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Saturday, 8 August 2009

Códigos de la milonga (milonga etiquette) - Have your say #7!

Well, here's the last stage of the códigos quiz - unless of course, some other juicy scenarios are brought to our attention by observers of milonga etiquette! All in all, they are about simple good manners and respect for your partner & other couples. But they also reflect the behaviours that are the norm in the traditional milongas of Buenos Aires. Take care in BsAs, because the dancer who doesn't stick to them closely is simply regarded as a 'beginner' by locals. On the other hand, to be observed respecting the codes can bring accolades such as, 'you're not seen as a gringo in this milonga'.

So here they are:
Scenario #21
There’s a group of friends, not all couples, sharing a table at a milonga. They’ve heard a lot about the cabeceo code. Yes or no to the following:
  1. The only way they are going to dance with each other is if they use silent eye contact
  2. A lady says, “I love this piece of music, let’s dance Dave”.
  3. A man simply asks the lady next to him whether she’d like to dance.
  4. The friends are obliged to only dance with those at their table.
  5. It’s O.K. to seek a dance with someone sitting across the room using the cabeceo.
Scenario #22
A couple is following the line of dance, and occasionally moves into a vacant space closer to the centre to execute a turn, before returning into their ‘lane’. The couple behind should:
  1. Wait for them to move to the vacant space again, and pass them on the outside.
  2. Restrict the amount of room for them to return to the line of dance in order to ‘give them a message’.
  3. Pick up on their dance style & timing and blend in with their movement, while remaining behind.
  4. Speak to them in a break in the music, asking them to dance in one lane or the other.
Scenario #23
A couple agree to dance using the cabeceo. Yes or no that the woman should:
  1. Rush onto the dance floor and meet her partner half-way.
  2. Wait until he comes to her table, stand up, and go onto the dance floor with him.
  3. Once on the dance floor, put her hands out & up to shoulder level, waiting for the embrac.e
  4. Once on the dance floor, wait for the man to invite her into his embrace.
Scenario #24:
A man wants to dance with a particular lady. He should:
  1. Walk straight across the room, put out his hand, and ask her to dance.
  2. Employ the ‘cabeceo’ – actively try to catch her eye, and if she responds, invite her to dance with a small head movement.
  3. Strike up a conversation with her, and after a while, ask her to dance.
  4. Stand up, attract the woman’s attention, and casually call her over to dance with a ‘come here’ move of his finger.
What do you think?


  1. #21
    yes 2,3,5
    yes 1,3
    yes 2,4
    yes 2

  2. In #22, I certainly agree that option 3 is the best approach. The problem with option #1 - passing the other couple - is that they appear to have moved into the inside lane only BRIEFLY before resuming their place in the outside lane, so passing wouldn't be appropriate. However, if they appear to have changed lanes for a considerable time, I'd probably move past them.

  3. Scenario #21: With a group of friends, 2, 3 and 5 are all possible.

    Scenario #22: 3

    Scenario #23: 2 & 4 -- a no-brainer.

    Scenario #24: 2. 4 may get you a kick in the balls. :-D


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