Sunday, 26 April 2009

Códigos de la milonga (milonga etiquette) – Have your say! #3

It's fair to say that if rules, regulations, codes no longer have a practical purpose, then perhaps they should be allowed to die. The milonga codes developed gradually over a significant period of time, in response to local conditions in Buenos Aires, in order to help make the milonga experience enjoyable for everyone. How relevant are they to our local setting, in this day and age, one might ask?

Interestingly, much of the material for this series of postings on codes has come from talking to Adelaide tango dancers over a drink, listening to their stories, and sharing our experiences as they seek answers to dilemmas on the local dance-floor. You are invited to forward a comment to any of these (see the bottom of the post) and to send in other milonga scenarios that you'd like raised.
Scenario #6
A woman likes the concept of the cabeceo, but is not sure how to use it without feeling uncomfortable. Music is playing which she wants to dance to.
  1. She should simply stare at the man she wants to dance with.
  2. She should chat with the person next to her and hope he will ask her to dance.
  3. She should chat casually with her neighbour, but also look around from time to time to indicate her interest in dancing.
  4. She should scan the milonga in the direction of the man/men she is interested in dancing with. If he wants to dance with her, he’ll be doing the same. He catches her eye, tilts his head in invitation, she indicates agreement, he approaches her.


Scenario #7
A couple has danced the first track of a tanda and the second track has just started:
  1. The woman should raise her hands, ready to take the embrace.
  2. The couple should continue chatting, and get the "feeling" of the music, developing a mood and attitude towards the particular melody that’s just started to play.
  3. The man should immediately take up the embrace and start dancing.
  4. The couple should continue chatting, engaging in quite an interesting, in-depth topic, while other dancers begin to dance around them.



Scenario #8
A beginner female dancer isn’t getting much time on the dance-floor. A leader should:
  1. Ask her to dance and show her lots of his tricks – despite her clearly struggling.
  2. Ignore her – we all had to start at the bottom; leave her to the other beginners.
  3. Ask her to dance, gradually work out what she is able to do, and use this to make the dance enjoyable by connecting with the music.
  4. Ask her to dance, and teach her new things by talking her through some figures.

2 comments:

Roger said...

#6-She should chat casually with her neighbour, but also look around from time to time to indicate her interest in dancing.Staring at the man she wants to dance with may result in missed opportunities to dance with other men and the man she is staring at my never ask her.
#7-The couple should continue chatting, and get the "feeling" of the music, developing a mood and attitude towards the particular melody that’s just started to play.You have to get a feel for the music before engaging in dance.
#8-Ask her to dance, gradually work out what she is able to do, and use this to make the dance enjoyable by connecting with the music.Milongas are not the place to teach. However I have occasionally discussed a step during the start of the next piece of music, if questioned by my partner. Also - You are a crappy leader if you can’t make your partner look good and make her feel uncomfortable by dancing out of her ability.

Terpsichoral said...

My answers:

Scenario #6: 4 (though sometimes you *do* need to make eye contact for longer than you think -- what constitutes 'staring' is often difficult to define precisely in number of seconds).

Scenario #7: 2 is the norm at formal milongas; 3 at less formal milongas and among younger dancers. I'm prepared for 2, but prefer 3.

Scenario #8: in a small community, 3. 2 is OK in a very large community.

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