This was the question/comment posed to me Saturday night at a Tango milonga/dance in Portland, Oregon recently by an attractive milonguera there.
It really made me laugh.
I didn’t realize the locals (some new friends, others old) knew what I was up to (obviously aided by my hosts).
Well, what was I up to?
Hmmm… how about a little tour of all the local milongas/practicas?
And would they like to join me for the samplings of goodies sure to follow?
Being the great people that they are, my friends happily agreed to come along and help me out with the ‘task’.
So, each day for eight consecutive days/nights we eagerly went to a local Tango milonga/practica……..’crawl’ in Portland.
Every day I danced with experienced and less experienced partners….at times ending the evening with absolute exhaustion, which felt wonderful. Each milonga had some stupendous tango tandas. Without exception in all events, people took time to chat with me and make me feel happy, special and included.
Events that were sampled:
Saturday Aime Comme Moi hosted by Joe Leonardo
Sunday Sunday Night Milonga hosted by Yogi Nasser
Monday Noche de BsAs hosted by Robert Hauk
Tuesday New Years Event hosted by Amy PK
Wednesday practica by Alex Krebs
Thursday Norse Hall Milonga hosted by Jerry Wallach
Friday Chispa hosted by Mikas
Saturday Berretin hosted by Alex Krebs
Sunday practica by Bill Alsup
Each event had a unique flavour and vibe. Overall the music was captivating with the majority of selections focusing on the melodic Golden Age of Tango from the 40’s.
As a whole, the community gave me a huge tango ’embrace’ and succeeded in, again…helping me have a terrific time.
On my last Saturday night in Cachirulo Obelisco, Buenos Aires last September, Hector (the famous, flamboyant organizer) came up to me and invited me to dance a “despedida” dance in Cachirulo El Beso on the following Tuesday and did I have someone in mind I would like to dance a Tango with.
The invitation was accepted, eagerly, and of course I had someone in mind to dance with me.
Who else but Claudio Strang this year?
He accepted….now the only thing left to decide was which Tango would we dance. Well, this is quite a difficult question if you love to dance Tango. Which one? Should the tempo be slow..or fast? Melodic or rhythmic? Which orchestra? Vocal or instrumental? And let’s not forget having both partners agree to the same selection.
Fortunately we had planned to get together anyway and film a few videos so we thought some tango would spring to mind and it would be relatively easy to come up with a selection. During our filming we decided it would be nice to dance Pocas palabras by Tanturi/Castillo.
Having gotten to El Beso later than usual for me, after dancing one tanda, Hector came up to me and said that after the next tanda we would do the demo. He wanted us to dance earlier than usual because there probably would be a lot of people that wanted to leave early as there was an important football match on.
Claudio and I are introduced, everyone is told it is my ‘despedida’ (good-bye or farewell) and the music comes on.
Well both Claudio and I look at each other with surprise as the first notes are played….we laugh, embrace and begin our fun.
Talk about an improvisation.
With all the best planning in the world anything can happen in Buenos Aires. As the first notes echoed out we realized that someone misunderstood which song we would dance…instead of dancing Pocas palabras by Tanturi…we heard Siete palabras by Di Sarli, which we had never even danced to before together!
We had a good time and having danced many years in Cachirulo El Beso, it felt great to have to a chance to dance in front of many friends and the incredible wonderful dancers that go there regularly.
Thanks again to Hector and Norma of Cachirulo.
Thrilling….to be on the dance floor in North America with hundreds of people dancing tango. A floor so immense it never actually looked really crowded. Tons of dancers dancing and trying to stay in some kind of lanes. People moving in completely different styles but respecting the available space and moving in a soft way. This was delightful. The vibe, energy, mood was great. Everyone looked like they were truly enjoying themselves. Lovely!!
Here is a clip of the ronda featuring the Festival Instructors….showing a great deal of enthusiasm and fun in this Canaro milonga.
I also had the great pleasure of working with Paul Akmajian as guest teachers at the festival… and enjoyed our classes, as always, very much.
Pam and John … founders of We Tango … are taking some time off and luckily a few friends of mine gently suggested that I should offer to help them out. To my surprise the ever gracious couple have taken me up on my offer and here I go again … back at Swansea Town Hall.
Please join me on Wednesday nights, from 8p.m. to 10:45p.m. to share some beautiful music, friends and “charla”.
See you there!
“Papas Caliente” by Donato seemed the perfect milonga to dance last week in Buenos Aires since there seemed to be no milongas available with titles like….’Cool breezes’ or ‘Milonga de Patagonia’…. as it happened to be the warmest day ever on record for September.
Still winter but at 29 degrees Celsius who would believe that?
The dancing became much more ‘quiet and still’ reminiscent of how the older milongueros do it… with great reserve and many years of practise of pacing themselves for the long hours spent at the milongas. (Recently a new place to dance at in Buenos Aires opened up with the hours from 17:00 to 03:00! I wonder if there are participants that stay for the full ten hours? And let’s not even talk about the complexities of DJ’ing such an event on a regular basis.)
The weather, mood, provided a lovely chance to dance simply, elegantly and within the embrace of a beautiful dancer…Claudio Strang.
A beautiful opportunity to be part of Tango & Politica..a television show filmed in Buenos Aires for cable TV.
Why not try out the idea of going to a new Tango Festival or finding time for more tango travel?
The lovely benefits of meeting new dancers (and old), listening to even more beautiful music, being in a different space and feeling a new vibe, certainly can be enchanting.
The idea of meeting more people that are as passionate as you and just as dedicated to growth within the dance absolutely beckons.
See you in Albuquerque.
Tango shoes in Buenos Aires…the selections in the stores here are fabulous and the shoes peer out in various showcases like gorgeous, shimmering jewels waiting to be found.
Looking in some of the windows is so exciting at some locations, while at others you have to go in and ask to see the latest trends. Some of the shops are modern, others frou frou but my favorite is the shop that is loaded with antiques and harkens back to a by-gone era.
Tango shoes come in all kinds of colours, solids or patterns,, leather, suede, patent leather, even stamped leather and fabric.
Which heel height would you like? High? Low? In the middle range?
What style of heel do you feel good in? Flared? Spike?
Does the arch fit your foot?
Sling back, full back, or T strap?
Do you prefer things that are sleek or fuzzy?
What kind of sole do you like most? Leather, non-leather, chrome, a mix of both?
Should you pay cash or use a charge card? What are the advantages to either?
Go with a friend or find your treasure on your own?
Which brand will I choose??
So many lovely questions to ask oneself when on a tango shoe hunting safari.
No wonder it takes us so long to decide on which pair after considering all of the above!
Wood floor, lovely music, nice partner….but oops!
How do I adjust my dance to this tiny little floor space?
Well, nothing beats an embrace that gets a little closer, steps a little smaller and of course more contra-body movement. Connect in a way that is even more intimate.
Breathe and flow with the music and dance creating small spirals as a group.
The milongas in Buenos Aires have this down to a science practically. Everyone dances in a counter-clockwise motion and ‘lanes’ are formed. The group breathes and moves together and an honour of a milonguero is to make sure his partner “never” touches anyone. Passing happens rarely and if it ever does it is from the left.
To see this mass moving together really is something beautiful and special.
Please join us Sunday June 2 at El Almacen and enjoy the beautiful tango music and embrace your own ‘small space dancing’ skills!