“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




Forward Ochos…Heel or Toe first? This is the question…

Last week we talked about how better is better than more, looking into ochos specifically. Which brought up one of the classic Tango questions: Do we walk into our forward ochos using our heel or toes first?

This reminded me of this great answer Sebastian Arce gave to another classic Tango question: What style of Tango do you dance?

He said (in approximation): “They asked us, do you dance Tango Salon, and I said yes. Do you dance Tango nuevo? And I said yes. Do you dance Tango milonguero? And I said yes. Do you dance Tango escenario? And I said yes. (…) We dance Tango!”

There you have it!

As my valued mentor would say: The YES and Yes principle.
How does the principle go?
When you find yourself asking: Should I do X or is it better to Y? Most of the times it is BEST if you do X AND Y.

It is a principle that can get you out of false dichotomies, so you can focus on important issues, in your everyday life, in your health, in your fitness, in your Tango.

People ask me, all the time, questions like:

  • should I learn to dance in a closed or an open embrace?
  • is it better to go to milongas more or to practicas?
  • should I focus on sequences or on technique?
But the best answer to these questions and many more, is YES and YES!

Why do you have to choose between Heel or Toes during your forward steps?
Do you really want to exclude one option that will give different dynamics to your dance, for the sake of making a choice?
Especially when you can say YES and YES, and make it more fun this way!
So, in the video below, I will show you forward ochos–of different types–stepping forward with the heel and with toes first and give you a quick drill for toe-to-heel transfers.

A better forward ocho…Heel Vs Toes


P.S: What dichotomies are you faced with? Shoot me an email with what you want to talk about!

A Drill for a better Ocho!–You need Better NOT More..!

When I started dancing Tango–I am referring to the very first milonga I danced in–I had only taken 4 classes, so I knew–or thought that I knew–how to walk, how to do an ocho and possibly some basic sequence combining the two…That’s it!

Thinking…WHAT? HOW?

The “how” is now obvious to me, though it wasn’t back then…
My teacher cared and taught me to care as well!
I care for Tango. I cared from the very first class. Therefore I wanted to go out, see Tango, hear Tango, dance Tango. I wanted to be part of that community, to be part of Tango.

In my first milonga, of course, I was terrified!
I still remember it…
I went with a friend, we walked up the stairs and backed up a couple of times. Then when we finally made it, we sat at the table at the very end of the room, with our backs pressed against the wall and hoping that no one will notice us..!
Needless to say that didn’t work…haha
Very soon, we were asked to dance…
And guess what?
We had a blast! It was a night full of music, dancing, chatting and meeting new people. Amazing!

We very soon realized that it wasn’t as scary as we thought. We didn’t need to know every possible step leaders can lead nor have a great technique BUT we did need to care.

Care to become members of this community, to become better in our dancing and most importantly, care to find ONE basic thing that we can enjoyably do while on the dancefloor.
If, for example, we could do an ocho, feeling like we are dancing from head to toe, without struggling, and feeling that our partner can relax into our embrace while leading us…Then THAT was IT for us. We needed nothing more.

If you have spent years, asking and/or getting simply more…More sequences. More steps. More technique. More milongas. More guest instructors. More years. More dances. More experience. More confidence…More, more, more…



Think of all these mediocre restaurants out there, where they have a 5 page menu but NOT ONE dish on that menu is worth traveling across town for.
Don’t confuse variety, range, knowledge with quality.
You don’t need MORE, you need BETTER!

As Seth Godin says: “Better is better than more!”

So here is my suggestion for today: PRECISION

ONE basic drill, on a basic Tango element, in this case the ocho, focusing on ONE important characteristic of it, precision.
Argentine Tango technique on ochos

As you see in the video, I am starting with a small traveling forward ocho–very basic, for leaders and followers.
I am NOT doing any big challenging pivots or embellishments. I haven’t placed the obstacles too far/ too close together or tried power my way through…
I am taking my time, focused and with the intention of making the pivot precise enough to pass in between the obstacles. When I can’t make my way through the little balls of paper, I stop and repeat.

Try it out!

Focus on getting better on the ordinary.
Actually…focus on getting EXTRA- ordinary on the ordinary!
You need BETTER not MORE.


Invest in your Tango- find the BEST Tango teacher for YOU!

SGet 10X more out of classes and workshops by choosing your Tango teachers wisely..!

Last week we took a peek into the world of luxury and I told you how I learned to get pasted my cringing reaction over a 250$ for a private class and tried to figure out how investing in a great Tango teacher makes perfect sense.

Then I asked if you have bought/done something that might be considered a luxury but you still allowed it to yourself.
All the answers were great by the way. I LOVED every single one of them!

