Are the milongas declining in Buenos Aires?

Recently, I commented to a visitor that she has the option of 120 milongas each week.  That’s the total that remained constant for many years.  Today I reviewed hoy-milonga.com and found only 78 milongas now listed.  That number excludes practicas, free dances which don’t pay licensing fees, outdoor places with no seating, places allowing jeans and sneakers, gay, and underground venues.

Today I came across a list of milongas that I compiled in March 2000, according to the magazines.  There are 135 milongas on that list.  I noted with a marker those that were still open in April 2009 and 2011.  Those that are crossed off are closed.

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Saturday, I attended the last day of El Arranque, which opened on February 14, 2000.  The owners sold Nuevo Salon La Argentina to a developer. This is an important salon with a capacity for 700 that will leave a gaping hole in the tango scene for many seniors.  Video

The venues listed that still host milongas today are: Salon Canning, Gricel Tango Club, Club Maracaibo, Club Sin Rumbo, Salon Rodriguez, Salon Sur, Salon El Pial, Centro Region Leonesa, Club Social Rivadavia, Club Bohemios, Club Pedro Echague, and Club Fulgor de Villa Crespo.

The famous Confiteria Ideal closed its doors one year ago for major renovation.  We are hopeful that it will return as a venue for milongas and classes every day of the week.

Are the milongas declining in Buenos Aires?  The fact is they are.

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5 Responses to “Are the milongas declining in Buenos Aires?”

  1. Mark Sidebotham Says:

    An art that does not change is dead. “Estilo milonguero” is an attempt to dance like 80-year old people. People who endured a cruel military regime, people who had to hide what they were doing. For Pete’s sake, why would we want to dance like that? The tango is suffocating under the weight of people who don’t like change and who have abandoned the spirit of the tango: the tango was never about conforming to some “estilo” dictated by some “dictator”.

  2. jantango Says:

    I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of dancing with dozens of milongueros viejos. You haven’t. They don’t conform to some “estilo” because each one has his own style. The milongueros viejos are the reason that women travel to Buenos Aires to dance. They know something you don’t.

    I love dancing with an octogenarian who feels tango. They must be doing something right because women are eager to dance with them!

  3. Chris Says:

    Mark Sidebotham wrote: ““Estilo milonguero” is an attempt to dance like 80-year old people.

    No. “Estilo milonguero” is an attempt to sell some dance classes.

    A branding label, and nothing more.

    the tango was never about conforming to some “estilo” dictated by some “dictator”.

    And nor is it today (except in some dance classes).

  4. tangogeoff Says:

    Well said, Janis.
    And thanks for posting this, too. We are in town in April and may see you at the milongas 😊

  5. Janet Rieck Says:

    Dancing tango is more about the feeling you have when you connect with someone. The older dancers have it…the younger ones…for the most part do steps. Steps have nothing to do with the dance if you don’t understand the connection to your partner and the music. Some of those older dancers are wonderful. Sad to see them pass. One of my favorites was about 95. He was quite something. Dancing with a 100 dancers in Buenos Aires (and that would be hard to do) you dance tango 100 different ways. If you can do that well, you can dance tango. If you can’t, you have a lot to learn. Janis is right.

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