Tango Argentino > Tanda Etiquette

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by pygmalion, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    A week or so ago, I asked the question of what you do if, mid-tanda, you have to excuse yourself for some reason. Here are the answers/responses so far.

    So I have questions for the community.
    What do you do at then end of a tanda, if everything goes well and you want to express appreciation and perhaps leave the door open for future encounters? What do you do if it went badly but you made it through all three, four or five songs? What do you do if,for some personal reason unrelated to dance, you have to leave the floor suddenly? What do you do if the dance itself went so badly that you can't survive the twelve or fifteen minutes with this partner?
  2. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Be straight forward: "Will there be another tanda with you tonight, or can we have even another one right now, though it is unusual?"
    Remain stoic: "Thank you for this tanda".
    Take it easy: "Sorry, have to find aunt sally, pretty quick.."
    Be honest: "Sorry, seems that we are´nt compartible tonight, let´s stop dancing, when this piece is over." I would avoid stopping on the fly because it will draw everyone´s attention.

    (Sorry, my english isn´t well, and school is long ago. Hope it came across?)
  3. NZ_Guy

    NZ_Guy Member

    "Thank you" (or some variant), plus an optional compliment.

    "Thank you."

    This is tricky.. I'd possibly go with something like.. "I'm sorry but would you mind if we pick this dance up later? I have to xyz"

    "Thank you." (prematurely)

    I've prematurely ended about two dances in my two and a bit years of tango, and have had one ended for me once. I'm not comfortable with compliments, so I stick with "Thanks very much" whether it was a good completed tanda or a disappointing one. The closest to the other situation for me would be "Actually.. I don't like this song, do you mind if we didn't dance this?" but that is only with parters I know reasonably well.
  4. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    It came across quite well. No problemo.
    opendoor likes this.
  5. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    With all due respect, I think you are over thinking things. Be aware that saying thank you in the middle of things (and walking away) indicates pretty severe displeasure, but other than that it isn't really different from life.

    Really enjoyed things? Say so! "That was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. I would welcome another dance with you sometime!" Said with a genuine smile, of course.
    Subliminal likes this.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    From the perspective of a tango outsider/wannabe, it seems to me that a lot of things about tango involve overthinking. ;) (Said with all due affection. :cool: )

    I also find it interesting to see that at least one person thinks that a simple thank you is not well received, but others seem to think that it's appropriate.
    B. Reguise likes this.
  7. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Yes, we're all just humans. There are a few simple rules/guidelines that it's useful to be aware of.

    It's not so much the words, as how they are said. Body language is something like 80% of our communication.
    twnkltoz likes this.
  8. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Warning: controversial opinion follows.

    I've done a bit of AT, and although I like the dance itself, I very much dislike the subculture that surrounds it. From my experience, it's a caste system, and it's full of unnecessarily complicated rituals whose purpose seems to be the exclusion of newcomers. If you are an unaccompanied newcomer at a milogna, you are unlikely to get many dances. That's been my experience.

    Now tell my why I'm wrong.
    Mr 4 styles and twnkltoz like this.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I dunno if you're right or wrong.

    What I do know is that, in my searching I found a local meetup group that invites newcomers and other outsiders to join, so they don't have to go to milongas alone and wonder if they'll get to dance with anyone.

    (Sent them an email. We'll see what happens.)
  10. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    You are wrong because newcomers justify and confirm the caste system. We simply need them ;)
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Well, you aren't wrong from your perspective, exactly.
    What you are missing though, is the amount of investment that goes into picking a partner for three or four dances rather than just one, which is the case for every other dance I'm aware of.

    I've had women actually create physical discomfort in my body with things they did becuase they probably didn't know any better. Then there's the, wow I'm thrying to lead here, and it seems to work with everyone else but this really isn't working out for me partner. And it's the first dance. And it's the second dance. And it's the third dance. And maybe even a fourth.

    Let me add, too, that I very recently read comments by a woman who had to been to one of Portland's best know AT venues, and was not asked to dance. And there have been nights for me when there were so few people and they were pretty much paired up and I barely danced.

    It is sad that the tanda system can seriously inhibit asking people you don't know to dance, or the willingness to accept an invitation to dance.
    And there, we are possibly into the eye contact - head nod thing.

    You can see the whole thing as a
    but that's just one way to see it.

    What I haven't been able to figure out is how I did so well in Benos Aires.
  12. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I ALWAYS say thank you at the end of a tanda. As Andabien said, it's the body language. If the partner left me lacking, I'm polite and minimal with my tone and body language...like saying thank you to the checker who's giving you change. If it was a good tanda or someone I really enjoy dancing with, they get a hug and more enthusiasm. I have never ended a tanda prematurely. I just can't be rude. The only times I can think of that my partner ended it early were at practicas where you're not supposed to be bound to the tanda system anyway. One was the dj and had to check his music and asked me again later, and one is just sort of funny that way and will walk away with hardly a word after one, two, or three songs...you just never know. When I saw him do that to several other women, I realized it wasn't personal. I did get dissed once when a man asked me to dance on the third song of a tanda (at a milonga), then didn't wish to continue on the next tanda, made an excuse about needing a break, then 10 seconds later walked onto the floor with someone else. I was highly offended and didn't look at him the rest of the night nor the next time he showed up. At the end of the night that next time, everyone was saying goodbye and he looked at me and mentioned that we didn't get a dance and should be sure to do so next time. So who knows what that was all about. We had danced a couple of times before and he had been complimentary. Maybe he's just weird.
  13. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Sorry about that...I was posting from my phone, had to stop, and meant to save the draft but posted it instead. Danigt. Anyhow.

