TangoAustralia and Angelina's Tango Blog

stylised illustration of couple in dramatic tango hold with woman leaning back

Messy milonga floor

To be a good tango dancer you need to understand floorcraft. In many milongas today this appears to be a lost art. When tango floorcraft is ignored accidents can happen – and I witnessed such an accident this weekend at a crowded milonga.
Tango is a social dance and it is important to remember that we are at a milonga to enjoy dancing in a friendly environment. This seems to be forgotten by some dancers who lead their partners into fancy steps more suited to a performance – and to some followers who want to show just how flexible and clever they are at throwing themselves around.
Floorcraft is about being courteous – it is about the leader knowing how to navigate a tight space and understanding how to keep his partner safe while observing the dancing of those around him/her.
Tango Mentor puts it in context:
Milonguero mindset is more about the connection and people we dance to than the movement and music that inspires us. Social tango is social – which means we should give priority to people and how we relate to them. Of course, technical skills, repertoire and musicality are important, but they should not be the priority.
Tango Mentor’s post was written some years ago but the points he makes are very relevant now.
Drawings of milonga floorcraft showing how different dancing can upset the floorPerhaps now is a good time to take a tango ‘driving test’!  A post by the English tango blog Tanguito is lots of fun and will help you to understand more about floorcraft – and to know just how good your floorcraft is.
It is vital that dancers learn floorcraft from the very beginning. It is important that they understand that there is a ronda or line of dance that everyone needs to follow in order for everyone to enjoy their dancing.
As well as the leader understanding how to navigate and how to respond to a situation on the dancefloor, it is also important for the follower to know when they can use flourishes and embellishments.
If you want to upgrade your skills watch this video which shows how a couple can dance in a very small space.
I wonder how many tango teachers emphasise floorcraft in their classes. I hope they all do.