Tango Argentino > Tanda Etiquette

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

  1. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Please do - as somebody who is part of the tango community, and who obviously felt welcome enough there to stick around it is expecially important to read the perspective of somebody who sees it differently - how else can we figure out how we can improve? I can't promise that i won't consider some of the things that you considered bugs as features, but i would really appreciate your perspective.

  2. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    What would you say to a milonguero viejo after a tanda in Lo de Celia? Why would you have to say anything at all? As someone else explained, it's not wrong, but that's not the way it's done in another culture. They don't need words to boost the ego. If you surrendered yourself to his embrace, that says it all.

    After the very first dance with a milonguero viejo, he looks at the woman and says, "bien?" She says, "si" or just smiles. That's all he needs to know. Then they continue dancing. If it was good for her, he's satisfied.

    The tanda is a mutual agreement to enjoy dancing together. It's nice to read that dancers around the world are choosing partners for the music, not for exercise.

    sixela likes this.
  3. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    A New York City dancer who has taught, & danced throughout the US & internationally wrote an article for newbies (and some oldheads) in the US
    regarding tango do's & dont's


    his (not so literal) interpretations of an early end to a tanda:

    6) THE TANDA
    A DJ will usually play 3 or 4 songs of the same orchestra or style followed by a one minute cortina. This “set” is called a tanda. It is only when we want to stop dancing with our partner that we say “thank you”. Do not make the mistake of saying “thank you” after every tango. Try to wait until the end of the tanda. If we do not wait until the end, then we are conveying a message. Here is a quick breakdown of the “messages”:
    We danced 4 songs: That was nice/ I enjoyed it/ Let’s do it again in the near future, etc. etc.
    We danced 3 songs: It was ok/ Sorry, my feet hurt/ Yikes! My ride home is leaving, gotta go!
    We danced 2 songs: I’ve humored you long enough/ You need to take more lessons/ I thought the first bad tango was my fault, but now I see that its your fault
    We danced 1 song: It’s just not happening/ Maybe you should just sit and watch for a while/ Please don’t ask me to dance at this milonga again
    I truly believe that when women start using their power of declining dances and sending messages, then that is when the leaders will start working to improve their dance. It has to be a system of checks and balances. If we allow mediocre leaders to dance with amazing followers and vice versa, then why would they want to get better? I remember an argument that a friend and I had a long time ago. She was upset because a horrible leader basically manhandled her for a whole tanda and made her look and feel bad. I witnessed the whole thing and I didn’t like what this leader did, but I also didn’t like that my friend was too nice not to end the carnage early!! Ladies, please use your power to say “no” to bad dances. It is better to sit all night, enjoy the music, and have a good conversation than to be dragged around the milonga floor like Hector was by Achilles after being slain in the movie “Troy”. There were many times in my tango infancy that I was rejected by good followers. I never took it personally. It only served to make me better.
    I’m not saying you shouldn’t dance with beginners. Everyone should do a dance or two with beginners at the milonga and look at it as ‘community service’ and make them feel welcome. But there is a difference between a beginner, and a bad dancer who just never ‘gets it’. There are a number of guys at any given milonga who have been dancing for a long time, they maul the ladies, and they never have any incentive to get better because they get all the dances they want anyway.
  4. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I support this fully. If it was left to guys to keep a bad dancer off the floor, they would not do it very diplomatically. OTH, followers can be very gentle and sweet about it.
  5. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Given that I don't dance there, I guess it doesn't matter. Sounds like I don't want to if it's so distasteful to pay someone a compliment. It's not a matter of having to do anything, or even necessarily about boosting someone else's ego. It's a matter of expressing how I feel.
  6. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    Isn't that what you do when you dance? Your partner feels it.
  7. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    It's not necessarily distasteful. You could appear a bit weird and things could be lost in translation (some might be taken aback by effusive verbal compliments or wonder if they're sincere), but I think a milonguero would probably just ignore anything he finds too puzzling or alien and go by the body language anyway.

    Don't sweat it. I think it's best to just act naturally, although knowing the customs may naturally change your behaviour (you'll see that compared to the US, it's less important to be polite and go overboard with public displays of politeness but more important to be truly courteous and gracious).

    You can't be who you aren't (and that includes some of the cultural hardwiring it takes half a lifetime to undo) and nobody expects you not to be.

