Archive for cabeceo

It’s now or never

Posted in Tango with tags , , , on January 1, 2011 by tangobitch

I guess this is as good a time as any to start.  It’s been ages since I’ve had a desire to rant publicly about my tango experiences and tango in general, but that single best topic worth kicking off the blog never came up.  Or at least, nothing ever seemed important enough once a day or two had passed after I felt passionately bitchy about it.

So here goes my first rant…  it’s nothing new and it’s nothing exciting, but has to be my biggest tango pet-peeve:  non-use of  the cabeceo.  Tangueros in the UK, or at least those in the milongas I’ve been to, do not feel the need to use the cabeceo.  There are a few who do, but they are certainly the exception.

Lack of the use of the cabeceo is, to say the least, irritating.  How come so many men fail to  realise how tiring it is for a tanguera to have to constantly come up with a decent set of excuses to refuse to dance?  There may well be a set of reasons for any woman to not want to dance with a particular dancer for a particular tanda on a particular occasion.  The reason could be my mood, his attitude, the music, his dancing in general, the vibe he gives off tonight, his embrace, connection (or lack thereof), his style, my level, his level,  my self-confidence on the  day, …  or any combination of these or other factors.  Why put one or both of us  into the unpleasant situation of being refused, feeling bad for refusing, or, upon failure to come up with a creative excuse, putting up with a tanda because it was–for some silly reason–impossible to avoid?  I am very passionate about my tango; I never want to ‘put up’ with any tanda or have anyone ruin a single dance, let alone a tanda or even an entire evening for me.  That’s why the cabeceo matters.

It’s not only the tangueros.  It would be nice if the milonga  organisers made the slightest effort to promote the use of cabeceo.  There’s been a long  discussion thread about this on Tango-L if anybody’s interested.  The how and the why on what to do and what not to do was dissected at length, so I will not digress here.  Lack of encouragement in this direction is simply disappointing, although I feel the responsibility belongs primarily to the dancers themselves.  It has to start somewhere, though.  And that’s where I think the milonga organisers and other influencers (instructors, experienced dancers, etc) within the tango community can help most.

I think it will be a while, if ever, before the cabeceo becomes widely used here.  In the meantime, if I become a popular dancer, I might try to ruin my chances of ever getting any invites by demanding the cabeceo.  And of course, I’ll make sure to report the results of such an experiment here.

p.s. I read about this in countless blogs / articles, but thanks to Bora ( for describing so well ( in her latest series of posts about her Buenos Aires visit) how a woman can be in control.