Great music, a good standard of social dancing, respectful & harmonious dance-floors and friendly organisers. That's what we look for when attending milongas in Buenos Aires.
Thanks to Carlos Neuman of Milongas Buenos Aires, you can get a taster of what to expect. It will help you decide where you would feel comfortable. He has thoughtfully put together videos of many of the popular milongas for the entire week!
They're all delightfully different in character. Venues vary. Some cater more to solo dancers (cabeceo skills required), whereas others, especially the outer-suburban milongas, are more group-oriented. DJs play a big role in attracting regular dancers. You may see the same faces in more than one of them.
Here are a few of our haunts:
El Beso (Thursday) - watch out for the cabeceo at the start of the video
Ever wondered why some people don't seem to look in your direction when a new tanda starts? There are so many possible reasons, quite apart from lack of confidence with the cabeceo-style of invitation.
Many of these possible reasons would be beyond your control eg. your height, the person's mood, musical preference, etc. So, no need to take their lack of interest personally.
However, there are some things we can influence. In any social setting, personal hygiene, dress and the way we conduct ourselves will affect how others respond to us, of course. And in the tango social event which we call a milonga, additional factors come into play, not least of which are your social dancing skills. (By the way, I don't mean how many volcadas, ganchos and decorations which you can squeeze into one tango!)
Are you easily able to dance with the music and with your partner?
How comfortable and enjoyable is your dancing for your partner?
Can you dance on a busy and disciplined dance-floor without collision or kicking someone ... and enjoy it?
If your answer to any of these questions is in the least bit negative, then possibly you have found an answer to the very first question. And these things you can change ... if you want to, that is.
One of the great singers of the Golden Age of Tango has passed away.
Alberto Podestá's talents were recognised before the age of 18 by the renowned Carlos Di Sarli, when he was asked to sing for the orchestra of El Señor del Tango. During his long and successful career he also sang for the great orchestras of Miguel Caló, Pedro Laurenz and Francini-Pontier. Todotango reproduces an interesting interview with Podestá, with insights into his long career in tango.
So many of his beautiful recordings are played regularly in milongas - and for good reason! Here are just a few of my favourites: Nada (with Di Sarli), Que nunca me falta (with Laurenz) and Que falta que me haces (recorded in the 60s with Caló) danced here by Geraldine Rojas and Javier Rodriguez.
Yesterday's milonga did not get off to a good start, at all. We had returned to the King's Head Hotel for the first time since March. One hour into the milonga - only about 6 people had arrived. Certainly, milonga numbers in Adelaide had been declining recently, and there had been a tango party the night before. Were we wasting our time yesterday, and that of our few patrons?
Gradually more dancers arrived, yet it was still a relatively modest gathering of about 20 dancers.
About halfway through the milonga, I found myself transfixed. Most people were on the floor dancing sensitively to a tanda of Demare tangos. Something quite special appeared to be taking place. I fear that this will sound weirdly metaphysical, but here goes: I can only describe this intangible phenomenon as a very positive and serene energy linking all the dancers in the ronda. And this continued for the rest of the milonga.
Was it my imagination? Perhaps a case of wishful thinking - wanting the milonga to be a success? Yet other people at the milonga were making similar (unsolicited) observations.
Did the new furniture arrangement in the 'ballroom' influence the mood?
Were the people present so determined to enjoy themselves that their positive energy was infectious?
Was the considerate dancing of each person a factor?
Did the music play a part?
Whatever it was, yesterday some magic happened.