Journal 17 - January 17

buenos aires journalI am back in Los Angeles. The last week of my Buenos Aires days sped by with so much going on! Let me try to finish off my journal.

January 8, in the day time, we wanted to see the movie "Abrazos" which was a tango documentary. It was only playing in a theatre downtown. We checked the newspaper and found out that it was already too late, our hours of the days were definitely getting later. We stopped by the clothing store "Alexandera Iturbi". I fell in love with the designer clothes there. I tried on a dress here on my first week of my stay in Buenos Aires, and afterwards found a pair of pants in the window when I passed by a couple of days later, and it stuck on my mind. I decided to try them on, of course they were just wonderful, I will get them before I leave.

We stopped by a fresh fast food cafeteria and had some good food, I had a vegetable crepe and salad. After a good meal, we went to the Armenian Center (where La Viruta is), to take a class in Folkloric dance. We were going to try to learn some basics of the Chacarera. The Armenian Center is known for the big classes they have, especially for the new beginners. The class split up into the levels. We started learning the basic forms of the Chacarera, and then put them together. There were different types of songs with different lengths. We would need to be able to distinguish the differences, so we can dance them. I think this is the difficult part, maybe someday. It was a good start.

We headed for Nino Bien. The place was already filled with people. We met some girls from Ernesto's class, and sat with them. This night, I had some great dances! I started dancing with Gabriel, we danced tango, milonga, and vals. We were feeling better with our milonga, thanks to Jorge's class! I was feeling the music that day, every day was better. We would listen to the tango radio program in the apartment, we would hear tango in the taxis, in the stores and restaurants, it was in the city. I saw Daniel who dances in Senor Tango. We danced some good tango tandas. His partner in Senor Tango was taking a vacation in February and he proposed that if I were in Buenos Aires in February, he might have considered me?! Wow! That was a compliment, whether it was true or not! He invited us to the show for the following night. I looked forward to that. I got some great dances with Damian, Julio, Gabriel (another Gabriel, he is an accountant), Pablo (I think he is professional too, I don't know his last name.) Then, beautiful dances with my favorite dancers, Gustavo Rosas, Pancho & Fabian Peralta (from Esquina Carlos Gardel). This night, I felt the music, the floor, the lead, and tango! It was one of my best nights!

buenos aires journalJanuary 9, we went to Jorge's class in Boedo. There were no other couples this day, which was very fortunate! We practically had a private class. The focus was on walking. Walking in tango is the most basic, but most difficult thing to do. They say, it takes a couple 5 years to walk together. Listening to the music, and taking each step, exactly in front of each other, is not very easy to do. We learned a lot in this class. It also solved some basic questions about walking, that had been bothering me since LA. It was a very precious class, we were very happy.

We headed over to see the show at Senor Tango. We met up with Daniel before the show, he looked all set to dance with his hair slicked back. His posture was of a dancer, there is something about the way a dancer walks and stands. We headed in, and the greeter led us to our seat up on the 3rd floor. The place was very very big, decorated almost like one of the hotels in Las Vegas. High ceilings, with tables and the 3 floor balcony surrounding the fours sides of the stage. It was a beautiful place. We were served with a dinner, a big portion of steak with good red wine to accompany, and helado for dessert. The show started with some gauchos (Indians) riding on horses, and some battling scenes, then moved on to tango. The show was touristic, but it was very entertaining with variety: singing, orchestra, dancing (tango solos, groups, acrobatics, jazz). The music was beautiful, the singer sang some of my favorite songs ("Caminito" or "Por una Cabeza" and others), the orchestra was strong, the tango solos were wonderful (some were kind of acrobatic and not tango, but Daniel and his partner, and another couple were just beautiful!), I felt like I was a little girl again, looking down at the lights on the stage below, a world of dreams, sitting on the 3rd floor balcony leaning against the rail. How beautiful it would be, to be dancing that way! I was sighing feeling fulfilled and also sad that it was over. We walked out and met up with Daniel. We thanked him for the show. We may see him later on at the milonga if he goes out dancing.

We took the collective (bus) and taxi to get to the milonga called "La Catedral". We had heard about this milonga for awhile, that it was a place to see for experience. mmmm. When I got there, I understood. From outside, you would never think that there was dancing going on. It looked like a broken down building, or a storage, or a garage. It was dark, and we walked up some stairs. Okayfe It was a big, dark space with uneven wooden floor, high triangle roofed ceilings held with wood and concrete, some broken windows, tables and chairs that looked like they were picked up from the streets before they headed for disposal, very modern artwork all over the walls and ceilings, there was a big red human heart hanging, and some lights here and there. It took some time for my eyes to get used to this darkness, and the atmosphere. It was like an underground milonga, perfect for going in casual clothes, just to hang out. Most of the people were young, and the music was more of the newer tango. We danced a couple of songs (they don't have tandas, they keep on playing song after song) and were drenched by the heat stuffed in the place. They had some interesting performances, where the couple bounced a basketball to milonga music and started to dance. By 3, we were getting tired and hot, we escaped outside to go to La Viruta.

La Viruta was playing salsa and cumbia when we got in. I smiled at Gabriel Bortnik when I passed him dancing to salsa. We got a table and spotted Gavito sitting close by. Again, happy to see him there, my symbol of a true tanguero. Gabriel B. came up to say hi, and we danced a tanda, then went over to greet Pancho. With Pancho, we danced another great tango, he leads with so much connection, and then danced some Rock n Roll (swing), this was fun! I don't really know how to dance it, but he was a great dancer that I can follow. Like salsa, this got me sweating, a different energy from tango. I danced with an Argentinian who lives in Brussels, a lot of the people living away return to the city in the winter holidays. The night was coming to an end, you can tell by the lights going down, and the music, they play better music in the end. I danced an emotionfull (? I don't know the right word to explain. I danced a tango tanda with Fabian, it was beautiful! Then finished the last tanda with Gabriel (the accountant). Another great night of dancing! I don't know how I can live without this!