Following the advice from a previous post, I’ve decided to try the cabeceo and here are some of my experiences over a period of several months …
- I invite a friend and I perceive her reaction as an acceptance of my invite to dance. I maintain eye contact as I walk over to her and when I reach her, we start a conversation, she then invites me to sit next to her. After a while, a man comes over and verbally asks her to dance. She accepts and dances with him.
- I invite a friend from a distance and she accepts with a smile and a nod. We walk towards each other and meet on the edge of the dance floor. We start a brief conversation and then she asks me if I’d like to dance.
- I am sitting down and I invite a lady to dance. She smiles, nods and gets up. But before I get up, she walks over to a friend and they get on the dance floor together.
All of the above experiences happen on a Friday night at Negracha and with different women of at least one year’s experience and at least one has been to Buenos Aires.
The above are experiences when the cabeceo did not work for me. However, I’ve had many instances where I invite a lady, she accepts and we get up and dance, not much of a story to tell.
I was first taught the Cabeceo four years ago during an introduction to Argentine Tango class in The States. I first thought what a weird way to invite someone to dance. Why do you have to do it from the distance and in secrecy? When I finally went to my first Argentine Tango milonga, I saw many men verbally asking women to dance so I didn’t think much of the Cabeceo.
In the past couple of months, I’ve used to Cabeceo alot. On some nights almost exclusively and with success. But its not easy in London and here are some of the reasons why I think that is so:
- Only some people know what it is, some treat a nod as a hello or greeting so out of politeness, even if they don’t know you, they’ll smile back.
- The lights are dimmed so you can’t see very far.
- Some women are only staring in to the dance floor and not actively searching so you have to get right in front of them, and in that case, its almost the same as inviting verbally since you’re in speaking range.
- Some people do not clear the floor during a cortina, or there are no cortinas so there’s always a curtain of people between you and the lady you intend to invite.
- While manoeuvring myself into the line of sight of a lady who isn’t actively search for a dance partner, a bozo comes over to her and verbally asks her to dance. To some, this is an incentive not to use the Cabeceo since bozo got there first.
So will I continue to use the cabeceo? I certainly will. Will I rely on it exclusively? Probably not. Negracha is probably one venue where I can try it out, some other venues are worse – 33 Portland Place for example, the upstairs dance floor as a narrow entrance on the side of the room where men and women stand together.
The other night while Negracha has a special class on stage tango, Carablanca had one devoted purely to salon tango taught by Andreas Wichter who requested that the lights be turned up a bit so that people see a little further and could use the Cabeceo. I think it worked out well for me that night. I would certainly like it to continue that way.