Tango Argentino > Milonga Etiquette

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by DanceMentor, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    I have been deeply shocked about the clear message you can communicate by the mirada/cabeceo!

    During my visit to BA I started a cabeceo and she looked surprised. Then she reorganized her thoughts a bit and nodded! The same happened in South Korea! She giggled a little and came to the pista with me for her first tanda ever with a femail leader.

    In both cases it was a place with mixed seating and in BA it was also my first tanda at that pista. But the way I used the mirada seems to have enough of the features the male leaders are using so the followers understood that I had initiated a cabeceo and that I was doing it as a leader.

    This made me even fascinated about the possibilities to load a gaze with very different, distinct messages in the ordinary life too! It is fantastic powerful!

    (In BA, if I was unsure, I asked the organizer if it was ok to dance as a femail leader and then followed that guideline.)
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  2. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Sane leader doesn't takes no personally.
    Even a long time regular partner can say no always.
    There should be no push situations in tango as well in life.
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  3. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    It's very likely that you would refuse cabeceo on last song, and a good leader won't try to do it anyway.
    I was talking about local milongas, not international milongas.

    I would never invite a person on a last song in international milonga.
    Maybe only a person I know from before.
  4. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    I mean stronger as a dancer and as a person.
    I believe one should refuse to dance with people who physically force, assault or abuse their dance partners.
  5. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    That is true. I won't be actively looking for a partner at that point in a tanda.

    When it happens, it is either an old friend/good leader who got so inspired about the song, he can sit no longer (if I am in the same mood I may say yes) or a new/visiting person unaware of the tanda system, but it does not mean he won't be able to learn or be a bad partner. I may say yes out of curiosity (I want to test him out ;) ). If it is very bad indeed, at least it will be short, and I will know for sure to avoid him in the future. :)

    We have a huge community, where I probably hardly know half of participants, and a good dozen of visitors every single day. All the milongas here are more or less "international." :)
  6. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I was wondering that myself.
    Juniper Ivy likes this.
  7. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    You know, at times I hear people in non-Argentine tango communities talking about Argentine men as "machos", and how they disrespect women etc. But for an Argentine man a woman saying "no" is the most natural occurrence in the world. :) Her wish ( or in that case, lack thereof) is respected unconditionally, no question asked.
    At the same time, in the same communities a woman saying "no" apparently runs a risk of becoming a social outcast.

    Something does not quite add up here.

    Mladenac likes this.
  8. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Something to consider. The interactions between people who know each other is quite different from people who do not know each other (like a beginner).

    As for me personally, if I get rejected (whether verbally or by cabeceo), I'm less likely to ask that person again (especially if I don't know the person). It's nothing personal. I just choose not to waste my time asking people who don't want to dance with me.

    FWIW, when I get asked to dance and I don't feel like it, I'll usually tell the person why I'm choosing not to dance with them (like I'm tired, or don't wish to dance to the specific song, or whatever). Then, when the situation no longer exists, I'll usually seek them out and ask them, (to make it clear I wasn't just blowing them off). Of course I'm aware it's more difficult for a woman to ask for a dance than the other way around.
  9. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Of course, avoiding a situation of direct rejection is best, because it is not pleasant for all parties involved.
  10. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    There is a wide range of behaviour on a milonga from very informal where follower invites leaders
    to very formal where we have split sitting and only cabeceo is applied.

    In that categories we can include also invitations upfront, first song, last song. It's very event dependent.

    On a local practica or milonga if some lady asks me to dance with in a polite way I will dance.
    But not on international milonga (festival, marathon,...) because other followers watch I won't.
    And even I notice a follower I usually dance on a local milonga and I don't find her
    good enough I might not dance with her on crowdy floor of bigger milongas.
    Since I go single to those events I need to be careful who I dance with. ;)
  11. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    In the end of the day, we want to dance with people who want to dance with us. :)
    When someone "just wants to dance" no matter what, no matter how their prospective partner feels about it, it seems kinda selfish.
    Mladenac likes this.
  12. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    A women doesn't have control over how a man feels if his invitation is declined. A man doesn't have control how a woman feels if she isn't asked. You only have control over yourself.

