Cabeceo promotes better dancing

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by jantango, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I think it was mentioned before, with cabeceo a woman can only accept or decline. There is no opportunity to say, "Not right now, but I would like to later".
  2. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Those rules are not a mystery, they are not unspoken. My teachers surely have spoken to the students about tango culture and milonga etiquette. And now one can find those matters also written all over the place, with the Internet, tons of blogs, pages and web sites about Tango. The problem is, lots of people who take up Tango believe it does not have to do anything with them. They take Tango classes from teachers who themselves finally go to Buenos Aires after 10 years or so of teaching Tango, and feel like fish out of the water... let alone their students.
  3. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    If I am not ready to dance with that person right now, I just don't look his way. Later, I might.
  4. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    I personally have a different conceptual space for cabeceos - i don't think of it as being "accepted or declined" - everybody scans for potential matches and if two people agree on them being interested in dancign with each other right now they dance. I feel as much declined by the women who did not look for me at that time as i feel declined by somebody who is not in the room. And later, when the same woman who didn't catch my eye before is looking for me at the same time that i am looking for her then we will dance. I don't really see where the opportunity to say "i would like to later" is a big advantage - as soon as it is "later" she will ask me with a cabeceo, and if i am asking her at the same time we dance.

    As i said, what i think is the most important feature of the cabeceo is that it is symmetrical - leaders and followers do exactly the same thing. It makes as much sense to say "the followers cabeceo the leaders they want to dance with, and when their eyes make contact the leaders accepts the cabeceo of the follower they want to dance with by a wink with their head towards the dancefloor, which gets verified by a followers nod to minimize misunderstandings" than the way it is usually presented. The woman does not accept or decline, she is just not asking somebody for a dance right now.

    Gssh
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  5. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I see your point, but if I glance toward a woman who immediately glances away from me, I could think that she has no interest, ever, in dancing with me. In that case, I might never glance in her direction again.
  6. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    Ah, but by some fortuitous accident you might also notice her glancing at you, and realize that she seems to have interest in dancign with you. :) I usually attribute things like that to miscues - maybe she was just staring off into nowhere, and suddenly realized "hey, i am cabeceoing, thats not what i want to do". If she has an interest in dancing with you she has a way of expessing it directly any time she wants - by cabeceoing you.

    For me there is a big difference between not asking somebody i think is likely to reject me, and not checking from time to time if they are glancing my direction - including them into my sweep does not cost me anything, especially if they are not looking at me anyway. If i ask them and they reject me i will in general have to sit out a tanda i wanted to dance - there are only a few good friends that i feel comfortable enough with to basically say "you are my second choice, and i only dance with you because my first choice was not interested".

    Gssh
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    You know, sometimes, we aren't "looking away" so much as looking somewhere else, sometimes not even realizing we are doing it. As in, ahh, I noticed she had turned here gaze towards me just as I was looking the other way... It's that old reaction time thing sometimes. The cabeceo should be implemented somewhat the same as when you are flirting with your eyes; at least more so that throwing a vulture like stare. Unless someone has behaved very badly towards me (again, it has happened) I am always open to dancing with them at some future time; cabeceo or not.
  8. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    BTW, I just checked my spelling, and saw these...

    cabeceo sustantivo masculino
    1 (de persona) nodding: asintiĆ³ con un leve cabeceo, she nodded in agreement

    1. Cabeceo (nod of the head) is how one invites and acknowledges a partner for a tanda in the milongas of Buenos Aires.
  9. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    the looking is 'mirada'.
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  10. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    This requires that I be looking in her direction at the right moment. Given the number of various directions, that might be improbable.

    Personally, I tend to error on the side of clarity, even if subtle. Using cabeceo there are only two possibilities: yes or not yes. I am left to decide for myself what not-yes means. Using a more obvious request, such as standing near her and holding my hand out, she has the opportunity to be clear or extend some nuance, if she wants to. She can say, "Sorry, I'm a little out of breath right now", which might mean something quite different from "Sorry, I'm sitting this one out".
  11. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    No, no, no!
    She will look at you, not nod at you.
    men initiate a head movement, then women accept with a response in kind or look away as if they did not see it.
    Women and men do the looking, but men initiate the nod.

    Do as you like when at home, but understand how it is done in BsAs.
    If three guys from Holland used the cabeceo and danced with locals, it works. They had no problem on Sunday night at Lo de celia as newcomers.
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  12. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    she wants - by cabeceoing you. No, again.

    have to sit out a tanda i wanted to dance - No, you do not.

    you are my second choice - No need to offer this to anyone.
  13. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    In part of this video, from around 5:20 to 8:35, Homer and Cristina explain how they think the cabeceo should be done. They said a few things that I had never from anyone else, about how it should be done.

    Mario7 likes this.
  14. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    This is not the traditional view, surely? If we have been discrete (isn't that the underlying purpose), no one else will see that you had a first choice that declined your invite. The cabaceo that succeeds is the first one that results in the return of the gaze with the gesture of assent: it need not have been your first glance. The practical issue is that as time passes, the available pool of partners remaining shrinks rapidly and there may be no one remaining with whom you do want to dance.

    The prevailing custom in most other styles says that if you have openly declined one partner's offer of a dance, you are not normally free to accept another, at least for that song, but this does not apply in tango: we are free to dance with whomever we choose, assuming only that the choice is reciprocated. I suppose the only exception might be if you have felt it necessary to end a tanda early, with a 'Thank you', it would be odd then to dance the remainder of that tanda with another, but even then, I'm not sure.
  15. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    Maybe yes?

    I sloppily used the term cabeceo for the process of negotiating a dance by creating eye contact - i am not a very good spanish speaker so i didn't know before reading steves and jfm's notes that "cabeceo" is just the nod at the end that verifies to both parties that the eye contact actually happened (though now that i think about it it is obvious -it is derived from "head" after all), and mirada is the looking, so please just replace cabeceo with mirada in what i said above.

    I am still of the opinion that the mirada is most of the actual negotiation of the dance, and that is completely symmetrical, and that women ask men as much when miradaing as men ask women when miradaing.
  16. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    I really need to work on my writing (or think more, talk less) (though this at least did not get me yelled at): when i used "asking" there i meant in the sense of "walking up to her, and verbally ask" , in contrast to glancing/miradaing and then cabeceoing .

    Gssh
  17. Gssh

    Gssh Active Member

    Sorry, my writing was sloppy - i was referring to asking verbally there (and comparing it with the negotiation that happens when offering and looking for glances)

    Gssh
  18. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    The general usage of cabeceo is not restricted just to the confimatory nod, though, is it, but to the whole process? Otherwise it would not be possible to arrange to dance at all. Confirming an arrangement presupposes that an arrangement exists.
  19. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    later:= she can simply turn her gaze to the man in question.... no?
  20. Siggav

    Siggav Moderator Staff Member

    Balboa (and blues too sometimes) are danced in basically close embrace and people just ask to dance, both men and women. However one difference is that you usually just dance one dance in a row and the songs aren't long so the most you'll be stuck in a not great dance is around 3 minutes, then you go and find another partner. If you had a particularly nice dance you can go: another? at the end of the first one but that's not expected as standard.

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