Solidarity isn't enough . . .

In response to an email I received about being too sanguine at the milonga, and not doing enough to ensure others (followers) got to dance . . .

I did say we should look out for one another and encourage each other, you're right. We should. But that will only go so far - the rest is up to each individual dancer.

To get dances at the milonga, you have to look like you want to dance.

1. Sit as close to the dance floor as you are able. Remember Jantango's Front Row Advantage. "But my friends are sitting in the back." Then you might have to make a choice - chat or dance. This isn't Buenos Aires so you don't have to sit in one spot all night long - you can move around, chat a bit, then take a seat in the row of chairs along the floor for awhile.

2. Appear ready to dance. Your posture counts, even when you're sitting and not dancing. Feel tall, even in your chair. (I'm guilty of constantly slouching, so this is my own personal pet-peeve.) Uncross your arms.

3. Look around and look interested. Watch the dancers. Scan the room. Make eye contact.

4. Smile. ("I don't want to look too eager." Yes, you do. "Eager" is exactly the look to go for.) Looking like you just bit into a lemon or watched a screening of Schindler's List doesn't exactly encourage tangueros to approach you.

Tangocherie has two great posts here and here about how to get more dances at the milonga. Follow her advice.

Did I mention smile? Smile. A lot.

Marianne Williamson: "... as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."


Anonymous said...

In proto-human speak, smile from female mean "me want live happily ever after in your cave, but tango tanda will do..."


Kirra said...

No solidarity isn't enough, but it is a start. It can change the vibe of class and learning. But in a milonga you really are on your own; using wit, skill, and body language. Ah, the many layers of tango. Would we have it any other way?!

Anonymous said...

I have always said that presentation is important in getting dances. Age is not important. But having a great smile is. And a great attitude. As to what men really go for, I will never know as I see them dancing with the most unsuitable dancers sometimes that it just boggles my mind!

tangopassionista said...

I've certainly picked up the smile a lot and good poise tactic. The more sociable you seem, the more people notice you. I sometimes feel invisible, but then a woman I spoke to the other day who I think gets far more dances than I do said the same of herself. I guess it's all relative.

Anonymous said...

I must comment on the suggestion of smiling more in order to be invited to dance as it relates to a real milonga in Buenos Aires, since that has been my experience for 11 years.

Women may be surprised to hear that the more experienced dancers in BsAs don't have any expression on their faces--they merely direct their gaze to the one with whom they want to dance. Why? Because it's all about being discrete so that no one in the room is aware of who is looking at whom. Split second timing is what it's about. Yes, the newer dancers (including foreigners) are trying to exude attitude and energy with flirtatious smiles across the floor, but it's obvious to everyone they do not have experience in the art of the cabeceo. Argentine men prefer discretion.

Rest assured that men notice women in the milongas. If a man wants to dance with a particular woman, he will wait for her eyes to make contact with his for the invitation. She doesn't have to smile for his attention.

We women cannot fathom why men want to dance with certain women, for whatever reason. The men know. It's about holding a woman in his arms for a few minutes. The milonga may be his only opportunity to be hugged. In Buenos Aires, it's not about being a "social butterfly" who carries on a nice conversation with lots of smiling and flirting. It comes down to being in the moment when the man wants to feel the music and transmit his energy to you.

Chalking up lots of tandas doesn't mean anything in Buenos Aires. One tanda with someone who feels tango and gives their all is enough to be satisfied. It's not the American way, but then we are talking about a dance from Buenos Aires. You won't understand what I'm talking about until you experience it yourself.