After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Seasons of Tango

In Los Angeles, since it's always "spring" year round, we used to talk about the four seasons of earthquake, fire, flood, and mudslide. The annual Santa Ana winds marked the season of fire. So if you include the wind, the L.A. seasons are the four basic elements: earth, fire, water, and air.

In the Buenos Aires of the tango world, in which I've lived for almost four years, there are only two seasons: tourist and "quiet." Right now we're moving into the highpoint of the first tango tourist season--October and November. It's springtime, the weather is beautiful, and tango tourists from all over the globe can hit the milongas for a month and then get home to enjoy the holidays with their families. The autumn of March and April is the same. During these times there are also tango conferences, festivals, and "weeks" put on to attract foreigners to Buenos Aires. Many people I know come for the two months of each season every year.

There's good and bad reasons for visiting Buenos Aires at these times, the most obvious is the weather factor. Spring and fall are the times of the best weather; winter is chilly and summer is blazing, humidly hot. And since our winter corresponds with the summer of most of the countries of the visiting dancers, it makes sense that they don't want to forgo summer at home to endure a nasty winter instead.

The other factor is apart from the tourist seasons, the milongas are quiet with only the locals attending. There is less energy, but also less competition to dance with portenos/as. And there is more space on the floor.

In spring and fall, the total character of most of the milongas is changed by the influx of outsiders and tourist groups. Some local people only go out to dance when the tourists are in town. So there are more people to dance with--and more competition. And less space on the floor.

There's a saying that it's always summer in the milongas. So really the best time to come here is any time you can!

But as for me personally, I enjoy the visitors so much that I wish I could spread them throughout the year so that I would have more time to spend with each one. On the other hand, when everybody comes at once, it's a reason to have a party!


La Nuit Blanche said...

hi cherie!

i've been considering going to BsAs for a few weeks in february. would it be hot and humid? there won't be too many tourists?

now that you've described the festive mood of the high peaks, i am reconsidering to maybe go in march/april...

Tina said...

Well be ready for me in February! ;-)

Nuit - oh yes, hot and humid in February. But I had a great time this past February and great dances with locals. The milongas were always crowded (but in a good way), and I felt it was plenty festive. If you go in February we can meet at a milonga!

La Nuit Blanche said...

tina - then february it is! it would be fantastic to meet up with fellow blogueras. :) i wonder if my hollywood double-sided fashion tape will still work in all that humidity though...!

tangocherie said...

Hi tangueras!

OK, I'll look forward to seeing you both in February.

Nuit, you won't need your fashion tape; the humidity keeps your clothes stuck on.

one2tango said...

Hello Cherie,
Nuit and Tina - I have been thinking along the same lines - planning a trip in February, but friends have been telling me March/April are much better; on the other hand, I don´t mind hot weather (and I hope the milongas won´t be freezing cold because of aircondition:)... Cherie, why do some locals only go to milongas during the tourist season? I had the impression that some portenos rather resented last years´ influx of tourists...?

tangocherie said...

Hola One2tango,

In March and April there are more people in the milongas generally, because the locals are back from vacation and there are more tourists due to CITA.

Many salons have air conditioning, but the organizers hardly ever turn it on (too expensive.) So don't worry about freezing to death; it's more like roasting to death.

As for local resentment, certainly the men don't resent the tourist women, but maybe the local women do on occasion. And the local women appreciate the tourist men. It's only natural. But visiting men are just ignored by the milongueros, who know they have no competition.

Regarding your question of why some locals only go in tourist season, it's because the weather is better (people here hate to go out here when it's very cold, rainy, or very hot), and because of the "new tourist blood" in the milongas. So the milongas are more crowded, have more energy, but more bad dancers.