Barcelona Milonga Review

I have heard from various sources that Barcelona has really good milongas. So, I decided to find out for myself. During my three city European milonga tour, Barcelona was my first stop. Due to my tight schedule, I was able to go to just one milonga. Of course, if I stayed for a week, I may have attended couple of more milongas. Maybe on my next trip, I can indulge longer in Barcelona. Here is my one milonga review in Barcelona:

Name: Casa Valencia, Location: Barcelona, Date: June, 2018.

Accessibility-(4.0): Close to public transportation, in town, 3rd floor. Ambiance-(3.5):separate lounge room, late comers, casual atmosphere, large turnout (70+?) Organization-(3.5): Fee- 7 Euro, darkened good size room, square room seating setup. Floor (3.0): marble. DJ-(4.0): Good traditional danceable tanda music. Dance-(4.5): Most dancers were good to excellent; floor craft was well observed. Most dancers were in their 40s to 70s. Even gender split.

Overall-(4.0): If one is a good tango dancer, this milonga would be fun to go to. It maybe difficult for visitors to dance with the local tangueros because of their skill level.

A

Lima Milonga Review

Last year on the way back from visiting the Machu Picchu ruins, I decided to  make a short detour and check out a milonga in Lima. Since  it was a Sunday afternoon milonga, I had no idea what kind of venue and dance I would encounter.

Although I did not stay the whole milonga–I needed to get to the airport– I was able to get  a   general  impression of the milonga. Here is my quick review.

Name: CI Tango; City: Lima; Date: May, 2018

Location-(3.5). It was located in a downtown business district. Public transportation was available. Organization-(3.5). Cozy local milonga; all members are familiar with each other. Entrance fee– 25 Soles. Ambiance-(3.0). Good lighting, seats arranged around the room. Floor-(3.0), Wood floor with some minor gaps/holes.  Relatively small dance floor DJ-(4.5). Good danceable music, traditional with various musicality tandas. Dance-(3.0). Few good dancers; mostly average; a few couples were in practice mode. During my early stay, there were twenty plus dancers.

Overall- (3.5). If one needs to dance on Sunday afternoon and don’t mind mingling with practicing couples,  it is a small, cozy venue to dance tango. Going with a partner would be helpful.

Thailand/Malaysia(Expats) Milonga Reviews

Hello,

Today I am reporting on milongas I have visited in Thailand (Bangkok) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur). Before I give ratings, you might be interested in something unique to these milongas. That is, both in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, milongas are basically supported by expats. This is particularly apparent with leaders. The leaders I have met are either moved from other countries or visiting on vacation or on business. The reason for the lack of native leaders is due mainly to either cultural or religious in nature. In Thailand, from what I have discerned is that men do not dance. In Malaysia, the predominant population is Muslim who do not dance. Consequently, the potential pool of tango dancers are limited, and the tango community is relatively small in relation to the total population of either city.

Now, the ratings:

Name: Tango at Dream Hotel; Place: Bangkok; Date: November (Friday), 2016; Accessibility- 4.0; Ambiance-4.0; Organization -4.0; Floor-3.5; Music/DJ -3.5; Dance Quality -3.0. Recommend-yes (only Friday night milonga in town). Plus(+):Friendly host, nice selection of  free buffet. Minus(-): Gender balance – women> men; more men dancers needed.

Name: Red Pepper; City: Bangkok; Date: November (Saturday),2016; Accessibility-4.0; Ambiance -4.0; Organization – 4.0; Floor -3.5; Music/DJ -3.0; Dance Quality -3.0; Recommend? -yes (only milonga on Saturday). Plus (+): friendly organizer; good floor/seating balance. Minus(-): Extra  charge  for snack/food . Gender balance – women>men.

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I skipped over to Perth, Australia for a weekend and attended two milongas. I would call the Perth experience as the milongas for couples. Most guests were couples (80 percent?). They came in as couples and stayed together during the milongas although they did dance with other couple partners.

Name: Friday Milonga; City: Perth; Date: November(Friday), 2016; Accessibility-3.5; Ambiance-3.5; Organization-4.0; Floor-3.5; Music/DJ-4.0; Dance Quality-3.0; Recommend?-yes (only milonga on Friday). Plus(+): Welcoming hosts (Ross and Elena); low entry fee; lots of danceable music. Host mingles with guests. Minus(-): Dark lighting.

Name: Monthly Saturday Milonga; City: Perth; Date: November(Saturday), 2016; Accessibility-3.5; Ambiance-3.5; Organization-4.0; Floor-3.5; Music/DJ-2.5; Dance Quality-3.0; Recommend? Maybe (not if attended Friday milonga the night before). Plus (+): Friendly hosts; low cost entry fee. Minus (-): Difficult music to dance to; mixed traditional and nuevo music; dark lighting.

 

Tokyo Milonga Reviews

I knew that Tokyo has a vibrant tango community. But  I did not realize how much until I made a tango focused visit recently (October and November, 2016). In twelve days, I visited 10 different milongas taking all kinds of metro lines and climbing stairs umpteenth times (What a way to get some exercise!). But, it was all worth it for someone who is driven to experience that unique milonga  feeling at every possible venue around the world.

