Milonga Etiquette

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#81
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.
Obviously there will be exceptions. But my experience so far has been more that the the leader was issuing a lukewarm invite anyway, and maybe only because we had been chatting.

And I would never turn YOU down... (well, except for milonga, but I turn everyone down for milonga... I even had to turn down a leader in DC who I had been watching all night! I did make it plain that it was only because it was a milonga and he did come back to me the next tanda, thankfully)
 
#82
I don't look at other people while dancing, unless there is a crowded situation, and the assistance in navigation is absolutely needed ( but then I prefer to leave the floor). I look at people who dance, but do not seek the eye contact with them. When somebody looks at me while I am dancing or says something, I may notice or hear, sorta on the periphery of my perception, half unconsciously, and as far I can tell from my experience, dancing people I look at while sitting probably do the same, too.
 
#83
On waiting until the second (or later) dace of a tanda to ask - I often need to do this just out of mental fatigue. Even though I've been dancing tango on and off for quite a while, I've never been able to get past the point where it is a huge mental grind for me just to focus on leading it well, and I don't try and do complex moves, either. I don't often dance two tandas in a row since I need the "break" to re-energize (and cool off so I don't sweat as much). If I'm having an off night and the tandas all seem to be 4 songs' worth, I'll probably wait, as if I tried to dance 4 in a row I'd probably be dancing like crap during the 4th song anyway.
 
#84
Yes, some people cannot do a whole tanda due to health problems.
Also, often when a person recently started coming to milongas, four songs on the floor may feel overwhelming. Unfortunately, practicas where one is supposed to take care of that before going to milongas are not established everywhere.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#87
On waiting until the second (or later) dace of a tanda to ask - I often need to do this just out of mental fatigue. Even though I've been dancing tango on and off for quite a while, I've never been able to get past the point where it is a huge mental grind for me just to focus on leading it well, and I don't try and do complex moves, either. I don't often dance two tandas in a row since I need the "break" to re-energize (and cool off so I don't sweat as much). If I'm having an off night and the tandas all seem to be 4 songs' worth, I'll probably wait, as if I tried to dance 4 in a row I'd probably be dancing like crap during the 4th song anyway.
I can accept that. But if the person has danced whole tandas pretty much all night, and asking when the tanda is almost over is an exception to their usual pattern, both that night and in the past, we're probably talking about something else. Or if the person consistently dances whole tandas and yet frequently asks me (specifically) for only part of the tanda, (and doesn't continue into the next tanda) I have to wonder why they ask me at all. It feels like they are asking out of some sense of obligation rather than desire to dance with me.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#90
what do people think about making eye contact with someone who is dancing, or with someone not dancing while you are dancing?
It seems to me that, unless your eyes are closed, you are looking at Something.

I used to be terribly self conscious (and insecure) when I was out there on the floor. (I don't even think about this where I dance all the time, but when going to a new venue... and especially dancing AT in Buenos Aires... well...)
It usually happens during a turn, but my gaze will go somewhere in the room and, really by "accident," end up being directed at someone who is not dancing.

My favorite story about this was dancing at Lo de Celia when, during a turn, my gaze ended up on one of the older regulars, who happened to be looking down towards my feet, or the feet of my partner. He just happened to look up at me at that instant, and had a big smile on his face; a sign of acceptance, I'd like to think.

This is what I mean by someone smiling while looking at me while dancing.
 
#91
...
Also, often when a person recently started coming to milongas, four songs on the floor may feel overwhelming. Unfortunately, practicas where one is supposed to take care of that before going to milongas are not established everywhere.
This is very true. I take a bit of time to work up the nerve to ask, so sometimes the first couple of songs slip by.

By the way, I signed up to make this exact comment, so this is my de-lurk notice.

Toad
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#93
I agree, and I think I'll go a step further and say that the teacher who claims "asking someone in the middle of the tanda is a test", doesn't know what the leader's reason is. I think she should stick to talking about her own motivations as she certainly doesn't know anything about mine.
 

tangobro

Active Member
#94
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 try to avoid this

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?
That would be my take. I usually avoid ladies that don't seem to be commited to the moment with their partner, on the asumption that they will also be uncommited to our partnership. I am intensely aware of and uncomfortable with partners who, while dancing with me, are signaling to or interacting with others.

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? ;)
GULP...busted! OK, maybe that might BRIEFLY pass my mind.

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?
Never danced in BA myself, but in classes I've taken with Susana Miller (for those don't know about her and her role in spreading what she called "Milonguero" style tango please Google her) she advocates for men keeping their eyes wide open & looking straight ahead, so that their posture does not collapse. I don't practice this specifically because it leads to eye contact.

I prefer to dance with my eyes half closed, looking through the slits toward the floor in front & to the side thereby avoiding eye contact & allowing for navigation. I usually only look up to catch the eye of a leader that may be waiting to enter the dance floor to signal it's ok to enter in front of me, or to catch the eye of a rambunctious leader that's about to or has already caused a collision with my partner or me.

I occasionally look up to assess the crowd conditions on the dance floor & sometimes that leads to eye contact with a lady dancing nearby, often she will smile. I find this a little disconcerting.

In many of the milongas here in NYC, in addition to seating at tables, there are seats along the edge of the dancefloor. Sometimes in navigating those seating areas I will notice a lady watching us dance & there may be eye contact. If I have never seen her before I may look for her later to see if I can watch her dance.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#95
I agree, and I think I'll go a step further and say that the teacher who claims "asking someone in the middle of the tanda is a test", doesn't know what the leader's reason is. I think she should stick to talking about her own motivations as she certainly doesn't know anything about mine.
Who are you agreeing with? (Oh the joy of the quote feature!)
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#98
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!
I don't think it's a big deal, and it happens occasionally at milongas.

FWIW, several years back, I was in a class (while in BsAs), where the teacher some how got off on a tangent, and he started talking (and giving us examples) about how he does that at milongas.
 
I can accept that. But if the person has danced whole tandas pretty much all night, and asking when the tanda is almost over is an exception to their usual pattern, both that night and in the past, we're probably talking about something else. Or if the person consistently dances whole tandas and yet frequently asks me (specifically) for only part of the tanda, (and doesn't continue into the next tanda) I have to wonder why they ask me at all. It feels like they are asking out of some sense of obligation rather than desire to dance with me.
Right! Hard not to notice that and wonder...
 

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