Silly Question: Boleos vs Planeos?

Hello! I've been taking Argentine Tango lessons for probably about a year now, and I know what a Boleo is, but I have trouble seeing the difference between a Boleo and a Planeo.

In both, the follow's leg is being sent out and brought around in a circular motion from what I've learned, so what is the difference between the two? Also, how do they work differently in music? Like, are there situations where it'd sound odd musically to do a Boleo but not a Planeo and vice versa?

Thank you very much for your help!
A boleo occurs when there is change in direction. The woman steps backward for a back ocho but her direction is changed before she completes the step. The planeo continues in the SAME direction.

The foot leaves the floor during a boleo but the foot remains on the floor for a planeo.

Steve Pastor

Staff member
how do they work differently in music?
So glad you asked, because it means you are paying attention to the music, which happens too infrequently.

My answer to your question is that a boleo would ideally be used to accompany and high light a sharp accent, or the sudden end of a phrase, in the music. The foot should reverse direction right at the accent of end of phrase.

The planeo is more of a sustained movement and I would use it to accompany a musical phrase.

Those videos newbie posted are two of a series that I think are some of the best I've seen.


Active Member
A boleo is a change of direction that utilizes momentum in conjunction with the follower's free leg. Having the free leg leave the floor isn't a necessary characteristic, but it is a common one, and is a follower's choice. Musically, they can be done sharply to highlight a punctuation in the music, or slowly to highlight a violin (for example). I think they're best used to highlight something and used sparingly. I wouldn't do too many during a song, or use them when there's nothing special going on in the music. Admittedly, this can be difficult since they feel so good to do :)

In a boleo, the followers leg is extending due to momentum+projection. In a planeo, the followers leg is extended due to a projection alone, sometimes a change in height, just like any normal step.


Active Member
I think of the boleo as a position. It occurs when the follower is overturned, hips perpendicular with the leader's hips which causes the follower to collect in a crossed position. Three common ways are:
1)changing the direction of the back ocho
2)ending a forward ocho in an overturned position
3)when you don't know how to lead a gancho and send the follower away instead of around you, she will probably end in a boleo position

There are also linear boleos. Happens when you step with a lot of energy then stop abruptly. If the follower's leg is relaxed, then the first law of motion causes them to send the leg flying... More common in milonga
Hi A Rabbit,

Great that you're paying attention to the music.

I agree that you should use the boleo more sparingly, and only when musically appropriate (not necessarily just a staccato accent but anytime the music calls for it), so if you are doing things right you will probably do the planeos slightly more often.

Having said that, if you find yourself doing one significantly more than the other for a period, in order to practice a specific skill, that's fine too and a competent tanguero should be able to adapt to that.

Good luck!
I don't do planeos very often.

I tend to be quite frugal with boleos too, but will do them after I hear portamento in the strings (quite common in tango music of the 40s) for some reason: it just seems like the right thing to do musically.

Note: not as I hear the portamento- that would need me to know in advance that it was coming, and all the tango skills in the world won't help me to predict the future!

That's assuming my legs are either already in an acceptable position to perform a boleo, or I can easily get into position. In the middle of a giro, in the open step with my legs apart, for example, it would be impossible no matter how musically relevant.

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