My general impression of milongas in Tokyo, and  it probably applies to other cities in Japan, is that tango is thriving by the number of milongas there are. One can go to a milonga every night for a month and still not cover all of them. Japanese are as much as addicted  to milonga experience than the rest of the world tango community.

Now, couple of things stood out as I made the round of milongas. First, entrance fees are one of the highest I have encountered. Average fee is $20 – $30 with soft drink and simple snack included. There are less expensive ($7.00- $10) milongas but they tend to operate at local community center halls. One can explain away by saying that the living expenses are higher than the rest of the world. But still! Another note of distinction is that fair number of milongas have relatively young Argentine resident teachers. These teachers seem to attract young Japanese women who are enticed to learn tango. These teachers’ expenses could  also add  to entry fees, perhaps?

Now to the specific reviews from the milongas I have visited.  Please note that these milonga venues generally cater to salon style  tango dance and play traditional tango music.        ———————————————-

A) Name: Vedado,  City: Tokyo (Tamachi),  Date: Oct./2016(Friday),  Access: 4, Ambiance: 3.5,  Organizer: 2.5, Floor: 4.5,  Music/DJ: 3.5, Dance Quality: 3.0………………(plus +): large floor, nice sound system, well laid out tables, traditional music/tandas, low entry fee.  (minus -): welcoming attitude was missing; drinks/snacks  are not provided; dance level is mixed/poor navigation, gender imbalance (women>men). Recommend for all levels of dancers even with poor navigation as the floor is spacious.

B) Name –Baldosa; City -Tokyo (Ebisu)); Date- 10/2016 (Thursday); Access – 4.5; Ambiance -4.0; Organization -3.5; Floor -4.5; Music/DJ -3.0; Dance Quality -3.0…………….(plus+): close to metro, lively crowd, soft drinks included; (minus -): tight seating, static tanda music.  Gender imbalance (women >men). Recommend for high energy dancers who enjoy tight space.

C) Name- RADA; City – Tokyo (Nihonbashi); Date -10/2016 (Thursday); Access -3.5; Ambiance – 4.0; Organization – 4.0; Floor -3.5; Music/DJ-3.0; Dance Quality -3.5…………………(plus +): very close to metro, friendly hosts, lively crowd; (minus-): 4th floor-no elevator, no cortina, tight dance floor . Recommend but be aware of rotating DJs and their music genre.

D)  Name- Black Velvet; City – Tokyo (Ikebukuro); Date -10/2016(Sunday afternoon); Access- 4.5; Ambiance -4.0; Organization – 4.5; Floor -3.5; Music/DJ-3.5; Dance Quality -3.0…………..(plus+): Very welcoming hosts, they dance with guests, elegant dress scene; (minus-): small floor, music is  sedate.  Recommend for older age group (40- 70) with relaxed, comfortable demeanor. Gender=Women>Men.

E) Name- Efecto Tango; City- Tokyo (Shinjuku area); Date- 10/2016(Sunday); Access- 4.0; Ambiance- 4.5; Organization – 4.5; Floor – 4.5; Music -5.0; Dance Quality -4.5…………..(plus+): Overall excellent milonga;  well organized, nice tango ambiance, strong mixed  danceable music (tandas/orchestras are projected on the wall), and quality dancers in general. Recommend for tango aficionado. (minus -): not enough dancers to enjoy the milonga venue. Gender=Women>Men.

F) Name- Suiyoukai; City- Tokyo (Yotsuya); Date- 11/2016(Wednesday); Access- 4.0; Ambiance – 3.0; Organization- 3.5;  Floor- 4.5; Music/DJ – 2.5; Dance Quality -2.5………………..(plus+): large floor space, low entry fee, posted tanda music, pleasant night view. (minus -): esoteric music for dancing, no set tanda or cortina, generally lower dancing level. Recommend for casual after work dance social for beginners and for practice.  Gender=Women>Men.

G) Name-Salon de Tango; City-Tokyo (Asakusa); Date- 11/2016(Monday); Access- 4.0; Ambiance- 2.5; Organization -2.5; Floor -3.5; Music/DJ- 2.5; Dance Quality- 2.0………………..(plus+): low entry fee, free drinks and snack, evening milonga for after-work dancers. (minus-): spotty tango music, generally low level  dancing, make-shift gym floor with limited seating. Recommend for quick after -work tango embrace to reduce stress. Gender=Women>Men.

H) Name- Asaka Tango; City- Asaka (Metro Tokyo); Date – 11/2016 (Sunday afternoon); Access – 2.5; Ambiance – 3.0; Organization- 3.5; Floor – 4.0; Music/DJ- 2.5; Dance Quality-3.0……………………(plus +): low entry fee, separate free drink/snack area, large floor, good seating arrangement; (minus-): far from Tokyo central, non-standard tanda music format, spotty danceable tango music. Recommend for Sunday afternoon activity for couples seeking afternoon delight embrace. Gender=Women>Men.

