It felt as though, on Friday, our community had a little life injected into it. Life in the form of a handful of visitors from a neighboring community. Interestingly enough, I only danced with one leader out of the ordinary, but I still felt like the entire evening was refreshed by their presence. I also had the frustrating experience of finally catching up to one of the other visiting leaders as the last tanda began, and as usual I was already taken for it. So I ended the night with that desire to keep dancing.
And it made me think: I have been noticing a stronger sense that our community is too small, that our community is stagnating, that it feels tired. I think it can be traced to a fairly obvious problem. At every milonga I go to, I see more or less the same people. In the course of one night, I can usually dance with every single leader who interests me. I can even dance with them and still have time to socialize. As a result, there isn’t the pull to the next milonga. I know that at the milonga tonight I am likely to see the same people I saw on Friday. I will dance with my friends and enjoy it–goodness knows I love the experiences I do have–but I am rarely left with that sense that I missed out and need to catch someone next time.
There is no easy solution. We can’t magically bring excellent dancers into our community, and they don’t spring up from nowhere. But I also feel the sense that there are few beginners, few dancers who are coming to classes or moving from classes further into the community. I wish there were a clear way to help our community grow, because as much as I love my favorite leaders I think I need more. I want to go to the milonga and leave wanting more.