No. The early milonga eventually will be seen as the best business decision of the century for tango lovers. The COVID-19 pandemic was mostly bad news for tango communities. However, one thing that was good is that the pandemic has taught many people that they need more sleep. A strong immune system requires it.
Why are early milongas a good business decision for those who are organizing them? I was not sure that that would be the case, but it made good sense "on paper." In early 2019, I gave my rationale to local organizers, and many were skeptical. However, people who had to drive an hour loved the idea. Others liked hiking or some other activity on the next morning. During the week, many need to wake up early for work. The late-night milonga made them cancel one, and often it was tango. On the other hand, there were those who were night owls, worked late regularly or were retired who hated the idea of an early milonga. Organizers wondered if people would come. So what happened? Dancers came in record numbers once the milongas started at 7pm.
For the nay-sayers, below is a footnote of the myths of why early milongas are a bad business decision.*
An organizer in my community gave the early milonga concept a try on her longest-running monthly Saturday milonga. The result was stunning. Never had there been so many people come to that milonga since its inception, some 12 years ago. She said, "This is great for me too. I have to get up with my children the next day. I love it."
- More people came. The main reason was that people out of town came.
- Dancers had better personal balance and danced better.
- Customers drove home before the drowsy-and-drunk drivers were on the road.
- People with multiple interests awoke to enjoy a full Saturday or Sunday.
- People who work for a living woke the next workday with uncompromised sleep rhythm.
- Everyone had a better chance to have their memory and mood doing better.
The worst business decisions ever made [article].
*Here is that false or at least questionable list of reasons early milongas won't work in your town:
- Early milongas have lots of kids running around your feet. This is not true. Early milongas billed as kid-friendly can create this problem. The tango community understands etiquette. So a simple rule of no children on the dance floor fixes that problem.
- Dancing is a late-night event. "Some wine and a darkened room are part of the tango allure. Think about it. Some of the best dancing you probably have done was early in the day at festivals or encuentros. Early milongas or practicas are doing well in large cities too, including Buenos Aires.
- The excuse is often this: "We have a class before the milonga and that is why the milonga has to be later." This is the best and worst reason to have later milongas. First the best reasons: Classes and following a milonga help raise enough money for organizers. Classes, it is argued, help grow the community with new dancers. The worst reason for combining classes to a milonga: If you are going to have a quality milonga, don't have people learning and then practicing what they learned at your milonga! Also, do you really want to frustrate and demotivate beginners with trying to dance after a class? Seeing advanced dancers dancing so well may be frustrating for many beginners.
- No one will come. The smart organizer merely must try an early milonga that is well advertised. Early milongas in traffic-ridden cities during the week may be hard. But in some cities, an early milonga could allow dancers to come right after work and then go home early.