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Thursday, 17 March 2011

What makes a good milonga?

There are many elements that contribute to you saying as you travel home, “that was a good milonga”. Four stand out in my opinion:

Welcoming organisers
They make you feel that you belong and therefore influence the mood of the dancers. Visitors are especially made to feel welcome; shown to where they can sit, and maybe introduced to local dancers.

The codes
This concerns the milonga behaviour that the organisers promote, and the respect which the dancers, in return, have for the codes of the particular milonga. The codes will influence the dancers’ floor-craft and can enhance the harmony, trust, relaxation, sense of community, and cooperation during the milonga.

The venue
Ideally, it is visually appealing, has good ambience and suitable floor. The furniture can be arranged around the dance space to bring the dancers and the ‘watchers’ close…. as well as providing good visual contact for the cabeceo. The venue needs to ‘retain’ the energy of the dancers, rather than allowing it to dissipate. It needs a good sound system which is loud enough to ‘carry’ the dancers, without being harsh on the ears - the music needs to envelope the dancers.

The music
Even if the other elements don’t quite measure up, you simply can’t get past this one. If the music doesn’t work, then it’s unrealistic to think it can be a good milonga. The music is crucial in determining and charting the mood of dancers from the beginning of the milonga to its end. It needs to be the result of knowledgeable and extensive preparation – there are no short-cuts. Near enough is not good enough, and is in fact a long way from ‘satisfactory’, let alone ‘exhilarating’, when it comes to the music.

You can read more on this topic on Tango Australia in Music maketh the milonga

…. and to see all of this coming together, take a look at the recent opening of Cachirulo at Villa Malcolm, where you’ll see organizers Héctor & Norma, DJ Carlos Rey, the codes printed in several languages, great floor-craft and a beautiful venue.



Anonymous said...

“Men that keep telling me to lean on them or to get closer,” what is that all about?

I am not sure what they are asking of me or telling me, Can you explain, from previous articles it suggests, it is up to me to allow the embrace, it is governed by the woman that being me. Correct me if I am wrong.

As for the men that move faster around the Dance floor trying to tighten there grip on me, loosen up boys.

I have partner waiting for me and I am not interested in getting closer than what I am.
By dancing with people does not mean I want to get close or lean against them where I am, I choose to be polite.

Tango Salon Adelaide said...

Close-embrace is the way social tango is generally danced in Buenos Aires traditional milongas, and in many other parts of the world. Usually this does not involve leaning on your partner. Many people not used to this close physical contact take a while to get used to dancing close-embrace.

However, you shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable dancing tango. In fact, after dancing the first tango of a tanda, some considerate men will even ask a new partner whether she feels comfortable. In my opinion, this thoughtful question is superfluous.

When the man first invites the lady into his embrace, she establishes how close she wants to be. If she feels that his embrace is too close or too tight, she can wriggle and create some space for herself. The message should be clear without a word being spoken. If he insists on an embrace (or anything else)that makes her feel uncomfortable, she should communicate her feelings to him.

Finally, we can all choose whom we dance with. I tend to observe the way men are dancing before I accept an invitation. That's one reason why the cabeceo is so useful. If I don't want to dance with someone, I simply don't look towards them.

I hope this helps,

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