Downtown Milongas and Neighborhood Milongas

In the past in Buenos Aires, there were two types of milongas. One type was concentrated in the downtown of Buenos Aires, and the other one was spread across the “neighborhoods” of Buenos Aires. These two types of milongas were different, the examples of which are below.

Downtown milongas were frequented by singles while neighborhood milongas were usually once-a-week events for everyone in the neighborhood and thus families comprised the majority of its crowd.

Downtown milongas were places of anonymity and much “action” took place, while in neighborhood milongas, everybody knew everybody, everybody was also watching everybody, and when you dance with someone his/her parents and grandparents were watching what you do while dancing, and thus there was restriction on the way you dance and how you conduct yourself in and out of the milongas.

At downtown milongas, one could dance around, so to speak, with many different people in one night, but at neighborhood milongas, it was not uncommon that one danced with only one person during the night in a date-like situation.

In downtown milongas, the absence of overwatching parents allowed more sexual body contacts. Meanwhile, in general it was more difficult to do so in a neighborhood milonga.

In downtown milongas, because of prevailing anonymity, the separation of tango and real life was not uncommon. For example, married people danced closely with different partners while they hid their milonga life from their spouse. Often, asking about one’s real life was not welcomed. In neighborhood milongas, tango life and real life were more integrated. People met there, got married, and danced there together as real life couples or stopped dancing as they became busy with building a family.