Social conventions & courtesy on the dance floor

  • Invite your dance partner by making eye contact. In Milongas, the action of asking someone to dance with eye contact and a nod is called the “cabeceo”.
  • If one of the partners says “Thank You” at the end of a song, the other one responds in the same way and both move off the floor. It is customary to dance a “tanda” (= a set of 3 to 5 songs) with the same person before saying “thank you” and moving on. “Thank you” signifies your desire to conclude the dance.
  • A Milonga is a formal party where people dress up and gather to dance Tango. It is very inappropriate to start critiquing or correcting your dance partner’s technique at a Milonga.
  • Leaders should respect the follower’s choice of embrace.
  • Respect your partner’s dance style and level.
  • It is customary for a leader to escort his partner back to her seat when they have finished dancing.
  • Don’t interrupt people while they are dancing. Your dance partner deserves your undivided attention. If you have some urgent need for information exchange, at least wait until a moment between songs, and keep it very brief.

Personal hygiene

  • Wear a clean shirt and bring a spare if you worry about getting sweaty. Don’t forget to use anti-perspirant. If you use some fragrance, please use it sparingly. Some people have a problem getting up close and personal to heavy fragrance.

What to do with cortinas

  • At Milongas, the DJs will play a cortina between tandas. A cortina is a short piece (about 30 seconds) of non-tango music that tells the dancers this tanda is over and a new tanda is about to begin. The next tanda will be a different style of music and is normally danced with a new partner.

Traffic & Safety

  • Respect the space of the other couples on the dance floor by dancing circular at the outer perimeter in anti-clockwise direction. It is advisable for leaders to make only one back step.
  • Don’t overtake, speed, zigzag or cut people off.
  • Don’t dance in the middle of the floor; the best place to be is in the outer lane.
  • Dancing couples have absolute right of way on the dance floor. Pedestrians are advised not to walk on the dance floor when not dancing.
  • Don’t hold up traffic. The floor is constantly moving forward.
  • Followers are not to be used as human shields for your protection; also, followers (especially with stiletto heels) are not to be deployed as weapons