Newbie – A person new to a game, concept, or forum.

They are easy to spot as soon as they arrive at their first milonga. It’s not only because they are a new face in the crowd — they look out-of-place. They hope that all the classes prepared them to dance in Buenos Aires milongas.

Two Italian women arrived for their first visit. Dancing tango was not the challenge for either of them; getting to the floor was. They sat in the second row where they found it difficult to get men to look their way. They didn’t watch the floor to find partners of the same height who were good dancers. They rushed to the floor and walked to meet partners, not waiting for them to arrive at the edge of the floor. Their goal was to dance.  They realized that thirteen days is not enough.

An enthusiastic newbie arrived Sunday at Lo de Celia. He stood out in the crowd for his height at more than 6 feet. He did not wait for the hostess to escort him to a table; he decided to find a seat himself. The tanda was in progress, but that didn’t keep him from walking along the edge against the flow of dancers to find a seat. He didn’t notice that the front row seat was in the women’s section, but he asked anyway. Finally, he went to the aisle behind the tables to find his group. It didn’t occur to this newbie that the seat was already occupied and that a single man doesn’t sit among single women.

Fools rush in, and so do newbies.


3 Responses to “Newbies”

  1. Paul Says:

    Still, one needs to remember that many (perhaps most) tango tourists visiting Buenos Aires are likely to have come from dance schools that focus almost entirely on the teaching of steps and sequences mostly derived from a stage version of tango. Little, if any, attention is given to the transmission of knowledge about the cultural setting and codes. This may be down to remediable ignorance or astute commercial positioning that focuses on giving the naïve the flash moves they mostly clamour for.

    As with other kinds of tourism, those who prepare well for a trip by reading up on local culture and traditions are likely to show more sensitivity to local customs and consequently gain more from the experience.

    For readers wanting to avoid the faux pas described above, I would recommend the following earlier post in this blog along with the extensive description of milonga customs to be found in Tango Voice’s Codes and Customs of Milongas in Buenos Aires and Do Milongas Exist outside Argentina .

  2. Chris Says:


    This reminds me of a recent Times newspaper travel article by a British couple who went to BA to Discover The Tango. “When we reached the milonga we found we were out of our league despite having done a whole day of classes.”

    No doubt they went home thinking the reason the locals danced so much better is that they’d done more classes….

  3. Lewis Katz Says:

    Janis, thank you for trying to let us how we “newbies” are spotted @ Milongas in BsAs. I hope next time I come to BsAs and go to a Milonga nobody will be able to identify me. I am grateful we met and chat last October. Your feedback is always very good and well intended. Also the comments above from Paul and Chris are very useful.
    There is NO substitute for tangoing in Buenos Aires and we want to arrive well prepared.

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