Tango Códigos - what are they?

So, the Tango "Códigos" or codes (of conduct) are the basic etiquette of Argentine tango. The códigos themselves are all about respecting your dance partners, the other dancers, and the organizers at an Argentine tango event.

Tango culture developed códigos to make the dance experience safe and enjoyable -- safe from those who might injure others on the dance floor, from those who demand dances or pester others. Knowing and using the Códigos means that you understand that dancing tango is a community activity and you choose not to spoil the experience for yourself or other dancers. Adhering to them means more fun dancing for everyone.

Mark Word has written a great article on the Argentine Tango Códigos:

Mark Word organizes the Códigos into groups. So while the full article is excellent, direct, and very worth reading, here is the outline of the sections.

  • Chapter One: Preparation for the milonga

    • What to Wear

    • Hygiene 101

  • Chapter Two:  Arriving at the Milonga

    • The Alpha and Omega Rule

    • The Cabaceo

  • Chapter Three:  On the Dance Floor

    • Lady Leads the way?

    • New meanings for words you thought you knew, like "thank you" and others

  • Chapter Three, Part II:  On the Dance Floor

    • Wise teachers are silent at a milonga

    • Wise students are silent at a milonga

  • Chapter Four:  Near the Tables

    • Floor Craft Basics ...that even experienced dancers may not have learned

    • The different types of people

  • Chapter Five:  To and from the dance floor

    • Entering the dance floor

    • Oncoming traffic

    • The Cortina

    • Escorting the woman back off the dance floor

  • Chapter Six:  After the Milonga

    • Going for coffee ("un cafecito")

    • Taking care of your aching feet!

Happy Dancing!