This post is not directed at well-seasoned DJs or those rare dancers who study tango music. This post is to educate dancers on what you ‘should’ expect at an organized milonga.
Call me crazy but when I go to a milonga I expect thoughtfully constructed tandas and cortinas that are not danced. I expect the night to flow in this way: easy-to-dance-to tandas to warm up the crowd and then slowly building up to more complex music as the evening progresses. I expect that when the first song of the tanda is a milonga, the rest of the tanda will be milonga (or vals, or tango from the same orchestra within a similar feel).
A good DJ is nothing without the dancers and good dancers are great dancers with a thoughtful DJ.
Some folks think that all you need to do is pop on a cd or press shuffle on your iPod and voila you are a bona fide DJ. To me a DJ is that unseen entity at the milonga that, unless really bad, you don’t necessarily notice. A good DJ adds to the connection and allows dancers to go to that ‘tango high’ by providing a clear and concise night of music. A good DJ is incredibly intuitive and works with the ever-changing energy of the crowd. A good DJ doesn’t show off their incredible knowledge with some rare B-side tanda that leaves dancers feeling lost in space nor does he or she ignorantly mix up the rhythms.
Being a DJ is not easy. It takes practice, knowledge, and respect for the music. It takes time. I love it when people are excited about the music, when they notice the music. Hey, I am not saying I am a great DJ, I have a lot more to learn. I am just asking that you pay attention to the music and tip your hat to the guy or gal who has done a great job all night being DJ, probably without pay . And then I ask that you not indulge the bad DJ by supporting their events or better yet suggest a really great DJ for their next event, they may even be relieved.