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by Milonguera Canadienne
basic milonga etiquette!

The Very Basic Etiquette for Tango Dancers (my 2 cents worth) :)

Throughout my 9 years of learning and dancing tango socially, I have come across and read several social etiquettes written by tango dancers around the world. They are all valid and well written and I am sure well read by many tangueros/tangueras, but not many do follow them!

Anyway, this is not about the social etiquette on the dance floor like how to invite to get dances, how to refuse dances etc. This is more Basic than that! It is so basic that even before you take your very first class, your very first hour of tango lessons, you should be aware of it, and should practise it!


So these are what I call The Very Basic Etiquette for Tango Dancers. And they are from my 9 years of dancing experience, trust me they all do happen and I thought it is best to make all my tango friends, old and new, to be aware of it too. It does not hurt to have a gentle reminder no? :) Please take this as a sharing of experiences and some friendly advice and suggestions, these are not meant to hurt anybody's feelings. If inadvertently I do hurt anyone's feelings, please accept my sincere apology in advance.


Shower before you go to a milonga
Yes, shower please! I know sometimes it is too cold during winter times for one to have constant shower perhaps, but it does not hurt! A fresh shower at least twice a day is a must, especially before you go to a social milonga place!


Wear deodorant/eau de toilette/perfume
I know North Amercians do not wear perfumes or eau de toilette as a habit. And it is even forbidden in places like hospitals, doctors, gym, office...but hey you are going to a milonga! So a little dab or a little spray of eau de toilette will not kill anyone! Tango is such an intimate close (even if you dance open embrace, it is closer than you think!) dance, so please consider your partner. Especially for those with body odours! Now here is the difficult part : Those who DO have body odours, usually do not THINK they do, simply because you are immune to your own smell. So the best way is just to wear perfume even if you Think you do not have any body odours. Wear sparingly if you are a north american, but wear them! It is nothing more worse than dancing so close to someone, being swooned by someone over a romantic dance such as tango, than to smell his/her body odour! No matter how good a dancer you are, trust me. Going to a milonga is not going to a gym, please....

By the way this does not replace not showering! Just because you do put on a fragrance, does not mean you don't shower before you go dancing!


Brush your teeth / chew gum / eat mints
This is just something very basic. Especially if you come straight from a dinner, especially after a dinner that has lots of garlic and onions! So please, do yourself and your partner a favour, brush your teeth, or at least chew gum after!
Especially too for Smokers! Like those with body odours, smokers do not smell their own skin/breath as they are immune to the nicotine smell. But we non smokers do! It is just so off putting dancing with someone who streaks of nicotine in their breath or even skin for those heavy smokers! So solution : if you cannot kick you bad habit of smoking, then please chew gum before entering a milonga ! Lots of it!


Have a change of clothes (for guys) / have a towel/tissue with you handy


For those who perspire a lot, please bring a change of clothes with you. I write "for guys, because it is always easier for guys to quickly change clothes.For ladies, it is difficult, as you know, we have to match our accessories, our makeup and our shoes to the clothes we wear! So ladies, if you perspire a lot, bring a fan and have lots of tissues or small towel to wipe your perspiration off. Trust me it is not a nice feeling to be embracing someone with a wet shirt on! Or dancing with someone whose perspiration beads is falling onto your face or eyes!

Be considerate of others.
Especially in a crowded place like a milonga, even if you just have a cold, it is better to be 101% fully recovered before you even step foot into a milonga. You may think a cold is not contagious, but it is. This is what WebMD says about the common cold :
Cold symptoms usually last for about a week. During the first three days that you have cold symptoms, you are contagious. This means you can pass the cold to others, so stay home and get some much-needed rest.
So please be kind and considerate to others, and be kind to yourself, STAY HOME and get that much needed rest before you go back to a milonga. I know tango is your addiction and you will have withdrawal symptoms if you don't dance for a day, but hey, your body is telling you it needs a break and a full rest, so STAY HOME when you havd a cold and are sick! Milongas are there again the following week, you can go when you are fully recovered and dance with a vengeance. :)

These are the other Social Etiquettes for your easy reference:
http://www.close-embrace.com/invitingetiquette.html
http://www.inscenes.com/etiquette.htm
http://www.tangoconcepts.com/etiquette.html