Thursday, 15 July 2010

Tribulaciones de milonga: Tango Queer, Milonga Gay

An interesting thing happened today. Argentina became the first Latin American country to institute same-sex marriage.

Una Milonguera, who writes in Spanish, I presume for a mainly local audience, has a special celebratory post. I read Spanish about well enough to understand what she's saying, with a couple of read-throughs, but I don't think I can really venture a translation. In summary, she talks about the "gay-friendly" milongas in Buenos Aires, and how they may be looked at as more than a "gay community" thing, being also there for people who simply want to dance with whoever they want, in whatever role they mutually agree, without unnecessary drama or causing alarm or distress.

UnaMilonguera:Tango Queer, Milonga Gay: 
Segundo postulado:
el tango es cuestión de conexión entre dos personas, de sentimiento, de contacto, de seducción.
Creo que estamos todos de acuerdo.

Tercer postulado: excepto para algunas personas retrógradas e incorregiblemente machistas y homofóbicas, sabemos que la conexión, el sentimiento, el contacto, la seducción, se pueden dar perfectamente entre dos personas del mismo sexo.
Conclusión: como el ambiente del tango es machista, algunas personas que no se identificaban con ese machismo pero sí querían bailar tango sin que los echaran a codazos de la pista (como ocurre en muchas milongas tradicionales, cuando no les piden lisa y llanamiente retirarse) han decidido abrir sus propios lugares de baile, en los que hombres pueden bailar con hombres, mujeres con mujeres, o se pueden intercambiar los roles sin herir la susceptibilidad de nadie.
I've quoted at some length, but there's more, with comments. She leaves the last word to the organisers of the Tango Queer milonga, open to all, and Festival Internacional de Tango Queer, equally open to all (I can't find this text on the website though):
El intento por homogeneizar, estetizar y “normalizar” las formas del baile y los ambientes en los que ésta se desarrolla va en contra de la permanente improvisación y movimiento que constituyen la dinámica tanguera, la cual pugna permanentemente por formas que vayan adaptándose a los cambios culturales y sociales de quienes forman parte de ella.
Bienvenida, Igualidad!


Tango en el Cielo said...

Couldn't agree more. One of my favourite milongas in BsAs is La Marshall. It's exactly as described by the person you're quoting- it's a gay-friendly milonga, where everyone is welcome, role-changing is encouraged and they are also plenty of couples dancing the traditional way round too. As a non-gay I feel very comfortable there and the atmosphere is like a breath of fresh air after going to lots of trad milongas where old machisto men forbid women from dancing together. It's not a gay milonga in the sense that homosexuality is a qualification for entry. There's also a BsAs milonga called "QueerTango" which I've never been to but will try next time I go. I find the name a bit off-putting but maybe it's much the same as La Marshall.
The Festival Internacional de Tango Queer is probably the one in San Francisco that's just happened. One of my FBook friends (a teacher in SF) has been posting vids and photos from it:

TEEC said...

Oh - just followed the link in your post and found the "IV Buenos Aires International Queer Tango Festival 2010". So the reference wasn't to the International Queer Tango Festival 2010 that just happened in SF. So what text couldn't you find? Seems all there!

msHedgehog said...

Yes, it seems to be a local festival. My impression from the post, which mentions both and gives their addresses, was that the "Queer Tango" one is the same principle as La Marshall.

I clicked about in the site and I just couldn't find that particular bit, but it was late at night and I didn't have much time so suspected I was just being blind.

msHedgehog said...

In a way I wonder if the life of such things might be rather transitory as I've yet to meet a younger Argentine or any European dancer of tango-salon (in the broad sense) who was disturbed by other people dancing with a partner of the same sex. There are lots of people who don't want to do it themselves, which is fine by me, but I don't think it would cross anyone's mind to stop other people doing it.

But for the reasons you and UnaMilonguera both give, I'm very much more attracted by the idea of dancing in Buenos Aires with the knowledge that this is available, than I would be without it. And I'm also really interested to hear about the layout and organisation and quality of dance in these milongas, and how they go about achieving a nice milonga, because I think we could learn a lot from this about what the essential ingredients really are.

maya said...

About time... or as we say in spanish:
Ya era hora.

Simba said...

I had a great time at La Marshall, although it was a few years ago.

Like Una milonguera, I find it hilarious that they share the venue with one of the most strictly-enforced-codigos milonga and dj with the rather conservative Sunderland (Milonga del mundo) and Niño Bien.

From what I remember, both dancing and music was classic and the layout too, tables along the walls, more tables in the short ends. Great people and music are the key ingredients.

David Bailey said...

There's a Review of tango queer here.