It’s always hard to believe the compliments that leaders give during the milonga. They sound so sincere, but isn’t that part of the ritual for so many people? That’s why I love the other little moments when I feel like I can believe it:

• When a leader cabeceos me over and over for the same orchestra or genre

• When a follower who also leads compliments my dancing after a tanda together

• When a follower tells me that her husband thinks I’m the best dancer in town

• When an acquaintance tells me that a visiting teacher called me “the future of [our city]”

• When my favorite leader gets an extra gleam in his eye and grins all the way back to our seats

I hold onto these little moments. I still enjoy the compliments I get from leaders throughout the milonga, but these feel extra special. They keep me going even when I’m feeling frustrated and ready to run away and become a salsa dancer.