A couple of years ago I wrote about something that got called the ‘secret milonga’. (There were a couple of subsequent posts too.) In effect it was a monthly private tango club in London to which entrance was by invitation. Consequently there was no publicity, and I never mentioned its name because I didn’t want uninvited people turning up there as the organiser would have had to turn them away, which would be unpleasant to all concerned. I wrote about it simply to point out that there is another way people can consider organising tango dancing, another template. It was a private event because that was a way to ensure that the ronda was observed with the same courtesy as in Buenos Aires. You could dance comfortably there all afternoon, no couples would block the line of dance with wild gyrations, or barge onto the dance floor without first looking to see if another couple was approaching in the line of dance. Simple courtesy! Yet at other London events that can still happen, although it is improving. The quality of dance was always excellent, as was the music, it was in a beautiful old hall and the organisers always welcomed you personally as one of their friends – which you were. In effect it was a small monthly encuentro in London. I’ve written all this in the past tense because it recently had to close down. It was called Juntos.
It’s very sad it couldn’t make enough money to continue. Of course it wasn’t intended to make anyone a fortune, but there’s only so much money an individual can lose. A beautiful hall in London doesn’t come cheap, and the booking (midday to 5.30 on Sunday) perhaps wasn't ideal. We are very grateful to the organisers whose ideals were set so high, and thank them for keeping it afloat for so long, and giving us many magical afternoons of dance and music. It’s left a mark on London tango, as has the whole encuentro movement, and people are increasingly aware how essential courtesy is on the dance floor. If anyone thinks of emulating this, I can only wish them the best of luck. It's not easy.