Journal 8 - December 29

buenos aires journalYes, I haven't had the time to update my journal for awhile! Too much dancing! Which is good... I'm here at the nice internet cafe so I can add on the days, the other place I go to is dark, smokey, and noisy with young kids playing games.

On Christmas day, I didn't have much to write, we had a relaxing holiday. Though, for the night, we went to Club Espagnol to see four couples perform. Club Espagnol is the perfect image of a traditional milonga. Marble floor with red carpet leading up to the second floor, statues decorated, high ceilings, like a manor. The milonga was going on in the 2nd floor. It was brightly lighted, and a long rectangular floor. The crowd consisted more of the older generation, people dressed a little bit more fancier. Knowing this, I wore my red dress that I bought at the Long Beach Tango event. We sat at Jorge & Maria "La Turca" fe s table and danced a couple, waiting for the performance. The performance was by Geraldine & Javier, Jorge & La Turca, and two couples from Italy. Wow, when it started, it just totally blew us off! First, the two couples from Italy performed, one couple was mediocre, but danced very nicely, the second couple had strong basic techniques making long steps and the syncronization was perfect. The crowd responded and the applauding continued for awhile. Then Jorge & La Turca, yes, they just daintly stepped on the floor, cracking a joke, like they were about to just play around with the music. Of course, this is exactly what they did, you can see them playfully taking their steps and their joy of dancing tango. Nothing spectacular, but the whole dance was just purely tango in all aspects, just wonderful! The crowd cheered on! Then Geraldine & Javier, they are the best! Their young energy breaking the air, up-tempo, techniques strong and steady, while they took on Jorge & La Turca's playfulness, they danced their hearts out. You can see their love and passion for the dance and for each other, it was strong and just beautiful tango! The crowd broke into the biggest applause, continuing forever, and clapping for encore, the young couple with their face radiant. They danced an encore with a milonga, probably improvising, but still so perfect and together, and with the same energy. The crowd loved them! I loved them, this was the best show so far of my trip. Then, to our surprise, the little daughter of Jorge & La Turca, Samantha, came out on the floor with Javier. They danced a tango, and wow, she was just as great as her sister Geraldine! Unbelievable! They gave me the same sensation, as when I went to Spain and saw a Gypsy family just dancing their true flamenco passion and what just lives inside them. This family really knows what tango is, and lives it. I felt really honored to know, that I am with one of the best maestros in Buenos Aires...! The real tango is here!

buenos aires journalAfter the shows, we moved on to Confiteria Ideal. The orchestra Contratiempo was playing for the night. There were not that many people when we got there, and we saw that the people sitting at the tables were mostly tourists...mmmmm something wrong in the air. Gradually, more dancers came in. Being able to get a good table on the side of the floor, I made some eye contact and danced. I had some good dances, I felt myself getting used to relaxing a bit more, feeling the music... or maybe it was the champagne that we had at Club Espagnol?! The orchestra played some nice tunes, more melodical than rhythmical despite their name. The floor was sticky and tired my feet, we decided to move on to the 3rd milonga for the night...!

We got to Nino Bien at Humberto Primo. This is where they have La Cachafaz on Tuesday nights. On the way inside, we met Nancy from Los Angeles. Happy to see a familiar face, we chatted for awhile, she was already on her way out. We went upstairs, and the big room was still filled with people, a good milonga atmosphere. We sat at a table, and the waitress came around, their was no more water without gas, so we ended up ordering white wine. More alcohol! (wink, wink) We sat, and I waited to get some eye contact, getting used to this more. It's pretty hard, you have to have good eyesight, and to know where the people you want to dance with is sitting. They also have to be interested in dancing with you, or they may never look your way. I got some good dances and by the time we left around 5am, my feet were just as sore as can be, but feeling very satisfied with the night. It was a good Christmas.

