Milongas have a certain therapeutic value. I am sure you are aware of it. Sharing a couple of good tandas can really open people up to each other. Dancers come to milongas for many reasons, but not all of them are just about finding dance partners. Other motives could be to enjoy music or to feel part of a community. To clear their heads by moving their bodies. Or, possibly, to be in an environment where men and women can be just friends and have real conversations with each other.
If you are amazed by this notion, it is likely that you are a man. For me, it took several years of organizing a milonga to see it. ‘If you want to talk, go to some talking group’ was my motto. I used to think that going to a milonga was a way to escape work, family-related stress, or any other type of life problem. It was like that for me and may still be the case for many. But now I see clearly that the milonga has also become a space where I can communicate with friends without worrying about being judged. Some people call it family. I prefer to think of it as being among people who share the same affliction.
The milonga creates personal growth. For instance, exchanges with my female milonga friends taught me that for many years, I missed at least 50% of the human interactions in the milonga. It made me wonder about what I was missing in my day-to-day life. Milonga conversations developed my listening. In doing so, I discovered the diversity of talent, intellectual capacity, human quality, and generosity entering our dance space every Tuesday. After over 460 editions of our Amsterdam milonga, I am yet to encounter one person who is not interesting. Well, maybe that one guy who drank four beers in 30 minutes and left… He was looking for salsa classes.
Would it be different in a bridge club or for people who share the love of model airplanes? I can’t be sure of course: people join groups for one reason, and stick around for other reasons, everywhere. But I suspect that the tango community is special in this respect. Tango dancers are, by nature, used to being in each other’s personal space. Intimate conversations come naturally in that atmosphere. I could give you many spectacular examples, but I’m going to anticlimax here. The quality of a milonga, determining even its long-term existence, is in the integrity and authenticity of the people at its core. You could call it “milonga-dancer confidentiality”. Whatever happens in the milonga, stays in the milonga.
Published: 11 Aug 2019 @ 21:45