Journal 4 - December 19

buenos aires journalIt's very hot, sunny, and humid today. It's definetely summer here in BA! I can't believe I needed jackets and sweaters for the first few days I was here...

Friday night, we totally did conquer the night! We got ready for the milongas, it was already 1am when we left the apartment. We headed for Cannin again, this day was not too packed but with a decent number of people. Gavito, Nito & Elba were in the house. We got a good corner table and started dancing. It was feeling better, we were kind of getting the hang of moving ever so little that during one song we would only move around half the floor, which was the pace of the whole crowd rotating around the floor. I met a guy from Japan, funny that he first asked me where I was from in Spanish, I couldn't understand what he was saying. He repeated it in English, and I then responded "the United States". He looked a little disappointed, he probably thought I'd say Japan or something, I noticed his change in facial expression. I had to now ask him where he was from, where he replied Japan, and then I told him that I was Japanese too, which finally made him say, "Oh good, I thought so." I got introduced to 2 Japanese girls that were with him, and feeling very Japanese again, bowing and greeting them... It's funny, I've never danced tango in Japan but to meet some people here in BA from Japan. There was a show that night too, Pablo Nievas and his partner. They did some very quick, intense, and a high demanding technical routine, both tango and milonga. But somehow it did not impress me as much. I prefer it when they are more synchronized and harmonious, that you can feel the natural breathing in the whole routine.

It was almost 4 am when we decided to move on to our second milonga that night. La Viruta, two blocks away from Cannin. This is where all the milongueras go for their late night dancing and it's free. When we got there, the live orchestra was finishing off their performance with a very lively milonga. I forgot the name of the orchestra... but they are really good! (Arrienzo? Arran...?? something with an A,...?! I'll find out.), it was too bad we didn't make it early enough to dance to them. The place being the basement of the Armenian Center, had low ceilings and not much of decoration, just a simple room with a rectangular floor (Cannin has a very square floor). It was still very nice, with all the people (alot from Cannin). Jorge was their with Maria, Geraldine & Javier, greeting us with a great big smile, open arms and besos. We watched and danced some, ordering our breakfast Media Lunas and Coffee. They played some Piazollas and having a little more space towards the morning hours, we danced in the open embrace like in LA. It was almost 7am by the time we left the building. Unlike the dark room, it was already a fresh morning with bright sunshine and birds chirping.

buenos aires journalEven though, it was already 7:30 by the time we got to bed, we had to wake up by noon, since we were planned to take Jorge's group class. It was at Confiteria Ideal from 3:00 in the afternoon, until 8:00....! We got onto the subway. There are always people who ask for some donations or trying to sell things, sometimes even kids, on the subways. Someone holding a baby in their arms, or trying to sell stickers, or a kid trying to sell pens, or a poet trying to sell their little paper booklet,... the other day their was an interesting couple, that acted as though one was asking for help because his cat was lost or something, speaking in a gay way, and the other guy telling him to shut-up and contesting him by saying, yes he lost his rhinosauras too. They were shouting across the compartment, it was a comedy act, where people in the train couldn't help hiding their laughs, and in the end revealing that they were actors. This was very creative... But for the others, it really makes you think of the economical situation they have here in BA, and even in LA or other cities.

We were the earliest at the class. It was quiet, and the air was warm and humid inside the big room. Jorge and Maria appeared after awhile, and more students followed. It was a relaxed feel. They started playing some tango, and we warmed up. Trying out our sequence that we learned, we realized that we have already improved, just dancing in the milongas here. It gives you something without even noticing. Jorge started a sequence with some front sacadas, it was difficult in the way that you have to organize the angle you walk in, to keep your line of dance, and to take your long steps in order for the sacadas to work. Then after 2 or 3 hours of tango, they started the milonga dance. Now, this is what I needed to work on. They put some music on, and we started to dance, Maria stopping us to ask if we knew the basics of the milonga. Oops, no we didn't at all! People in LA had never taught us that there even was a basic in milonga! (Although I know, just this weekend there is a 2 day workshop, just for Milonga in LA by Pablo, yes please teach the LA people the basics of milonga!!!) Guys lined up on one side, girls facing them, we started to learn the steps. This was something very different, and now I can feel the rhythm and the rock to the body that it naturally gives. And now, I can understand why I could never ever follow the milonga correctly. I never knew the rhythm in this way!! It felt like it totally opened up a new platform for us. Now, I felt like experimenting and seeing how differently it could develop. Things without a concept or a basis can never develop, it just turns into chaos, but with a base, it definetely has the potentials of becoming something! After some time in doing the basics of milonga, we got back to the second half of tango, more front sacadas. At one point figuring out the right angle of our torsos to make it work. Then, Jorge told us to show him everything we have so far from today's sequence. There he gave us some really great tips. Relaxing our torsos, being more natural, lessening the tension, and just taking each step preciously. The world of a difference, when this happened! You can feel, the music and the breathing of the dance, and you felt like you were gliding and dancing...! Hopefully, we will get this feel down! We were getting quite tired, it was already more than 4 hours of hard practice. My feet were feeling very sore from wearing heels... wow ... we danced a bit more of milonga, then some tango. I danced with one of his good students. He led each step very precisely, and with much care. It felt good. Then, almost getting ready to take off my shoes, Jorge signaled me to dance... oh my god! I got into the embrace to dance, I was really really nervous! It's very nerve wrecking to dance with someone you haven't danced with, but more over with this maestro! He felt it right away and told me to relax, answering okay, yes, of course I couldn't really...! :) but still, it was a new experience. He told Gabriel who translated it, that if I loosen up my tension, I would probably be able to feel the music and the slight leads more and the dancing will open up, and that don't go even the slightest right or left, and keep going straight on the correct direction that I'm heading... phew. It still makes me nervous to think about this! We finally changed our shoes, feeling exhausted after this 5 hour intense practice, body and mind. It was a great work out, and I love this feeling of completion that we get. With so much on our minds, we left the place.

Being, thirsty and hungry, we stopped by a Helado place. I got a good scoop of Lemon and Peach flavor. Refreshing... we walked to the subway, and rode on with not really much conversation. I decided to get a Pan Dulce at a bakery right infront of the subway exit. It's the Xmas season, and there are alot of Pan Dulce sold in the bakeries and supermarkets. Being really tired, we decided to stop by for our dinner at a Parilla and Salad Bar Restaurant, otherwise we may never make it out of the house again...! We just got right into filling our plates with the food, and munching on in our thoughts. It was very satisfying. Once we reached the apartment, it was already past 10:30. We decided to call it a night. We would never make it to the milonga that night, knowing there was a good one at Sunderland, maybe next week, we'll be able to control our energy in the class a bit more. Gabriel reading his book on his hammock, and I wrote some postcards to Japan and others. When I went to my room to sleep it was only 12, but I was exhausted!

This morning, to my surprise, I slept a good 10 hours, which I hardly ever get to do, even in LA! Eating some of the Pan Dulce and Mate, breakfast is over, and I'm here now at the internet cafe. Another really hot day! Today, we are planning to go to the milonga at a park, I hear one side has salsa, the other side tango. Another new day here in BA!!