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October 8, 2010



After returning from the Sydney tango festival a couple of days ago, I am even more convinced now that good navigation on a crowded dancefloor (or some would call floorcraft) is a separate skill that needs to be taught separately. As visiting maestros at a festival usually have limited time (and in my opinion should be charged with presenting fresh and even challenging concepts for a community to derive the maximum benefit of having them) at any one place, this particular “bread-and-butter” skill for a the social dancers is really the responsibility of local teachers.

Fundamentally I believe good navigation has a lot to do with one’s attitude. Mind you, although the onus is on the leaders mostly, followers can and should play a part too. For example, common sense would dictate that if the floor is somewhat crowded then we all need to be patient, and move slower than usual to avoid collision. The floor space available is shared by all, so legs and arms need to be kept tighter to the body as necessary. Tango is not a race and we are certainly not in competition to see how many rounds of the dancefloor we can complete in one song, so what’s the hurry?! 😉

A good friend Jean-Michel has provided some excellent advice on the specifics for leaders, which is really worthwhile to spend some time to put into practice:

  1. “Saber Milonguear” Part 1: the obvious codes of the milonga
  2. “Saber Milonguear” Part 2: the hidden codes of the milonga

To finish off, I will borrow a quote from the same post attributed to Cacho Dante, a well known milonguero and great Tango teacher:

“Bailar bien no es igual que saber milonguear” (To dance well isn’t the same as knowing how to dance social).

Let’s all have a happy and harmonious dancefloor whenever we step into a milonga!

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1 Comment
  1. Sep 9 2012

    As of now, I think the requirements are, in order of importance, attitude (aka social responsibility), musicality and technique (i.e. skills specifically for navigation).

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