I and J) Vedado and Baldosa venues were visited second time during my visit to Tokyo. The overall reviews do not alter significantly from the first time visits. For both venues, second time visits had slightly higher music and dance quality ratings.

I am headed to Malaysia and Thailand next. I will review their milongas in few days.

 

 

 

A Swedish Milonga Review

Well, this particular review is slightly dated (May, 2016)but I wanted to post it since it was similar to other milongas from a relatively large city with several milongas operating weekly.

One of the challenges most visitors to a milonga faces is that you are an unknown quantity in the eyes of the locals.  If a milonga happens to be sparsely attended, your presence is appreciated. However, in a well-attended milonga with a good number of experienced dancers, the visitor becomes an oddity and can easily be ignored. Of course, if you happen to be a skilled and experienced dancer, and somehow you can demonstrate your skill to the locals, you will be “allowed” but necessarily accepted.                                                                                             Here is my milonga review from  Stockholm, Sweden.

Milonga name: Tres Esquinas, City: Stockholm, Date: May/2016(Sunday afternoon).

Accessibility(4.5)- close to a metro station; within the city limit; restaurant available downstairs.

Ambiance(2.0) – Second floor; did not feel like a place to dance tango; a converted cafeteria atmosphere? cash food and drinks available; bright lighting, mostly from daylight source.

Organizer(3.5)- Pleasant reception downstairs (able to chat); difficult identifying the organizer; the place seems to be on auto-pilot.

Floor (4.0) – Plenty of floor space and chairs/tables to accommodate the dancers.

Music/DJ(3.5) – Traditional music with tandas.

Dance quality (3.5) – Salon style; 40-60 age range; women > men; cliquish; mostly good floor navigation.

Recommend: Yes, if you enjoy salon dancing with some skill, or young/attractive.

First visitor’s milonga review

Hey, I got my first visitor’s milonga review. Here it is (condensed version)!

Milonga name: Genesis; City -San Francisco; Date -10/2016 Reviewer’s  city -Sacramento.

Accessibility (2.0)-easy to get to but parking is impossible

Ambiance (3.0)- overall good,drinks/snacks cursory.

Organizer (2) – Less than welcoming attitude.

Floor(5.0) – excellent overall, lots of space.

Music/DJ (5.0) – great mix of danceable (traditional,rhythmic, melodic and dynamic) music.

Dance quality (5.0) – Sizable group of high level dancers, some intermediate, smattering of local teachers.

Overall (3.0) – Good milonga for experienced dancers, and seemed to attract young (below 50, that is) dancers. Not for beginners?                                                                                      ———————————————-

Thank you for the review! Additional reviews are always welcome.

Milonga Rover

Milonga Visitor’s Review Blog

 Fellow Milonga Enthusiasts!

Welcome to my blog. I have decided to start this blog after 15 years of going to hundreds (maybe even a thousand ? ) of milonga venues around the world and realized that the overall enjoyment of dancing Argentine tango is greatly influenced by various aspects aside from just dancing.

So, this blog’s mission is to inform milonga “addicts” about  U.S. and the world milongas by tapping into milonga visitor’s tango experience using a simple rating format somewhat similar to hotel and other service industry reviews.

In order to build a viable-both informative and entertaining -milonga review database, I am inviting other milonga visitors who have traveled out of town or out of the country to submit your reviews as shown below based on 5 (awesome) to 1 (skip it) for each category.

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  1. Accessibility: ease of getting to milonga (near public                          transportation, close to highway, parking, etc.)
  2. Ambiance: decor, mood, drink/snack,view,entry fee,etc.)
  3. Organizer: well set up event, reception, social,                                   dance/mingle with guests.
  4. Floor:size, type,seating,obstructions, lighting.
  5. Music/DJ: genre/energy, trad/alt music,sound system
  6. Dance quality/navigation : level, comfort, skill, age group
  7. Overall experience:__recommend? yes__maybe__no__

If you wish to add short comments to any of the categories listed, please do so.

Please include the milonga name, city, date(mo/yr) and your local city. You can remain anonymous or use your username.

Each submitted review will be standardized for data file purposes  as follow:

milonga name_____city______date____reviewer’s city(option)_______accessibility (5-1) ,ambiance(5-1), organizer(5-1)floor(5-1),music/dj(5-1),dance quality(5-1),overall score(5-1),recommend:yes__maybe__no__

Please note: Festival milongas or reviewer’s local milonga reviews will not be posted (to avoid unintended consequences.)

Please send your reviews to Hugo@MilongaRover.com and I will post them either raw or formatted. Of course, I expect  the format will evolve as the blog site gains more traction.

Meanwhile, I will be posting my milonga  reviews  as a visitor periodically touching on topics such as getting lost finding a milonga, most memorable milonga, best view milonga venue, most elegant milonga, most unusual venue, most awkward cabeceo venue, and most intimidating milonga; just to name a few.

Please submit your reviews and let’s enjoy! But I ask you to refrain from flaming or trumped -up reviews.

Please check back for my next post.

Hugo ( MilongaRover.com)