Here are the traditional, non-written laws of Cabeceo from the Golden Age:
• The invitation to dance is from the man to the woman
• The invitation is done via the Cabeceo (nod of the head) from where the man is located
• Also the man can walk towards the woman and do the Cabeceo or a gesture if the woman is looking at him
• The woman that doesn’t want to dance with the man that is looking at her, never should sustain the mirada (gaze)
• Sometimes, the woman with a smile from the distance is revealing that will accept an invitation
• When the invitation is accepted, the man always goes where the woman is located to go to the dance floor
• The woman wait for the man from where she is located
• The couple starts to dance from where the dance floor is accessed . No walking searching for a better spot. The couple arrives there while dancing
• When the tanda is finished, the man accompanies the woman to her place
• On the first beats of the song it is accepted to relax and wait, this is done for the man to focus and recognize the music
• During dancing talking and humming is not allowed
• The dance is performed counterclockwise on the dance floor
As you see, some codes could use an update, for instance we can substitute "man" for lead and woman for "follow", or think the follow may initiate the cabeceo with the mirada...
But also let's exercise our own judgment and common sense, remembering that the milongas have been in place for more than a century as an essential place for social interaction.
And if tango venues survived to our days for sure it was for a reason....
Lost in Cabeceo
Buenos Tangos Club (Chelyabinsk).
What do you think?
© Luigi Seta