - here the follower's free foot is thrown to the side and wraps around her leg at the knees, and her upper body counter-rotates, when an ocho is reversed in the middle. There are two variations: back boleo and front boleo.
CARICIA (CARESS) - this is a most sensual tango embellishment, which has two variations. The lustrada has the follower caressing the supporting leg of the lead. In the castigada the follower caresses her own supporting leg.
CUATRO (FOUR) - in the cuatro, the follower flicks the lower part of her free leg backwards and up, creating the numeral 4 in profile.
ENROSCAR (SCREW) - this embellishment is performed by the lead keeping his free foot behind his supporting foot whilst pivoting, as the follower dances around him. A variation is the counter-enroscar in which the free foot is kept in front of the supporting foot.
GANCHO (HOOK) - this embellishment has either the lead or follower swing their free leg to hook it around their partner's supporting leg, and then quickly release it. A variation is the gancho pasajero in which the gancho is executed during a transition between one step and another.
GOLPETICO (TAP) - this is a simple tango embellishment in which the foot is tapped. It has a number of variations including the punto (tapping with the toe), golpeteo (tapping with the underside of the foot), fanfarron (rhythmic tap in time to the music), picado (upward flick of the heel) and zapatato (tapping the shoes together).
INTRUSION - here the free foot is quickly kicked in and out from the space between the partner's legs. It requires very good timing.
RULO (CIRCLE) - this embellishment is executed by drawing circles on the floor with the free leg.
SENTADA (SITTING) - this is a show-tango embellishment in which the follower mounts the lead's supporting leg.
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A Very Tango Store beautiful tango quotation
Yes, there is a secret to being a brilliant lead. To be the best lead, do not love your follower. Instead, listen to the tango music and love it! To make tango beautiful we must transfer! We must transfer our love of the music to the follower, and she has no choice but to be enchanted!