Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Between tangos

'This milonga is so dark. Don't you find it dark in here?'

I do.

'It shouldn't be so dark, should it? The organisers encourage us to use cabeceo, but they keep the lighting so low it's difficult to see people clearly. & we're supposed to be aware of other dancers on the floor, and be courteous to them, but even on the floor the lighting is poor.'

It definitely is.

'& it's not only you and me. Everyone I've asked says it would be better if the lighting was improved. It's really poor.'

Poor lighting makes an evening of dance more difficult: at least, that's what I think, and I'm not alone. Our organisers struggle around with lights and ladders and colour filters with the aim of giving us a better evening out – and much of it may be wasted effort. It's normal enough in Buenos Aires just to turn on the lights and play some music to get the milonga going. A few venues have some areas where lighting isn't good, but it's rarely at a seriously low level. It's normal to use the existing lighting, just as it is. Club Sunderland, also used as a basketball court, has bright, possibly mercury vapour overhead lights. In some venues, the lighting might be subdued, but it's never at a low level. 

One of the best London milongas is an afternoon milonga in daylight, and I've never felt that it's inferior to a dimly-lit evening milonga in any way: the dancing is usually better, there's no loss of intimacy, it's more comfortable. It's an old-fashioned idea that we can't enjoy an evening dancing unless the lights are dim. It's really not practical to run a milonga in semi darkness.

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