In Milonga Las Chinitas, we would like to replicate the feeling and the environment of dancing in the traditional milongas in Buenos Aires in all aspects such as seating arrangement, lighting, the music and the atmosphere. However, nothing is more important than YOUR participation in order to capture the essence of dancing in a traditional milonga by observation of the milonga codes, which exist for one simple reason - to make a milonga more enjoyable for all!
Tips for dancing in Milonga Las Chinitas:
Take a shower, dress pretty, put on some perfume/cologne, get your body and mind ready for a night of dancing, mingling and good fun. Guys, better wear a suit or a blazor to keep off your sweat from the ladies. Guys look better in a blazor/suit anyway :)
Men and women will be seated on opposite sides, facing each other. There will be a separate area for couples. When you arrive, you will be escorted by one of our staff to your seat, which will be your "station"for the rest of the night. In this way, the people who want to dance with you will know where to find you.
Cabaceo is a method of inviting others to dance by the eyes. When the music sounds and you wish to dance with a particular person for that tanda, try to look at him/her. Once you make eye contact, GUYS: tilt your held or nod as if asking the question silently, "Would you like to dance?". GIRLS: respond by a nod and REMAIN SEATED to avoid misunderstanding (There may be a chance that the guy you thought was looking at you was looking at another girl sitting really close to you and it would look quite bad if you stood up yourself). Try to keep the eye contact until the guy receives you in front of your seat and lead you to the dance floor. For the guys, just in case more than one girl thought you were looking at her and all of them nodded at you, try to look away and try again. These are just some tips, and no right or wrong way of doing it. In a very cantonese saying..."jub sarng la":P
4. Tandas and Cortinas
Tango music in a milonga is arranged in sets of four (sometimes 3)songs, known as a "Tanda". Each Tanda is separated by a "Cortina", apiece of non-tango music which lasts for around 1 minute. When the Cortina sounds, the floor should be cleared, and guys should escort the girls back to their seats (No exceptions even if you have only dancedfor 1 song). This will only make the tango better when you think you will only be able to dance one tanda for the entire night with that person you so love to dance with. Quality always outbeats quantity!Also, in Buenos Aires, it usually means something (*wink wink*) if a couple dances for more than 2 tandas.
5. Line of dance
In general, following the line of dance means dancing in an anti-clockwise direction across the dance floor. When a milonga gets crowded, there can be 2 lines - one outer and one inner circle. However,following the line of dance also literally means FOLLOWING the couple dancing in front of you such that there is no overtaking and no dancing against the line of dance (such as by taking a back step). If the couple in front of you is not moving forward, wait and enjoy the pause - Why the need to hurry when you are already rushing half day while living the hectic city life of Hong Kong? :P Also, by keeping the floor traffic in an orderly fashion, bumpings will be significantly reduced. This is a form of respect for other fellow dancers, who are trying to enjoy their tango.
Acrobatic movements such as jumps, high boloes, ganchos etc aren't usually found in crowded milongas, for obvious reasons. "Walking is the best weapon" - Kill the lady by your walk, not by breaking her leg in a forced sacada. Ladies simply want to feel beautiful and confident, and not inadequate when being led into figures they cannot follow. So, guys, leave your newly learnt sequences to the practicas~ You will eventually be able to perfect them :) Ladies, keep your "killer heels"as close to the floor as possible. Be nice to other fellow dancers, and to your comme il fauts:)
Please do leave a comment, or questions if any. We would love to exploremore with you on any of the topics above! In the meantime, here are somerelevant links that we highly recommend for your reading,
1. On how to milonguear, taken from fellow Hong Kong milonguera, Royce Chau's blog:
"Saber Milonguear" - The obvious codes of a milonga: http://www.loksze.com/thoughts/2008/03/26/saber-milonguear-part-1-obvious-rules-of-the-milonga-by-jean-michel-ledeur/
"Saber Milonguear" - The hidden codes of a milonga:http://www.loksze.com/thoughts/2008/03/27/saber-milonguear-part-2-the-hidden-codes-of-the-milonga-by-jean-michel-ledeur/
Milonguear - para milongueras (How to milonguear for ladies):http://www.loksze.com/thoughts/2008/04/14/milonguear-para-milongueras/
2. On Cabaceo - guided practica given by Javier y Andrea during theirfirst visit to HK in May 2007:http://www.tangotang.com/Mambo/content/view/379/520/lang,en/