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Monday, 11 May 2015

Ebb and flow in Buenos Aires milongas

Do you arrive at a milonga with high expectations?  Who will be there, the quality of the music, the venue, the amount of dancing you will enjoy, etc.   Will everything just be as it was before?

One of life’s lessons is that high expectations can lead to disappointment.  On the other side of the coin, it is good to be open to pleasant surprises. 

Things change - nowhere more so, than the milongas of economically-challenged Buenos Aires:

Last year, Milonga de los Consagrados (Saturday) was not hugely popular.  Probably, it was a financial struggle for the organisers.  Recently, I was told that they had had to quickly replace their regular DJ who had called in sick one Saturday.  Dany Borelli (one of the best!!) stepped in the breach.  Apparently the response was so overwhelmingly positive, that Dany now has the gig.  Attendance has probably doubled due to his excellent music. Venue is lovely.  Level of dancing and navigation: average.

Lujos on Thursday at the intimate El Beso venue continues to be a personal favourite, where the music is very good, the level of dancing high, and I can usually count on several of my favourite dance partners attending.  Yet, as they say, timing is everything!  Last Thursday, a critical football match between arch-rivals Boca & River put a spanner in the works.  Attendance was down.  Fortunately, however, there were enough playmates in the sand-pit.  Let’s see what happens this Thursday when Boca and River have their re-match.

Lucy and Dany’s El Maipu on Monday is also a long-standing favourite for the same reasons as Lujos.  Lucy and Dany create such a warm and welcoming environment.  Despite the crowded dance-floor, people are very considerate, and collisions are a rarity.  Yet, even there, things have changed.  Although, there are new faces, numerous familiar faces are absent.  Is it due to increasing entry costs?  Maybe that’s why some of my regular partners now dance less often – some only once a week.   El Maipu on Wednesday is a fairly recent, brave and very good addition to BsAs milonga options.  However, at this early stage in its life, it’s struggling to get enough dancers to guarantee its future.  

Friday night at Obelisco Tango has changed a lot.  Last year, the floor surface was dodgy and the lighting made the cabeceo difficult.  But a couple of locals recommended it this year.  Sure enough, the floor has been replaced and lighting improved.  Great music is provided by DJs Vivi La Falce and Dany Borelli. Numerous dancers I know and like are regulars. 

So, what’s the take-home message from all of this?  Things change constantly here, for a host of reasons.  If you come to the Mecca of Tango, do your milonga research.  And when you choose a milonga, go without rigid expectations.

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