Let me share a few here with you:

“I know someone in Montreal that travels regularly to Toronto to take classes (…). My first reaction was that this person was a little extreme, traveling 6 hours in and 6 hours out, on a regular basis, just to take classes… On the other hand as a tango student you have to go for the material you want for yourself and in the end it’s not money wasted. It’s money you’ve invested in yourself.” —Louis

“a $1700 air filter, can actually breathe properly around the place” —Jeremy

“(…)On the class you get the seeds of valuable information and axioms from which you can derive work and knowledge for your tango for months to come.

If the Tango teacher is actually that good and you can afford it, this is not tango hell, but tango heaven.” —Matevž

“(…)I had to pick flights that would get me there at very specific times so I could get back to teach my lessons on time. So overall, the lesson was definitely over the $400 mark. So glad I did that. When it’s worth it, it’s worth it!

(…)I did a $10k training for developing my dance career. That seemed like a crazy expense to a lot of my friends, but I made $3k of it back during the actual 5 day training and easily made the rest back soon afterwards.(…)
I think investment/value in total is the important aspect I think about. Some things might be worth the money but not the time or vice versa. These were all worth both the money and the time by a long shot.”–Andrew

“There have been many times that traveled to Athens from my home town for one milonga. When you love something, you pay with no second thoughts (…)” —Minas

What do you notice about these comments?

This is what I notice:

  • “You pay with no second thoughts”
  • “worth both the money and the time by a long shot”
  • “when it’s worth it, it’s worth it”
  • “it’s not money wasted. It is money you’ve invested in yourself”

So, do you see? When we actually experience luxuries, we see how amazing it feels! We realize that luxury it is not just for some snobbish, arrogant, high-end, out-of-this world person..
And if it is about something you really love, you don’t even consider it a luxury…you just allow it to yourself, preferring to cut on things you don’t really like..!

I also noticed, though, that nobody–No, wait!I am lying! There was actually ONE person–said that their luxury was, paying for grad school.

OOooh! Yes! Right…You remembered that one now, didn’t you? haha

Why though isn’t it, the first thing that comes to mind?
Simply, because it is something you know you are going to pay for, plus we consider it a necessity, a matter almost of survival, NOT a luxury, even if you can’t really afford it, you will find a way.


Like grad school, or great air filters, you will hopefully reach a PIVOTAL point in your Tango where you will need to make the leap to the next level. At that level, where every extension counts, every breath makes a difference. A level, where you can dance with anyone, anywhere, of any Tango style and of any level and still be amazing, instead of frustrated.
To get there you will need to shift your perspective from simply learning to Tango to actually understanding and dancing Tango.
When Veron asked me what I wanted to work on I told him: “I want to become a more active follower”
Why? Because I NEEDED to extend myself to a different level, to broaden my understanding and knowledge. Not only for myself but for my students as well!

This is something ALL high end professionals train and retrain, not only because they love what they do, or because they want to be the BEST. But because they need to change, they need to evolve, they need to feel they are getting better and better.
Inspired by them, we need to shift our perspective from being JUST a student to becoming a dancer.
Will that happen in your first year of learning Tango? NO!
But does it mean that only professionals go through it? Absolutely not!
And when you get there, you will need the right teacher.

It was funny, in one of your messages, you were trying to economically explain to me, how each Tango teacher charges, depending on the market, how the currency makes a huge difference and all that…
Thank you truly!
But I stopped making excuses for myself, knowing that I NEEDED a class like that, knowing that it would be the best choice at the best time.
That class opened a path of further improvement for me. Until this time–ONE year later–I am still going back to that class during my daily practice routine, revisiting specific elements. Plus, I got more privates for myself sharing the knowledge he shared with me.
So economically, it makes sense…Instead of doing multiple cheaper privates, you do ONE expensive private that will shake your Tango world!

You can go by life buying cheaper clothes, cheaper shoes, cheaper watches, cheaper EVERYTHING, everything disposable…BUT the question is when you get the chance to shift your perspective to getting-and-keeping-forever WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Thankfully, we do NOT choose people only based on price–maybe in the past, but not anymore…haha
Most of the times it has to do with finding the RIGHT person!

Where were we in our story..?
Oh, yes…
Me: “I want to be a more active follower” and
Him: “Ok!”

I have to admit I panicked there a bit…so I added, just to be on the safe side:
“I am not talking about technique…”

He  looked up from his iPod and without missing a beat he said: “I know!”
Me thinking: “THIS IS IT! This is going to be an amazing class!”
The Right Person at the Right Time!

The Best Tango Teacher for YOU!

