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Friday, 7 November 2008

More on Buenos Aires milongas

Attending milongas as a single opens one to new experiences with unfamiliar partners: adjustment to the new body, style, musicality - not unlike getting to know someone in conversation, actually.

As a follower, I find that allowing myself to be at one with my partner and the music for a tanda, means I feel like a different dancer each time, expressing myself differently with every new leader. Such is the experience of the entrega. Bob's experience is not dissimilar. His partner's embrace will tell him whether certain movements are likely to be feasible, eg. an unchanging embrace will limit possibilities for turns - without diminishing the dance. After all, the enjoyment of the tanda comes primarily through the connection with one's partner and the music.

As a single, your seating at a milonga makes a difference to how easy eye contact is for the cabeceo - singles who are regulars at a milonga get prime positions, of course. At the start of a tanda if your desired partner is across the dance-floor in a busy milonga, you have to establish eye contact as early as possible, otherwise it will be near to impossible to use the cabeceo due to the crowd of dancing bodies which rapidly gathers. The exception seems to be tandas of milonga music, in which somewhat fewer dancers seem confident in the dance, or might be uncertain whether a prospective partner would handle the challenge - yes, this happens in BsAs, too!

Each milonga has its own personality, even if the venue remains the same. The venue of Maipu 444 is an excellent example, where milongas are held most nights of the week. On Tuesday evening, the milonga Sentimental y Coqueta is a traditonal, largely singles milonga, with great music and very open to visitors who can dance well. Wednesday night sees the venue hosting a gay-friendly milonga: La Marshall. Whereas Saturday night, Cachirulo, seems to be a somewhat more exclusive milonga. For more details on milongas and other tango topics, you can subscribe to the free online version of BA Tango by emailing abatango@yahoo.com with the subject line Subscribe. El Tangauta, another free monthly tango publication can be read online at www.eltangauta.com

Music may be purely Golden Age tango, or some milongas include tandas of swing, rock & roll, chacarera and even cumbia. At a couple of milongas, some tandas of tango/electronica will appear. A few milongas seem to be largely an opportunity to catch up and dance with friends who are regulars, whereas at other milongas, getting a dance as a visitor is much easier. Of course, the more frequently you dance there, the more people get to know you. We're finding that with each visit to BsAs, dancing with familiar faces means knowing which style you can slip into when you take up the embrace. On the other hand, dancing with a new partner can be quite exciting, especially when after a few moments it becomes apparent that it is going to be a memorable tanda together.

Pat & Bob (looking forward to our last week in BsAs.)

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