Isn’t a good DJ a gift from the gods?
We love Marcelo Rojas here at Tango Space.
For those of you who might not know him, he has one of the most impressive tango DJ CVs ever. He DJs in milongas in Buenos Aires (he used to DJ at Confiteria Ideal), is invited to milongas and festivals all over the world, and is now one of the most popular DJs of the tango radio 2×4.
Because he is always travelling across the world, DJing in milongas and festival and aiming to get a sense of what local dancers like, he has a special view of the tango world.
We have asked him about he might like to tell dancers and DJs.
What could he tell us about tango that would make us enjoy the milongas more?
Here are 6 pieces of advice from Marcelo, to meditate on.
1. “The milonga is a party”
Milongas are social events. They are not just a place to dance, but rather a place to meet friends, discover new people and socialise. It is not about dancing all night, but rather meeting like-minded people to share our love of music and dancing. So don’t worry too much if you are not dancing – just enjoy the fact that you are surrounded with nice people, listening to beautiful music… and the dancing will come naturally.
“It is not about dancing all night, but rather meeting like-minded people to share our love of music and dancing.”
2. “You need to learn about Argentinian culture”
Even though tango is danced all over the world today, it is still deeply rooted in the Argentine culture. If you want to dance tango, you need to know about this culture: how Argentines live and think, what the tango music means to them, how tango dancing was transmitted from generation to generation…
“If you want to dance tango, you need to know about this culture”
3. “Tango is a reflection of the history of Argentina”
As a dancer, it is important to understand that tango music is a reflection of what was happening in Argentina in the past 100 years. Because tango is so deeply rooted in the Argentine culture, its evolution reflects the different states the Argentine society went through.
- For example, if tango almost disappeared in the 50s, it is partially because Argentina underwent a series of coups d’états, which led to social meetings being forbidden.
- And, orchestras stopped playing in milongas because organisers didn’t have money to pay for them anyway.
- Also, did you know that the reason why some tango songs have two names because portenos were not allowed to speak or write in Argentine lunfargo at the time?
(sources: Marcelo, Pablo, and wikipedia)
“Tango music is a reflection of what was happening in Argentina in the past 100 years.”
4. “The codigos and floorcraft are important”
The milonga’s codigos and floorcraft are definitely worth learning about and using. From the DJ’s desk, it is easy to see how the dancers who do not apply them make the milonga a less friendly (and safe place) to dance in. We all have a role to play in keeping the dance floor’s flow, and in making sure the atmosphere is respectful and friendly.
“We all have a role to play in keeping the dance floor’s flow, and in making sure the atmosphere is respectful and friendly”
5. “Tango is only one”
Yes, the past of tango music was great, but the tango of today is important too. We need to keep the tango spirit and tango music alive. Everyone -dancers and DJs – like different types of music, so it’s our role as tangueros/as to keep an open mind and listen to all kind of orchestras… including new ones. There is no “true” tango”! Only an evolution of the music.
“There is no “true” tango”! Only an evolution of the music.”
6. “Each of us has a role to play in keeping the tango world welcoming”
We as tango dancers or DJs all have a role to play in keeping the tango world growing in a welcoming way. We need to make sure that we are a ‘diffuser’ of the tango culture we love, and not make it a closed, exclusive world that only a select few can understand and enjoy. The milonga has to be inclusive, and not exclusive
“The milonga has to be inclusive, and not exclusive”
We hope that you found this helpful.
Many thanks to marcelo for sharing his music and wisdom with us. For those of you in London: we’re planning to invite him again before the end of the year!
Happy thoughtful tandas!
Pablo & Anne