In good practice, Leaders DO give a kind of acknowledgment between each other OR insure that there’s enough space / time that a leader will see you enter OR nudge their way into the ronda when the milonga is super crowded and everyone expects it.
HOWEVER, leaders in the US have have started asking permission and needing a giant visual confirmation, like a big head nod or a hand gesturing before entering the dance floor. I’ve been encountering this more and more and I wish it would stop and go away.
//1. It interrupts the dance.
By looking at me and needing giant confirmation that I have seen you, through a large nod, a hand sign, or a smile requires that I take attention away from the dance and give it to you. If you are entering and see that the leader has looked generally in your direction, get on the floor. PLEASE don’t wait for permission.
2. It assumes both parties are unskilled.
Competent dancers have floor craft skills. They have acquired the skill of seeing what’s in front of them and in their peripheral vision. If there’s enough space for you to enter, trust that they will not crash into you because they’re looking where they’re going.
3. It is unnecessary.
At big festivals with big dance floors there’s usually plenty of space. I’ve seen leaders ask for permission to enter when 5 to 6 couples could fit in the gap. If there’s room, get on. See point #2 and #1. If its really really tight, see #4.
4. It is not the custom in Buenos Aires.
Doesn’t happen. In super crowded milongas like De la Rosa or La Viruta during Mundial season you get on the floor or you’re not getting on. At normal milongas you’ll never get permission to get on the floor. If you need help entering the floor at the right time and are dancing in Buenos Aires, you should hire a taxi dancer or practice with a teacher.
5. It is untango
This is a sticky one so I’ll try to be clear. In tango we are performing fairly clear gender roles that aren’t restricted to sex.* Asking permission of another leader to enter the floor is un-masculine as defined in tango. Keep in mind you don’t force your way onto the floor or surprise a leader with your entry. You give the opportunity for respectful acknowledgement and graciously enter the floor. //
The leaders acknowledgement does exist. It is a good thing, but isn’t always used or is necessary. Use good judgment or ask a more experienced dancer. Asking permission and requiring a physical gesture from the dancing leader for you to enter the floor NEEDS TO STOP PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.
I was first saw Murat and Michelle teaching the acknowledgment on YouTube.
How to do the ideal acknowledgment is at minute 6:40.
Did you see what he and Jay did? It’s barely anything!
To give an analogy, imagine you’re entering a freeway in Los Angeles. You check your mirrors for crazies, give a signal that you’re coming over, and move into an open space. You don’t swerve or make sudden aggressive moves. You don’t wait for a 5 car gap or another driver to flash their lights at you to give you permission. You’ll never get it. The freeway belongs to all of us. Get on it.
What’s your opinion?
*Gender experimentation and expansion of those ideas in tango is an expansion of the art of tango, how it reflects and relates to society, and I’m 100% for it. To be clear, I am pro LGBTQIA+ social dancing, competing, and performing. Performing a gender role poorly while you’re intention is to perform that role, is what I’m saying is not very tango. Performing / creating a different role or creating a new concept of it, golden.