From the Yahoo Group "TangoDJ"...a thread that just popped up...
The first post from Yura ::
Posted by: "Yura"
Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:13 pm (PDT)
I think that the imporantce of the DJ and her/his contribution to a milonga often highly exaggerated - and not least by the DJs themselves. The DJ would like to believe that people come to the milonga because they like the music which she or he plays, but this is not true. Rather, this is not completely true. People come to a particular milonga, because they like the room, the location is convenient for them to get to, they can eat well there, because the floor here is just slippery enough, and because a lot of good dancers come there. Nobody goes to a particular milonga only because this is the place where a particular DJ plays the music. Choosing between a milonga in a convenient location, with a long bar, good floor, moderate prices, and mediocre DJ, versus a milonga held in a place not entirely comfortable, attractive, or convenient, but with a very good DJ, I bet that all other things being equal, most people will choose the first milonga.
Various factors contribute to this choice, but there is one lesson from this is that among all the factors influencing the dancers' choice of a milonga, the DJ is far from being in first place. And I belive the DJ should remember this.
Many thanks to Kirill for his help in translation.
Reply posted by Andy ::
Posted by: "Andy"
Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:02 pm (PDT)
I'm afraid you compare apples and oranges. The point is not to choose
between a good DJ and a bad floor or vice versa, but between 2 DJs at
otherwise similar circumstances.
It also depends how you define mediocre. The main border line is not
mediocre but "acceptable" and this is a individual choice. I don't' know
the name of all good DJ I had ever the pleasure to enjoy, but I
certainly remember the ones that I never want to hear again, doesn't
matter how gorgeous the place, the attendance, etc. are!
Actually the choice between two milongas running at the same time is a
sum of all criteria, like every choice in life. There are "knock out"
criteria and acceptable criteria. The choice is made by the weighted sum
of the criteria after excluding the knock out candidates. One doesn't
have to know anything about decision making theory, it happens
unconsciously. For me the long bar and the prices are absolutely
irrelevant, the floor a little bit, what counts is if one or better
three of my favourite dancers are there and a maximum one or two, better
zero kamikaze dancers attending ;-).
Reply from Tom ::
Posted by: "Tom"
Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:34 pm (PDT)
Sorry, I couldn't disagree more. Well, it isn't about the music, it is
about the emotions evoked by the music.
The DJ manages the energy of the dance and creates the psychological
experience for the attendees. A good DJ can make things work out okay,
a bad DJ can suck the life out of the party, and a great DJ? A great
DJ can create an extraordinary experience. It is an art, not an
The DJ is like the master of ceremonies, or in a new-age sense, the
ritual master, the keeper of the drum-circle, if you want to go new-
agey. Once you have experienced a milonga that takes you beyond
yourself, then maybe you understand. If you haven't, well many things
can get in the way: inexperience, bad mood, lack of "good" dancers,
missing your favorite dancers, non-musical crowd, a crowd that just
doesn't feel the music.
You are right that it works better when all the practical things are
in place, but a good DJ creates the psychological experience. This is
what the great DJs from the electro/trance-scene or even the disco-
scene have taught us.
Reply from Jake ::
Posted by: "Jake"
Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:41 pm (PDT)
Yuri Alekseev wrote:
> Choosing between a
> milonga in a convenient location, with a long bar, good floor,
> moderate prices, and mediocre DJ, versus a milonga held in a place
> not entirely comfortable, attractive, or convenient, but with a very
> good DJ, I bet that all other things being equal, most people will
> choose the first milonga.
"... all other things being equal"? We might as well propose that both
milongas are taking place in the middle of a power outage, and vote in
favor of whichever DJ can whistle.
"Most people" would, I imagine, have a better experience at /both/
milongas if no element was unnecessarily compromised but instead raised
to its optimum. Put the strong DJ in the strong venue: it's not very
complicated. Why follow a recipe for mediocrity, when there's an easy
chance for excellence?
I.e., there is no convincing reason to retain a mediocre DJ when you
could have an excellent one (or two), all other things /actually/ being
equal. Ego is in fact the only thing (to my knowledge; I omit the
possibility of malice) that could prompt one to decide otherwise.
And finally, a very lucid analogy from Plademan ::
Posted by: "plademan"
Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:27 pm (PDT)
Thank you Tom for your perspective.
I hope this analogy can provide a parallel perspective.
A good dancer dances steps, rhythms and melodies of the music.
A great dancer dances the emotions of the music.
A good DJ manages the energy and plays balanced tandas.
A great DJ plays emotionally connected tandas that pulls the dancers heart strings.
For me, it is always about the music, which always comes down to the DJ. I would dance on a street corner in the rain, hungry, thirsty, cold and tired if the music (DJ) were good/great. I have left many a milonga two to three hours before it ended because the music being played was crap.
The first poster, Yura, (whom I do not know) represents a great number of tango dancers who I believe don't "get" that tango is about the music first, the connection second, and everything else is not even a consideration.