Get 10X more out of your classes and workshops by choosing the right Tango teacher for you.
No more time to be wasted!
Choose the BEST Tango teacher for you, make every minute of every class count, following the guide below:

Find the BEST Tango teacher for YOU! (Full guide PDF)


An Inspiring Tango teacher

Photo credit: denise carbonell via Foter.com / CC BY

A Tango private that costed 400$. WHAT THE {TANGO} HELL?

A private class with this wonderful teacher, Pablo Veron costed 250$ last year!
250$ PLUS travel expenses  to and from the city he was in…
We are looking at 400$ and a 12 hour round trip, to take ONE Tango private class.

Common expected reactions:

“Why? Couldn’t you have taken a private with someone from your city?”
“Was it at least 4 times better than other private classes?”
“This is just RIDICULOUS!”
“Did you have a partner to split it, at least?” Or
“Are you…?(Add one of the following: crazy, insane, out-of-your-mind, stupid, a show-off etc.)

Well, we would have the same reaction to a hamburger costing $250…It DOES exist!
See for yourselves…THIS hamburger
Or to $1392.74 Manolo Blahnik shoes…THESE shoes
Or to a $6000 Tom Ford suit…THIS suit

Why would someone pay that much money for 1 hamburger, 1 pair of shoes, 1 suit, ONE hour private class?

I used to think that spending this amount of money is irrational to say the least…But I never stopped to ask myself…WHY are people spending all this money?

I admit I haven’t tried the hamburger BUT I did try on those Manolo’s…
When I looked in the mirror, it was like looking at someone else’s feet! haha
I am not joking the shoes fitted perfectly and they transformed my feet, they made them look like a million dollars.
And I am sure, gentlemen that if someone gave you James Bond’s suit for free, a suit that fits like a glove as if it sown for you, you would have put it on and suddenly you would have felt a few inches taller yourself.


Ask yourselves is it just a matter of mere luxury? People with no sense who just spend money here and there?
Or could it be that people who pay 100x more, on something they are passionate about, they get the experience, the taste, the style, the knowledge, the satisfaction of a level of ONE HUNDRED times higher than normal?

Am I saying you should RUN out and buy that pair of Manolo’s you have been eyeing of some time now? No!

I am only suggesting though that we take some time to understand what is going on here, before we label something as ridiculous.
And allow ourselves the question: “Is this something I truly love and, therefore worth, every penny?”

It wouldn’t matter how great this hamburger is, to someone who doesn’t really care about food?
A fancy suit and amazing shoes might mean NOTHING to someone who never wears suits or high heels, right? haha

Going back to the private class…that class gave me:
Material that I worked on, for at least 6 months during my practice.
Elements that I used right away while social dancing that made me feel amazing on the dancefloor on that very same night.
Technique tips that I used to better myself and teach my students.
All that and much more in ONE hour!

Do the math…

1 hour with a fabulous teacher= $400
6 months with an OK teacher= $2400

Despite all that though, hadn’t I been truly passionate about Tango, hadn’t I known this world- famous teacher, hadn’t I been ready to hear him out and ask the right questions, would I still have chosen to take the class?

And if I did, would it be worth it or mere luxury?

SO FOR TODAY: What has been for you the most expensive thing/experience you spent money on?

I am just curious — What was the most expensive thing you ever paid for?

Was it buying an amazing pair of shoes? Treating yourself to Tango holidays? Staying at a 5Star hotel?
Come on! Spit it out!
You can share anything at all, NO judgment here.
Let’s just talk about what it was that you spent your money on and how it made you feel?

And next time I will give you tips on how to spend your money and time in Tango, so you can experience high quality instruction, guilt free and with amazing effects on your progress!


P.S: Coming UP: I will tell you how to choose your classes, your teachers and the content of your privates depending on your level.
What questions to ask… How to time your classes… When to shift your perspective and towards what… and much more! Stay tuned

You don’t need to be amazing to have a good time! OWN your next milonga, even if you are a beginner, showing up alone and with poor social skills.

I am sure you have had nights when you desperately want to go out dancing but after you typed on Facebook: “anyone going out for Tango this weekend?” you heard only crickets…
So what did you guys do?
Did you go out anyhow or did you chicken out and stayed at home?

Is going ALONE to a milonga, a NO-NO for you?
You can’t bare the thought of sitting at a table all alone, waiting for a dance..?
You are not having a good time because you are always dancing with the same people, but at the same time you don’t know where to start with meeting new people..?
Are you feeling like everyone hates you from the minute you walk in so you might as well turn around and run back to the subway and never show your face in a milonga ever again unless you are absolutely positively sure that someone you know is there..?