    I think the only two tendencies that tend not to go down to well and can be a bit 'too natural' to some well-meaning US people are a sense of individual freedom that says 'I can do whatever I like' and a certain sense of entitlement (expecting the world to meet you on your terms, not theirs).
  8. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Thanks...I wasn't planning on sweating it. :)
  9. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    I haad a hunch you wouldn't, but I just wanted to spell it out to make sure people don't misunderstand it all and go 'look at how snotty they are and what arcane rules they have'.
    twnkltoz likes this.
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I can tell you that what I remember most are the smiles and "muy bueno"s after the first dance of a tanda, not any "thank you"s after it was over, although I am sure those were exchanged.
  11. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    Wish this could be posted on a billboard.
    bordertangoman likes this.
  12. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Tht's many different questions.

    If I intend to keep dancing with the said follower then I just stay on the floor, not saying thank you or making compliments or anything, just chit-chatting about the weather or the DJ or anything, until the cortina ends. Usually I do that with followers whom I know well and it just happened that this piece was the last of the tanda.

    If the person is unknown to me and I wish to dance again with her in the future in other places then I usually ask her something about A.T, who are her teachers, things like that, and tell her that I may come back later for another tanda, then I bow and go back to my table.

    I say thank you and I take a mental note about the said follower.

    I tell her the reason and I leave. "Sorry, I have to vomit." But usually I tell her beforehand, like when I am DJ-ing I will tell her that I may leave at any moment if something happens with the music.

    If I issued the invite then I will go to the end of the tanda, whatever happens. If the lady issued the invite then I say "Thank you" after the first song.
  13. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    That's a nice touch.
  14. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Yeah that's the theory.

    Nobody is available. There might be lone followers but I know they won't be able to interpret the nuances of the song.

    Either it(s tanda time and floor is full and I can't see through, or it's tanda time and people are busy going back to their table, drinking some water, fixing their shoes, reading their Likes on Twitter.

    I tried this two weeks ago. Really tried. Nothing. I walked the whole room (the lady was on the opposite of the long diagonal) and told her about cabeceo, she replied she can't see that far without her glasses.

    Yeah in the end I do that, I walk to her, I extend my hand silently, she stands up and so on.
  15. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Either it's tanda time and the floor is full and I can't see through, or it's cortina time

    I shall re-read my posts.
    I shall re-read my posts.
    I shall re-read my posts.
    I shall...
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Were you at my milonga talking to me? haha. I can't see that far WITH my glasses.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of someone just walking up, standing in front of me and extending their hand silently UNLESS there has already been enough eye contact or whatever to establish that we are looking to dance together. If it's someone I dance with regularly, where the expectation is that I will almost always say yes, I don't mind too much if the leader just "appears" in front of me with his hand out. But when it's someone I know, there's also almost always some sort of verbal invitation along with it, or at the least, an obviously questioning expression on his face.

    At a milonga last fall, a guy that I didn't know came over while I was in conversation, planted himself in front of me and stuck his hand out (palm up) towards me without saying even hello (or smiling, or having a "questioning" type look on his face). It felt abrupt and rude. It felt like a command rather than a request. I was like "Uh,wow. hi there. where'd you come from? ok, I guess I'll dance with you..."

    I accepted the invite because it was very crowded and the few people I knew either hadn't arrived or I hadn't seen them yet and I was tired of sitting.

    It was the WORST tanda of my life. Luckily, he didn't like me (or didn't know about tandas) and left me after one song. I proceeded to warn every follower I knew at the milonga to avoid him because he would injure them. It was the one time I would have ended the tanda myself if he hadn't.
  17. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    There's a guy here who loves to quote the codigos and will use cabaceo, but if you're not looking at him and you're one of his regular partners, he'll take your hand and press the matter. This doesn't bother me because he's one of my favorites, but a couple of my more traditionally minded friends get annoyed by it.
  18. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    This shows he has no respect for the codigos or for the women with whom he dances. I've never seen an old milonguero take a woman's hand, but I have seen one of the female piranhas at Lo de Celia pull a man onto the floor. These dancers obligate someone and forget that it's a mutual agreement with the cabeceo.

    I feel the same as your traditional friends. I'd hate to see every man at a milonga approaching a woman at her table and grabbing her by the hand to dance. That would be tango with chaos and no respect.
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.

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