Find us on Google+ TANGOFIX: 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009


Sunday, April 26, 2009

FloorCraft and Buenos Aires Taxis

Riding around in a cab in Buenos Aires is, to say the least, an eye opening experience.

The paint means nothing to the average driver there. Lanes, well if a car might fit in a slot, the cab driver is going there. Tailgating, a miss is as good as a mile! No wonder almost every cab has a rosary hanging from the mirror.

Don't get me wrong, these are very good drivers and they do this all day and night, every day and night, it's just that the average person driving around in the United States may have different ideas about what good driving is.

Just remember these things when you visit the Milongas in Buenos Aires, and you must be prepared to deal with the dancers there and their ideas about what is, and is not, acceptable behavior on the dance floor (in some cases I'm sure you will be dealing with the same drivers). I'm just glad nobody has thought of giving all of the leaders horns to blow continuously!

Luckily for me I have attended the crowded floors in Denver during the twice annual festivals there several times especially the Mercury cafe during the Friday Milongas. It turns out that this is the perfect environment to learn how to dance in tight situations (The first time went to this Milonga during the Denver Memorial Day Festival 2005 it seemed as if the goal was to keep me personally from moving more than a few feet during a tanda, and turns, forget it, I was almost a statue, what a nightmare). Over the years I have learned to love this type of crowd (even to the point of being disappointed when the Milonga was less crowded).

Great training for navigating in Buenos Aires!

Thanks Tom!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Observations of Buenos Aires Tango 3

1. Afternoon Milongas, I found the afternoon Milongas very disappointing. The quality of dancing at these events was generally poor compared to the late night Milongas.

2. Plaza Bohemia, Maipu 444, I really enjoyed this venue and attended two different Milongas here three different nights during my two week visit (Cachirulo twice, and
Shusheta once). I have noticed that when you return to a Milonga more than once you are greeted and recognized by the hosts and the dancers, this is a very good feeling when you are a stranger in a strange land. As I was leaving Shusheta the hostess grabbed me as I was going down the stairs and insisted that I dance with her (she is very short and very round), she also invited me to attend another milonga that she was hosting at a different venue, I didn't go but I certainly enjoyed the hospitality.
I was seated in the same spot both times I attended Cachirulo, at first I thought it was a poor location but as it turned out it may have been one of the best seats in the house for Cabeseo, I was directly behind a large number of women and could see most of the other followers in the place (also right beside the entrance to the ladies room, every follower in the room knew exactly where I was sitting).

The only bad thing about the place was the quality of service by the two young waitresses whom were far more interested in texting people than waiting on tables (seems that poor work ethic is a problem no matter where you go).

3. A note on Buenos Aires Women, There seem to be more beautiful women per square inch in Buenos Aires than in any other place I've ever been, a trophy wife walking down the street on every block, people in general are far less prone to obesity than they are in the United States.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Observations of Buenos Aires Tango 2

1. After my last post I now have a NEW favorite Milonga in Buenos Aires, Lo De Celia. I went there last night and the place, and everyone there that I met or danced with, was fantastic. This place has an energy that is totally unique, it's the mixture of the lighting, the stone floor, the cool green colors, but mostly it was just the people there that made the evening so terrific.

These people know how to have fun!

I got there around 12:30am and finally left at 3:30 or four, wishing I could have spent more time there.

I danced with one woman who may have been the best dancer I have encountered here, not once but twice.

This is the reason Tango is so addictive, every once in awhile the moons and planets all line up and nothing can go wrong, if that ever happens to you you are a goner!

2. I really wish that I had gone there last Saturday instead of going to La Viruta, that place is not a Milonga it is a night club. They did dance tango there about 50% of the time, but the place has no soul, like I said it feels like a hip hop club without the hip hop music. Just a bad experience (is there such a thing?).

Lesson learned!

3. Practica X (equis) WOW! What an incredible rush, to dance big after dancing nothing but close embrace six hours a day for a solid week, this dance is kind of a hoot! I did feel like sort of an outsider at this practica due to the fact that most of these people all are very familiar with each other, and not with me, but of course that feeling went away after my first tanda (no tandas there, no cortinas, just lots of room, and tons of incredible dancers).

For people who do not like this style of dancing, all you have to do is look around this room and notice that all of the young energetic people, (natural leaders), are here, doing this style, to realize that this is going to have a major impact on Tango as we know it. I personaly think it is for the better!

Question: Why don't they dance like this at the downtown Milongas?
Answer: The venues aren't big enough.

Question: Why don't they get larger venues?
Answer: Money$$$$$

Question: How do you get more people into a smaller space for less money and more profit?

Answer: Close embrace.

Don't get me wrong! I also love close embrace with a passion, I just enjoy really expressing myself in this style just as much!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Observations of Buenos Aires Tango 1

1. I had absolutely no trouble getting dances at any time using cabeseo.

2. The venues here are much smaller and not as crowded as I have been led to believe.

3. The tango I learned in the states works very well here, I am very pleased with the fact that I can lead any follower here with ease, and I have received numerous compliments on my dancing.

4. The tango danced in most places here is very simple and straight forward, of course the Nuevo venues are the exceptions.

5. Argentine followers compared to followers where I come from are much heavier (feeling) and far more off balance and axis, I would place all but a few of them that I danced with in the intermediate category at best.

6. Navigation on the dance floor is far superior to navigation in the states.

7. I went to every Milonga on this trip by myself and did not reserve my seat, from what I saw it would have made almost no difference (from the stand point of a solitary leader).

8. The performances I witnessed at both Practica X and TangoCool were possibly the best I've seen and I don't even know who the dancers were.

9. The best all around Milonga that I attended here was El Beso. The level of dance there was far better than anywhere else that I went. I saw several well known milongueros there and was very impressed with the way things were done overall.

10. The worst Milonga I attended was Gricel, very poor dancers, poor selection of music, dark with a funky feel to the place. When I got here the hostess tried to seat me way back in a corner of the room even though there were empty tables everywhere (this was late in the course of the Milonga)I insisted on a better seat and she gave in. I did meet a very nice woman from Ireland there that I have been running into all over town ever since that night so it wasn't a total loss!

11. I also attended a Milonga called Viejo Correo, this was a very good and interesting experience. Everyone there was at least 70 years old, excepting my self, the place is deep and narrow. Everyone there was Argentine excepting myself as well. Seating was strictly segregated, with the men on one side of the room and the women on the the other with only enough room for a passage between the opposing tables (about three deep on each side). Couples were seated on the other side of the dance floor completely isolated. It felt very odd and sort of like a junior high school dance. Everyone there that I talked to or danced with was extremely nice, even though I felt like I was under a microscope the entire time I was there I would not have missed that experience for the world. I was not that impressed with the quality of dancing there but it was a genuine insight into the way milongas may have been back in the fortys and fifties.

12. Getting around the city is not that difficult as the cabs are everywhere and very affordable compared to any other spot I have ever used taxi service. The subway is also very efficient and dirt cheap, about $0.30 a ride. I used Manuel Tienda Leon to get from the airport into town it cost about $45 AR (about $12 US).

13. It is worth while learning at least some Spanish before coming here, most of the locals do not speak English beyond the very basics. You should at least learn how to tell the cab drivers where to go and know how much money to give them.

14. Use the ATMS for currency exchange, they are all over the place.

15. The most annoying thing that I have encountered here are the people trying to hand out ads on every corner (if you have ever been to Las Vegas you know what I am talking about) next time I'll bring my taser (just kidding, sort of).

16. Don't let anyone fool you, the food here sucks! especially if you like vegetables, these people don't have a clue. Find a large supermarket and cook your own food.

More later!