Ganchos – something I swore I would never learn

Many tango moons ago, Steph and friends commented on ‘men who gancho,’ their less than complimentary term for sleazy men who lead a lot of ganchos and whose motivation does not appear to be to express the music.

They didn’t seem overly fond of the movement anyway, so I decided that was something I needn’t bother learning (though I have accidentally led them). But two things changed …

First, a quick survey of a few follower friends shows that some do really like the flowing feeling of them. Second, of course, it’s another type of movement in my tango 3D jigsaw puzzle.

More simple variations of the walk

We naturally started with the walk, and David illustrated another super-simple variation: just to do a rebound step in the walk and then continue. He also showed me something I’d done in a group class in Buenos Aires but completely forgotten about:

  • Side-step to left
  • Outside rebound with my right foot
  • Side-step to right
  • Inside rebound with my left foot (as if walking)

I think combining those two things with rebound turns would be lovely in vals.

Gancho one

The first version we did was a similar entry to the original volcada David showed me, and which I later simplified.

  • Side-step to left
  • Pivot follower left to lead a voleo as I follow her around
  • Stepping with my right foot into the space vacated by my follower’s left foot
  • Collect*
  • Rebound back around the arc onto my left foot
  • Bend my right leg forward by lifting on my toes, to create a gap

*Technically not necessary, but looks a lot neater and ensures 100% weight transfer.

It sounds a little complicated, and felt the same way, but I got it after a few attempts. The key things were to ensure that my left foot ended up either back in the starting position, or a little further forward, but never further back; the right leg is far enough forward; and that I lift from the toe, so I don’t have to bend my standing leg also.

As with the colgada, I was able to figure out a resolution via a back ocho into forward ocho, but felt like there ought to be a simpler way. David said there was … just walk straight out, doh!

Gancho two

The second version was from an Americana:

  • From the walk, rebound back from left foot, dissociating to lead follower to my right
  • Pivot her into Americana position
  • Move my right leg forward into pointed-toe position, but don’t change my weight
  • Lead the follower around me, stepping around my foot with her left foot …
  • And ganchoing with her right

The same resolution works.

Combining them

David then said that I could chain them together, at which point my head exploded. But after two or three attempts which ground to a halt with a ‘Whaaa?’ I did manage a couple of them. So, first version as above, then:

  • Step around her with my right foot again
  • Side-step with my left foot to bring us side-by-side
  • Then from from the third bullet above

I wouldn’t normally include a video of anything I’ve just that minute learned, let alone a sequence where you can see the visible ‘Err …’ moments, but as I’ve mentioned before, the primary audience for my blog is me – and I’ll never remember this without a video. Thanks to Wai Fong for authorising this too! I’ll replace it with a proper version once I have one …

You’ll also have to excuse the vertical video …

It was fun! I can see how that could feel especially lovely for the follower, and can also see that making sense of ganchos as well as voleos will open up other ways to use the follower’s free leg.

Sunday’s practice session will feature some of these …

Image: Shutterstock

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