'Quick Reference' Tango Guide


For those who are unsure or just taking your very first tentative steps in Tango, here is your handy quick reference guide below for a milonga night



 1.  Cabeceo - (Dance Invite) 


Translation roughly means 'nod of the head',  Ladies, unfortunately it is normally the guys who instigate the dance invite....be switched on and look out for invites at all times ...varying forms of signals...hopefully not like the picture opposite lol. Guys, we scan for our next dance just after the Cortina (see 4 below) or just after the next tanda starts (see 3 below) on noticing someone, we nod at prospective partner, girls if you would like to accept nod and/or smile back. Simple huh? If you don't fancy dancing or want time out for a tanda or to refuse..(see 2 below) 


2.  Saying no


There are lots of reasons why you may wish to decline an offer to dance. The simplest being when you receive a nod or smile (Cabeceo) just look away or shake the head...If the leader happens to come over and asks then decline with

politeness and respect. It costs absolutely nothing and will go a long way. If you wish to ask for a reschedule, perhaps a tanda later in the evening, by all means, do! On the other hand, if your request is declined, please do not be offended, accept gracefully and move on. 



3.  Tanda (Set Of Music)


These are your music sets....normally played back to back in 3,4 or 5 tracks, from the same orchestra in the same style, (ie. tango, Vals or Milonga) it is the correct etiquette to dance the whole tanda with your chosen partner , walking off after one, two or any number of tracks before the cortina can be interpreted as rude.....



Once the tanda is finished, Leaders escort your partner off the floor.


4  Cortina (A Short Interlude/Curtain)


Short pieces (of what should be clearly non tango music) these are usually 30 seconds to 1 minute long max, these are used to thank your previous partner, escort her off the floor, grab a refreshment, Girls...remember at the end of these its your chance to catch the eye of your preffered next victim...er I mean dance! (see 1 above) 


N.B Cortinas are often referred to comically as Mondeo's, Sierra's, Fiesta's, Escorts, Focuse's and the like, so any reference to a Ford motor vehicle this most likely means the Cortina has arrived!


5  Line Of Dance


Leaders, Look on the rules as similar to the Highway Code of driving your car :-)  at busy milongas you will have 2 lanes of dance, an inner and outer lane. Move at pace with your fellow dancers. Do not zig zag between the lanes,  

Anticlockwise at all times

Overtake on the left and only if you must. Avoid reverse. Give way to oncoming 

 ,traffic when you need to merge. Do not stop dancing. Look out for road blocks and obstructions such as pillars and posts


6  The embrace


 A close embrace is the given frame for Tango. The leader decides the frame, 

the follower the level of intimacy. And remember, tango is ALL about the music and the embrace.


7  Floorcraft


Heels of steel  !!!!

Leaders, your dancing partner may be wearing carefully selected, very expensive, likely imported, specially engineered and frankly, very pretty, dancing shoes 

that also cut like a knife should you happen to be struck by the heel of one. 

Therefore, please do not compel your partner to embellish flamboyantly on a 

ofcrowded dancefloor and instead dance to your surroundings and proximity others ....they will thank you for it.