Monthly Archives: September 2014

Intention and Anticipation

An interesting comment was left to my post about the cruzada pointing out the difference between the “intention” and the “anticipation”. Indeed a clarification is appropriate since this relates to the subtleties of the tango communication.

One can think of the tango as a partnership that functions using a historically developed and established protocol i.e. a system of rules implicitly agreed upon by the partners. Some examples of these simple but fundamental rules are:

– The leader initiates the gesture such as a step, a pivot or a weight change. (more crudely, he leads)
– The follower responds with the appropriate gesture.
– The follower crosses one step later if the leader walks on her right side.
– If the leader is creates a continuous movement, the follower does not stop it. For example if the leader keeps walking, the follower does not stop the walk and continues at the appropriate pace. The same concept applies to a molinete.

In the context of tango “Intention” is what the follower interprets and prepares to do in response to the lead, without actually doing it. For example in response to a forward gesture of the leader, the follower creates the projection to prepare for a back step, but crucially, does not step before the leader actually does. The same with the cross, the follower prepares to cross but does not do it until the couple reaches the cruzada position.

“Anticipation” on the other hand refers to creating a gesture when it is not lead, or completing a gesture a before its correct time even if it is lead. For example, crossing before the appropriate beat too quickly and executing a molinete too fast with an uneven rhythm are anticipations even though these gestures are lead. The same concept applies to a back step of the follower when it happens too quickly even though both parties know and agree that such a step will happen.

On the other hand over-pivoting for an ocho instead of continuing a molinete is an anticipation without a lead. So is lifting the leg for a boleo when there is actually no lead in the form of a sudden change of direction.

In summary the follower needs to respond to the lead with an “intention” but without “anticipating”.