I arrived after 11:00pm on a Friday night at Lo de Celia a few weeks ago.  I entered the ladies’ room to change my shoes and wash my hands before going to my table.  A woman entered after me and began changing her clothes, not to dance, but to leave the milonga.  The milonga began only an hour earlier, so I asked her why she was leaving.  She said that she wasn’t invited to dance.  I asked if it was her first time at Lo de Celia; she said it was.  I suggested that she stay and be patient.  She had already made up her mind that she was going home.  She told me that she came from the province of La Rioja where she danced often with the local dancers.  I pointed out that someone new in the milongas of Buenos Aires must learn patience.  It’s the same here — people dance with others they have known for years.  Newcomers can’t expect to dance as often as the regular dancers.  I told her that she will find the same situation at any of the city milongas.  Patience is the key.

Daniel Rezk, the organizer at Derecho Viejo, told me about his conversation with a woman leaving his milonga.  She appeared sad, and he asked her why since she danced every tanda that night.  She replied, but I had to sit during one tanda.


2 Responses to “Patience”

  1. Ronan Says:

    And after one month of regular presence at a milonga, barely dancing one single tanda a night because of all the milongeros to be watched, regular people start asking you “why don’t you dance more?”

  2. Michael Says:

    On my first trip to BA, I waited 90 minutes for my first tanda at Lo de Celia. The Argentines are fussy over who they dance. My waiting grew shorter and shorter because I returned to the same milongas (Lo de Celia and El Arranque). I stopped being a stranger and started to be treated as a regular.

    BUT, you better know how to dance because you only get once change to make a first impression. My first tanda felt more like an audition for other women to evaluate me.

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