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Thursday, 1 November 2007

Making the most of BsAs milongas

It´s every foreigner´s desire to "dance with the locals", but if you´re a couple, there are some adjustments to make. Here are some tips that worked for me (& therefore, for Pat):
  • we enter the milonga separately, which means that I´ll be seated at a table with other men; I also make a quick trip to the toilet to change my shoes
  • I watch the dancers for a while - maybe 2 tandas - to get the feel of the milonga and to identify potential dance partners
  • it´s been a good idea to dance with Pat early in the milonga, so that others can assess our ability, style, and musicality - important if my use of the cabeceo is to be successful
  • the cabeceo is my only means of inviting women to dance - a direct approach can mean an embarassing refusal! In the larger milongas, I´m able to walk around a bit in order to catch the eye of a woman I wanted to dance with
  • at each milonga, it takes a while to become known, and I simply have to be patient and build up my reputation in order for women to, in reality, invite me to dance via the cabeceo
  • once my invitation had been accepted, it´s time to put into action some more of the codes that Gustavo Benzecry Saba wrote about in his book "La pista del abrazo". I walk around the perimeter of the dance space until I reached my partner - and only then will she stand up. This also means it´s clear to the woman that it is her that I´m approaching, and not someone near her
  • after a brief "hola", my next move is crucial in givng my partner confidence in my ability to dance well with her. The embrace is a complete story in itself - and it´s a defining moment in this tanda for us
  • I´ll take time to absorb the music before my first step; from here, my navigation around the floor is of immense importance. I´m dancing with the other couples around me, and it´s important to protect my partner & my space in the milonga, as well as respect the space of others
  • at the first cortina, my Spanish is barely adequate for a conversation, but it´s good enough to continue the connection begun with the dance .... and at the end of the tanda, accompanying the lady back to her table is an appropriate final touch



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