WOMEN AND TANGO… It is accepted as a fact, that women should be the centre of all attentions in tango, or, as milongueros in Buenos Aires put it, treated as preciously as diamonds. So why were gentlemen of the Golden Age dancing tango together?
From the beginning of tango history, immigration led to an imbalance between the number of men and women in Buenos Aires. As a result, men started practicing tango amongst themselves, learning from each other in the streets or at practicas. Less experienced younger male dancers started by playing the role of the follower, before learning how to lead another man. Once they were considered good enough, they would make their first outing at a milonga, where a more advanced dancer would ask a lady to dance with the newbie as a favour.
At that time, at the dances, woman were outnumbered (about 10-1), only the best male dancers got to dance. So the tradition of men practicing with men was upheld.
Also, at the milonga, gentlemen would only do steps they completely mastered and would not take any risk. At the practica however, gentlemen would try new steps, new combinations, so generally, the level of dancing was higher at practicas than at milongas.