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More Melo Etiquette

Posted: 13:53, Thursday 20 October 2005 by Megan Jones

Updated: 13:40, Thursday 20 October 2005 by Ben

It’s been a slower week at Siempre in terms of news for the website, but that has some advangages (I get some work done for one thing!). So, I thought I’d put another paragraph up from Ney Melo….not without controversy this one, but I have my doubts as to whether it will prompt the same number of comments as the slogan piece!
(Siempre Tango: embrace controversy??)


A DJ will usually play 3 or 4 songs of the same orchestra or style followed by a one minute cortina. This “set” is called a tanda. It is only when we want to stop dancing with our partner that we say “thank you”. Do not make the mistake of saying “thank you” after every tango. Try to wait until the end of the tanda. If we do not wait until the end, then we are conveying a message. Here is a quick breakdown of the ‘messages’:

We danced 4 songs: That was nice I enjoyed it Let’s do it again in the near future, etc. etc.
We danced 3 songs: It was ok Sorry / my feet hurt Yikes! / My ride home is leaving, gotta go!
We danced 2 songs: I’ve humored you long enough / You need to take more lessons / I thought the first bad tango was my fault, but now I see that it’s your fault
We danced 1 song: It’s just not happening / Maybe you should just sit and watch for a while / Please don’t ask me to dance at this milonga again.

I truly believe that when women start using their power of declining dances and sending messages, then that is when the leaders will start working to improve their dance. It has to be a system of checks and balances. If we allow mediocre leaders to dance with amazing followers and vice versa, then why would they want to get better? I remember an argument that a friend and I had a long time ago. She was upset because a horrible leader basically manhandled her for a whole tanda and made her look and feel bad. I witnessed the whole thing and I didn’t like what this leader did, but I also didn’t like that my friend was too nice not to end the carnage early!! Ladies, please use your power to say “no” to bad dances. It is better to sit all night, enjoy the music, and have a good conversation than to be dragged around the milonga floor like Hector was by Achilles after being slain in the movie “Troy”. There were many times in my tango infancy that I was rejected by good followers. I never took it personally. It only served served to make me better.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t dance with beginners. Everyone should do a dance or two with beginners at the milonga and look at it as ‘community service’ and make them feel welcome. But there is a difference between a beginner, and a bad dancer who just never ‘gets it’. There are a number of guys at any given milonga who have been dancing for a long time, they maul the ladies, and they never have any incentive to get better because they get all the dances they want anyway.

Now, please remember, these notes are penned by Ney Melo, and are not necessarily representative of the views held by the Siempre Tango committee, the editor, the web page manager etc etc… What’s good for the goose though…


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At 15:58 on Tuesday, 25 October 2005 Nicci said: