“How to ask someone to dance” –Christmas Edition

Ask someone to dance…mmm…easier said than done! Right leaders?
But what can we do..?

Holiday Milongas and Galas are up and coming, are you still feeling overwhelmed in a milonga environment?
Does even talking about this, make you dread agreeing to all these facebook invites?
Do you still need to give yourself the “TALK”…? You know the one I am talking about…
Where you remind yourself that: “You got this!” and that this year you have spent so many hours on your Tango, that you deserve to hear more “yes”s than “no”s. And if a follower doesn’t see that..it is “OK!”

If so….
Firstly, keep in mind that you are NOT alone!
Nobody likes to go out knowing that they will end up secretly hoping that they could just disappear.
Secondly, you are in luck because I have a list for you. A worst-to-best list on ways of asking someone to dance–Christmas edition!

Here are a few quick tips on “how to ask for a dance..” that you can take into consideration in the next milonga!


ask santa (1)

Equivalent to: Grabbing your desired partner’s arm as they pass by…

Leaders, I know that, you are feeling uncomfortable and that you want to play cool, BUT…NO! Just not this way…please!
Don’t grab people’s arms as they pass by to go to the bar…unless they are a good friend.
(it has happened to me…never went back to the place…)
Also, tapping on their shoulder, if they are not looking your way..? BAD idea! If they are not a good friend of yours…they are probably ignoring you.
You get the idea..? Anything threatening, will not do!

ask santa (2)

Equivalent to:
Leader: How are you?
Follower: (smiles) I…
Leaders: Lets dance!

(it has happened to me…I laughed…the first time)
If you don’t care, don’t ask!

Ok! I am joking…I think.
Of course, you care..!
And, I am sure, you are in fact very nice people BUT when the stress, or discomfort, or awkwardness…or all of the above… take over, then this is the outcome.
Socially dancing with someone, means sharing 12mins together, that doesn’t mean it is a dance-only experience.
Chatting is allowed and often times required!
And “How are you?” is in fact a good opening line. Simple, straightforward, perfect to break the ice. Just wait to hear the response!

ask to santa (3)

Equivalent to: Playing too cool, before or while dancing…

Commenting on other people’s dance level/ abilities.
Making fun of other people’s way of dancing.
(it has happened to me…not funny)
Sharing either personal or private information…SO personal that the follower has NO COMMENT to make.
(it has happened to me. I smiled awkwardly and I avoid him ever since)
Commenting on your partner’s dance abilities while dancing. Even if the feedback is good and/or helpful it can be disturbing. Instead, wait for the dance to end and then proceed with caution!

ask santa (4)

Equivalent to: Sharing your bio before or while dancing!

My guess is that, you are trying to get  off to a better start by showing how much you have accomplished in Tango. How many classes you have taken, to how many festivals you have been, how many privates you have taken and how many compliments you received from your teachers…
I am sorry to tell you but NOBODY CARES!
This is not a job interview.
Ask without presenting the reasons why they should accept!

ask santa (4)

Equivalent to: Ask and then start apologizing for 12mins straight…

Is this a milonga..? Ah! Sorry… I don’t know many moves.
I am sorry, I am beginner.
Damn, sorry I didn’t lead this right.
Sorry, this didn’t really work out.
Did I step on you again…? Sorry!

So here is how you can fix this…
Before you ask someone to dance, wait for the first song of the tanda. This way you can make sure, it is something you can and like to dance to.
Choose your partner wisely. Find someone at your level, not someone that you will feel uncomfortable or inferior dancing with.
On another note, mistakes can be “interesting surprises” (by a friend) happening during your dance. They don’t matter. Don’t make a big fuss. Just keep going! And lastly…
Apologize, only if you step on your partner OR if you collide with another couple!

ask santa (6)

Equivalent to: The perfect leader!

The perfect leader is the one who has good dance skills and a nice personality.
One who is comfortable enough to chat, with confidence and who actually cares to connect with the other person.
Take your time, enjoy every second of the milonga either by chatting or by dancing!
When the time comes to dance, make sure you are very clear with what you want…like young Spencer in the letter above.
He doesn’t want just any truck…no no no…he wants a remote control GMC truck!
Keep it simple, clear and straight forward especially while dancing with someone for the first time, they will appreciate it!

So to sum it up. When you ask someone to dance, you:
  • Wait for the song to start
  • Choose your partner wisely
  • Show confidence but NOT arrogance
  • Bring in a sociable, relaxed personality
  • Before you dance, spend a few seconds chatting
    (Maybe something like: Hi! How are you? Wanna dance?)
  • Concluding, during the dance: Keep it simple and clear and don’t comment on or make fun of other people
Now if you need more help on the social etiquette and the cabeceo…

Subscribe to get the Ultimate guide on Tango training for leaders and followers, we cover all that in Part 8..!

Happy Holidays everyone!
Hit the holiday milongas with no fear!


Pictures by: https://list25.com/25-hilarious-letters-to-santa/
and: https://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/photos/funniest-letters-santa-kids-all-time-all-time




2 thoughts on ““How to ask someone to dance” –Christmas Edition”

  1. Most experienced followers have no patience for newbie leader, new follower prefer experienced leader; how do you overcome that )

    1. Well, that is an exellent question because you are absolutely right!
      Only I would phrase it somewhat differently, ALL followers want to dance with better leaders! It is the reality and it is normal BUT it is not a barrier for the leaders.
      I could easily go on a tactics tantrum here, but instead I will say this, learning to lead and becoming a good leader, is going to be difficult, BUT it was meant to be difficult.
      So, instead of starting with tactics, you first need to understand that despite how difficult it is, you need to put in the hard workin order to become better and claim your spot on the floo. You need to work if you want to become that experienced dancer that every follower will want to dance with.Don’t expect it to be easy..!
      Now to the tactics…
      First things to do on your side:
      1) Think of 3 steps or simple sequences that you feel very comfortable and confident with
      2) Find different ways to connect them
      Keep an open mind here. Especially with the sequences, try to see if you can start them in a different way and/or exit them in a different way. Create this way new sequences and
      3) Practice them on your own–shadow-dancing and then practice with your friends in a practica or something.
      See how the different sequences fit the dancefloor and the music
      4) Don’t get distracted. Practice on very specific things.
      5) When you get to the milonga, do those moves you have practiced on. Don’t try to do all the moves you know, or the fancier moves you know, especially with someone you haven’t danced with before. They are going to be more than enough and if you have practiced enough they are going to be clear for your partner to follow, and fitting the music. Which is exactly what a follower wants: A PLEASANT SURPRISE!
      6) Talk to your instructor for sequences that fit the milonga, instead of big flashy sequences.
      7) I believe you have access to the training guide, follow it to help you build your practice
      And now things you can do in a milonga:
      1) The easy option: Go with a group. This might be a bit dnagerous, though as you might end up dancing only with your friends…which is ok but you will soon get stuck as you won’t be challenged enough to lead better
      2) More difficult option: Go to the milonga to observe. See which followers are dancing less than others. Then distinguish the ones who dance only with the people from their group and/or advanced dancers from the ones who are dancing with whomever asks. Meaning, see which ones are uncomfortable with the fact that they are NOT dancing, desparate almost. Start with them…
      3) Talk to the organiser, or the person at the door, they might be able to direct you to the followers who dance with beginner dancers
      4) For me the best is to be able to do the two options together. Meaning go with your group, but push yourself to dance with at least ONE NEW person at every milonga.

      None of this will give you lasting success though if you don’t work to make yourself better!
      Keep dancing!

      I think I will write an article on this, more space to express myself..! 😉

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