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Backward Intention

Contrary to what you might believe, and it may be really hard for you to accept this but, Argentine Tango is not a dance of pushing and pulling. You will continually hear L/leads use the phrase, “Give me Resistance!” to indicate that they need physiological pressure (and compression) into their Left hand in order to ‘feel’ that X, Y, or Z is occurring. X, Y, or Z, in this case, can be, but is not limited to, walking, weight changes, ochos, turns, crosses, sacadas, musical interpretations, etc.

Today’s Tango Topic deals with a type of indication, a specificity really, in how to initiate a step backward with our partner. And by ‘initiate’, we mean to lead, as in the action to intend to do something. It should be noted that Followers reading this Tango Topic that may erroneously think that they can tune out and need not listen to this stuff. Which in the Tango Topics opinion would be a mistake. 🙂 This stuff isn’t just for Leads, but for both roles, as you’ll soon see.

It should be noted that for some of you reading this, the topic will be an eye opener that this stuff exists, for some they’ll pay no attention that it doesn’t apply to them, and for some it will almost seem like a ‘duh! of course’! In all of those cases, there is something here beyond the video above. Read on.

Let’s be clear about something: This isn’t rocket science, but it is about awareness and lots of it. And while this article may sound like ‘blah-blah-blah Tango’ to some of you reading it, trust that there is something here for you to grok and try to put into your dance. Or at the very least to stop and to think about, and that’s primarily the purpose why Tango Topics exists. To create a little awareness in your dance, instead of you doing the same thing over and over and over again. This particular topic is one of those areas that continually creates a problem for most L/leads, which they don’t realize is a problem area, and as a result, most Followers become the recipients of this problem. As it is the Follower that has to put up with the unaware Lead. As a result, the Follower grumbles when they get a Lead that hasn’t learned how not to push and pull with their embrace but rather to engage Intention-Based Dancing in their dance. So without further yappment, Tango Topics presents the Importance of Backward Intention!

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What Is Backward Intention ? First, we have to create a little bit of clarity as to what is a.) Intention. and then b.) Forward Intention and how it relates to your dance. and finally, c.) Today’s Tango Topic: Backward Intention!

a.) Intention is like starting to do something but isn’t completed. But, unlike an abrupt interrupt to stop and do something else, which happens frequently with a lot of Tango’s Leads (tsk, tsk, tsk), this is done on purpose but without any jarring motion of countermanding and instead a very gentle and kinesthetically, and not to mention but we will anyway, physiological dissipation of the intended motion’s intent. This would be Intention, in it’s simplest textual descriptive. It should be noted that this word has been defined by Tango Topics, and is used quite liberally throughout this site. Further, it is in our article database and our site dictionary. Please, follow the links (see: IBD or Definition), and watch the corresponding videos. We believe it will help you to understand what we’re yapping about. Further still, in the video above, it talks about the idea of Intention, but its focus is on Forward Intention and not on the root of the topic.

b.) Forward Intention has also been defined but by inference only, and demonstrated visually on this site in 3 different places: Intention Based Dancing, The Second Step Problem, Leading Technique), not to mention being discussed ad-nauseam in nearly every single Tango Topic in some way, shape, or form. However, again for the sake of argument and necessity to our ultimate goal, it can best be defined as a “little lean forward“. To be more precise: Where the Lead, engages their toes. Spreading them out inside their shoe/sock, and then pressing them into the floor as the phalanges (the toe bones) begin to take weight. There is a softening the knees with a little bit of downward compression, as well as a tightening of the quads to hold a stabilizing position. At this point, the Tibia & Fibula bones are allowed to float forward over the Talus bone (Ankle joint) resulting in about 2 to 4 degrees of forward tilt against a vertical line. This is a “a little lean forward”. How does this relate to your dance ? This is what generates the Follower’s back step! This is Forward Intention. 😉

c.) Backward Intention. So if Intention, is the intent to do something but is stopped, gently. And Forward Intention is a little lean forward. Backward Intention must be a lean backward with the intent to do something!

