Los milongueros viejos y las chicas

Now that tango is a popular social dance around the world, a younger generation is traveling to Buenos Aires to experience the milongas.  Some of them want to dance with los milongueros viejos.  There have always been milongas for different age groups and social styles. 

I had lunch one day recently with a milonguero who I’ve known for ten years.  He told me how young women in the milongas ask to dance with him.  He finds it difficult to explain how dancing with a woman his daughter’s age isn’t the same as dancing with a mature woman.  He can’t embrace las chicas in the same way.  They want to know what it’s like dancing with a milonguero viejo.  However, they lack life experience to know the difference.  Tango isn’t about what kind of shoes you wear and what embellishments you do in the dance.  It’s about two becoming one in the moment.

Carlos Gavito was the first to dance on stage with a young partner.  Then El Flaco Dany and others followed the trend when they danced exhibitions.  Many young women can thank the milongueros for their tango careers.  

There is an Argentine woman in her 20s who goes to dance with los milongueros viejos.  She could go to La Viruta to dance with men her age, but she doesn’t.  One day I saw her enter the milonga with a milonguero in his late 60s.  They didn’t sit together.  She danced with other men, but he danced only with her.  

The other night I noticed a girl who was barely old enough to enter a milonga, yet she was dancing with los milongueros viejos.  Why?  Are they trying to recapture their youth or passing on a legacy to the younger generation?  Are they taking advantage of an opportunity?  A milonguero can dance well with any woman, but does he need to prove it?

Los milongueros viejos are the attraction for foreign women who travel half way around the world to dance with them.  Alito marvels at this fact every time I point out a foreigner in the milongas.  It’s easy to understand why — they are a vanishing species that will be extinct and will never be replaced.


3 Responses to “Los milongueros viejos y las chicas”

  1. Alan jones Says:

    Janis,some of us feel the same way in England,as surely the younger dancers would prefer to be with their own age. We try to learn from the older dancers,as in my case,out of respect for their generation,and to dance as well as we can for ourselves,our partner plus others on the dance-floor. I hope that the future of tango isn’t men wearing t-shirts,jeans and trainers,also chewing bubble-gum,and dancing to jazz or in one milonga to an opera track by Puccini! Perhaps you could ask those dancers what they feel about the future of tango? Kind regards,Alan Jones from England.

  2. jantango Says:

    There was a 21-year-old student from New York State at Boedo Tango last night. She commented how “old” all the dancers were. Although she was being invited to dance by older men, she probably would have enjoyed a “baile joven” like La Viruta. The problem is those her age are students or working, so they don’t go dancing during the week, only on the weekend. A young man approached me to dance, but I said no thanks. He was wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. I wasn’t that desperate to dance, especially with a partner my son’s age.

    The future is now. I viewed a recent video on YouTube at the Chicago Tango Week by Oliver Kolker and Luna Palacios dancing what they claimed to be a milonga to the William Tell Overture by Rossini.

  3. George Says:

    Very well said, Jantango. Life experience makes the difference when dancing Tango!

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