Anita and Hernan
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Sep 30, 2023

Tango dancers in our world know how sacred a milonga is.

It’s that one social event where tango enthusiasts fill the room with passionate energy, music plays, and the floor’s packed with couples dancing the night away. It’s impossible to miss the genuine connection between partners and the electricity in the air!

Anyone who has been to a milonga can say that the unique and beautiful experience teaches them what it really means to tango.

But, what if one day, you were to wake up, dress up, and head out for a milonga — and find yourself in the metaverse?

You see the dance floor and the people, hear the music, and feel the vibrant atmosphere, but everything is just a little different…

Instead of walking into a room with people in physical bodies, you find yourself among avatars of varying shapes and sizes. And, instead of being in the same physical space as your partner, you’re both seeing the same virtual world through augmented reality.

The idea of dancing in the metaverse has been gaining much traction in different communities.

If you haven’t thought of it before, now might be the time to consider it. The idea of the metaverse alone is exciting. For some dancers, it might just be the ultimate experience. As a tango enthusiast, however, are you ready to slide your way from the physical world to the digital metaverse?

What Is Augmented Reality?

Jumping right into the metaverse might be overwhelming, so let’s start with its basics: Augmented Reality. Investopedia defines augmented reality (AR) as

an enhanced version of our real physical world through digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli. This technology can create a digital reality similar to the physical one.

Is it new? Not really. AR has been around for decades, but it’s only recently gotten a surge of attention thanks to the increased prevalence of mobile devices. You might not realize it, but you’re already using AR in your daily life. Examples include Pokemon Go, Snapchat filters, or even the ability to virtually try on makeup before purchasing it online.

Over time, AR has become a powerful marketing tool for businesses. Recently, companies have been leveraging AR to create more immersive experiences and enhance customer engagement. For example, Ikea allows customers to experience digital furniture in their homes, and museums make interactive tours for visitors.

AR aims to highlight specific features of our real world and derive value from them.

This technology has the potential to revolutionize how we interact with our environment and each other.

What Is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is (digitally) real and slowly evolving.

Is it a product of AR? Essentially, yes. According to Blockchain Council, metaverse firms use AR to captivate customers’ attention. It allows people to enjoy the spectacular vision of the physical and digital worlds in one space.

The metaverse has become popular, with companies competing to create their own versions. In essence,

the metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, which can be seen as an extension of the real world. It comprises interconnected virtual worlds and enables users to communicate, transact, and socialize within the same environment.

For instance, you can go to a virtual restaurant with your friends, order a meal, and have a conversation.

The metaverse is an online environment populated by avatars and virtual objects where you can buy goods and services with virtual currency.

Some brands have already utilized the metaverse in their marketing strategies. Nike, Wendy’s, and Samsung? They’re already leaping into the digital universe! Add Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Balenciaga, Burberry, and other big names to that list; they all have their places in the metaverse.

Milonga at Ultimate Tango

What Are NFTs?

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) play a huge role in the metaverse.

NFTs are digital assets that represent ownership rights to virtual items. You can use them to purchase, sell, and trade digital items.

They are unique in that they cannot be replaced by another instance or token, making them perfect for the ownership of virtual assets.

NFTs are revolutionizing how we will interact with the metaverse. They allow users to exchange virtual goods and services like trading cards, paintings, and even real estate. Many are still hesitant to use NFTs and the metaverse. But, as the technology matures, we can expect more and more people to try it out.

The Metaverse, So Far

To most people, the metaverse is just a figment of their imagination that cannot be put into reality.

Why would we create a digital universe that overlays the physical world? And if we really did, how would it work? The questions are as endless as the metaverse possibilities. First, you should know that the metaverse is already happening.

Many promising AR and virtual reality (VR) developments can boost the metaverse’s capabilities. For example, AR glasses provide a real-time view of our physical world while also seeing virtual elements.

Mixed reality (MR) is another breakthrough; it combines AR and VR, enabling people to interact with both the physical and digital worlds simultaneously.

So far, as shared by Influencer Marketing Hub, the metaverse has had Decentraland’s first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week, with Dolce & Gabbana as one of the biggest brands in the event. Ferrari has also created and released the 296 GTB, and Hyundai launched the Hyundai Mobility Adventure.

Perhaps one of the earliest ventures of the metaverse was Sentosa. When the world was on lockdown, the Singaporean resort launched a virtual experience through the game Animal Crossing.

The metaverse allowed people to escape reality for a few hours and stay at the virtual Sentosa Island as though they were really there.

Yes, there have been many scenes in the metaverse in the last few years, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. In the future, more and more activities are expected to move to the metaverse. Eventually, we’ll be able to experience things in a completely new way.

Understanding the Milonga

Let’s go back to the physical world. If the metaverse has social gatherings like fashion shows, all these are reflections of the social gatherings we have in real life. For tango dancers, the milonga is that important social gathering where the tango is the primary focus. As defined by LiveAbout,

“A milonga is a social event or location for tango dancing—More simply, milongas are tango dance parties. People who dance at milongas are known as milongueros. When a group of people goes tango dancing, they go to a milonga.”

