Bucket List

I am sure you have met them too; those tango dancers returning from far-away marathons. Some sounding ever so slightly like Rutger Hauer in Bladerunner, claiming to have seen the tango equivalents of attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. Fortunately, other travellers soften the blow by giving melancholic accounts of trips to Buenos Aires where they spent their time dancing with tourists of average skill. But we get their point: they went off on an adventure and took risks while we comfortably stayed at home dancing at our safe little milonga in Amsterdam.

Last summer I went to an amazing tango marathon in Spa. It was the best event experience of my tango life. It had everything: a respectable tattoo ratio, great food, nice hosts, excellent DJ’s and many great new dancers that forced me out of my comfort zone. I was a nobody there. Not a single person besides the host hugged me on arrival. Women’s gazes systematically went straight past me. It was a big change from my familiar, warm, well-known home crowd in Amsterdam. It took me back to my early tango days when everything was new and fresh. I adored revisiting those feelings.

Back home, I realised that this is what we are up against in our weekly milonga. Here, just like in the theme song of the comedy series, Cheers, everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came, and, I might add, they are also very much the same. Dancers have nice encounters in our weekly Tuesday party, but it is difficult to keep up this feeling of freshness, new experiences and boundary-crossing over fifty-two editions a year, year after year. The truth is, when the thrill is gone, our dancers go on adventures and it is not possible for us to match the MTV-event nature or exotic surroundings of the international tango marathon scene. We are left behind to bitch about their carbon footprint.

So, how can a frequent milonga increase the number of steady customers, while at the same time keep everything fresh and new? We are working on a cunning strategy for that. We estimate that we need at least 20% of passing travellers and out-of-towners to keep our milonga crispy. For this, we work on a high communication profile, reaching out to foreign dancers systematically. But we aim higher: we want foreign dancers to put us on their bucket list and walk into our milonga all teary-eyed, muttering things like ‘I finally made it!’. For this we need you, our travelling tango sons and daughters, to become emotional when sharing news about this one amazing place back home in Amsterdam. If we can’t travel to exciting new dancers, we might as well have them travel to us. You see, we love new experiences and adventures too, but prefer the ones that always end well.

 

Story posted by: Martin van Kesteren

About the author: Event Organiser, Writer from Amsterdam

Published: 22 Oct 2019 @ 15:10

Last modified: 21 Mar 2020 @ 13:24

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