Tourism keeps the milongas open

Jorge de Gouvea and I stay in touch by telephone since I no longer go to dance.  He told me that he went to Lujos in El Beso where the entrada is 200 pesos (about $5 for tourists).  Jorge enters free wherever he goes to dance.  Frankly, organizers should pay him to show up and dance with foreign women.  He dances with them anyway.  There are very few remaining gems like Jorge in the milongas.

Jorge said that the foreigners are the ones keeping the milongas open in Buenos Aires.  That’s the truth.  He heard there were 155 at Lujos, 96 of whom were foreigners.  They outnumber the locals at some milongas, and the milongas can’t survive without them.

I remember when the tourist season was November through February many years ago.  Now the tourism is no longer limited to one season, which helps the milongas.

5 Responses to “Tourism keeps the milongas open”

  1. tangogeoff Says:

    Thanks Janis

  2. tangocompas Says:

    Hi Janis 🙂
    Beata and Marcin from Poland here. We try to learn the Tango in Poland. The situation is really bad. We are the only couple in our city that keep trying to dance using the embrace, focusing deeply on the music. So we think that we have similar feelings.
    We have read stories from “Tango and Chaos” by Rick McGarry and still keep in mind described situation in BsAs, from 2000 to 2010. Decay of the Tango was mentioned but the whole picture appeared to be quite rad. Now, as you write it looks really bad. We hope that at some point we will travel to BsAs. Now we start thinking if we will be able to meet the Milongueras and Milongueros.

    We mentioned our blog “tangocompas”. We started describing the Tango technique as we understand it and practice it. We think that a thick line should be put between the Performance Tango and the Social Tango. But we need an intellectual description of the Social Tango. Rick McGarry was really close as he described a lot of ingredients of the Tango on “Tango and Chaos”. On the other hand Rick was not able to create a one consistent recipe. We did not find any consistent description of the Tango so we we try to create a one.

    Beata and Marcin

  3. jantango Says:

    Social tango in the milongas as the milongueros knew it from the 1950s is almost nonexistent, but kept alive only by the small numbers of those who respect the style and codes. A way to meet the milongueros is watching videos on YouTube, because so many of them are gone.

    You are right in creating your own tango. That is how teenage boys during the 1940s and 50s approached the dance — finding their own tango that comes from a feeling within you. It’s not something to copy from another. Your tango is unique to you, because it is your feeling with your partner in the music.

    There is a big distinction between performance/exhibition tango which is choreographed and rehearsed by a couple, and social tango that is danced in the moment with a stranger. I don’t know if an intellectual description can be given for a feeling that is one’s own in the moment. Thought doesn’t control it. It is created in the moment. That is enough.

    Since you’re living in Poland, I hope you have danced to the beautiful tangos by Bandonegro in Poznan.

  4. tangocompas Says:

    We keep asking ourself about things you have mentioned. Our thoughts are as follow.
    Q: Can we dance like milongueros without absorbing tango from them?
    A: Yes, we can.
    Q: What is tango about?
    A: 90% emotions + 10% technique (we are not sure, it can be 99%+1%)
    Q: Can we make an intellectual description of tango?
    A: We can make an intellectual description of the tango’s technique.
    Q: So we can learn only 10% of tango, without milongueros?
    A: We can dance _just_like_ the milongueros.
    Q: How it is possible? What does it mean “_just_like_”?
    A: Milongueros do extract emotions from tango music by pure improvisation on the fly. Emotions are encoded in tango music. Even they all will gone some day, emotions still will be available in tango music. We can find a technical key that allows extract emotions from music _just_like_ the milongueros do. So, it will be _our_extract_ of emotions from the _same_source_. And it will be done using the _right_recipe_, the milonguero’s recipe, which nobody has defined yet. (Of course, we can master the language but our accent will remain exotic.) The problem is that the Key is only one and it gives wide spectrum of visible results. We can find 10 different milongueros who look like they were dancing 10 different versions of tango. On the other hand when we keep watching milongueros we feel that they are the milongueros. We believe, we can find the intellectual description of the Key. (Or we can travel to BsAs to absorb the Key directly from the milongueros.)

    We have heard about Bandonegro from your previous post 🙂 On the other hand, in December 2018, we danced to the pieces, played live, by “Colours of Tango”.

  5. jantango Says:

    You are on the right track to finding your own tango. There are videos of many milongueros viejos linked within Tango Chamuyo posts. Fewer of them can be observed on the dance floors.

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