Posts Tagged ‘codigos’

Standards, what standards?

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

I’ve blogged about the “Lunes de Tango” milonga at Club Gricel before. I’ve just got in from another Monday night there where there were more codigo violations to add to my list.

First off, who thinks a baggy t-shirt printed with “Fuck Google, ask me” in big letters across the chest is appropriate attire for a milonga? Who thinks it is a good idea to let someone wearing said t-shirt into a milonga? He looked and sounded like a porteño, in his fifties I would guess. There were mostly locals in, and very few tourists. OK, it was printed in English so some or even a lot of them might not have known what it said. But no-one else knew what it said? I find that hard to believe.

It is not uncommon for guys, especially those in poor seats, to go sharking around a milonga looking for a partner after a tanda has started. Women are not supposed to do the same thing. They might get up and visit el baño, or walk outside for a cigarette to increase their visibility but they’re not supposed to go sharking. And they’re definitely not supposed to verbally invite men to dance as they cruise past. She was in her fifties, looked and sounded like a porteña. “Bailas milonga” she asked on her way back from el baño. Surprised I shook my head and replied “No”. She didn’t break stride, just kept walking. She probably knew I was an extranjero. Maybe she thought I wouldn’t recognise or mind the codigo violation, or I’d be flattered.

Things just aren’t what they used to be.

An unexpected occurrence

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Lunes de Tango at Club Gricel

Club Gricel is a traditional/tourist milonga venue. It attracts a mixture of locals and tourists of all ages. The codigos are mostly observed but not as strictly as at the traditional milongas. At this time of year the proportion of tourists versus locals is small and there is generally greater observation of the codigos.

Last night, at the “Lunes de Tango” milonga in Gricel there was an unexpected occurrence. A woman danced a tanda as leader. Her follower was a man. This wasn’t an exhibition performance, they were just dancing in the milonga. She was doing a better job of leading than he was of following. They only danced the one tanda this way and it looked to me like they were just experimenting. Such behaviour is accepted in the informal milongas (although rare), and expected in the gay-friendly/gender-neutral milongas but is uncommon in the tourist milongas and might lead to excommunication in the traditional milongas. She was quite young and I think a local. He was older and I think is a long stay foreigner. So they probably knew the effect their dancing this way would have. Looking around I did see raised eyebrows on some locals and heard mutterings from others.

Later the same woman lead a tanda with a female follower, which again was unexpected but caused less consternation. I have heard that if 2 women danced together in a traditional milonga they would likely be broken up by a couple of milongueros and expected to dance the tanda in “normal” couples.

They say things happen in threes and actually there was a third unexpected occurrence last night. A few hours into the milonga when it was at its most busy, the hostess stepped onto the pista at the end of a tanda to make an announcement. How busy is busy? Packed in like sardines busy. Rather like this example at los Consagrados last Saturday (video from Janis). But back to the announcement. Like everyone else I was expecting the sorteo (raffle) and had my ticket at the ready. Instead the hostess requested that people take more care when dancing, not to do high boleos, and to show more consideration for others. I hadn’t witnessed any high boleos or other examples of poor floorcraft, or seen any patches of blood on the pista. Presumably though there had been some kind of incident to trigger this rare event.

It was the first time I personally have experienced such a thing. Anywhere. Collectively we want all dancers to behave well, we expect that some won’t, we grumble amongst ourselves when they don’t and we wish the organisers would do something about it. I don’t know whether to make more of the fact that Buenos Aires is not immune to bad behaviour, or that the organisers here are prepared to do something about it.