I just threw the poll about cliquishness up the other day because I was feeling fragile. Life has been emotionally tough for me lately and when you are feeling fragile is not the time to visit tango events where you know the cliques are strong. I am someone who removes themselves from groups when cliques are evolving and thus makes bad 'friends'.
It is my experience that, among others, tango attracts the vulnerable and the socially inept. Of these some will find friendship and new confidence, others will turn their perceived prowess on the dance floor to an arrogance off the floor and form groups of like-minded misguided people. This doesn't only happen at tango - I have seen it happen in other groups for different reasons but for whatever reason it occurs cliquishness creates artificial divides and bad vibes.
Sydney is now such a big tango scene that along with the cliquishness has come another tango scene. If you are not part of, or don't want to be part of, those who consider themselve to be 'it' , these are the places to go. One or two events, such as the milongas run by the tango club, combine the two reasonably successfully, but there are actually a number of milongas where it is totally absent. You will find these milongas by asking around or checking out milongas you have never been to before. Here you will generally find a warm welcome, you will often find a large and different crowd and frequently hosts and hostesses who dance with, and talk to, all their customers. For that is what you are a customer - and as such you deserve to be welcomed and treated as if your presence means something.
I am sure this fracturing of the 'scene' occurs in other cities - and probably also in other dance genres. It is challenging when it first happens but as the 'scene' evolves and new events and schools spring up so do the opportunities for those who enjoy socialising in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.