The Milonga Guide: Codigos de la Milonga / The Tango Etiquette

A new series of posts to help you navigate at milongas (tango dance events) and to understand the codigos de la milonga (tango etiquette) Every Monday in the Forest of Dean TANGO FB group and afterwards added to this blog post. The excellent drawings are from Les Pas Parfait, a group of dancers and organisers from Montréal.

All those basic rules get covered in my tango classes right from the beginning. At the moment I am offering Wednesday tango classes in Newland and private tango tuition in Lydney at the Moving Experience studio @ Taurus Crafts.

Please share with your tango friends to make the milongas a better place to be. Thanks!

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#1 The Line of Dance

The dance couples dance counter-clockwise in one, two or more lanes of dance.

Choose your lane & stay in it during the tanda (a musical block of 3 to 5 songs) .

#2 Invite by using Mirada and Cabeceo

The most elegant way of inviting someone to dance is by using the Mirada (eye contact) and the Cabeceo (slight nod of the head).

Both leaders & followers are using Mirada and Cabeceo during the milonga.

Pay attention at the beginning of each tanda.

#3 Leader Mirada/Cabeceo when entering the dance floor

Do not enter the (busy) dance floor before having made eye contact (Mirada) with the leader coming towards you (to your left). He will give you a sign (Cabeceo) that you can enter the dance floor in front of him.

If he is not paying attention to you, try with the next leader.

Otherwise wait until there is enough space between two couples to enter the dance floor.

#4 Distance between the couples

Keep an adequate distance from the dance couple in front of you.

If the distance to the couple in front of you increases, try to catch up to the normal distance so as not to block the couples in the lane behind you.

Keep moving forward in dance direction.

#5 On a crowded dance floor

Followers, leave your feet on the floor!

Leaders, do not lead any moves that could be potentially dangerous to other couples. Avoid aerial or big boleos, ganchos and giros in open embrace!

Adapt the dimension of the movements to the conditions on the dance floor.

#6 Excuses in case of a collision

If you are involved in a collision, despite all your precaution, excuse yourself with courtesy and without determining the guilty party.

#7 Let the bodies talk

On the dance floor, one dances.

There might be some small talk between two songs or at the beginning of the following song, but NONE during the dance!.

#8 No teaching on the dance floor

Work together to make the dance as enjoyable as possible without words!

If you liked dancing together you are welcome to give a brief positive feedback to your dance partner after the tanda. This is important for the confidence of the dancer, both leaders and followers.

BUT keep any other comments and suggestions for the practicas and classes.

#9 Hygiene

Personal hygiene is a must. Shower, use deodorant, clean your teeth, bring an extra shirt, drink enough water, use fresh breath mints or chewing gum. Avoid garlic, raw onion, coffee and beer.

Do NOT overuse after shave nor parfume. Not everyone who dances with you wants to smell like you for the rest of the event!

Codigos - Personal Hygiene
Codigos - Personal Hygiene
Personal Hygiene

Tango Resources – a Blog Post Series