Getting Dances At Negrachas - the Ultimate Guide

20th October 2010

"Fire Everything!" - Star Trek


Short version: If you want dances at Negracha - go to the Area 4 or Area 1 on the picture below. If you're comfortable with the cabeceo, go to Area 2 as well.

Long version: One of the biggest problems with getting dances at Negracha is knowing how good a dancer any given person is. There's such a high number of visitors that most of the time you'll never have met the majority of people there. What I have always found strange is that there's no obvious "areas". If you go along to Ceroc you can usually see the advanced dancers by the stage and / or DJ, the beginners at the other end and the intermediates in-between. Whereas in a tango venue, it's pure chaos. In the same night a teacher and a beginner may sit in the same seat.

Fortunately by changing from looking for "skill" to looking for "cautiousness" (as discussed in the Food Chain article), suddenly things start to make a lot more sense.

The Map

Have a look at this floorplan for Upstairs at Negracha:

Colour key:

  • Pure Green: will dance with anyone
  • Green with Yellow dots - a mixture of people who will dance with anyone and those who are a bit more cautious
  • Yellow - moderately cautious; usually knowing the cabeceo is sufficient
  • Orange - much more cautious; mainly dances with people she already knows
  • Red - very, very cautious; either not going to dance at all (chatting), only dancing with their sweetie, or will require you to produce multiple forms of identification, certification etc before even considering your cabeceo.

Note: It's worth bearing in mind that while the areas are fixed, the people aren't. So someone may move sit in different places during the night.

Areas 1-8

Area 1: "Dance with me!"

The front row of seats. Particularly near to the door. Let's face it, if she's sitting there, she's easy to see from the door by the stairs and equally easy for guys to walk up and verbally ask. This tends to be where the London cabeceo comes in a lot. As you get further from the door, you start to get a mixture of women who are a bit more cautious but presumably there weren't any seats left for them in Area 2.

The standard cabeceo works well with them, though bear in mind they may still be in "watching" mode and not ready to dance yet, so if they ignore you don't take it personally. (Watching mode is where they look at the male dancers, particularly how they make the women they're dancing with look, and decide who they'd like to dance with and who they really don't want to dance with.)

Area 2: "Cabeceo Me!"

The second row of seats for the more cautious. The cabeceo works really well here as the first row creates enough distance to stop men holding out their hand and verbally asking. It gives the women higher ground to be in "watching mode".

Area 3: "Those Who Dwell Above in Shadow"

The intensity with which women here go into "watching mode" is actually a bit scary. The tables are arranged so not only do they get a good view of the entire dancefloor, they can also talk amongst each other. This is definitely a place for women to go to have a rest / drink / watch. Don't even bother going to ask for dances here unless you know the woman well.

Area 4: "Let's Do This!"

There is a growing consensus that this is the place to go if you want to dance. It's still a mixture of cautiousness though, as Those Who Dwell Above in Shadow tend to come here when they've decided who they're willing to dance with. On the bright side, if they do accept your invitation, they really want to dance with you.

Area 5: "The Dragons' Graveyard"

If a woman is sitting here she's probably either made a fairly big mistake or she's with a fixed partner. She can't see much of the floor to judge the dancing and the layout means that there's really no reason for men to be able to see her or go to where she is except when they're leaving the floor after a tanda.

Area 6: "The Bar Run"

This is almost as bad a place to sit as 5, except for the rather useful passing traffic to and from the bar. This makes this a good place for women to sit and chat and say "hi" to passing friends. The further you get from the door, the less likely cabeceoing will work unless you know her.

Area 7: "I've noticed you around..."

Similar to 6, but with the added bonus of being further from the door and so safer, whilst also giving women the option, if they're feeling adventurous, to chat to guys waiting at the bar and "interview" them. Which means unless you know the women there, cabeceoing is probably not going to work most of the time. It works both ways though, you can chat to women at the bar / standing near the bar and try to get dances that way.

Area 8: "Falling off the Edge of the World"

There's still a option for women to chat to guys if they're near the bar, but otherwise women sitting here are pretty much untouchable. Guys have no reason to be here, let alone see them, except for exiting the dance-floor at the end of a tanda. Given that exiting the dance-floor gives you the best chance of getting another dance, most guys won't waste it here. Fixed couples or women who are only going to dance with the very best (and only after they're sure they're the very best) sit here.


As I said earlier, women won't necessarily stay in the same place. They may start of at Those Who Dwell Above in Shadow and watch for a while. Then go to Let's Do This to get dances. Then move over to the Bar Run for a quiet chat with a friend followed by a tanda with them and so on. By going to areas 1, 2 and 4 you're going to be inviting women who want to dance now. By comparison, cabeceoing a woman you don't know who's in watching mode / resting is usually a waste of time.

The Catch

"D'oh!" - Homer Simpson

All this does is get you a dance with a woman who's willing to dance.

It doesn't tell you what her level of skill is, or even her style. She could be a beginner or a teacher; her clothing will give you some clues and her embrace will give you a really big hint.

The only real solution if it all goes wrong is "Thank-you". If she wants to bail, let her.

Bonus: Everywhere Else

This seems to work pretty well in the London Venues I've regularly been to. Obviously the specific areas are in different places, but once you know what you're looking for, it seems like it's straight-forward enough to work out where everything is and act accordingly.

~ Christopher O' Shea, 20th October 2010

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