Whether you’ve been to a Milonga before or you’re yet to experience your first one, these tips have been devised especially to fill you in on all the etiquette so that you feel more comfortable and just soak up the lovely atmosphere. Things can be confusing in all the hustle and bustle of a Milonga so hopefully this will clear up anything that may catch you out on the night. If there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re more than welcome to leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to add it to our list!
Part One of Three
1. Only ever say “thank you” at the end of a tanda – If you say “thank you” after a song, whilst you’re just being polite, your partner might interpret it as “I’m done dancing with you”. Instead try, “I really enjoyed that dance”, or if you didn’t “lovely weather today wasn’t it”, or “I like your shoes”. Remember “thank you” actually means “no more thanks”.
2. Always wait until the song’s finished before moving on – Whether it’s approaching the end of a tanda or you’re very unhappy with your partner’s skills (or lack of…) to the point where you intend to leave him, you should try and wait until the song has finished. You may not feel like being polite if your partner is pushing and pulling you around and crushing all life out of your feet – but if you can, grin and bear it!
3. Follow the line of dance – Being a spontaneous style of dance, tango requires careful planning to minimise collisions. It’s like an ecosystem: very fragile. If too many dancers disturb the balance, the experience of all is not as nice. All couples should dance in a counter clockwise circular motion, keeping up with the couple in front but allowing space enough for them to do one backwards step and of course plenty of elbow room. Avoid overtaking, or if you feel you have to, please overtake the couple on their left side, so that the leader can see you.
4. Protect your partner – In Buenos Aires, old-school milongueros try and keep their partner with their back to the tables, to protect her from elbows and straying legs. Without going to that extreme, it is the leader’s job to make sure he protect his partner. It takes great trust to be led blindly backwards through a busy dance floor, so leaders, make sure you don’t break that trust by allowing her to get bashed or hurt. Ladies; put all your faith in him, he might be able to feel your resistance otherwise which could knock his confidence and ability to lead.
5. If you knock something over, pick it up – Crash. Crunch. As embarrassing as it is, accidents do happen. So if you knock something over – pick it up, or if you spill someone’s drink – buy them a new one: as simple as that.
Come back soon for the next 5 rules.
By Emma Langschied