Social Dance (Milonga Loca) at Davis Restaurant- Buenos Aires style- in Downtown Eugene, Oregon
Some reminders of the importance of respecting others in the dance floor.
By Marisela Rizik.
1. First of all, think of La Pista- as a highway, be alert to the way the traffic is moving- slow or fast, don't move too close, avoid abrupt stops, do not cause traffic jam.
2. Leads, you are in charge of direction, so it is your responsibility to protect your follower- as the tradition goes, you take the hit if it may happen!
3. In other words; Keep an eye on the couple in front of you. If they turn, you turn, the ronda stops, you stop learn vocabulary that helps you dance in your own space.
4. When stopped in traffic, use all corners around you. You do not need to think of the ronda as a straight line, use all the space of your square, move diagonally, move with your back to the center of the room, your back to the table, turn in place. Get specific vocabulary in your dance class to help you in this situation. There is not need to always move forward or get frustrated if you feel you are not advancing.
6. Milonga are by definitions places where people who understand the rules and know how to dance attend to dance, some to watch, some to chat and socialize with their friends. That tradition is still alive, that is why when nobody knows you in a milonga in Buenos Aires, it is tough to be asked to dance. The good dancer don't want to take a risk if they don't know how you dance.
Our reality is a bit different here in the US, we don't have a whole bunch of practicas to go to, and we want to encourage beginners to start dancing, soooo by default, sharing the space with all kinds of levels will make the ronda run sometimes on an unpredictable fashion and that is just part of the reality here. (yes, people bump in Buenos Aires too, and many times guess who get blamed for it...???) So, we must develop extra patience as it is the rule here not the exception that the dance floor is shared with all kinds of levels..
Another issue is the matter of style.
Adjust your movements and style of dancing to the space available in the dance floor, ok. to use long and energetic steps if you have the space- most time in crowded milonga you do not. Keep in mind, that if your style of dancing is taking more than the majority, you are infringing on the rights of others. Choosing a milonga that dance closer to your style is quite acceptable and is a nice choice to have, specially in our town where we have lots of diverse venues.
The other choice will be to wait toward the end of the milonga, usually there is less people in the dance floor, so dancing more dynamically might be just fine-
Passing- yes, if you have someone who is holding the line of dancing and everybody is stuck. Otherwise no.
You don't back up in the highway without looking, be sure you don't do it in the ronda either small back steps (one or two) are useful and necessary, specially in corner, just be sure you can see what you are doing.
And last, but not least if you are merging into the highway in the middle of a tanda- the people who are already dancing in the highway have the right of way, they are under no obligation to interrupt their concentration with the music and their partner to make eye contact with you who is merging.
You, as the merger have to find a way to get in. And where do you enter?- depends on the way the floor is shaped. Usually, the lead enters close to where the follower was sitting. Why, ask me later.
And for the milongas that I organize, I sure like to see the floor empty during the cortinas. I know it was a bit harder at Davis, but something about emptying the floor after a tanda, it renews the energy.
Between songs in a tanda, stop, drop your arms, chat about anything...it is just a nice way to take a breather, to be ready for another jouney. Specially true in hot days !
Rules and guidelines help us avoid chaos, injuries and all together have a more pleasant time
Thanks for taking the time to read, email me if you have comments or suggestions,