We have been organising milongas for years, and love how it brings lovely people together for dancing, socialising, connecting… Yet, some dancers sometimes tell us they do not enjoy milongas because they do not get to dance with partners they love.

Even though we’re big advocates of dancing with people of all levels, we know that it is hard sometimes to ‘catch the eye’ of a coveted dancer. You love their style, musicality, the way they embrace their partner… yet somehow they do not seem aware that you are here and dying to dance with them.

So we’ve made it our goal for May to help people join in the milonga fun! In this series of 4 blog posts, we are sharing two tips a week to help you dance more, and with partners that you love. And at the end we’ll be sharing a video with Pablo and Naomi showing and explaining all of them.

Let’s start with getting the basics right. The two tips below will help you make sure that people see that you are here to dance, and that you will be a great partner to share a tanda with.

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Tip 1: Check your posture on and off the dancefloor

When we dance tango, we want to have ‘attitude’, a great posture and confidence. We work hard in classes to achieve a ‘presence’ we can be proud of. But this is not only for when we are dancing: we need attitude, posture and confidence off the dance floor too.

The people around us can not know that we have a good posture when dancing if we do not have it off the dance floor. Furthermore, if we want to dance more, we need to show that this is why we are here.

By checking our posture from the moment we enter the milonga – before we even take off our coat or put on our shoes – we send a send a strong signal to the people around us: we are here to enjoy nice tandas, and we will be a great partner to dance with.

how to dance more in milongas and with partners you love?

Tip 2: Use the cabeceo

The cabeceo is the way leaders invite the women to dance. It begins with the mirada – which means ‘to look’ – where we find eye contact with the person we want to dance with. The mirada is when the connection start, and it is the beginning of the dance. Once the leader has met the follower’s eyes, he will move his head towards the dance floor to invite her for a dance; At this point, if the follower does not want to dance with him, she will simply look away. It is a simple way to say that she are not ready to dance with him at the moment, and it means that he doesn’t have to cross the dance floor and be ‘rejected publicly’.

Thus the cebeceo ‘saves face’ for the leader, but also puts the follower in a more powerful position. If a leader comes up to a follower and asks her directly “Do you want to dance?”, it is harder for her to say no.

The one thing to remember is that to up your game in a milonga, you want to invite using the cabeceo. Experienced dancers will only use this way of inviting one another to dance.

So there you have, the first two of our 8 tips to dance more in milongas – and with the people you’’ll love to dance with!.

Now we’d love to hear from you: do you use the cabeceo, and have you found that it has changed your milongas? Do you make sure that you look relaxed, confident and ready for dancing off the dance floor?

We will share two more tips next week – on what you can do before and when the music starts!

In the meantime, I wish you plenty of beautiful tandas,

Anne

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9 thoughts on “Dance with partners you love: 8 Milonga tips – week 1

  1. Rich Bray says:

    I dance in San Diego. We have a long history of dance here with strong dance communities in Swing, ballroom, Latin and of course Tango. Many of the dancers cross-over to dance in several communities which means that they have to know and use the conventions of each to have fun and success. but muscle memory being what it is, it is often hard to keep the habits of one dance separate from another. Tango is unique in its use of this way of seeking a dance partner. For whatever the reasons the true Tango dancer wants to use this Mirada/cabeceo. But the habits of the other styles of dance and the social conventions of dance in the US are hard to let go of. Signaling silently across the crowded dance floor is quite often more painful than rewarding even though it is the way it is done, to often both followers and leaders spend their hard-earned dance dollars waiting for a response and NOT dancing. Tango dancers may be proud of their adherence to this convention but people wanting to dance end up quite often hurt and disappointed some times to the point of not returning to the milongas at all. So what works out to happen is some sort of mix. Some people cabeceo while others ask. The teacher and the traditionalist use the convention and lay a heavy expectation on the students to play it their way. to treat the cabeceo/Mirada as the only way. so ask one of them to dance and you are immediately judged as inexperienced or a poor dancer, or someone not worth knowing. this is not a good feeling and it certainly about welcoming people to the dance.

    • Tango Space says:

      Hi Rich, thanks for your comment. Yes, we agree, we shouldn’t ‘discriminate’ dancers based on whether or not they use the cabeceo… but it is important that people joining our community learn about it and understand how to use it.
      Best,
      Anne

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  3. C.Six says:

    Thanks very much for the information. I am an elegant women, end of the 60ies, and try to use the cabecco, but only looking doesn’t seem to work. If I don’t ask, I don’t dance.

    • Tango Space says:

      Hi Christina, you’re welcome, I’m glad you’re finding it helpful. And yes, sometimes we do have to ask – But it’s important to use the cabeceo so people can cabeceo you.
      Best,
      Anne

  4. Pingback: Dance with partners you love: 8 milonga tips - week 4 - Tango Space

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