Toe Releases

My friend was apparently told at the IDB Dance Camp this past summer that in International Tango, the person going backward at least in the basic step doesn't do a toe release, because you shouldn't be pushing off of that foot, but pulling. She recounts to me how she was told by Anna Mikhed during a session that there is no pushing off the foot in Tango, only pulling, and that is why there is no toe release.

Of course, I, being ignorant in Standard, was shocked to hear this, because I had always been told to do toe releases on power steps going backward. One time since I tried not doing toe releases, and the teacher (who was not my regular teacher) reminded me to do toe releases. I didn't say anything, and complied.

Has anyone else heard this? Maybe you could explain this to me so I fully understand the concept, and let me know if this shows up in any other places.


P.S. This is already at the third stage of the telephone game, Anna to my friend, my friend to me, and now me to you, so I'm sure there are details forgotten/skewed.
Well that makes me feel better, to start with :)

Any idea what she might have been talking about? I don't really know much about celebrity dancers, but I'm sure she must be very well recognized to be able to teach at the camp.

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
I have taught there too. It is filled with well qualified pros.

My guess is your friend misunderstood what she heard. I would be very very surprised if Anna actually said that she does not release her toes going backward on a basic pattern in tango.

I would venture to say Anna was addressing a problem that she saw on someone in class who was over exaggerating a toe release from an extreme push. And her answer was to try to let that person see that the action is "more of a pull and less of a push" and therefore the action of hiking your toe all the way to heaven is not really a good thing. Addressing one persons quirk does not mean that it applies universally to everyone.

And there would be no need to change the worldwide accepted and documented footwork in the basic pattern... but then leave that footwork unchanged in every other pattern. That is just weird.


Well-Known Member
I have never ever in my entire career heard anything even remotely close to this.
Me neither.. maybe they never heard " Pick and place " ? .

My guess is that, they were making a distinction between a " back step " in Tango, to that of a normal step in the other 3 dances, particularly in F.T. , now that ,would make sense .


Well-Known Member
Hmm... I think I was in that particular workshop and I don't remember her saying anything about toe releases either way. She DID say the pull not push thing, but I'm no recalling anything on the subject of toe release.


Active Member
I think that I have a lesson connected with this on one of DVDs. Can't remember actual explanation right now, but from my remembering, it wasn't about toes not lifting off the floor before moving the feet, but about difference in foot action vs. other swing dances - not using the heel to make an extra 'push' at that moment or something like that, but just releasing the toe naturally before moving the foot. Will try to find that DVD to check what was really about, so take this just as possible explanation, because I was watching it several years ago
Thanks for all the responses. I'm certainly glad to have this issue which was bugging me come to be clearer. Thanks, vit, for offering to look at your DVD.

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