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 Two of Three
6. Don’t sit as a couple if you want to mingle – A male and female sitting together makes them out of bounds, especially in Buenos Aires. If you’ve gone to a milonga just to dance with your date or partner then fair enough, be together all you like. However, if you’ve gone together with the intention of dancing with a variety of partners then by making it clear you’re together people will perceive you as being off limits or too risky to approach. It would take one brave man to invite a lady to dance in front of her date/husband. Similarly, if you’re with a member or a few members of the opposite sex then you’re also far less likely to be approached.
7. Ask/accept with your eyes – The traditional way to initiate a dance is for the man to ask the lady to dance using a slight nod called the “cabeceo”. In order for this to work, both members of the opposite sex need to scan the room to decide who they’d like to dance with next. Inevitably your eyes will eventually meet if you both feel the same way. Men; it is your job to signal to the lady that you’d like to dance, by nodding your head whilst looking at her. Ladies, if you are interested, subtly nod your head to accept his invitation.
8. Remember your tango style – You might be working on improving some technique point from your last tango class, or try and practice new steps. Whilst technique should not be preventing you from dancing, always try to have at the back of your head only one point you’d like to improve. You’ll see that you’ll be able to move through your technique points in no time.
9. Don’t rush into it – Don’t start dancing as soon as the music starts. Enjoy the first few seconds of the music to identify the song: do you know it, is it rhythmical, lyrical, how does it make you feel? These few seconds will help set the tone for the dance so it’s time well spent. You will find that regular tango dancers will stand around talking briefly before taking up the embrace and proceeding to dance.
10. Stop when the beat stops – Once you know tango music well enough, you’ll be able to “predict” when the end of the song is coming. It is important to finish dancing on the last beat if possible. Most songs end on two notes “Sol, do”, or “C, G”. It’s always tidier to freeze on the final beat and hold your final position for a few seconds. Some orchestras are cheeky however, Rodriguez typically steals one beat so if you’re not aware, you’ll finish the song late, and Tanturi sometimes takes a long pause between the last two notes. If you pay attention to the music you’re dancing to, you’ll soon be able to identify who is who.
Check back tomorrow for the last 5 rules.
By Emma Langschied