Next day, of course, we tried to get our sleep, and we got up late. I don't remember if we did anything in particular that day, by the time we were ready to start the day, it must have been time for Jorge's class at Boedo at 5pm. We did a sequence with some sacadas and boleos. He talked about the simplicity and definement of moves in tango. Their are dancers that try to do complicated moves, but that does not always bring out the beauty of tango. Putting the simple moves together in your original way, defining each move perfectly with your partner makes tango alive.You can always play around with the simple steps. This was something very agreeable and what we aimed for.

Tired after class, we sat at the Parilla place close by with a couple from the class. Out on the street, and the smell from the grill inside. We just breathed in the evening air, and ate our meat, feeling our tired bodies settling down a bit. The other couple was in Buenos Aires for tango too. Alot of the visitors here, are here, just for tango, not for a simple vacation. This is the mecca, the place to be...

buenos aires journalWe headed home in silence, pretty tired, we got ready for the milonga that night. Stella was having her birthday party at L. Falcon. We got to the milonga around 12. The place still starting to fill up. It was like a restaurant with a floor in the middle. A different crowd than the others. We sat at Ernesto & Stella's table, danced some, while we waited for them to arrive, they were performing that night. Alot of people from their classes were there, and I tried to chat a little in my broken down new language. I guess I am getting a bit better in this, not to mention that it has no sense of grammar, but still communication goes! Ernesto & Stella arrived, and they did their performance. You can tell that Stella seemed to be in happiness dancing with Ernesto, and on her special day. It was beautiful! We all greeted them, as they came back to the table. Another great performance! We stayed a bit more, and I contacted some people accross the floor. A guy from Italy, there are so many people from Italy, that I think half the people I've danced with so far is Italian! Then, an Argentinian living in New York. He had the look of a good dancer, so I just looked at him and was able to catch his eye. He was, really, good. He danced with the most long steps, even though he was not quite tall, and danced really smooth on that crowded floor. I would describe his dance in gray and blue tones, very contemporary feel, but smoother than strong black and white mono tones, like gliding on air. I found out that he teaches in New York, and he is also a modern dancer. Yes, you can definetely tell. It's amazing how you can feel so much, just from dancing with that person...!

We moved on to La Viruta to end the night. We rode on the taxi with an Argentinian girl who lives in Austria. After 3:30am the entrance is free, and this is where all the tangueros come after the other milongas end. It was already pretty packed. Somehow, we got a table near the floor, but it was not best location. The better dancers were on the other side of the big column next to us, and I could not try to get eye contact. We had our coffees with media lunas, after 4am, each cup of coffee comes with 3 media lunas. We had 6 at our table!! An old man came up to ask me for a dance. We danced one tanda, he was not a good dancer, and I was looking around for another dance, when he came up to ask me for another, no eye contact or anything, just simply coming up in front of me. You know me, it's not the most polite thing for a man to do that, but I couldn't say no, and I had to dance another tanda. At La Viruta, the tandas are longer, they play about 8 songs instead of the usual 4..., so imagine how many songs I ended up dancing with him! Then Gabriel advised me that, I can always say "Gracias" at any point after a song, if you don't feel like dancing anymore. Then, to my surprise, he probably told one of his friends to dance with me, and another man starts to try to catch my eye smiling right at me... oh no! So, I just started talking as fast as I can to Gabriel, and begging him to not leave and dance the tanda with me. He first heard me wrong, and started standing up, yes, I'll leave and let you dance with him... no, no, no, no, no! Phew, so he helped me get out of this. Yes, being a girl is sometimes difficult, you don't always get the initiative of choosing who to dance with, so you have to have a way... La Viruta started to finish off. They start to play stronger songs like Piazolla, then they suddenly turn off the light, pitch black! And dramatically, La Cumparsita comes on. This is the best of this milonga, the grand finale! We start dancing slowly to the song's intro, quiet and beautiful in darkness, then when the song blasts into its' energetic melody, the bright lights go on, and off we go dancing! Just great! And after this, they play one tanda of swing, salsa, or chacarera, and other types of dances to end the night. Again it was almost 7, when we stepped outside to the morning air. Birds chirping, taxi driver greeting us "Buenas Dias!"