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Thursday, 9 August 2018

Musical chairs in the milonga


Are you a milonga gypsy?  Or do you like to return to your own chair after dancing? 

So, what's the fuss about seating at milongas?

Consider this real-life scenario (only names have been changed):

Joanne and Phil normally arrive at milongas fairly early.  Among other things, they like to take their pick of seats before the milonga gets busy.

After a hectic week, they headed out to relax at a local milonga.  Having paid the entrada and found a nice spot to sit, Harry slung his coat over his chair with his phone safely tucked in the coat pocket out of harm's way.

Many people arrived, and as the milonga became busier, each new arrival tried to work out where there was a free place to sit.  To avoid any unpleasantness, before sitting down most new arrivals politely tried to confirm with those sitting at a table, whether a place was available.  Sometimes they would get it wrong, and the recent arrival would have to gather up their belongings and find another spot.  At times, this was accompanied by some awkwardness.

Meanwhile, Joanne and Phil had been enjoying the milonga.  Returning to his chair after a tanda, Phil found someone else sitting there, engrossed in an animated conversation.  Having nowhere else to sit, and being far too polite to say anything, Phil waited patiently.  Then he realised that the 'visitor' was not only sitting on his freshly dry-cleaned coat, but probably also on his phone!  Still he said nothing!!  Instead he continued to wait ... somewhat anxiously.  (Politeness can be taken a touch too far.)

Fortunately, the phone was undamaged, and Phil was able eventually to reclaim his seat.  No harm done.  

But, could you imagine some better alternatives to this scenario?  Allow me to suggest a few improvements:

Organisers provide sufficient seating for everyone
This ensures that each person has somewhere for their jacket, drink, mints, fan, etc.

Organisers keep an eye on seating
They make the effort to indicate comfortable options for each person when they arrive, rather than leaving dancers to their own devices after taking their money.  This also prevents congestion in any one area, thereby reducing obstructions on the dance-floor.

Dancers return to their seat at the end of tandas
If you have been 'visiting' another table for a chat, you return to your seat (or go elsewhere, such as the bar) at the end of the tanda.  This ensures that the 'owner' of that spot has somewhere to sit when they have finished dancing. 
Returning to your seat also facilitates the cabeceo, because potential dance partners will know where to look for you.  In fact, sitting down during the cortina helps everyone in the milonga.  If people are standing and chatting on the dance-floor in between tandas, your line of sight may be blocked.  With everyone seated, you can easily look at potential partners, if you wish to dance the coming tanda.

PP

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