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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Perhaps size matters

Might there be a relationship between the size of the milonga dance-floor and the level of dancers?

On one night at Lujos, we were dancing in the small space that is El Beso in Buenos Aires. The dancers displayed a high level of skill and excellent floor-craft.  The couples seemed to collaborate and flow together.  Over the next two nights, the floor-spaces were progressively bigger, and the level of dancing; floor-craft descended to what could be described as ordinary, then poor.  In the third and largest venue, it was impossible to relax into the dance, due to distracting and unpredictable movements of surrounding dancers.

Closer to home, many dancers have remarked, that at our milonga, Comme il faut, where the floor-space is the smallest of all local milongas, the dancing is calm, with good navigation, movements are generally small, and there’s consideration for other dancers.

Theory: the best dancers congregate in the smaller venues – where good skills are essential, while others head for the wide open spaces. 
But wait a minute, on following nights came Lujos at Plaza Bohemia and El Maipu at La Nacional; the latter being quite large. Both milongas attract skilled dancers with very good floor-craft. 
Hmm, while my theory may have some merit, it’s not the whole story; there are clearly other factors that can over-ride the proposition.

1 comment:

  1. The answer is as complex as Tango, Bob. Our recent experience was the opposite; Cafe Vinilo is tiny, packed, hip, young, some concert music, some dance; great fun, but don't expect good dancing. Milonguita @ Armenia is very large, traditional, crowded, some great dancers & full of energy. Sunderland was similar, though the quality of dancers was ordinary. Zum was young, more room and very competitive. Did not enjoy it at all. El Beso was so packed you could not move. We do find that, on balance, if the floor is tight, but not packed, the dancers show more respect to their fellow dancers. I suspect too, that your community instinctively knows what to expect at your milonga; we have a similar experience. However, I have noticed lately that none of the men know the rules and etiquette of the dance floor. They must look around them. We discuss and practice it a lot in our classes.


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