In my school days, they made me write an essay about The Ideal Student. It took me over eight hundred words to say that there is no such thing: an ideal student means something different to everybody. So, don’t think I was creating a conclusive view of The Ideal Milonga, when I drew a mind-map capturing all aspects of it. I put circles around its core elements: dancers, location, hosting team and music. Then, like the technocrat I am, I added branches to describe the many attributes that make a great milonga. Eventually, I tossed it away, and ended up simply writing a love letter to the people in the milonga.
I have no intention to be slimy, but there are many things to love about you. I love your shapes and moves, your mysteries and dramas. I love that you are old and young. I also love that I can talk to you artists, writers and doctors, and that I can dance with you lawyers, system engineers and interpreters. I am happy to be part of a group where musicians can bond with accountants and philosophers with taxi drivers or businessmen. I love, that women can dance with women, and men with men, whenever they feel like it. It blows my mind that this melting pot of cultures and nationalities is filled with people that understand each other so well. That’s not all: I was only warming up.
You dance one of the most difficult couple dances in the world: this means that you have character. I love that you teach me a lot about myself. Who needs a therapist, if you have a milonga? I just love that trust between us. It’s wonderful, to share each other’s lives from week to week, in between dances, in good times and bad. You build my immune system with your germs, reducing medical costs. You also give me a reason to stay in shape, saving the costs of a personal trainer. True, you can be a little bit unpredictable, but I don’t hold that against you. You are too interesting and funny for that.
I’m getting serious now. The night after my father died, I trusted you to listen to me, telling you what kind of man he was. I felt consolation in your warm support. I love you for that. I know the ideal milonga does not exist. It’s not a physical location, it doesn’t have an organisation, not even a floor. It’s a concept that we create in our minds: it is, whatever a group of dancers believes they are in summary. What I can say about it is, that we have full control over how we create it, every week. Next week, I am creating myself as a milonguero, connected with you all: that’s my ideal milonga. Expressing this idea took me only four hundred and ninety-three words! If that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.