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