There’s value in seeking out particular partners to dance your favourite D’Arienzo tanda, Tanturi valses, or a Di Sarli/Rufino tanda. You know who dances these in the style you enjoy.
But what about all of your other partners? By this, I mean the other couples already on the floor! It may be wise to survey the line of dance for a moment, before entering the ronda. You probably have no desire to dance in front or behind a couple who are dancing in a dangerous fashion (high boleos, large unpredictable movements, poor body control, etc.). And then there are the couples who are dancing to the music in a manner very different to how you would, e.g. you may prefer to dance to some Pugliese slowly, without any complex moves, whereas your neighbouring couple may be fast & furious! This will certainly disrupt your focus on the music. It certainly distracts me! So, look for couples who will dance in a way that complements you ….. and men, there’s also a lot to be gained by dancing behind a very good male dancer!
When I visualise dancing at my favourite milongas, I see a crowded floor, with my dance space on the outside ronda being no more than a ‘baldosa’ – maybe one metre square. Yet, there is rarely a bump, because the dancing reflects the music very well, and the navigation skills of most leaders allow them to incorporate their neighbours’ movements into their own. In this milonga, despite its busyness, I can normally relax with my partners, because I trust most of the other leaders that surround me.