Tango codes

Those two words have generated heated discussion.  There was a time when we were told that “tango has no rules.”  Eventually we learned that it has rules.  Many refuse to respect them.  They are no more than guidelines that have been in place for all social dancing for decades.  Code is another word for rule.  Games have rules, and so does ballroom dancing.  Tango is a ballroom dance.  Then tango has rules like other social dances.  Like any sport, they establish rules of behavior so everyone can enjoy participating.

1. Dress appropriately.
2. Remember personal hygiene.
3. The man invites the woman.
4. The man leads, remains in control, and protects his partner.
5. Respect the line of dance. 
6. Be aware of others around you.
7. Do not teach on the floor.
8. Apologize to your partner if you step on her foot, and to other dancers if you interrupt their dancing.
9. Escort your partner off the floor.
10. The floor is for dancing, not for conversation.

These rules are part of all ballroom dance instruction.  It’s impossible to learn to dance without learning these rules.  And yet, one organizer in Buenos Aires has found it necessary to announce the line-of-dance rule at his milonga and to enforce it to keep disaster from ocurring.

What sets tango apart from other dances are the unwritten codes of personal behavior that are respected by milongueros.  I found an interesting list of codes on the internet.  I don’t agree with the complete list, but it covers many of the codes observed by milongueros.  These codes are disappearing from use because the milongueros are disappearing from the milongas.

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