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Encuentro Codes & Customs

Preview Cheesman Park Milonga

<span class="cap">W</span>e style the Denver Close Encounters event in the tradition of the classic Buenos Aires milongas of the 1940s, 1990s and 2000s. This means we strive to follow the historic customs of good navigation with lanes, using the cabaceo to request a dance, and walking the followers back to their tables.

This festival is for you if you love Buenos Aires style social dancing, and are good at navigating in a close embrace. A lot of people are coming in on Wednesday or Thursday, so the early arrival classes and Milonga will be well-attended. 

Print out this PDF printout on floor-craft. It illustrates the etiquette and culture of navigating at a traditional milonga.

What is an Encuentro?

Buenos Aires milonga traditions are honored and continued by numerous "Tango Encuentros" in the US and around the world. For the 2024 Denver Close Encounters present a full weekend with 160 dedicated, role-balanced attendees. We will have tables for all followers with tables designated for Leaders, Followers or mixed. We have found that alternating leader & follower "8-top" tables

Like a Marathon - Dancing afternoon and evening; With “early” 1:00 am endings for recuperation.  
Like an Encuentro - Limited to 160 role-balanced participants; single ticket for the weekend.  
Traditional Milongas like Buenos Aires - Dance floor with tables and seating for all, Close-embrace, floor craft & lanes, cabeceo.
Honoring the Music and the Embrace - Maintain care and comfort of your parnter.

Line of Dance and "Rules of the Road"

A traditional milonga is set up to present the dance floor as a "stage". Tables surround the floor so everybody has a "home" place to sit, from where they can watch the dancers and look around for someone to dance with. In order to avoid collisions, Social Tango Dancers respect the CCW line of dance. More than that, they dance in "lanes", starting at the outside of the floor. If the outside lane gets filled, they add a second lane about three feet inside, and so on. Just like merging on a highway, it is best to wait for a gap in traffic rather than leaping in front of another couple. It is useful to catch the eye of the on-coming leader, who will usually slow down to open a space. 

On the dance floor, each couple moves slowly forward, neither leaving a big gap, nor crowding the couple in front. In a crowded situation, you have to navigate carefully without stepping on the person behind you. Rock-steps, turns and semi-turns entertain the follower while the leader waits for traffic to clear.

The "Cabeceo" or, How to Get a Dance

A particularly charming aspect of tango is that followers get to ask the leaders to dance by looking for their favorite partner, and "giving them the nod". Across a crowded room, this feels electrifying! "YOU chosen ME to dance with! Now, I can saunter confidently across the floor, knowing that as I approach, you will rise to take my hand, and we can embrace into a dance. In a crowded room, the leaders may need to walk around and approach to (let's say) about 8-feet.

After the Dance Set

 At a milonga, the DJ typically plays 3 or 4 songs of the same genre: tango, waltz or milonga (the dance), and then plays a "cortina" or curtain of non-danceable music which allows everybody time to return to their seats. If the leader has given the follower a really good set of dances, the follower is in a meditative state, with closed eyes, which may make it difficult to remember where the home table is. A beautiful courtesy is for the leader to walk the follower back to their seat.

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