Tango, Milonga, & Practica FAQ
- What is proper Milonga Etiquette?
- What is proper Practica Etiquette?
- What is Line of Dance?
- What makes for GOOD Floor Craft?
- Why are there so many different styles of tango?
- What is a Cabeceo?
What is a Cabeceo?
We try to use the cabeceo at a milonga when asking someone to dance A cabaceo is where a lead makes eye contact and gives a slight nod of the head to suggest dancing. If a follow wants to dance, hold the eye contact, smile, and slightly nod back too. It is best for the follower to remain seated and have the lead come to the follow and escort her to the dance floor. The cabaceo may seem a little awkward and daunting at first -- but it is meant to save everyone from embarrassment. Leaders, if a follower does not return your cabaceo, it might be because they are resting, socializing, or not loving the particular song/tanda/orchestra -- or perhaps they have already promised the tanda to someone else. It's acceptable to try your cabaceo again later.
It is also OK to cabaceo at a practica (it's a great place to practice this art form!). However, we do not adhere to strict cabaceo rules at our practicas. We strive for an informal, friendly, and relaxed environment for asking others to dance at our practicas.
For a very polite and modern definition of cabaceo, please visit this London Tango website.
What is proper milonga Etiquette?
Dress your tango best! Come alone, or with a partner, or with a group! Dance with lots of people. If the milonga is held at a home or a rented venue, we typically bring beverages or treats to share.
At a milonga, we do not teach or instruct on the dance floor. Please show up at our milongas ready for fun... and to dance what you know! Don't worry about what you don't know!
While you'll find that there is talking on the dance floor between songs during a tanda, dance partners typically do not carry on an in-depth conversation while dancing. The communication is happening in the dance, so there is little need to talk while dancing. It is quite pleasant and interesting to watch and listen during a tanda -- to the ebb and flow of the chatter of the dancers during their tanda.
What is proper practica etiquette?
Make a good impression with your fellow tangueros (tango dancers) in classes and practicas by being friendly, helpful and never critical of their dancing abilities. Leave that to the instructors.
Whether you have been dancing tango 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years, 5 years, or more -- you will never stop learning. Please take care when working with various partner on HOW you give feedback.
For example, don't say:
- You did that wrong
- That's not how you're supposed to lead that
- That's not how you're supposed to follow that
Here are examples of what to say:
- Can we try that move again? I think we almost had it!
Tango is not about blame. It's about learning from trial and error. Learning by cause and effect. Telling someone that they're wrong is pointless and redundant. The communication is already happening in the dance.
Leaders. Homer's approach to leading (paraphrased): Homer says that a leader might lead one thing, but their partner does another -- and a leader should think "Cool. I meant to lead something else, but this happened instead. Let's go with it". Isn't it more enjoyable to dance with people that can go with the flow?
What is Line of Dance?
Line of dance means that dancers are moving in a counter clockwise rotation in a singular line around the outer most edge of the dance floor. At big festivals, you will find large dance floors that can accommodate two or more lines of dance.
What makes for GOOD Floor Craft?
Follow the line of dance!
Don't talk while dancing. If you’re talking, you’re not dancing! And it's distracting and disturbing to others on the floor. Focus on your connection to your partner.
Really good dancers employing really good floor craft make use of the corners!
In tango, bumping into another couple is bound to happen -- especially on crowded dance floors. It is best for all parties to quickly apologize and continue to dance. It is not worthwhile to figure out who is at fault.
For more on tango floorcraft, please visit:
Why are there so many different styles of tango?
First off, Argentine Tango is NOT Ballroom Tango. Ballroom tango is typically memorized steps and choreographed. "Dancing with the Stars" or most shows or films that have tango dancers with a rose in their mouth would be choreographed Show tango -- NOT Argentine tango.
Salon. This is a style of Argentine Tango that is most commonly danced.
Tango instructor, Hernan Prieto from Buenos Aires, visited our tango community in 2012. During his lesson he said (paraphrased) -- I will teach you what I know and how I think about tango -- and you can take what you want and keep just the pieces that work for you. It's up to you to create your own style.
How can I get more involved?
Email us and let us know what you might be interested in doing or just inquire what is needed.
with simple walking, ochos, ocho cortados, the cross, and molinetes or giros -- these movements will be the primary focus of beginner and intermediate classes.
with boleos, ganchos, volcados, colgadas, and more -- these movements are taught in intermediate and advance classes.
How long will it take me to get good at tango?
Tango is a dance unlike an other dance. It is a journey and every person's journey is different.