Monday, February 10, 2014

Blend in at a Tango Hall

Spare your blushes with our guide to tango-hall etiquette

Executive summary by darmansjah

TANGO is a serious business. At an established milonga (tango dance hall), choosing a partner involves many hidden codes, rules and signals. After all, no serious milonguera (female regular) wants to have someone stepping on her toes. Ideally, you should sit with easy access to the floor. Couples sit further back. If a man arrives with a woman, she is ‘his’. To dance with others, they either arrive separately, or the man may ask another woman, and then ‘his’ partner I open for asking. The cabezazo-the quick nod, eye contact and uplifted eyebrows that signals a man would like to dance – can happen from across the room. The woman either nods yes and the man escorts her to the floor, or pretends to have not noticed. It’s polite to dance at least two songs; if you are given a curt ‘gracias’ after one, consider that partner unavailable for the night. If you don’t want to dance with anyone, don’t look around too much – you could be breaking hearts.

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