Recently I was incredibly surprised to see my image on the newsfeed in facebook with my picture advertising that there would be a birthday celebration for me at the beloved “el maipu” milonga (tango social dance) here in Buenos Aires.
What a fantastic idea!
Having invited a few friends, enjoying some local champagne and laughing a lot….the organizer Dany whispered something in my ear like…so we will have a birthday vals for you.
I had actually never seen a Birthday vals done in this milonga before so didn’t take it very seriously. Once the announcements were done and my Birthday mentioned, Dany suggested that since I had blown out the candle on the Birthday cake too early (or late)(who can remember with all the champagne) I would have to dance a Birthday vals in front of everybody.
Once having stood up a friend of mine danced a little spiral of the vals with me and very quickly someone else cut in and danced a little phrase etc…. etc…it was a lot of unexpected fun and really felt great to have the organizers invite me to do this with all the regulars. This milonga has been a regular place for me for over six years.
Thank you to all the regular dancers.
A special thanks to Lucy and Dany of “El Maipu” that run a truly generous, friendly milonga (dance) that makes everyone feel ‘at home’.
Often while in the milongas (dancehalls), such as La Nacional, run by Lucy and Dany on Mondays, (El Maipu) in Buenos Aires, I find myself peering off in the distance staring at the magical footwork on the dancefloor, my absolute favourite of all time being Juan Carlos Pontoriero.
His elegance of movement, unending smile and absolute joy, made you desire to strive to be a much better dancer. The grace and polish in his footwork to me … legendary.
Thank you for inspiring me to keep on with this wonderful tango journey.
In Coqueta, by Orquesta Tipica Victor, 1929, the very first notes viscerally punch me in the stomach and make me feel melancholy and sad. My whole body wants to move in slow motion recalling all old losses in this mood of death and disaster. During this social tango we walk together, play with the rhythm and pause.
From my side step at 1:01, I try and create a little adornment that is languid and full of beauty. My partner pauses for me and pulls me in a little closer to begin the next part of his lovely intimate walk. The tango is a soft, loving game or dialogue. We internalize the music and freely interpret the movement based on the social tango dancing style of Buenos Aires. Each of us moves from a loving, longing, respectful centre that knows this is an ephemeral moment in time, only making our tango, Coqueta, more remarkable.
Thank you to Paul Akmajian and the wonderful community in Tuscon and Green Valley, that completely encircled me from the first moment. A special thanks to Niki Glen and Cristian Sierra who invited us to dance a third tango, that he selected.
All my life three passions have been travelling with me from inception. Music, dance and art. No matter what, they have kept me inspired and always with the desire to seek out more.
At a very young age with a family that believed in the arts, the road has been a very compelling one.
The joy of the arts has been fundamental. Building on a strong familial theme of continuing education, for life, I have found myself getting as much out of participating in classes as constructing and teaching them.
A lifelong pattern of studying something deeply that you love and then share the essence of it with others emerged.
Inspiring a few along the way is thrilling.
Hence the blog, in this medium I hope to affect, motivate, share my experiences, reflect, and share my passion of Argentine tango.
At times I have asked myself if other people that dance tango in the milongas truly adore the absolute thrill and visceral power of dancing totally “improvisationally” as much as I do.
When the opportunity arises to attend a milonga the anticipation beforehand is palpable.
What music will be played?
What should I wear?
How will my tandas be?
Will my favourite partners be there?
How will the floor/group feel?
Will I be able to open a little door and create some of the magic that will leave us both desiring more at the end of our beloved tanda?
Having the experience of dancing here,abroad and travelling to Buenos Aires many times and residing there for months on end my desire to improvise something beautiful/passionate and completely in the moment has never been diminished.
I would be thrilled to hear some of your stories about interesting spontaneous tandas and would love you to share some of them here if you like.
Here is one of my last demos this year in Buenos Aires at Cachirulo,the Saturday night milonga hosted by Norma and Hector in Villa Malcolm. This tango is pure spontaneous improvisation….and to me, completely thrilling.
Isabella Szymonowicz currently is one of the hosts of a Monday night practica.
For details/times please check Swansea Town Hall
This article has been translated in articulos en espagnol.