I’m a bit of an early bird, in that I arrive at milongas before midnight and generally tend to leave before 2am. This may therefore colour this post which is about tango teachers and milongas. I go out to lots of different milongas but it’s not often that I have the chance to see teachers dancing as most of them tend to arrive about the time I’m going. The times I have been able to observe them however, I’ve wondered what their objective for the night has been? Tango teacher couples who come together tend to dance almost exclusively with each other (plus occasionally one favoured pupil). They dance beautifully and I enjoy watching them, but sometimes I wonder if they are dancing a bit too much for the people on the sidelines.
So why do teachers keep so exclusive? Do they fear that dancing with someone less good than them will lower their dancing credibility in the eyes of those watching (many who could be potential students)? Is it that they don’t feel it is a challenge to dance with people less good than themselves? Or is it purely, that they know that dancing with most people will result in them feeling obliged to give pointers and tips? Can it be that for teachers, the milonga is no longer a wonderful space where they can dance and lose themselves but one where they are constantly (albeit on a low level) on display and working?
Part of the fun at a milonga for me, is the fact that I never know who I’m going to dance with. I’ve had lucky nights where I’ve clicked perfectly with several leaders and times when I’ve been disappointed by the lack of connection; but a big part of tango is the anticipation and the not knowing what the next dance will bring. The happiness you feel when you have had a lively, milonga repartee, been swept away by a sublime vals or had the most perfect tanda – all unexpectedly and with (up until that point) complete strangers. I wonder if the teachers ever miss it?