Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Premilonga Lesson on Navigation, Floor Craft and Etiquette

Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
Northampton, MA
October 22, 2011


Homer & Cristina Ladas Workshops in Northampton, MA

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Tango Body

The Feet (All Levels)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Workshop 1 – Int/Adv – The Legs

Workshop 2 – Int/Adv – The Hips

Premilonga Lesson: Floorcraft, Navigation and Etiquette

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Workshop 3 – Int/Adv – The Upper Body

Workshop 4 – Int/Adv – The Embrace


Premilonga Lesson on Navigation, Floor Craft and Etiquette

It was noted that sometimes people who should be here the most, are not.

We began with a warm-up dance made in an artificially smaller space, the goal of which was to touch all four corners of the space at which chairs were placed.


Walk across the dance floor, in a random direction, either across or diagonally, but not counterclockwise or in the line of dance, to get to the other side of the dance floor. Do not run. First, walk slow. Then go faster. Then faster. The point of this game is:

(1) to watch where you are going

(2) to make adjustments

(3) to increase your sense of awareness and vision

On the milonga dance floor, it is OK to dance in the middle or outside, but do not weave or zig zag between couples.


In partnership, we danced in the line of dance, specifically touching the four corners of the dance floor with one foot of the Follower, where chairs were set up to clearly delineate what the corners were. We were to try to touch the chairs with the Follower’s feet to make sure we actually went all the way to the four corners. The point of this game is:

(1) to be aware of how much space we have behind us and in front of us

(2) to keep the line of dance moving (do not slow it down or speed it up)

(3) increase our sense of awareness (to ourselves, to our partner, to the music, and to surroundings)


We built on Game 2, Touch the Corners, with the eyes of both the Leader and Follower closed. We were to dance with our eyes closed, in the line of dance, and touching the four corners with the Follower’s foot. We were to do simple things, small movements, and nothing complicated. The point of this game is:

(1) to sense other people around us

(2) to keep the line of dance moving

What helped us? Lots of people, so that we could hear and feel them. No hard elbows, so no one got hurt even if there were little bumps. The bumps, if any, were soft. Soft bumps/taps are important. We need each other on the dance floor and can use each other as markers. For any bumps, they should be soft love bumps. No elbows up, no defensive arms/tactics. Use all of your senses to be aware of where you are on the dance floor, and where others are. Allow touch to be a nice part of the dance (not a bad one).

The song for this exercise was Tom Waits’s Blind Love.


There are three types of molecules that make the milonga dance floor chaotic:

(1) Random/Rogue Molecule

(2) Space Hog: Leaving lots of space in front of you and backing up everyone else behind you

(3) Space Jammer: A tailgater, dancing right up to the couple in front of you

Three couples were assigned the molecule roles and were to dance to disrupt the milonga dance floor. All other couples were to dance in the line of dance and not cut each other, but remain in line and flowing with the rest. We were to try to dance this way anyway, even with the Rogue Molecule, Space Jammer, and Space Hog. Our goal was to try to make things work no matter what.

Next, the concept of the Tango Train was introduced


All dance couples were formed into dance trains of 3 couples, each train having one couple as the front engine, one as the back caboose, and one in the middle. The goal of the engine is to keep going and not let the line get jammed up into the train in front of them. The goal of the caboose is to keep the train moving, protecting the middle segment. The goal of the middle is to keep with the engine. Our goal was to keep the line of dance moving, but not move too fast or too slow. If we move too fast, we end up jamming the people in front of us. If we move too slow, we end up being a space hog.

To our trains, the Rogue Molecule couple was let loose with its goal to try to break into a train.

The trains’ goal was to not let the Rogue Molecule break any train. How was this done? By closing the space so that the Rogue Molecule could not get in.

How to form a train: This is a tool the Follower can implement, and you do not have to know another couple to make a train. When coming into the dance floor, make eye contact with the couples on the dance floor. The one who acknowledges you and lets you in makes it a tacit agreement to take care of each other. If there is no eye contact and they do not acknowledge you, you should not enter there. Eye contact with another couple suggests “You take care of me and I will take care of you.”


For the Etiquette portion of our class focused on the cabaceo.

Follower should sit upright and attentively, looking ready and enthusiastic to dance. She is presenting herself, and should not sit back and slouch. She should look like she is ready to dance.

Leaders and Followers look at each other, make eye contact, nod to each other. Leader walks to Follower (the Walk of Pride), then verbally asks to confirm/verify the cabaceo.

When entering line of dance, make eye contact with the couple you are going in front of.

After the dance, the Leader should walk the Follower off the dance floor and back to where he got her.

There was no didactic demo due to the nature of the class.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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