Although it is getting hotter and hotter, the milongas are air-conditioned, making them feel cool, despite the press of humans inside.
Lujos (Plaza Bohemia), Alsina 2540
Yes, I am sticking to my neighborhood a lot this year. Notice that I've been to two different milongas at Plaza Bohemia; two different Lujos milongas (Plaza Bohemia and El Beso), and now have wandered a few blocks down Alsina. Tonight I will probably to over to Nuevo Chique, which is only a block or two from La Nacional. With taxis costing almost 10 pesos just to put the flag up, I am walking a lot more. Plus, there are great milongas in my neighborhood!!
The dance floor at Plaza Bohemia lists towards the door. After a dance or two, you can feel that there is a definite tilt. However, the dancers accept it, grimace, and readjust; if not, we'd all be in a heap at the one edge!
The tables are arranged all around the floor, with a "guys" side, a "ladies" side (more or less), the most-populated side a mix of male and female tables, with a few larger groups; and most of the tables for couples on the other side or in the back.
Sunday, I had a table one back from the edge, and didn't get as many dances as the other night when I have a ringside seat. On the other hand, I felt exhausted, and I have noticed that the days I don't really feel like dancing, I apparently send off some kind of signal that says, "Leave me alone!" I still got to dance enough to make me happy, with a few breaks to make a list of "guys to avoid" and "guys to cabeceo" in my head. For the first time, I had someone thank me for looking at them! He was Argentine, but obviously more of a beginner. I now do what I call "Boy Scout" dances wherever I go: I dance with almost anyone once, even if they are not very good. After all, they will never get better if all the women avoid them!
Yes, the fans are back! Men, women--everyone--has a fan. Garish fans are everywhere, especially on the men's tables. Perhaps the women pick theirs to go with an outfit, and the guys just grab a fan? As I passed his table, I noticed that one guy I tend to dance with for valses was using the same hot-pink fan that I bought last year. I love that everyone uses a fan. Too bad they are all from China!
El Maipu (La Nacional), Alsina 1465
It felt great to be back at La Nacional. It is a popular milonga, as is always very crowded. This time, I remembered to call for reservations. Even so, we were at the second table back at the end of the room (they have redesigned how the tables are arranged, so there are fewer tables at the side and more at the end.
The only problem I had with that space last year, was the slippery floor. This year, the floor feels wonderful. Someone told me that they had a new floor put in, imported from Slovenia. I don't know if this is true, but it is a new floor, and it is nice!
I met up with Sarah, who had been living in Portland this fall. We went to the milonga together, so I actually have teeny clips of me dancing! Thank you Sarah! It is pretty much impossible to see down the line of dance, even to get a cabeceo for dancing; so it was not possible to follow me dancing :-)
Here is another one, also very short (the video and the guy!):
Guys: this is why I keep working on having you dance in small spaces! Practice, practice, practice!
Although the length of the room made it impossible to cabeceo a few guys I usually dance with who were at the opposite end of the room, there were plenty nearby. I sat out the first tanda of milongas, but otherwise, danced the entire time we were there.