Monday, 30 January 2017

Music will make or break a milonga

I love the creative process of DJing, and watching dancers respond to the emotional journey created by the music.

But DJs take care! Music will make or break a milonga.  Nowadays, milonga attendees are increasingly sensitive to the music. Experienced dancers' tastes have developed & matured. Some prefer to attend milongas less frequently, dance less often (even though they would like to dance more), rather than tolerate poor musical selections. In Search of Tango articulates this quite strongly.

So, as a DJ, how do I know whether my musical choices are working during the milonga? What are the tell-tale signs?

Most of the people are dancing - obviously!
DJs who forget or ignore their milonga "clientele" are simply not doing their job.

For me, there are also other, perhaps less obvious, indicators of whether my DJing is hitting the mark:

Are the most experienced social dancers dancing?
If they are rarely dancing, or get up to dance only to return to their seats mid-tanda, I need to seriously reconsider my selections.

During tandas, do the dancers generally look absorbed in their dance?
If their facial expressions reflect detachment, puzzlement, boredom, etc., then the music is inappropriate.

Are the dancers moving in a fairly calm ronda? Is the dance-floor moving as a smooth stream, or is it more akin to choppy rapids?

At the end of the tandas, do the dancers appear satisfied as they return to their tables?

During the last part  of the milonga, is there still a good proportion of dancers on the floor?

I've been fortunate to be exposed to the DJing of masters such as Dany Borelli over many years attending Buenos Aires milongas, and have learned & continue to learn a great deal about what to do and what to avoid as a DJ. Aspiring DJs who are interested in learning, but who haven't been so lucky, still have good resources at their disposal via the internet. Some may also be able to consult with successful DJs in their community. They can, indeed must, do a lot of productive research and preparation before venturing out to DJ at a milonga. They shoulder a responsibility which should not be taken lightly.

Dancers deserve a quality experience, nothing less.


TangoDJ fundamentals
DPP's Favourite Tandas


Chris said...

Tango Salón Adelaide wrote: "Music will make or break a milonga."

Unfortunately many bad-music milongas are indestructible. :-)

Particularly the kind that's better called a tango disco.

To the list of tell-tale signs that one's music selection is working, I would add: One doesn't get requests. Most requests are from people who simply don't like the kind of tango played in real milongas, so when you no longer hear from these requesters, it's usually because your music selection has driven them out to a tango disco.

Tango Salon Adelaide said...

Thanks for your comment, Chris.
I am curious about how other DJs judge the success of their musical selections, so I appreciate your addition to the list. I'm not familiar with the "tango disco" phenomenon, but it sounds like something I might prefer to avoid.

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