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Monday, 18 May 2009

Códigos de la milonga (milonga etiquette) - Have your say #4!

While watching dancers at Comme il faut on Sunday, we noticed how well the milonga codes were being observed - great line of dance, invitations across the room largely using the cabeceo ... while still appreciating the appropriateness of directly asking friends to dance. One male dancer commented about the overall calmness of the evening and respect for other dancers. The codes, after all, are intended to enhance the comfort and enjoyment of everyone at the milonga

Here are a few more scenarios that are encountered now and again at milongas. How would you recommend navigating around these tricky situations?

Scenario #12

You arrive at a milonga/practica, and sit on your own. After a while, with no offers, you notice one of your regular lesson partners is free. Do you:

1. Try to catch his eye, then move toward him if he acknowledges.
2. Immediately approach him, and ask for a dance before he shoots off again.
3. Though you do wish to dance with him, simply wait for him to manage the whole thing
4. Wait for him to approach you, and if he doesn’t, give him a hard time at the end of the milonga for not dancing with you.

Scenario #13

A woman is executing flamboyant and dangerous figures and decorations which her partner has not led. Despite his attempts to contain her movements, she manages to injure another dancer with her stiletto. What’s appropriate?

1. He should apologise profusely to the injured dancer.
2. She should save her showy moves for performances rather than the milonga.
3. They should simply carry on dancing, since this is one of the hazards of the dance-floor.
4. The injured dancer should have been more observant and avoided her, so is partly to blame.
5. The man will be more judicious in his choice of dance partners in future.

Scenario #14

Despite wanting to dance with a range of partners at a milonga, a woman is being invited to dance repeatedly by one man, resulting in her being unavailable to dance with others. When he begins approaching to ask again she should:

1. Politely accept the man’s invitation, believing it would be rude to refuse.
2. Use her body language to indicate discreetly to him that she is unavailable to dance with him and employ the cabeceo to encourage invitations from other dancers.
3. Politely decline the invitation using an excuse, such as tiredness.
4. Tell him, in no uncertain terms, to leave her in peace.

You can say you think by adding a comment.


  1. Scenario #12: 1, but I wouldn't "move towards him". After the successful mirada/cabeceo, I'd wait for him to move towards me.

    Scenario #13: 1, 2 and 5. As a leader, you should ALWAYS apologise for collisions, even if they weren't your fault. Same goes for followers, actually. Everyone should apologise. The follower in this description, btw, is clearly a beginner-level dancer (!)

    Scenario # 14: 2. And, if that doesn't work, say a polite "no, thanks". Plus, make sure he doesn't "leave her unavailable for other dancers".

  2. Terpsichoral, thanks for your comments.I completely agree.


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