Journal 5: August 25, 2013

Day 5~6: We ended up going to Sunderland, a milonga that's held in the outskirs of Buenos Aires, in a basketball court, but well known for dancing the traditional salon style, the Villa Urquiza style. In this milonga, most people come in their own groups, enjoy eating, and dancing. It's not the typical milonga where you might expect to get cabaceos to dance. We saw masters like, Miguel Angel Zotto, Javier Rodriguez, Carlos Rivarola, Virginia Pandolfi, and other milongueros and beautiful dancers hanging out and dancing. You are probably expected to dance well and have an understanding of the line of dance, if you are dancing here. We spent just a short period of time there and went to our 2nd milonga, La Viruta, in the basement of the Armenian Association in Palermo.

La Viruta generally has a younger crowd, though you see the older milongueros that have their regular table reserved there. Friday and Saturday nights tend to be a bit crazy with dancers who don't quite know how to navigate, and it gets crowded. We met with Tomas & Gimena and their friends (dancers that are in the competition with us in stage/salon). We danced some very tiny dances, barely moving, but nice in a different way. La Viruta would always end the milonga in a dramatic way with lights off after the 2nd to last song, and to the dramatic cumparsita where all the lights turn back on. This happens at 6am when the milonga finishes. I guess, they don't do this anymore, or maybe they are doing some construction and they can't do it for now? But it didn't happen, and I was a bit disappointed, my favorite part of this milonga....! I kept, my sleepy partner there, just so he can see that... Sorry Laurent!

Today, we slept in after getting to bed at 7am, a typical tango night/morning for Buenos Aires. We made it to the festival venue to see the concert where Juan Carlos Copes, Junior Cervila, and Miguel Angel Zotto were going to perform. All the concerts, competitions, shows and classes are completely free for this festival (some require you to line-up to get admission tickets). It is amazing that the city hosts this grand cultural event! The place was packed by the time we got there. Of course, no seats were available at this point, and everyone else was standing around to see the show.

Juan Carlos Copes is one of the most important legends of stage tango. If it weren't for him, Tango probably wouldn't have spread around the world like it did. He brought tango out of the milongas and put them on stage. Where Broadway embraced his shows, and other countries like Europe and Japan. A thank you wouldn't be enough for his contribution to the world of tango.

The show was entertaining, and the live music and singing was so beautiful. I always feel like I am completely transcended in the live music, by these master orchestras and singers here in Buenos Aires, like a child in awe for something that he/she had never seen or ever heard. My insides feel like they melt away and I get quite emotional.

The most inspiring part was Copes and Zotto's discussion with each other. Zotto was talking about what kind of influence Copes had for him personally. He mentioned how Copes had given him an advice about 3 things he should never forget when he dances, and how he holds that to his heart to this day. To step fully with the full foot, to stand straight, and to not look at the floor. It seems simple but in tango, there are always these simple advices from masters that change your dance forever. Zotto says that Copes paved his path of tango.

One of the beautiful things about tango is the history and culture behind it. It is passed on from dancer to dancer, the passion and love of this dance. The senior dancers seem to love and really care for the younger generation dancers that are passionate about this dance, and they would spill their soul to you about tango, their experiences, and about their masters, in hopes that you would soak it up, and probably in hopes that you would pass it on to a newer generation. Watching them talk together made me feel really warm, and I felt how amazing this dance is, bringing together all these people of different generations and from different countries around the world. Now, imagine what this festival is like..., to me, it's like the olympics of Argentine Tango.

Copes' last word today was: "Tango is not about the step. It is much more than that." This dance is definitely not just a dance, it's a continuous life long endeavor, in search for all that is Tango. What inspiration!