If this is you, then you are in luck!
Because here I will share a few crispy, practical tips on milonga social attitude that will get you out of the tough spot and you can use them right away at your next milonga.

If you have picked up the guide for Tango training you will see there is a section on social skills.
(If you haven’t it is still available here with your subscription: Ultimate guide on Tango training for leaders and followers)
Why? Because Tango is a social dance SO you need to be sociable.
But what if you can’t? What if it is not natural to you? Should you give it all up? NO!
Can you always depend on other people in order to go out and dance? NO!
And should you wait until you are an amazing dancer to go to a milonga? NO and why would you?

Instead try this:
  1. Tip #1: Dress to Impress!
    Do you think you go unnoticed in the milonga? And therefore it doesn’t matter what you wear…
    I am going to break the news to you…You are not going by unnoticed, you are just ignored! There is a big difference!
    Like any public place, the milonga too, has a social etiquette. Part of that etiquette is a dress code. Would you go to a wedding wearing gym clothes? Or to the gym wearing a gown and high heels or a three piece suit?

    You need to look like you BELONG, that you are PART of the party, that you are not just a by-passer but that you are there to DANCE!
    People don’t choose by looks in the milonga? WRONG!
    Of course they do! But that is even half the story…
    Not accepting dress code, means that you are not doing the least of effort to be part of that community. So if you won’t attempt fitting in, why do you expect other people to make an effort to include you?
    So next time, choose the right outfit for the right milonga.
    For example: If we are talking about a festival, you need to up your game a bit.
    You don’t need to pull your tucks or your wedding gown out of the closet. A nice pair of pants with a smart shirt and jacket or a nice dress will do!
    If though we are talking about an afternoon milonga, you can go more casual, but casual – smart NOT in your PAJAMAS!
    Dress appropriately not to show off, but for people to notice that you are ONE OF THEM, ready to dance!

    1. Tip #2: You don’t need to be Mr&Mrs Chatty to get a dance
      What you do need to be, is civil, nice and genuinely looking like you are having a good time!
      People won’t dance with you because you practice a lot, or because you are the BEST...People will dance with you because they feel that you are ready to spend time with them!
      Which means, walk in with a SMILE.
      A kind smile, a nod of the head and a welcome wave of the hand, is most of the times enough to make other people feel good and at ease around you and possibly come over and chat with you, which can lead to a dance as well.
  2. Tip #3: Go where the fish are!
    So you are uncomfortable starting a conversation and you hate the cabeceo…what do you do? (If you have the guide you can find plenty of tips on the cabeceo too!) Interestingly enough you have a few options here:
    1: the bar
    2: spare single seats–no table section
    3: stroll
    People who go alone to a milonga either sit at the bar, or if there is a spot with spare chairs, they sit there. Go and hang out there!
    Approach with a smile and most likely the more conversational people will come and chat with you or at least the barman will chat with you…better than nobody! haha
    Being there, the odds of getting asked to dance are higher already. Plus, if you are a leader, asking the follower right next to you for a dance is a lot easier…all you need to do is turn around, smile, and offer your hand. A lot easier than trying to cabeceo someone on the other side of the room.
    Option 3 goes hand-in-hand with the other two…Instead, of running to the bar as if you have sneaked in the milonga without paying, youstroll! Keep your cool, look around relaxed, smile to people, wave your hellos, and gently take your seat over at the bar.
    Show confidence, connect with other people as you pass by and focus on understanding who is looking for a dance..!
  3. Tip #4: The embrace is now your comfort zone, and your partner is part of it
    Get some tips on the embrace here:
    But what we care about is what happens when the song ends…
    You are human and therefore you must have something to casually chat about.
    Keep it simple! The cortina only lasts for a few seconds an a new song will start soon…
    If you haven’t danced with the person before, you can simply introduce yourself and ask for his/her name too.

    Bottom line: You are NOT there just to dance. You can do that anywhere. You can invite a friend at home and dance.
    In a milonga, you are there to enjoy being in the same place with people who share the same passion with.
    So emerse yourself to the milonga and you never know you might meet very interesting people and make some new good friends!

Guys, we live in the super digital era. You can be in Canada and chat with people from Argentina, Greece, Japan, Belgium, Congo, anywhere in the world, but surprisingly enough we can’t chat to the person sitting next to us in a milonga.
Milongas will always be a challenge but they can become a lot more fun if you shift your mindset, and allow the rules of a different era to control your social behavior…Leave 2016 back for a few hours and travel to a more sophisticated era, where ladies and gentlemen still exist. BE ONE OF THEM!

If you have any specific questions on social etiquette in a milonga, just send me an email. I read every email!


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