Yes yes, here I am again, the snobbery apologist. I've been back to the US for a few weeks, and I've DJed at a few milongas, and I have to say, I am absolutely appalled. I'm not an experienced DJ, but I have never felt my work be so unappreciated. A few experienced dancers and organizers come up to me at the end complimenting me on the music. Of course I have no way of knowing whether they mean it or it's just courtesy, but I'll take it at face value. The not-so-good dancers (yes, I'm being my judgmental self, so what), though, grew restless and continuously came up to me asking me for salsa and nuevo....... Seriously? Asking me for nuevo is asking for a backhanded slap to the face. Please don't make me resort to violence. And salsa? This is a city with a huge hispanic population; you can go pretty much anywhere else to dance salsa. Try asking for tango at a salsa bar...
From my perspective, it boils down to two things:
1) people have come to expect these kinds of things by being accustomed to poor, negligent DJing, as I've remarked on a previous post. To continue with the analogy of the previous post, I felt like a parent feeding their kid a 5 start hotel full course meal with the retard child complaining that he prefers McDonalds' happy meal.
2) Organizers continuing to acquiesce to these people's demands, continuing a never ending vicious circle. Why should they honor the requests of people who have no idea what a milonga should be? To keep them coming to the milonga and make it profitable? I believe tango should be above money and profits... On the long run, chasing the money has made this community stagnate.
Leo, who I consider my mentor, is the one who first encouraged me to start DJing. I remember a conversation with him where I asked him how you would evaluate a DJ's performance. He told me that, for a regular milonga, seeing the best dancers pleased would be a good indicator, while for a festival or a workshop milonga the visiting maestros' reactions would be the gauge. At first, this struck me as a very elitist approach, although I didn't say anything. But it's the way I've been DJing since I started. The rationale was that keeping the best dancers on the floor would make others follow suit. Now I really agree with him, that from the perspective of a DJ, at the risk of being perceived as snobby and an elitist, one has to cater to the best dancers' demands (whether or not they're explicit, which in most cases they're not, unlike others...), not the other way around, catering to "the unenlightened masses", who in a way are unenlightened because of a vicious circle started with negligent organizers who are only chasing their share of the pie rather than really promoting tango (although this is arguable, as with all vicious circles... like the chicken and the egg).
You can give me all the arguments of bad economy and the need to be pragmatic in making sense in the short term business perspective. But it's time to swallow the pragmatism in favor of a long term vision, of creating a community that really understands and loves tango.
I'm ashamed to say that I gave in to the constant demands for salsa, and even gave the DJing duties to a co-organizer for a tanda of electrotango. But next time, I'm standing my ground and not giving in.