die Rückwärts Cabeceo


There’s a phenomenon I’ve been noticing lately. I think it’s the reverse cabeceo.

It’s when a revel does the man’s cabeceo to a mark. She walks directly up to him, establishes eye contact, and gives him a nod.


There’s more to the cabeceo than the repudiation of sound.

Perhaps more fundamentally, it’s a repudiation of demand, from either party.

It’s a way to enter the dance through mutual desire, as opposed to one-sided demand.

It is to be contracted gently, allowing for the development and expression of authentic desire from both parties. (And thereby allowing for a gentle and discreet withdrawal from the negotiation!)

Mutual desire is best kindled at a reasonable distance, without having placed oneself like a defenseman blocking your opponent’s forward motion.

If you want to dance with someone, show them your desire with your attention and your smile, not by demanding something of them. Demands generally feel bad for both parties. Flirting and desire feels good to both parties.

Revels, I cannot tell you how much you are giving up when you give up the spirit of the cabeceo.

  • You put yourself through the sensations of demand.
  • You give up the experience of the man’s desire. 
  • You get a dance with a startled mark who had not yet focused intent on dancing this tanda, or with you. You give up his motivation to dance with you right now to this music. I promise you marks dance better when it’s something they want.
  • You show your lack of understanding of and regard for the quality and quantity of creative power it takes to dance well. You turn it into something superficial and casual, denying it of the sacred creative force that makes it profound.

Worried you won’t dance if you aren’t aggressive? You may want to read this post on the power of desire.

If you are confident of yourself and the man you want to dance with, let him come to you. He will.


Postscript: As a woman mark I have presumed that women wouldn’t be looking for a cabeceo from me, so I have often made a direct approach. But now enough people know that I intend to lead, that I hereby resolve to keep my distance.

N.B. When I teach the cabeceo to beginning dancers, I am always aware that gender and role are increasingly delinked. To avoid two revels finding themselves together on the dance floor, I tell them “If you are the one to nod, you better be prepared to lead.”

Ich möchte, dass du weißt, dass du nicht allein bist …

IMG  b v


… weder in deinen Träumen für Tango, noch in deinen Frustrationen.

Mein tiefster Wunsch ist der gleiche wie der aller meiner Schüler und
Freunde … derjenigen, die noch nicht angefangen haben zu tanzen und derjenigen, die viel tanzen.

Es ist eine Partnerschaft.

Eine Sache, die ich auf dieser Suche gelernt habe, wir müssen:

Aufhören, auf Partner zu warten, und sie selbst aufbauen und kreieren.

Ich habe einen 10-stufigen Aktionsplan geschrieben.

Bist du bereit, die gewünschten Partner zu finden?



SEARCH the Blog

Posts by Email


All the Blog Posts EVER

Blog VISUAL browser

The Berlin Interviews


More Guides...

2020 TangoForge

6-19.February Wellington NZ
7-9 February Bruges Neo Tango


See you at

Reflect and Train


Exercises from Maui


Important Insights


Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

It’s about stepping into the darkness of change, learning how to take care of yourself, and making things happen.

Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries … the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…

We published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

We didn’t start online education in March of 2020. We started in 2014. Learn more about our Digital School