Dance floors are too slippery, or too sticky, or both. Many event organizers lie awake fretting about it, I am sure. I know I do. But our little Amsterdam milonga has found coping strategies which may be worth sharing. None of them involve the use of paraffine or cleaning product, surprisingly. I am not sure if you want to try this at home, though. Some of our regulars have questioned the ethical side of our attitude towards this important topic of milonga management. But we have decided to tell it as is, here, in the spirit of complete disclosure.
I have seen great events, with knee-breaking stony floors, ankle-twisting linoleum and heel-absorbing cracks. Given the special relationship of the tango dancer with the floor, I have marveled sometimes at what events were able to get away with. In our particular case, after suffering weekly floor cleaning, or experimenting with all kinds of products to influence the smoothness of the floor, we could never achieve that state of full dancer satisfaction. Temperature, humidity and age prove too difficult a mix to manage. We have tried forcing maintenance procedures on other renters of the floor, forever alienating them from us. We bought a fairly expensive hydration installation, in the early days, which we used twice and eventually sold, at a big financial loss. We have powdered and waxed. We have repaired damage with ugly paste. After trying all that, we reverted completely to a communication strategy. The big assumption behind this strategy is, that the floor is mostly a perception in the dancer’s head.
Let’s admit here and now, that every time you complained to us that our floor was too slippery, you were absolutely right. You have to understand though, that the team is under strict instructions to deny any slipperiness whatsoever. Deny, deny, deny. We apply this Clintonesque doctrine of denial, because it has proven to work. It’s all in your best interest, too. We don’t want dancers to worry about external circumstances, but instead empower them to improve their balance. You may ask for paraffin, of course, and most of the time we will say: great idea, but unfortunately, we are fresh out of paraffin today, and by the way, we have other people saying it is too sticky. This last statement is a blatant lie, designed to change your perception, and to urge you to check your posture. We don’t want you to feel like a victim of our floor: we want you to be a winner who couldn’t care less about floor conditions.
We understand that to some of you, this ploy may come across as slightly dubious. However, this is where the second part of our communication strategy comes in, which is to present our floor as a legendary, magical, one-hundred-year old floor. A floor that has seen wars, tragedies and romances and absorbed the blood, sweat and tears of generations of dancers. Technically, some of you may also consider this a lie. We have not exactly fact-checked every story about our floor. We make sure nobody does, either. Why waste a good legend? Our floor looks the part: it is old and wobbly. Close to the emergency door there is a cold draft which makes it hard and slippery. Near the bar, it is soft and moist. It is scarred and weathered. It is like wine, in fine old kegs. Nothing can go wrong now: you are dancing with a legend. I guess you catch my drift.