Tango France > Charter and advice > dance advices
15 tips to circulate well on the dance floor
There is a specific direction for circulating in a ball (identical to the
direction of traffic on a roundabout in France…). You should move on
the dance floor counter-clockwise. This means that you must not take
steps backwards on the dance floor, which would put you in a direction opposite
to the circulation (Cheers to the salmons that swim upstream!). You
may however step backwards, but only after assuring yourself that there is
no risk of collision with another couple.
2- Minimum speed and fluidity
You must not block traffic, stop on the dance floor to talk or to carry out
figures. The traffic around the dance floor must be fluid, although
there is no minimum speed imposed… If you wish to stop to carry out a figure
you must do that in a corner of the dance floor or in the middle, before
returning to the line of flow.
As soon as the couple that precedes you moves and frees up the space, you must occupy it.
3- Remain in control of your speed
You must always be able to stop, interrupt a figure at any moment, change rhythm or direction so as to never hit another couple.
4- Circulate on the right lane and stop on the emergency lane to change wheels
You must never stay on the left lane. The center of the dance floor
is reserved for those wishing to carry out figures (you'll often find the
worst dancers there…). Good dancers dance as much as possible on the
outside of the dance floor, on the right.
In principle, in high level balls, you should not overtake. You should
end the dance with the same couple that was before you at the start of the
dance (but this situation that you frequently find in several balls in Buenos-Aires
is more an utopia. It is extremely difficult to respect this recommendation,
given the anarchic behavior in many balls. The circulation often resembles
more the traffic at the Etoile in Paris at 6pm than a choreographed fashion
show or the orderly circulation of cyclists in Holland….).
5- Overtake from the left
Practicality sometimes imposes that you overtake. As for driving, it
is dangerous to overtake from the right, since this corresponds to the closed
side of the couple containing a blind angle. The couple that you have
passed may thus cut your path and hit you since it will not have seen you.
If you overtake, make sure that you will not cut the path of the couple before
you, and do it from the left.
6- No rodeo
You must adapt the size of your movement to the available space. Of
course, when the dance floor is packed, you must not perform any figures.
You should avoid doing any high boléos, or ganchos if you do not have
It is also preferable to dance closed style rather than open style which
takes more room. Of course, even if you have a grudge against your
partner do not use her as a guinea pig to settle you scores.
Camilla Saraceni creator of the show "Pas à deux" declared in an interview
to La Croix "In Argentine balls, if a couple starts doing lots of figures,
he is pushed by other dances to the outside of the dance floor. The
tango virtuoso, is similar to classical ballet where there is no creativity.
Ball tango is less showy, but not less difficult to dance. What counts
is not the number of figure, but the relationship between the two independent
bodies that find they equilibrium as two, within the music and the movement.
The energy within the center…."
7- Maintain a safe distance
Some dancers a nicknamed "ventilator, helicopter, windmill, or even grass
cutter", all instruments which require a minimum safe distance while being
used. It is better to avoid finding yourself too close to certain public
dangers who dance as if the dance floor was reserved solely for them.
8- Ensure that the lane is free before entering
Before entering the dance floor, be sure that a TGV (très grand ventilateur),
will not hit you, or that you will not yourself cut the route of a calm passerby….
9- How to deal with collisions
In the event of a collision, excuses are very appreciated. Do not pretend
that you did not feel anything, which can be taken as "hit and run" and a
lack of savoir-vivre….
10- Do not look in the rear mirror when you drive
Avoid narcissism: Certain dance floors are equipped with mirrors and
the site of themselves leads certain dancers to make prolonged pauses before
that divine apparition, generating traffic.
11- Sobriety: drink or dance, you must decide
To maintain your balance, it is preferable to be sober, which also permits
a better appreciation of the environment and avoids being permanently outcast
by the partners who you would have had the imprudence to invite in that state….
12- Keep driving lessons and dangerous driving to specialist circuits
The ball is a place to have fun, not a place to give dance lessons. One does
not stop in the middle of a dance to explain to the partner how to do a step…
To try a new step, or new techniques, there are special places called "practices",
where you can try new "tricks"…
According to Carmen Aguiar, well know Parisian tango figure, "we dance in
a ball what we master, and in practice what we do not master".
13- Pause regularly
The argentine tango balls (also called "milongas") are structured in "tanda",
groups of 3 or 4 pieces of the same orchestra. The transition between
tanda is announced by a "cortina", (musical curtain), same piece of music
played regularly throughout the evening, for example to pass from one milonga
tanda to a tango tanda. This interruption is the occasion to empty
the dance floor and gives dancers the chance to return to their places.
Dance floors often do not permit all dancers to dance at the same time and
this transition allows all dancers to dance in turns. There is no average
to maintain and a good evening does not mean dancing non-stop all evening…Pause
regularly for the good of all.
14- Do not keep to the mainstream and discover unusual itineraries
There is a social dimension to tango as for all couple dances. This
social dimension varies from one country to another, but in general, it is
preferable not to dance several continuous tandas with the same person.
In certain countries such as in the U.S.A. the non-conformity with this rule
is considered antisocial (read the article by Karen Tierney and of Mariana
on the subject Salida N°25 or in the forum of the Temps du Tango).
Make good use of this advice to discover new horizons, and invite dancers
with whom you have never danced…. You may be happily surprised.
15- Check the weather before leaving
Ball cancellations are announced in the site www.letempsdutango.com…. So
to avoid hitting your nose against a closed door, consult the site…
©2001 Pierre Lehagre tango-paris.com
Welcome to the Tanguera community!!!