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The Role of the DJ

Posted: 18:14, Tuesday 25 October 2005 by Megan Jones

Updated: 17:53, Tuesday 25 October 2005 by Megan Jones

So, what are the responsibilities of a DJ at a milonga? How do they decide which music to play? Are there any guidelines available to a DJ with “L plates”? The following notes come from the website a fantastic site for music information.

Described simply, the DJ plays the music at a milonga, practica or other tango event in which recorded music is used. In playing the music, the DJ assumes control of the energy and success of the event and becomes responsible for the experience of a whole room full of people, and potentially the evolution of the tango community.

The DJ can greatly affect the tango community by influencing how well people dance and how well they regard their evening of dancing. If the DJ plays music that has clear dance rhythms and inspires the dancers, they are more likely to move with energy and with a connection to the rhythm of the music. The DJ can also prepare dancers to go to Buenos Aires and have a great time dancing by playing the classics of tango—the music the dancers are likely to hear at milongas in Buenos Aires.

You cannot assume the responsibility for playing the music and use it as a vehicle to show off. In accepting the role of playing the music, your goal is to encourage people to dance and dance, all night long. You DJ to share the joy of this experience. It is a great experience to have a room full of people dancing, with very few sitting down, and the energy of the room electric.

Although the DJ is frequently one of the most knowledgeable people about tango music in the community and often has the largest collection of CDs, the DJ’s own tastes and needs are not the priority for a successful evening. The successful DJ must have a sensitivity to the crowd and be able to engage in a conversation with a room full of dancers through the music that is played. On some nights, the dancers are full of energy and find spirited tangos to their liking. On other nights, the dancers may prefer quieter, more lyrical music.

Ahhh, nothing like a little bit of pressure for our resident DJ’s! But seriously, I think it’s helpful to appreciate the decisions and conditions a good DJ must make and respond to in their role. I’ll add more from the tejas tango website over the next few weeks. Any aspiring DJ’s out there…??


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