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February 11, 2009

Music and flow

Not so long ago, someone on a Tango DJ mailing list commented that bad music and bad arrangement of music could lead to chaos on the floor.

My initial reaction to this was: surely any chaos on the dance floor was more to do with the collective technical abilities of the daners? However, things started to make more sense as I started to recall a few instances where the inability to connect with the music meant things just “weren’t right” for the whole night. By way of an illustration, I attended a milonga a couple of months ago where no tandas** were used. Granted that there was a “legitimate” explanation for this particular community to dispense with tandas, I discovered that it was very difficult to relax and dance into a comfortable rhythm. Another example, perhaps less extreme, has already been described in vortex of hell before.

On a side note, while the regular Tango dancers (approximately 80% of these took up Tango within the last 4-5 years) in Singpaore may take it for granted we have always danced to music arranged in tandas, it was not always the case. However, the Tango community on the whole has been quite fortunate since tandas have been around as early as 2002, during the first-ever regular weekly milongas held at the Porridge Club when I started out as a very green DJ. The tradition was carried over to the next regular venue, Xen Bar (Chinatown), where I frequently DJed in the first few years. In the end, the less appealing music may have contributed to its slow death in the last two years.

So, DJs all over the world, when you see people going crazy on the dancefloor, play something soothing to bring some order back to the floor! 😉

** At milongas held in Buenos Aires, tango, vals and milonga music are typically played in sets of three to five songs known as “tandas.” Nearly all tandas are composed of music played by the same orchestra during a given era. (definition borrowed from Stephen Brown’s website)

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