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Reflections on Milonga Consistency, 11/15/2023

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

Reflections on Milonga Consistency

Last night, I encountered an unexpected experience at Milonga Maipu at Lo de Celia that left me feeling deeply unsettled, so much so that I left the milonga after only three tandas, an extremely rare occurrence for me.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

My criteria for choosing milongas are based on the consistency of ambience, people, organizer, and DJ. I value consistency in these elements, and I've come to cherish the predictability of my favorite Buenos Aires milongas.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Just last week, Diana Coven hosted a night featuring La Juan D’Arienzo. While live music is not my usual preference for dancing — to the point where I chose to sit and listen rather than dance — the experience was fitting for my first week back in the scene after a break, and I was well aware of the live band's presence beforehand.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Upon arriving at Milonga Maipu at Lo de Celia last night, earlier than usual, I found it quite crowded, a familiar sight in Buenos Aires milongas. I managed to dance three tandas, but I couldn't shake off a gnawing sense of unease. After each tanda, I sought feedback from my partners, and they all acknowledged an unusual feeling but couldn't pinpoint the cause.

Finally, I discovered that tango tandas were shortened to three songs instead of the customary four. This modification, unprecedented in my Buenos Aires milonga experience, left me feeling disoriented and out of sync. The four songs of a tango tanda have always resonated with me, representing the cycle of a year – spring, summer, autumn, and winter. With one song missing, I felt my dance flow disrupted, leading to a profound sense of insecurity and discomfort.

I'm curious about the rationale behind this decision, which seemingly contradicts the established milonga tradition. The DJ, Carlos Rey, a figure I've followed for nearly two decades, has never made such a change in any of the milongas he's played at. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

While I could be mistaken, the only plausible explanation I can think of points to the organizer, Diana Coven. I hope her lack of experience in and understanding of tango doesn't lead to its excessive commercialization and even exploitation. The tradition of tango is rich, vibrant, yet fragile, and it deserves to be treated with respect.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Friends, I pose this question: Am I overly sensitive to this milonga change, or am I still lacking in my understanding of milonga traditions? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Thank you for taking the time to consider my thoughts.


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