Flavours of milongas
After attending a variety of milongas during my brief stay in Buenos Aires (from the ultra traditional to something from the left field), it seems that there are two types of “milonga cultures”, for lack of a better term. By the way, I am not suggesting that they are mutually exclusive, but only that some milongas are more conducive for one or the other types of behaviours, and they do tend to co-exist within the same milonga, to a more or less degree.
The first type is where people – mostly going alone – go for the sole purpose of dancing Tango. Apart from few simple greetings when people first arrive, there is really very social interaction except on the dance floor at the start of each song – especially less so among the ladies. When people feel moved by the music, they cabeceo, dance, separate to return to their seats and the process is repeated all over again when the next “good” tanda comes up. Some examples are the milongas at Plaza Bohemia and El Beso.
Then there are the milongas where people tend to go with a bunch of friends and where more socialising/dancing among friends occur. In general, the mood tends to be more informal. Some typical examples include NiÃ±o Bien, Salon Canning, Sunderland and, well, La Viruta. From my experience, these milongas also tend to be more (single) visitor-friendly than others. Naturally there are still many more in between the two extremes.
Putting aside stylistic considerations, it’s therefore not surprising which types of milongas the young people (Argentinian or otherwise) preferred…