Scenes from the milonga

The tango magazines have advertisements for the newest trend in dance shoes, so I’m familiar with them.  This week was the first time I saw two women at a traditional milonga wearing colorful dance sneakers with low heels.  Sneakers are comfortable, but not elegant.  Most women enjoy dressing up for the milonga.  These women looked like they were going to the gymnasium for a workout. 

Changing shoes at the table in a milonga is becoming more prevalent with the foreign invasion.  Argentines know that the futbol team gets dressed in the locker room, not on the field.  Somehow this doesn’t concern those who go to the milongas.  Two young taxi dancers and their female clients arrived at the afternoon milonga where most dancers are over 70.  All four of them changed into dance shoes at the table.  The restrooms have chairs for this purpose.  One taxi dancer wore a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and dance sneakers–hardly proper dress for the milonga. 

An Argentine who arrives late for the evening milonga usually sits at my table.  She removes her coat, grooms her hair, sprays perfume and changes her shoes at the table.  Last week I asked her why she doesn’t go to the ladies’ room and added that the men notice and comment.  She wasn’t offended, but simply agreed.   I danced the tanda while she did her normal routine at the table.  The following week she went to the ladies’ room for the first time to change her shoes. 

These scenes are becoming more common in the milongas.  Organizers don’t say anything because they don’t want to lose business.  But they will lose business when those who respect the codes and customs no longer attend.

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