A milonga is where people from all walks of life share and experience tango together.

Music, dance, and conversations are the elements that create a unique milonga atmosphere. Milongas have been around since the origin of the tango, and they are still an essential feature in the tango community today.

Tango Codes

Tango códigos or codes aim to provide a pleasant, respectful milonga experience. They include simple do’s and don’ts, like the following:

  • The cabeceo or the nod when inviting someone to dance.

  • The ronda or line-of-dance, which everyone follows to avoid collisions.

  • No talking while dancing.

  • Dancing with only one partner for a whole tanda.

  • Wearing the right clothes and shoes.

The cabeceo is perhaps the most interesting tango código because it defines how people interact in a milonga.

Siempre Milonguero describes it as:

“To ask someone to dance, a person will catch the eye of the person they want to dance with and nod their head. If the other person accepts the invitation they will nod back. If a person does not want to dance for any reason, they will subtly look away, or not look toward that person to begin with.”

Eye contact between leaders on and off the milonga dance floor is also vital.

When a leader wants to enter the dance floor with their follower, they must make eye contact with the leader already on the floor and establish an understanding that they can join the rotation. The same applies to exiting the dance floor.

The cabeceo is a way of providing respect and communication between couples. It’s not just about initiating the dance but building that connection between partners.

Dancing in Metaverse

Now, let’s try to combine dancing in the real and virtual worlds. Because fashion shows have already happened in the metaverse, there’s no need to wonder if it’s feasible. But what about dancing? How can an avatar in the metaverse dance the same way a real person dances in the real world?

Believe it or not, people have also started exploring the possibilities of dancing in the metaverse. As shared by Lisa Gibbons in “Are Dancers next to take the leap into the Metaverse?”:

“Just recently world-famous ballerina Natalia Osipova, the principal dancer at The Royal Ballet in London, transformed three performance pieces, two from the classic ballet Giselle and one from the contemporary duet Left Behind, into NFTs. The pieces were sold at Bonhams’ new auction, Encore! Modern Art on Stage.”

Virtual dance lessons also have started to surface in the metaverse.

People can take virtual classes, follow the instructor’s steps, and learn how to dance in augmented reality.

More possibilities are bound to happen as more tech companies discover the potential of the metaverse.

Is It Possible To Hold a Milonga in the Metaverse?

If we focus on tango, how is it possible to provide a milonga atmosphere in the metaverse? To start,

tango as a dance requires close contact between the leader and the follower. Learning it in the real world is already challenging, let alone in the metaverse.

Moreover, most of the codes and behaviors mentioned before are related to proximity, so it’s only possible if avatars can feel the same proximity as real people.

In “Learn the Tango in VR? Maybe, but should you?” Greg Nichols reached out to Ultimate Tango managing director, co-owner, and co-founder Anita Flejter. Flejter said,

“In the world of human experience, we do not operate [strictly] in 3D immersion. That’s just the start. We operate based on five senses – sight, sound, taste, smell, touch. VR fulfills only the first two. For dancers, touch is the crucially important one. Tango has evolved over the years due to research and changing teaching styles, but the primary characteristic remains constant — touch.”

It’s easy to give up the idea of dancing the tango in the metaverse at this point. But, if technology could talk, it would say that nothing is impossible. In an article by Venture Beat, music strategy and licensing consultant Randy Eckhardt and HiDef Entertainment founder and executive chairman Anthony Castoro explain how tech companies can help users dance in the metaverse.

Castoro said physical movement could help transcend language barriers in the metaverse. He added:

“If we don’t speak the same language, we have a hard time communicating. But body language? We’re conditioned to see human motion and understand what we’re trying to convey.”

Basically, it’s possible to embed motion capture technology in the metaverse to help avatars move and dance as a real person does. And because physical movement can overcome language barriers, it’s also possible to speak tango’s language in the metaverse.

We can expect a milonga to happen at some point in the metaverse. Will it feel the same as dancing in the real world? No one knows yet, but it’s thrilling to imagine that a whole new dance experience is coming. Tango will keep its tradition alive, but it will also continue to evolve and become something new.

Tango Your Way to the Metaverse

You don’t have to understand the metaverse all at once, but knowing that it’s already there and it’s possible to dance in it should be enough motivation to explore the tango in the real world. After all,

the metaverse is a reflection of us, and it wouldn’t be the same without our presence as dancers.

Ask the questions that spark your curiosity and join the curious ones who are tangoing their way to the metaverse.

Tango is an endless journey, and the metaverse is another door worth opening.

Will it change tango? Who knows. All we can do is take a step and see what comes next. For now, let’s tango our way to milongas until the metaverse comes knocking on our doors.

It doesn’t matter if you are entirely new to dancing… or have been dancing your whole life. We distill everything you need to know to be able to hit the milonga into simple, easy-to-understand steps. Regardless of your level, this course has something for everyone!

At the end of Tango Passport, you’ll be able to improvise and dance the tango…. anywhere in the world. More details HERE.

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