A good night at Carablanca, which means there weren't so many people there, enough to create a buzz, enough to make dancing interesting, but not enough to make leading stressful. & it can be a bit stressful when there's a lot of sudden random movement and inconsiderate dancing going on around, not to mention flying Comme il Fauts... It's great to enjoy a whole evening of dance and to come out feeling relaxed, rather than a bit exhausted, even if I'd enjoyed dancing, which was how I felt when I left last week. & DJ Jill Barrett's music kept the evening going, as ever.
So London milongas can be good, but only when there aren't too many people...
I identified my bête noir, not as the 'nuevo' in which there's nothing very new but as stage tango danced in milongas. I have it on good authority that the greatest nightmare of stage dancers, particularly in ballet, is forgetting your choreography, not knowing what comes next, like an actor 'drying up'. It's a world in which dance is controlled, absolutely. So the milonga is entirely the reverse. You never know in advance where the music is going to lead you, and the space in which you can move is constantly, unpredictably changing. It's a world of immediate, instant reaction: there's no time to think. All popular dances sink (or rise) into a state in which individuality is absorbed into the whole, into a trance of some kind, and I'd like to think that tango is the most complex of all these dances, in which the partner, the music, and the floor as a whole, become undifferentiated. Which for me is why anyone's attempt to be a star, to show off how good he or she is, to ignore the floor as a whole and the music, cut across the best possibilities of a milonga.
Thanks for the comments on the previous post:
Game Cat: funny you should mention First Friday, exactly what I had in mind! I think DB and First Friday have already gone a long way, not only by organising events but also by their interest in a 'milonguero' way of dancing. But I can't think of a smallish milonga playing decent music in central London that could be 'infiltrated'. The Wine Bar comes to mind, and I'm sure Nikky would be delighted if we all turned up there. Did you have one in mind?
Thanks, Janis, for reminding me of the rules at Cachirulo. Actually I'm not really in favour of rules and excluding people. I'd hate to turn up at one of my regular milongas to find a note reading: 'No close-hold dancing! No turning on the spot!' It's a pity it became necessary at Cachirulo, but at least it remains a very popular event with local dancers.
If a small milonga gets going in London its name and advertising would suggest its orientation. As I see it, size matters. Dancers who like big moves will avoid small spaces and go for large popular places where they can be seen to perform. I haven't been there much, but I think dancing at the Wine Bar is generally pretty good: everyone is aware of the space limitation and everyone tends to treat everyone else well. & I think it's easier to apologise to people, if necessary, for the lack of space, and ask them to keep their movements small. If they don't like it they won't come back, but at least it won't seem personal.
DB: I agree it might be possible. But I must say profitability wouldn't be a great concern, although lossability certainly would. It would be brilliant if something like that could cover its costs from the start. & sorry I didn't recognise you for a moment last week after Carablanca: tangocommuters get in a panic about the last train!