    I stand by "not over-thinking things."

    "Thank you," said in the midst of a tanda, while walking away is...not rude, exactly, but it's pretty harsh. Best reserved for times when things are so bad that you can't, or won't, continue even for the remaining 10-12 minutes.

    If you really enjoyed things, there's no harm in saying that. I maintain that it's fine to express this at any time; a simple "nice!" or "mmm!" while dancing is fine, or "That was really nice/fun/wonderful/etc." between songs in the tanda, or at the end.

    If things were fine, but not great, "Thank you" at the end is OK, and not rude. If you get asked again but would rather not, then you can always decline, make yourself scarce, or avoid eye contact.

    If you have to break things off unexpectedly in the middle of a tanda, but don't want to be rude about it...there's nothing wrong with "Excuse me. I'm really sorry to have to say/do this, but I really need to take a break right now." You can give a brief explanation (I just stepped on my own foot and now I'm bleeding...btdt) or not. If it's a temporary thing and you think you'll be back, you can always be explicit and say it's nothing personal, you're having a good time, and you'd welcome a tanda together later.

    As for wanting a second tanda right away...read the body language, try to linger a bit on the floor, tilt you head and ask, "Another?" with a smile.

    Basically...the same way you'd approach similar situations IRL. (Except the saying thank-you-in-the-middle bit, which, while I understand it, can still be kind of strange.)
    pygmalion likes this.
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I think the only thing I disagree with is the idea that there is a definite purpose about it...that it's done deliberately. There are definitely levels, and hierarchies, and cliques...but I don't know that that's much different from any other aspect of life. I don't see many of the rituals you speak of, but certainly there are norms which are different from other dances, which I can understand being confusing at first. I was fortunate enough to have people explain them to me early on. But I don't think it's done deliberately, or with a purpose; I think it's just that people assimilate after a while, and then become one of the ones "in the know" and then seem to be one one of the excluders. Not so much different from life.

    That said, yes, it can be very difficult to get dances when you're new. Or even if you're not new...if you're not young and hot. Sorry, but that is absolutely the reality...again, not that much different from life. You've got to be either friends with others/part of the in-crowd, or exceptionally good, or effing hot. (Speaking as a girl, you've got to be thin, preferably with some cleavage (not too much, but some)...but thinness trumps cleavage every time, wearing something that shows all that off as well as your legs.) Guys have the luxury/burden of being able to ask others, without running afoul of the stupid traditions which say that women don't do the asking.
  15. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    don't know if there is a codigo (Tango code) but my experience is the lady will say thank you, give me a hug, maybe a kiss & say something like "I enjoyed that", or "please ask me again". Sometimes it's just a hug & a compliment, which does not open the door as wide for me as the direct statement (I know... I'm dense - almost clueless).

    3 or with some dj's 4 songs is the limit in my area. I smile & according to the codigo say thank you.

    According to the codigos an acceptance to dance a tanda means a commitment for the duration, but there were 2 times that I had to take a call on the cell phone & excused myself with apologies. I've had ladies similarly momentarily excuse themselves for other reasons & apologise.

    Just say thank you. According to the codigos, as I learned them, no reason or excuse is needed.

    So there are the codigos (codes of tango developed in the milongas of Bs.As.) & there are the social norms among the dancers in your community. For many, the latter trumps the former.
  16. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    I also think you're wrong about the intention. But there are definitely cliques. Some people revel in the rituals because it's like... you're in a club, and you have a secret handshake with other members. It's just kind of amusing. The secret handshake isn't hard to learn either, it's just finding the right person to bring you in. In my first group class, the teacher went over the cabeceo, the tanda rules, the practica, etc. Most people in my area don't even use the cabeceo.

    Another thing different perhaps from other dances is the practica. Depending on the milonga organizer, a few people are really bitchy about newcomers coming to a milonga before attending the practica. But most milongas I've attended are all about bringing in everyone who wants to dance. *shrug*
    pygmalion likes this.
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I don't know if I'd say amusing, but I see why you say that.

    I think that sometimes people get so hung up on rules and conventions that they forget to enjoy the thing that rules and conventions are there to protect. If I'm too busy being offended that I was only invited to share one dance, then I won't get that one dance. Let's get some perspective here, people! I certainly respect the culture and have no intention of making waves. But I'm also not going to go out looking to be offended, just because of somebody else's choices. Even if they're trying to be offensive (which I think is probably unusual,) I have the choice of how I process their actions. *shrug*
  18. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Or if you're a middle-aged white ballroom guy in a club mostly full of young people.
  19. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Why? So I hear a song come on that I like. I look across the entire dance floor and see a friend of mine doesn't have a partner. I catch her eye for a split second, give a small nod and a smile. She nods back. I walk to meet her, and then we're dancing, not a word exchanged. That's kind of cool. I don't give a fig if anyone else is using it, most of them around here aren't. I don't care what they're doing in BsAs, it's a thousand miles away and has no bearing on the situation. But I can like the fact that because of this small custom, I can ask someone to dance in a noisy, loud, crowded room, and they'll know what I mean. Like a secret handshake.

    What other rules and conventions seem so restrictive? Remember you have to take things that people say on the internets with a grain of salt. :p
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh. Sorry. I thought you meant amusing as in to be laughed at. :cool:

    And incidentally, I've used cabeceo (sp?) in lots of dance scenarios that had nothing to do with tango. It is very convenient, if it's crowded and noisy.

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