    Nobody has to explain their decision. This is why cabeceo is so great. There's no verbal communication so nothing can be said.
    Mladenac and Lilly_of_the_valley like this.
  13. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    That may be true where you are, but certainly isn't true everywhere.

    To say that it is "more often neutral, or even the opposite" as a blanket statement doesn't take into account the dynamics that may exist in different communities.
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I have pretty much reached a point where I will be turning down invites for the last 1 (in some cases 2) songs of a tanda. Everyone here knows me and has no need to "test" me. If they don't want to dance a full tanda with me, then I can wait for someone else who will relish the chance to dance as many songs as he can with me. When traveling, I rarely experience this behavior (which is when you would expect it) and I consider it to be obnoxious when done on a local scale where the dancers already know each other well. Unless it is clear from the beginning that the person simply couldn't find you at the start of the tanda and is already hoping to dance the next tanda as well, there's really not a good reason for it. Dance with me or don't. Throwing me "crumbs" at the end of a tanda is insulting.

    I'll make an exception for the organizer of the event or a visiting teacher who may be trying to dance with as many of the attendees as possible, and has consistently throughout the night danced with more than one person per tanda.

    There does seem to be a move towards 4 song tandas around my region, and I know that some leaders just don't want to dance 4 songs straight. I'm hoping the push to longer tandas (they used to always be 3 songs here, regardless of music type) will be to allow us to hear the music before partnering up. In the past, all choosing of partners occurred in cortinas. So I'm willing to bend on letting 1 or 2 songs go by. But if I'm just an afterthought, or the last person sitting, it just feels bad to be asked when the tanda is almost over.
    Mladenac likes this.
  15. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    FWIW, there is another reason for asking someone to dance on the last song (or next to last song). If I don't like the first song, I'm usually not asking someone to dance. Now every once in a blue moon, a subsequent song will be one I really like, at which point, I'll be quickly trying to find someone to "finish the tanda". Usually, I'll ask someone I know though, and not some newbie, but if that's all that's available and I want to dance, I'm asking.

    Example: The tanda starts with some Troilo instrumental that doesn't inspire me (so I decide to take a break), and then on the last song, it's a Troilo with Fiorentino singing (that I've been waiting all night for a whole tanda of). Well I'm asking someone, even if it's the last song in the tanda. FWIW, I'll more than likely do the next tanda with her as well.
    Zoopsia59 likes this.
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    And how do you signal that?
  17. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Maybe... but the less experienced dancer also has less ability to know who they should or should not dance with.
  18. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    You have bad DJing problem then :p
    Krys likes this.
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    On that subject... what do people think about making eye contact with someone who is dancing, or with someone not dancing while you are dancing?

    I have mixed feelings about this. As a follower, even if a leader wanted to dance with me, wouldn't he be put off by me making eye contact while I was dancing? Wouldn't that send a signal that I don't give my full attention to my partner? Or would ego take over and indicate to him that he was just so much more desirable than my current partner that I couldn't help myself? ;)

    As the seated person, I feel less weird about making eye contact with a dancing leader, but I do wonder why he is making eye contact with people off the floor instead of focusing on his partner and other dancers.

    This "eye contact while dancing thing" happened to me quite a bit in DC (both as the dancing person and the non-dancing person) and it left me dubious.

    What is the traditional BA stance on this? What have people experienced in their own communities/travels, and what are your personal feelings about it?

    Ready, set, GO!
  20. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Of course, there are many variables . But the main point I wanted to bring was: the fact that a person just began does not make her (or him) less of a person deserving respect for her/his boundaries, and the right to exercise her/his personal choice. I disagree with a sometimes implied notion that a dance with a novice person somehow has less of a value. Actually in many cases it may be even more...

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