Starting in the 1980s, a large, lively and diverse tango scene has developed in Berlin over the past decades. Tango can be danced at several places every day of the week.
While traditional tango with tandas and cortinas is popular with Berliners, there are also many in the German capital who also enjoy dancing tango steps to all sorts of other kind of music. As a result, there are traditional milongas playing tango tandas and cortinas and other more informal milongas offering a mix of tango with many different other danceable music styles.
Milongas playing tandas of tango music and cortinas
When you go to such a milonga you will feel quite familiar with the dancing rules and expected behaviour. Here most dancers dance in close embrace. What may be different in Berlin is that the leader can always ask a follower for a dance by establishing eye contact (cabeceo) or simply making a verbal invitation. There is no obligation to use the cabeceo. Generally the cabeceo is the nicer way to ask someone to dance but there are many situations where a verbal invitation is just fine. In Berlin, we don’t have fixed seats. Dancers usually move from one seat to another of the venue in order to improve dance opportunities.
Milongas playing tango and other styles of music
Such milongas may seem less familiar to you since cortinas are not necessarily played and tango music alternates with other kinds of music. They tend to be less formal and are great fun for improvising dance steps to non-tango music. The open embrace is very common in such milongas. Inviting for a dance is the same as above. When there are no cortinas you are free to dance as long as you like with your dancing partner. However, it is common practice in Berlin to dance between three and four dances. Informing your dancing partner that you will stop dancing with him or her after the next song has proven to be a very practicable and kind way of handling the absence of cortinas.
You should be very careful on the dance floor with your dancing partner since a considerable number of locals are oblivious to the concept of floor craft, the art of navigating the dance floor. This is especially true for the milongas playing tango music and other kinds of music styles.
To find a regular milonga click here or see what milongas are taking place on the current day. For further information about special tango events, tango shows, tango shoe shops etc., check out the website Tango Society.