The last couple of weeks I have spent much of my spare time looking for a dance floor - not a portable one, or one the size of a small dining table; not one that is long and thin like a fashion runway, or one that is buried under restaurant tables - just a wooden floor at least 7metres square if it is surrounded by carpet - or a room with a wooden floor the size of a large double garage. I can tell you that they are very, very scarce in Sydney.
For the last four years we have run a Saturday milonga at an RSL in a function room that had a reasonable dance floor, a reasonable sound and lighting system and space around the floor for tables and chairs. But the cost of keeping on staff till midnight forced the management to rethink our regular booking and we must now look elsewhere.
Ten years ago, when I first ran a milonga in Sydney, there were many more clubs, many more dance floors and fewer restrictions caused by staffing costs. Many of these clubs no longer exist, or now use the rooms for regular Saturday night events with Elvis or Abba impersonators, or rock bands - or they want a fee of $1,000! And you can't blame them! Clubs are businesses feeling the squeeze just like everyone else.
One of Sydney's biggest and most popular tango schools recently left the Saturday venue they had used for the last 10 years. They have found that they must use a number of different venues.
I can only see the situation getting more and more difficult - in another 10 years a late Saturday night milonga in Sydney is likely to be as rare as it was when I first began but for different reasons. And there may come a time when Sydney tango organisations need to combine to afford a good venue...
The search continues... but I'm not holding my breath!
Meanwhile we do have milonga at Club Willoughby on the 2nd Friday of the month - hope to see you at the next one.