Getting Dances Upstairs at Negrachas: 11 Cabaceos

18th August 2010

"Figuring out how to get a dance Upstairs at Negrachas has evolved into some sort of bizarre hobby" ~ Dawson's Creek

Introduction: The Many Negracha Cabeceos

I think it's fair to say that the traditional "meet eyes across a room, nod, stand up, walk over, she rises to meet you, embrace" is pretty rare in Negracha.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more getting dances at Negracha reminds me of getting dances at Ceroc. Which is helpful, as Negracha tends to be a starting place for Cerocers who do tango.

1. The "Friendly" Cabeceo

Probably the closest you'll get to the traditional cabeceo is when you see a friend across the room. Catch their eye and away you go. Possibly. There's still a very good chance at Negracha that when you get there they won't like the music that's playing and want to chat instead.

2. The "Diagonal" Cabeceo

An interesting variation. The problem with trying to meet a woman's eyes across a room is that if virtually no-one else does it, then most women :

  • Aren't expecting it
  • Aren't certain if you're actually looking at them / cabeceoing them or not.

A solution to this is to settle for the diagonal. Sit / stand about 10 feet from a corner and look at the area from the corner to about 10 feet along the other side of it.

3. The "Almost" Cabeceo

You've nodded, she's nodded, but you arrived in front of her and she still hasn't stood up. You'll have to actually ask her out loud, but that's OK in this instance.

4. The "Take me now I'm yours!" Cabeceo

For once, leaders catch a break. Woo hoo! Sit on your own with a space next to you, and with luck during a song a woman will walk over and sit down with her body turned somewhat towards you. She may make eye contact as she approaches, but this is often skittish. Smile, say "Hi" and verbally ask her if she'd like to dance (assuming you want to). Don't worry that it's the middle of the song (or even the last song of a tanda). It was explained to me that at this point she's pretty much given up hope of being asked to dance for this song, so this is her almost last ditch attempt to get a dance. (The absolute last ditch attempt is if she out-and-out asks you).

5. The "Second Row" Cabeceo

People will sit by the floor at the front of the stage. And then there's a row of people who sit behind them.

Because of this extra distance, unless you want to shout over the first row, it makes more sense to cabeceo them.

I had assumed that people choosing to sit there did so because they either didn't want to dance or wanted to dance with very specific people, but this appears to be wrong.

An added bonus of this is the "couple effect" is negated. One of the plights of women wanting to dance and men wanting to dance with women is when they have their Significant Other sitting next to them. Because the second row are somewhat hidden behind the first row, it becomes much less obvious as to whether people are together.

For example, I recently cabeceoed one lady who accepted and then as she stood up, let go of the guy's hand she'd been sitting next too. I couldn't see them holding hands while she was seated, but certainly wouldn't have asked her if I had - for example, if she'd been in the front row instead.

You may still have to add a verbal "would you like to dance?" though.

6. The "Chatty" Cabeceo

Hi, I'm Kirstin." ~ Kirstin

A remarkably popular version is to chat to someone for a bit and then ask them to dance. If you're sitting next to someone and it's partway through a dance then it's fairly safe to talk to them and ask them to dance when the next one begins. Some people will ask to dance during that song.

7. The "Doorway" Cabeceo

There are several versions of this. The first is a variation of the Diagonal Cabeceo. Because the doorway is slightly offset, you can cabeceo women to about 10 feet away on the stage and one or two women sitting to the left of the door. The second is to chat to people who congregate just outside the doorway and then ask them to dance.

8. The "Leaving the Dancefloor" Cabeceo

As I mentioned in earlier articles, leaving the dancefloor is one of the easiest times to use a short-range cabceo either on other people leaving the dancefloor, or on people around the dancefloor.

9. The "Ceroc" Cabeceo

Straight out of Ceroc. Walk up to her, offer your palm and say "Would you like to dance?" There's some caveats, even for Negracha.

  • "No" means no. Nod, smile sweetly and move on. DO NOT ASK "Why?" etc. Let it go.
  • "I can't, I'm only a beginner" doesn't mean no, though it does give the option to bail if you want. In which case smile, nod and move on. If you do want to dance with her say something reassuring like "That;s ok, me too" and smile. And remember, you asked her if she'd like to dance, not if she'd like a private lesson!
  • If the woman completely ignores your existence up to the point where you're standing in front of her, don't even bother. Just keep walking.

10. The "I'm going to the bar, really!" Cabeceo

Another straight lift from Ceroc, you make a circuit of the room trying to make eye contact and if you don't succeed, you just act like you were going to the bar or whatever.

11. The "My long lost Friend!" Cabeceo

I've only seen this done by women.

The normal cabeceo is a nod down. Acknowledging a friend tends to be a nod up. Basically pretend like you know the person (which can include giving them a hug) act like you had wonderful memorable dances with them in the past. Ask how they are and then ask them to dance.

The Cinderella Effect

"Yes, my child, but like all dreams, well, I'm afraid this can't last forever. You'll have only 'til midnight, and then..." ~ Fairy Godmother

By midnight the beginners have all gone home. By 1am most people on the floor have been dancing at least 3 years (male) or 2 years (female) and as the Merovingian put it "Hmmnnn... OK, they have some skill".

There will probably be several teachers and demos too. So you'd expect the variety of cabeceos at this point to likewise dwindle to just a few of the more "advanced ones"?

Nope. They're all still firmly in effect.

This is I think the biggest departure from Ceroc. If you'd turned up to an Event then by the end of the evening it's usually the die-hards who're left and it tends to devolve into people dancing with people they know. This simply isn't the case at Negracha. You want to be good, but you certainly don't need to be great to keep dancing the night away.

But there's too many options!

"The important things are always simple; the simple things are always hard. The easy way is always mined." ~ Murphy's Laws of Combat

In practice, most people just choose one version and stick to it. You can do this, or learn several to improve your odds - it's up to you.

The really nice thing for Cerocers is this: as long as you bear in mind there's no "You must say 'Yes' " policy, and accept that some women will say "No" or even blank you, and you don't take it personally, then if you're a guy, whatever strategy you use for getting dances at Ceroc will work fine.

If you're a woman, whatever strategies you use that don't involve point blank asking the guy (unless he's a friend) will work too. And let's face it, most women at Ceroc don't point blank ask guys to dance anyway.

Added Bonus slot: Negracha "Little Lies"

"Hello, <Insert Name Here>!" ~ The Dis-organiser (Terry Pratchett, Jingo)

Things to say while waiting for the next song to start.

  • "Hi, I'm <Insert Name Here>"
  • "Are you from around here?"
  • "Where else do you dance?" (Tip: if asked this, just answer "Oh around, lots of places, you know. How about you?" )
  • "Have you ever been to <Insert Venue Name Here>?"
  • "That was lovely"
  • "Well that music was interesting"

~ Christopher O' Shea, 18th August 2010

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