I’ve been a bit quiet lately, as I’ve been completing a tango marathon (in my language, 6 days on the trot of tango classes/milongas!) I am now thoroughly exhausted, have incredibly sore feet but feel that I am now so tangoed out, I won’t mind not dancing for over THREE weeks (ie: the average Xmas break for tangueras not in London for the festivities - LOL).
Anyway, my marathon included a number of Christmas Milongas and so here are a few milonga etiquette thoughts:
What I especially like at a milonga:
- Leaders who escort me to the side of the room after a dance. If I’ve been totally absorbed in the dance, I may be slightly disorientated and it is pleasant to have a guide rather than start walking halfway across the room and then realising my drink is on the other side and having to do an about face.
- Tangueros and tangueras who introduce me to their friends, we all want to meet more people!
- Men who bring a change of shirt/t-shirt for those occasions when it gets a bit a sweaty inside.
- If I’m chatting with someone (leader or follower) and someone asks them to dance, then I appreciate the courtesy if they acknowledge me/ask if I mind if they leave rather than leaping up without a backwards look.
- Good dancers who dance with inexperienced dancers in a non-patronising manner and don’t make them feel out of place (a good dancer can have fun with anyone! and you did ask ...)
What I dislike at a milonga:
- Leaders who approach me, do not say a word and then HOLD OUT THEIR HAND to dance. You are not a mysterious stranger come to whisk me off my feet – say the WORDS!
- If we happen to bump into another couple (regardless of fault) leaders who do not acknowledge the other couple, especially the follower who may have been bumped and is certainly not to blame.
- If I happen to clash heels or jar another couple while dancing, the leader who grips me harder and zooms off, not allowing me to acknowledge the bump unless I physically man-handle myself from their grip.
- Leaders who decide to ‘teach’ me a move on the dance-floor – now is not the time to proportion blame and demonstrate how a move should be done.
- Dancing half-heartedly if you dislike a particular song - I’d prefer it if you just cut it short.
Things I’m unsure about at a milonga (opinions welcome!):
- Is it rude to make eye contact/catch the eye/smile at a friend when dancing with someone else. It seems a bit formal to say yes but on the other hand, isn’t it quite disrespectful to my partner if I’m looking over his shoulder and looking ‘outwards’ rather than ‘inwards’ into the dance?
- What to do if a leader asks me to dance when I know the friend next to me was hoping they were coming over to dance with them?
- If I’m dancing with an unknown leader, can I tell them I don’t like colgada/volcadas/soltadas[delete as appropriate] or do I just accept that as part and parcel of dancing with an unknown?
- If someone comes up and asks me to dance when I’m sitting with a leader who I sense is just about to ask me to dance, what should I do? Is it just a case of first dibs?