Phew! That was a long build up. Sorry. 🙁

Difficulty Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

There’s a lot more to this ArticleThere’s the extensive Lead’s Perspective, the deeper Follower’s Technique Perspective, and sometimes we throw in a complete Dancing Perspective part, all of which are only visible to Tango Topics Freemium Registered Users, Gold Subscribers, Diamond Level Users, and Milonga Madness Users. To become a Freemium user, Registration is absolutely 100% FREE, click the button below, and you get access to this article, and over 400 videos, hundreds of articles on a wide range of Tango Topics. So what are you waiting for, go register, then login to your Tango Topics Library page and then select the “ARTICLES” button and you’ll see this article with all that good stuff in there. Easy. No ? 🙂

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The Reality of WHY You Need This: There are many moves, steps, patterns, and figures to Argentine Tango that are really cool. What you may not realize is that most of that stuff is ‘fluff’, they’re nice to have, they’re nice to know, but honestly, you’re not going to use them that often! Mind you this is one side of the argument. This ain’t that! This piece is one of the more venerable selections of Argentine Tango that you will use frequently like Walking, Milonguero Ochos/Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete/Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross. Tango Topics take this stuff very seriously, and we say that because we use this stuff ALL – THE – TIME! Our case is that you need this stuff because > This is all about foundation, or one of the Seven Foundation Steps that we use all the time to create the dance that we know as Argentine Tango. That’s why! 🙂 That said, you do actually need to watch this stuff. You can learn what you need from this video and then apply it. No lie. No gimmick. As always YMMV and to remember that the video itself is only a stepping stone! You will need some private lessons to go along with it to get the ‘feel’ of things. That is the reality of WHY you need this stuff. So subscribing for a few months to TangoTopics to get what we’re on about wouldn’t kill you. Further, it would probably help to hear another person saying what your current tango teacher has been saying all along. Think of this stuff as one more reminder that you absolutely need to hear.


The Missing Information. Dearest Reader. TangoTopics is glad that you want to read this Topic, so that you can dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, you’re missing three important parts to this Article: The Follower’s Perspective, The Lead’s Perspective, and The Dancing Perspective. Which can change your thinking by informing of some important pieces of information that you may not necessarily be aware of. Watching a 5 minute video will not help you to change. Change is a concerted effort and requires a little thinking on your part: Becoming a Freeium User! As the name implies, it’s FREE. Register. You get to see everything above, and a whole lot more! 😉 Have a nice day.

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Why should you subscribe instead ?  Several reasons.  1.) Probably the biggest reason is to save a boatload of money. Buying these things outright isn’t cheap. Besides when you buy you only have access to the one video. Subscribing, on the other hand, gives you access to everything else so you can see the foundational material that goes with this stuff. 2.) Even if you’re a Free User, you’ll get access to free tips that aren’t available to anyone just reading the post like this one. 3.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 4.) Because the Dancing Perspectives (Lead, Follow, and Dancing) are hidden to the open user. And that’s where all the information is at, unless you actually subscribe. Until you do, those very important textual descriptions of what’s going on for both Lead and Follow you want to read. 5.) And the real reason you should subscribe ? If you’re used to YouTube videos where you’ll see a performance, those Youtube videos don’t explain or walk you through how these ideas work! That is why! What you’re seeing is a presentation, a performance. Not how things work! And what you really need to see is how things work, and more importantly why they work! This website shows you that and more! 

Remember that what you’re seeing is a couple that is performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they’re not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about ‘Social Dancing’  or how to make things function on a social dance floor. Social Dance floor ? Your local milonga! They’re showing flashy moves as a presentation! But not stopping and talking about how this works, why you’d want to put that piece of vocabulary there, or how to make things fit. This website is all about those things and more!

You could watch those videos and thereby spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that particular situation. Bend your body this way or that, twist and force this position or that. Place your foot here or there and figure it out. This is known as Tango Twister.  Which can be a lot of fun, but more than likely it won’t help you, because you’re missing something: The explanation from an experienced teacher showing you how to properly excute this stuff from a Leading Perspective as well as from a Following Perspective!

The goal of YouTube videos is to get you to study with those teachers in person. The goal of Tango Topics videos allows you to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own space, so that you can play them over and over again to improve your understanding of the vocabulary or technique being described to therefore better your dancing experience. The goal of classes and workshops is to get you to come back over and over and over again, thereby spending more money with that teacher. This website and the videos under it are here to act as a resource for you to help you to improve your dance. Pay once and you’re done.

Eventually, one way or another you’re going to pay for this lesson, either here and now, or with them. TANSTAAFL! The difference between that lesson and this ? Is that you get to play this lesson over and over and over again. Further still, there are supporting materials (other videos) that help to explain the language and the underlying technique of how and why things work, so you can easily reference those things in the corresponding articles that go with the material, and or any language in the Tango Topics Dictionary. 


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on Dec 31, 2020 at 12:01 Tango Topics will cease operation

The site will go dark, and ALL of its content will disappear in short order right after that.

What will happen to all of the content I’ve built over the last 5 years ?
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