Milonga Floor Craft
Please do your part and observe the milonga “rules of the road”. Your partner and the dancers around you will appreciate it!
1. Ask before merging. Before stepping onto a crowded dance floor, if you are a leader, make eye contact with the leader whom you wish to enter the floor in front of. The leader should understand your request and indicate his assent with a nod, wink or other visual cue, and you may then enter the line of dance. It is important as a leader already dancing that you pay attention to those who might be entering the dance floor.
2. Maintain a lane. Argentine tango is danced in strict circular lanes with couples advancing around the room in a counterclockwise direction called a “line of dance”. There may be on or more concentric lanes moving simultaneously. Once in a lane, avoid changing lanes during the dance. Typically the more advanced dancers don't on the most outside lane and beginner dancers stay in the inside lanes or even the center if they haven't yet learned to flow with the rest of the dancers.
3. Look before backing up. Never step backwards against traffic blindly. Likewise, avoid other movements that cause you or your partner to suddenly occupy space behind you in line of dance because the dancer behind you may have already begun advancing into that space. If you do step backwards, a general rule is no more than one step backwards.
4. Avoid passing. Tango is not a race. If the dancer in front of you is advancing more slowly than you would like, alter your dance so that it is more circular and less linear. You can do this by simply utilizing the molinete or giro.
5. Never zigzag. Cutting in and out of line of dance is very poor form and disturbing to the dancers you are cutting in front of. If you choose to dance in the center of the room, remain there throughout the song. If you dance in a given lane, finish the dance in that same lane.
6. No parking. Standing and chatting with your partner between songs is fine, but keep an awareness of when the couples around you start dancing again and move accordingly. If the other dancers have begun to dance and you wish to continue your conversation, simply step off the floor so you don’t obstruct them.
7. Don’t talk, just dance! Talking while dancing is inconsiderate, reveals the dancer’s lack of presence in the moment and is distracting to your partner and other dancers. Save the conversation for when the music stops. Also, teaching or correcting your partner at a milonga is particularly inappropriate. Save it for a practica.
8. Don’t monopolize the space. There are many styles of tango. Some require a relatively large amount of floor space; some require less. All styles are fine under the right conditions. If a floor is crowded, dance small, not taking up any more space than any of your fellow dancers.
9. Dance with the room. Aspire to dance with an awareness of all of the dancers around you. Do not allow gaps in the line of dance in front of you to form as this will cause a pileup of dancers behind you. When the music begins, start dancing when the majority of other dancers do.
10. Avoid dangerous moves. Certain moves, such as high boleos and ganchos, can be dangerous on a crowded floor. Save them for less crowded conditions.