It was a very common situation: In the morning, I had been running a couple of kilometres, we had been giving classes all day, we had walked to all the venues back and forth, we had done a demo... You can imagine, that I was quite tired. In addition to that, the music was not really to my taste and there were very few dancers on the dancefloor that would have tempted me. No one will be surprised, that I was not very much inclined to dance. So I sat down in the very corner of the Milonga, watched the dancefloor, talked to some very nice - mostly female - fans of this blog. I was generally in a good mood, but this changed as I had to spend the next hours refusing invitations.
Why, dear Tangueros?
At this Milonga, Mirada & Cabeceo are not the custom, but should a grown-up person not be able to read body language? People do it all the time in every walk of life, but in many Milongas this common knowledge seems to be lost.
This is why I decided to write a small manual for everyone who‘s planning on inviting me.
Signs that I DON‘T WANT to dance:
Signs that I DON‘T WANT to dance:
- I look annoyed, angry, gloomy, sad (insert any other overt negative expression).
- I slouch on my chair and make a very un-energetic impression. Maybe my feet are in a vertical position, lying on a chair. Or worse: my eyes are closed, my head is falling down and I seem to sleep. (Ok, I avoid falling asleep at a Milonga even under very dire circumstances, but you get my point, yeah?)
- I turn and look away, when you are looking or walking into my direction. (Alternatively: I all of a sudden bend down and start adjusting my shoe-straps.)
- I am engaged in a deep conversation that takes up all my attention.
- I don‘t wear Tango shoes. (The fact that I WEAR them, is no sign that I want to dance though.)
- I am getting a foot massage.
- I read in my Kindle, a book or class notes.
- I play/work on my iPhone or my MacBook.
- I eat a meal.
- I am engaged in some romantic activity: kissing, cuddling, holding hands and looking deeply into my partner‘s eyes. (Well, I would not do that at a Milonga, but IF I did, it were a definite sign, that I don‘t want to dance with you.)
- I look alert, friendly, relaxed and in general open for approach.
- I sit or stand in an upright position and make an energetic and toned impression.
- I look into your eyes and smile when you approach me.
- I nod friendly whilst looking at you.
- I chat lightly with someone but still actively interact with other people.
- I start looking around almost panicky, dancing with all my body and trying to make eye contact with you. (Now this only happens when a nice Tanda of Di Sarli is playing.)
Women send out mixed signals:
- You look away, but then still accept the invitation. Even I have done that (rarely, but it happened) after having refused too many men during an evening. I lost my nerves, because I did not want to be perceived as unfriendly and got up. But then I danced with little pleasure. That‘s not good! Even I have to be more strict in these situations.
- Another typical mistake: You want to dance, but display an angry face - maybe because you have not been invited all evening. Possibly you even entered the Milonga with that facial expression and unknowingly repelled the willing leaders. In the past, I made that mistake often. Now I know, that my chances of getting invites are a much higher, if I look alert, friendly and directly into men‘s eyes.
So, please: Bring back Cabeceo!
Before I upload this and start my day with a Yoga session, let me just add a small paragraph.
As mentioned above, I am convinced that this body languages comes natural to most people, but some circumstances may only apply to me personally. So, please do not even bother to try and invite me when:
- The DJ plays Neo-Tango, Electro-Tango, Non-Tango, Piazzolla, Fox-trot, Salsa, Chacarera or just weird stuff.
- It is the Tanda right after or before our demo.
- You have just been demonstrating a serious lack of floor-craft or danced inappropriately expressively or aggressively on the social dance-floor.
- You cannot dance in a close embrace.
- You wear a bathing suit.
I will sit that one out.