In Defense of etiquette 2023: Part I: Codigos

Many people these days reject the tango etiquette as old fashioned, “macho”, or irrelevant. They don’t consider that the tango etiquette protects us. Even (or especially) when we are friends or frequent dance partners.

In defense of etiquette: Part II: Cabeceo

The woman told me  “well maybe in Germany the men can’t say no, but here we say that men can say no”. I said “I’ve lived all over the world, and nowhere are men comfortable to be rude or humiliate a woman.” Her overt demand is coercive regardless of her fantasies about his “freedom” to say “no”.

No means no


Like women who would like to be able to say “no” or “not now” with just a gesture –twisting the torso away– and have that well-perceived by amorous dates, Marks would like to be able to say “no” with their eyes and body language, and not have to deal with a verbal or otherwise unavoidable request.

Pleasures of the Cabeceo


The cabeceo is promoted as a way to avoid embarrassment and non-consenual dances. But it’s not only a prophylactic, it also has pleasures of its own.

Hugs and Laughter


This is a complicated point. Please read it very very carefully. I am interested in how we manage people and our own emotions. I call these our control systems. I am also interested in the the way that traditional tango etiquette protects our egos. (I do believe that all dancers’ egos need to be protected. […]

How to be a Good Man, as you become an Advanced Tanguero


Congratulations! After years of hard work, you are now mastering this dance! You can make girls feel really good and happy.  Girls are starting to look for you, snuggle you, hang around you. This feels great! You’re a nice guy; you are not planning to use your newfound advantage to become a womanizer, but you […]

How to become a Hot TangoMan

David Smith shirts

This guide reveals women’s preferences and if you follow it, you’ll be on your way to charming and delighting them as a confident and hot Tanguero.  

The codigos (advanced)

themis justice

The codigos exist to protect egos and relationships. They are really very handy, and I recommend you follow them. The codigos are like your best friend, who takes care of you when you are drunk.

Why I don’t ask Marks to dance…

Fábian Pérez tango painting

The line of dance is not the only thing that circles. So do the arguments about tango. It feels more productive to use the term ‘spiral’, because then we feel we are getting somewhere, either spiraling out away from the familiar territory, or getting in closer to the deep truths. Pick your direction. (But please […]

Emotions on the dance floor


Muscle control is just the entry ticket to the party. We still have choices to make about how to interact, what parts of ourselves to share, and how deeply we seek to connect.

The reverse cabeceo


It’s when a follower does the man’s cabeceo to a leader. She walks directly up to him, establishes eye contact, and gives him a nod. Um…There’s more to the cabeceo than the repudiation of sound. Perhaps more fundamentally, it’s a repudiation of demand, from either party.

Rethinking cortinas

The tango cortina

So the function of cortinas is to determine if we’ll be having sex or not. Cortinas mean that we are engaged in a negotiation. No cortinas, no sex. This is a very good example of why we need to investigate the “authentic traditions” of tango and see if they serve us or not.

The power of desire

eye cabeceo

One of the most painful parts of tango for aRrevel is waiting, or sitting. It makes us feel passive and powerless when we wait for someone –anyone– to ask us for a dance. This is a mistaken perception of the situation and revels can develop a deeper understanding of what is going on.

How do I ask someone to dance? (the cabeceo)

Argentine Tango Cabeceo

The Argentine style of asking for a dance is that the leaders ask. They ask in a particular way, often from across the room, by seeking eye contact with followers. If eye contact is held, the leader nods toward the dance floor (or raises one or both eyebrows). This is the cabeceo.

How long do you dance with one person? (the tanda)

How long does a tango last?

We dance three or four songs with one person – this is called a “tanda”, sometimes separated with 15-30 seconds of contrasting music, called a cortina (curtain). If there is no cortina, you can just count four songs.
It’s rude to leave your partner before the end of the tanda.

How do dancers manage the intimacy of tango? (the codigos)

Romain Baillon tango photo

The codigos of tango are a set of “codes” that make some structure around the intimacy of tango.