What is a Tango Encuentro?

Encuentro in Paris, France
In Europe organizers have developed little tango festivals (festivalitos) which in all cases are close embrace weekends.  These events are fun, but also can be negative for local milongas if advanced dancers stop investing their energy and influence on local milongas.  In moderation, a tango vacation can also be a nice way to treat yourself to the salutary psychological effects of a wonderful tango event.  Encuentros have these features:
  • Tango etiquette that has the cabeceo/mirada (non-verbal) method of asking for a dance as the epicenter of that etiquette.  If you "don't believe in" non-verbal requests or don't know how to get a dance without asking, you will not do well at an encuentro.
  • Floorcraft that assumes that one can dance well in a very small space and that one will not kick up one's heels with moves such as ganchos and boleos. An excellent dancer with poor floorcraft will be thrown out or at least never invited again to an encuentro.
  • Often the event fills up within 5 to 10 minutes after registration fills.  Partly this is caused by having so few people at the events (150-300 people usually), and partly the organizers allow people whom they know are good dancers to have a reserved place.  ("Good dancer" means in this context that the person has excellent floorcraft which is evenly weighted with "excellent at dancing.")  Creating this little club, however, can an cause an out-of-control elitism and harm to the larger community.  Oligarchies in tango politics are no different than in your country:  They harm the social ambiance, even as the royals are enjoying their ball.
  • Gender balance.  The advantage is obvious, but requiring gender balance makes it very difficult for women to get in unless they have a "man-ticket"--a man who will register with them.
  • Well-known DJ's who understand Buenos Aires rules of tandas and cortinas.  (Four-song tango tandas x 2, a three-vals tanda, again two tango tandas, and finally, a three-milonga tanda.). The DJ also knows generally not to mix orchestras, how to find the best quality reproductions and play traditional, Golden Age tango.  DJ's in Europe in my experience have the highest level technical knowledge about sound reproduction and the best copies of songs.
  • Usually there is no instruction, but if teachers are the organizers, they will focus their classes on social dance, which includes a warm embrace and keeping one's feet on the ground for safety, like the crowded dance floors in Buenos Aires.
  • Encuentros generally speaking do not have shows.
Interested in organizing an encuentro?  Beware of both the positive and negative effects they might present in your community.  Many of the negative effects can be minimized:

Insights about what an encuentro looks like:

Paris encuentro:  Dans les Bras (in your arms).

 Barcelona encuentro:  Abrázame.

La cita de los amingos 7

Tango Short Films by Roberto:  https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=roberto%20sz%20projections