**Tango Dance Etiquette per Florentino Guizar -  

 

Respect ... the person you are dancing with 

Respect ... the culture & heritage of Tango

Respect ... the music & the band

Respect ... the people around 

 

Before The Dance:

 

Personal hygiene is essential for an enjoyable dancing experience. Bad breath, body odor and excessive perspiration are common offenders. Be sensitive to your fellow dancers. Excessive use of cologne, perfume or any chemical can be just as offending, and never a replacement for bathing. 

 

Dress appropriately for the event. For a milonga, dress up a little. You cannot go wrong with black; tango is an elegant dance. For a practica, dress comfortably and sensibly. Be tasteful; avoid displaying any body parts not generally acceptable in public. Wear shoes with heels to help properly distribute your weight forward; they should also allow you to turn on the ball of your foot with ease – this applies to the gentlemen as well.

 

If you wear accessories or jewelry, make sure they do not turn into assault weapons while dancing. If you are interested in dancing, show your intentions. Excuse yourself and stand by the edge of the dance floor to let others know of your intentions; if you are with a group or at a table, that might prevent others from approaching you. Do not expect someone to interrupt your conversation with another. Try not to carry on a prolonged conversation if you are close to the edge of the dance floor, give room to those looking to dance. 

 

Always ask for a dance in a polite manner, whether verbally or non-verbally. It is acceptable for a follower to initiate a dance offer. It is also a nice touch to introduce yourself. Seek out those looking to dance, avoid bothering anyone who has no desire to dance. If you must interrupt a conversation for a dance, do so discreetly. Never go out to the dance floor and then motion someone to join you. 

 

If you must decline a dance offer, do so sincerely. It is not an offense to sit out a song or two. Sitting out a song means never to accept another invitation for the same song that you have declined from someone else. The best way to decline an offer is to not get one in the first place; stay engaged in activities, like conversation, that deter others from asking. 

 

Gracefully accept any rejection to a dance offer. If the same person denied your offers several times within the same event, take the hint that the person may have no interest in dancing with you. One’s presence at a dance event is not an obligation to dance with everyone. 

 

The leader always escorts the follower onto the dance floor, regardless of who initiated the offer. It is also customary for the leader and follower to meet up by the edge of the dance floor, mostly from a non-verbal invitation. 

 

When proceeding onto the dance floor, do so cautiously. Dancers on the dance floor always have the right of way. Never walk across the dance floor while other people are dancing. 

 

During The Dance: 

 

Accepting to dance is an obligation to dance the entire song. One never terminates the dance pre-maturely, unless there is significant reason. A person dancing below your expectation is not a significant reason. If you must pre-maturely terminate a dance, do so without making a scene. 

 

Dancing multiple songs in a row with the same partner is common practice. If you decide to dance another song, it is not necessary to thank your partner. In Argentina, thanking your partner signifies your desire to conclude the dance. However, in the United States, it is quite common for partners to say thanks between songs. So, if you wish to conclude a dance at the end of a song, gesture or discreetly inform your partner that you wish to stop. Never turn around abruptly to leave the dance floor to conclude the dance. If a live band is performing, face the stage and applaud after each song. 

 

Respect your partner at all times during the dance. It is rather common to dance close in tango, but it's not a requirement. Dancing close is not an invitation for inappropriate behavior. Be sensitive to your partner’s comfort level with their personal space. 

 

Customarily, talking is inappropriate while dancing tango. Talk between songs or when off the dance floor. If you must talk on the floor, keep it to a minimum. It is especially inappropriate to talk on the floor while a live band is performing. Keep your conversation positive. Nobody accepted your invitation to dance hoping to hear you complain.. 

 

Never conduct any teaching or practicing at a milonga; save that for a practica. If you must show someone a step, never do so on the main area of the dance floor; find a side area that does not obstruct the other dancers. 

 

Under no circumstances should you correct your partner while on the dance floor. One can only correct one's partner during a class or practica; and then, only if requested. It is never acceptable to correct someone in a milonga. Tango is a traveling dance; the line of dance is counter clockwise. One must maintain common dance flow when dancing at the outer perimeter; if you find yourself interrupting the dance flow, move toward the center to let others pass. 

 

Respect other dancers’ space. Experienced dancers should give novice dancers the room they need. Novice dancers should stay closer to the center of the dance floor to give experienced dancers their space. Experienced dancers wanting to perform steps that interrupt the dance flow should do so toward the center of the floor. 

 

Be conscientious and courteous to your fellow dancers. Proceed cautiously to avoid bumping into other dancers. If you do, apologize and try to slow down, recollect yourself, and be more careful. 

 

Use proper judgment when on a crowded dance floor. Only execute steps that do not violate other dancers’ space. Avoid any steps that could potentially hurt others; this is the time to use one's milonguero knowledge. 

 

Respect your partner’s dance style. Social dancing can be a compromise when partners of extreme differences in dancing style dance together. One should always be willing to compromise. 

 

Respect your partner’s level of dancing. If you are the more experienced dancer, compromise by dancing at your partner’s level. 

 

After The Dance:

 

The leader always escorts the follower off the dance floor after the dance. Escort the follower back to the original point of rendezvous, extend your gratitude and walk away gracefully. 

 

Dancing is not a favor you do for someone. The proper response to “thank you” after a dance is “thank you,” not “you’re welcome.”

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