Understand the Speed Element in Tango Sacada and How It Works


A Sacada is strong move in Argentine Tango. This characteristic move involves leg and foot play. There are many different kinds of sacadas, and all of them involve the displacing or gently pushing or kicking partner’s leg, either by pretending to touch it or gently touching it. 

In fact, in sacada one does not need to actually touch the partner’s leg at all. It is mostly an optical illusion. The true source of energy is in turning of the body. Broadly speaking, sacada is a simultaneous step wherein the leader ends up exactly where the partner was standing. 


Sacada requires the partners to have perfect balance. This move is difficult to master. The couple’s center of rotation is not between them, but on the offsite of their embrace. One of the most common mistakes beginners make is focusing on the legs instead of turning together. Read on to learn more about common accidents during the turning: 

When everyone moves in the same direction, the speed or unexpected line changes can trigger accidents. 


The distance between both partners moving in the same direction needs to be maintained. For this they need to move at – either at the same speed or one has to move a little slower. Why? 

The leader plans a pathway and the follower recognizes the hints and responds. The speed will be identical but for illusions to work, the leading partner’s action has to start early and the partner behind moves to take over space. Delay is minimal, where both moves overlap a little to modify the leg trajectories and trigger a displacement effect. Here moving at the same speed is a possibility but tango is a spontaneous dance form. 

Possibilities of interpreting and categorizing sacadas

  • Forward sacadas & backward sacadas
  • The leader’s sacadas include the follower’s leg moving away and allowing the leader to step in that space.
  • Follower’s sacadas include the leader moving away and making a place for the follower to step in. 
  • Cross-step or open steps sacadas.

Sacadas can be in sideways, forward, or backward directions. Nevertheless, the movement of both dancers will be in the same direction around the circle. 

Different trajectories in argentine tango [AT]

When you start learning Argentine tango from skilled instructors at Ultimate Tango online or in-person classes, you will gain knowledge about various movements including the three that on a surface seem to be very similar – sacadas, entradas, and gancho. Entrada is a mild version of sacada, while gancho is different, though. It resembles technique of boleo. 

Visibly, each one looks similar when a couple travels around and taking space. In two lines roundabout, the outside is to exit, while the inside is to stay. If a partner steps towards a standing leg [inside the imaginary circle] instead of the free one [outside the imaginary circle], a gancho is accomplished instead of sacada.

The direction of a giro

Giro includes 4 steps + one forward & one backward cross + 2 open steps. You can perceive this in another way – forward [cross] + side [open] + back [cross] + side [open]. When giro travels to the left, crosses are done with left and open steps with right leg and vice versa when giro travels to right.

Dancers can change giro direction at any step through modifications or changes of directions. For example – forward to forward or side to side or back to forward. There are array of possibilities. To master sacadas, improve your dissociation technique and practice your foot strengthening exercises.