I just came across a posting on the SydneyTango forum by a disappointed dancer from the Festival - I thought I would copy some of it here and my thoughts!
At last Friday's milonga, I didn’t dance at all. Cue the violins, please.
This was not due to a lack of trying or being new on the scene, in fact, I think I pulled out all the stops I had used, quite successfully, in the past. Perhaps you can suggest something to help me next time.
You can read all her post and an answer, here.
This is a recurrent problem - and one that was being discussed at the table where I was sitting on Saturday night as I sat with 6 women and 2 men. One way I can see of avoiding this at a big special occasion milonga, where everyone is being given a seat, is to actually mix the delegates by using place cards and putting an even number of men and women at each table. (Heaps of work for the organisers I know as I have done this and it doesn't always work because the recalcitrants will always muck up a table or two). At a Festival milonga this would have the added advantage of introducing locals with visitors and giving people the opportunity to get to know more people. It would also prevent locals all sitting together and seeming not to welcome the visitors. At the New Zealand festival I attended last year, they had a Dance with a Stranger tanda, on the opening night and this was an excellent ice-breaker - I would like to suggest to the organisers of the Sydney Festival that they do this on the first 2 nights as a way of introducing everyone - and what an opportunity for women to ask for a dance.