If festivals are the height of tango hierarchies, politics and rushing around, the midweek milonga at home is my safe haven. It is cozy, relaxed and protected from the “real” world.
It’s a bit of a drive, but it is entirely worth it. I walk into the little restaurant and am greeted by the owner, who keeps a dance floor partly because he simply loves to dance. In the evening, after his dinner guests start to clear out, he moves the tables and chairs off the wood floor as the DJ sets up in a small booth. The lights are turned down to the glow of lamps and christmas lights around the room.
We sit down at one of the small tables on the edge of the dance floor and order food before the kitchen closes. The music is just starting, and one or two couples who have already arrived drift onto the floor. We eat, talk, say hello to our friends as they come in. Here, everyone is a friend.
We finish our food just as a milonga comes on. A milonga to start the evening? Well, why not? I get to dance it with one of my favorite milonga leaders. The food, the atmosphere, the people … something clicks and tonight I feel my body relax. My torso, always fairly flexible, twists completely loosely throughout the night. I dance without thinking.
As I sit down, a friend comes over. She has brought a visitor with her, and my leader goes to invite her to the floor. My friend asked who you were, and I said ‘his girlfriend.’ She said, ‘Oh no, he won’t dance with anyone!’ I told her that no, we’re not like that here. We dance with everyone. I grin at her. It’s so true. Here, we can relax. Here, we dance with everyone.