Mindful Floor Craft - Etiquette on the Dance floor

Mindfulness the practice of bringing awareness to the present moment over and over again.

I wonder what it would take for us all to create a Mindful Tango Community?

Many years ago now, when I went to my first milonga (tango dance) the host of the milonga, explained to we newbies the etiquette and 'rules' of the dance floor. We had introduced ourselves as new students from the country, and were delighted to learn all the new information.

We were shown how dancers were meant to enter and leave the dance floor and why. We were invited to do our form of beginner tango, in the centre of the group so as not to impede the flow. The group was beautiful to watch as it moved, the dancers flowing in a circular pattern.

However of late, I've become aware of many conversations centered around increasingly poor floorcraft on the Tango dance floor.

I wonder what happened to that lovely early Tango scene with the beautifully flowing line of dance? It has been replaced with a dishevelled floor craft and etiquette. Has it something to do with our shortening attention spans? Over the last few weeks, I've been sliced with high heels, trodden on by leaders walking backwards, and knocked sideways by dancers barging onto the floor without looking. If dancers walked onto a busy road, the same way they walk onto a dance floor, many of them would either be dead or critically injured and in hospital by now.

If you have experienced any of the above, you will know that it is not pleasant, and can turn an otherwise lovely evening into one you want to leave. I've even seen people nearly in a fight!

How do we turn this trend around? A few ideas - please share yours.

  • 1 - by teachers taking the time to teach floor craft and etiquette regularly in class
  • 2 - by dancers taking responsibility to practice what their teachers have shown them
  • 3 - stop and take a few breaths before walking onto the dance floor
  • 4 - by being mindful of your actions and the consequences

    It's exciting to hear a piece of music that stirs the spirit, that has you on your feet and wanting to dance. However we all need to take care of each other on the dance floor, so we really enjoy the beauty that is Tango. I believe that is where mindfulness comes in.

    What is Mindfulness? I'll let Diana Winston explain...

    How can we all improve our mindfulness for Argentine Tango?

  • Firstly - STOP and take a few breaths before walking onto a dance floor.
  • Wait - for a space, don't just barge in.
  • Leaders - wait for a signal from the oncoming leader before walking in front of them.
  • Followers - you've been sitting down and are excited to dance, I get it!
  • Don't rush onto the floor, again, stop and pause, and wait with the leader to guide you.
  • Work with the floor not against it. If the floor is crowded, don't do large moves.

    Dotted through this post and below you'll find some excellent videos on floor craft by Murat and Michelle Erdemsel.

    We've all had bumps on the dance floor, accidents happen, lets do our utmost to reduce these and take care of one another. What are your thoughts on how we can bring mindfulness to the dance floor?