Saturday, 26 September 2009

BsAs milonga observations

For any tanguero planning to travel to BsAs or simply interested in tango culture, we thought the following might be of interest:
  • We were told that attendances at milongas were down, but that only seems to be the case at milongas relying on tourists to bolster their numbers, where the world economic crisis, swine flu and winter seem to have taken their toll. As a result some milongas have been suspended. One might also speculate whether too many tourists lacking necessary navigation skills have driven locals away from some venues. Having said that, a local said recently how impressed he was with the dancing skills of many foreigners in the last few years.

  • Milongas requiring a high standard of skills such as Cachirulo, Lujos (Maipù 444), La Baldosa and Sin Rumbo are as busy as ever, despite the increase in entrance fees.

  • If attending a milonga as a single, being seated in a good location (making the cabeceo easy) by the organiser, will largely depend on how frequently you go to the milonga. Regulars get seats automatically reserved in prime locations. So persistence is required to work your way up the pecking order.

  • Another benefit of frequent attendance is becoming known by the other regulars. This means that more eyes will be looking your way for a dance.

  • Generally it helps to attend milongas early, if you are not a regular. This gives you the chance to get a reasonable seat, the dance-floor is not yet so congested, so others can actually see that you are competent dancer and therefore worth dancing with.

  • Lighting is generally much brighter than in Australian milongas. But at El Beso (Riobamba 416), the dim lighting and crowded seating add further dimensions to the cabeceo challenge. Even those of us with keen eyesight experience uncertainty. Was it me he was looking at? Can she see me looking her way?

  • Waiting staff at these milongas deserve recognition, too. They are an important part of the scene. Once they get to know you, they treat you like royalty.

  • El Arranque (especially on Tuesday) is a well-attended matinee milonga for locals attending as singles.

  • Some traditional milongas are largely for couples and groups, such as La Baldosa, Circulo Trovador and Sin Rumbo, have a more relaxed and uncompetitive feel.

  • A couple of years ago we were delighted that smoking had been banned from BsAs milongas, as well as restaurants, cafes, etc. But we were in for a rude shock, last Friday at Circulo Trovador, a very popular milonga just outside the city limits. It appears that the law only applies to the City of Bs As and not the provincia.

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