A media luz

You’ll be dancing when suddenly all the lights go out and the music stops.  Often it’s a case of waiting while someone replaces a fuse.  Sometimes a power outage occurs in the entire neighborhood without warning.  That’s what happens in the milongas of Buenos Aires.

That was the case on Sunday night at Lo de Celia when at 8:50 pm, we found ourselves dancing A media luz — half the lights were out, the music stopped, and the air-conditioning was off.   First they had to find the cause of the problem.  It was interesting to see how patient all the dancers were for a half hour and how very few left.  Celia made an announcement, and all sat quietly at their tables.  A boom box provided us with music, but it wasn’t needed for very long. 

Dancing tango A media luz may be common in other countries, but not in the traditional city milongas of Buenos Aires where good lighting is required.  Once the music from the boom box began, dancers began inviting partners.  The first couple on the floor received a round of applause.  When the music finally came through the sound system, everyone applauded.  My video shows how it was Sunday.  It may look like your local milonga, but it is definitely not normal in Buenos Aires.

This wasn’t the only power outage of the week at Lo de Celia.  When I arrived on Wednesday I was told that power in the neighborhood was less than normal, so the milonga had no air-conditioning.  There was light, fans, and music.  That was enough for me and all the other dancers.  Eventually the air-conditioners were operating.  The milonga continued as normal.

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3 Responses to “A media luz”

  1. Sven Says:

    Me and my wife visited Caricias for the first time 4 weeks ago. When the taxi slowed down to find the place, we found the entire block was out of power. Finally we heard some distant music and spottet some dancers through a window dancing past a candle. We walked in and found the place lit up by about 10-15 candles on the tables, music provided from a car parked outside. We managed to find someone in the dark to help us get a table, ordered some Chandon and sat down.
    People were dancing and drinking and talking (like usual I suppose) even if the floor was almost pitch black, and the music was low and “mushy” coming in through the window.
    After our eyes had gotten used to the dark we joined in even if it was hard to stay on “compas” on the part of the floor far away from the car. Later on they backed the car in through the double doors and the music became loud enough to enjoy the dance on all of the floor.
    We stayed there a couple of hours and had a good time, but found it too big a challenge to get the cabeceo going in such an environment.
    All in all we had a great experience and wish we had time to go back to see the place in it’s normal setting, but this will have to wait until we return next year.

  2. jantango Says:

    Sven,
    The situation at Lo de Celia was nothing compared with what you experienced in Caricias. It proves how Argentines will dance under any circumstances. I’m certain you and Lona will enjoy the place even more next year with lights.

    There is a greater demand for power during the warmer weather with more air-conditioners operating. The milonga organizers try to be prepared for power outages at any time.

    It was nice meeting you and Lona in Lo de Celia.

  3. jantango Says:

    The main lights over the dance floor went out during the milonga today in El Arranque, but the music didn’t. Everyone continued dancing while Juan Carlos replaced a fuse. In a few minutes, all power was restored.

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