I will write this in English, so my non-German-speaking-tango-peeps are included 😉 (sorry, if my English is sometimes bad, but it’s my English, so I can do with it whatever I want 😝) (and sorry for bad fotos, anyway)
Two and a half weeks of Tango in Buenos Aires, so I want to (and I’m asked to) share my impressions of ‘how it is to dance in BA?’.
So where have i been until now?
23.7. (Thu) – La Cochabamba
My first milonga was in San Telmo. There I was invited by my first friend here (thx Noa 😊) I was late for the class before the milonga, but this was no problem, I could just enter, because they were changing all the time and there were girls left. The class had a nice combination, which was kind of hard for the intermediate dancers but they liked it. I didn’t get any word of the teachers explanations in Spanish, but it worked good anyway. The Milonga then was crowded and loud, there were lots of people talking, someone said, it would be a special night, but I couldn’t figure out, what. Anyway, I had nice dances and got to know some new friends: Victor and Theresa. And I danced with both of them very nicely. So: It was my first milonga (not queer) in Buenos Aires and I already danced as a follower and with a guy – and it was fully ok. I had in my mind, that same sex dance couples would be rare here and i needed to go to a queer milonga, to have that. But there were also some girl-couples. This was a good start for my journey. (Thank you very much for this, Victor!)
24.7. (Fry) – Milonga de las Orquestras @ Oliverio Girondos Espacio Cultural
This place is in Villa Crespo, so it was close to me and I could go by bike ❤ 🚲 . I went there alone, joined the open Class, stayed for the Milonga, had some empanadas and waited until midnight for the live music (Orquesta típica misteriosa) which was really good. Stone floor and mostly intermediate dancers. This was not a touristic place and I ‘talked’ only to porteños (people, who grew up and live in Buenos Aires) – my Spanish didn’t exist at this moment, so it was kinda hard, but most people were nice to me and tried their best. I had a good night and found my first private teacher: Sebastián Juan de Lorenzo.
25.7. (Sat) – DNI
The DNI (don’t ask me what the letters are) is a big young tango school in Almagro and i was recommended to go to the Saturdays Practica. By the way: A practica in BA is a place to come and practice on yourself. People don’t dress up too much and they don’t play cortinas. Also, a teacher is supposed to be there to be asked. At DNI, there were teachers, but no situation of teaching and I saw nobody doing something, that I could call practicing. So, it was more like an informal milonga. It started easy but was very crowded in the end, and very international. I met people from the US, Holland, UK, Canada, Switzerland and a German common face. And some argentines as well 😉
AND: It was and still is the only place, where they played NEO tango music for dancing! I stayed all the 4 hours, had a great time and even joined the Alternative Class, that was nice as well and where I found my second private teacher: Juan. I even joined the beginner’s milonga after that, where they played some group games and had a tombola. In fact, I was there for around 8 hours.
26.7. (Sun) – Private Asado in San Telmo
Theresa invited me to come to her house to have a big Asada (argentine barbecue) with friends. It was a sunny day at a terrace with lots of nice people, talking in Spanish, English, German and un petit français, a cat, guitar music with singing, spontaneously chacarara dancing, tango by laptop, tango by gramophone, charango playing and lots of delicious food. Sure, this is not an official milonga to recommend, but it’s a symbol for the best tango experiences, you can have: Private, with friends, at your home and community created, where everyone brings something in to make it a rich day. It was a really happy day – thank you There and Laila, Diego, El Paco, Luciano, Soraya and everyone else who was there!
27.7. (Mon) – Villa Malcom
A huge old and somehow cold theater hall, stone floor, echoes of the traditional music, two women giving a class about very dynamic dancing to intermediates, only a few but very good dancers (porteños) at the practica, women that were hard to cabaceo, on the other hand one women that asked me for a dance and an unbelievable high level but hard-dancing showcouple in the night, for whom you normally would pay at least 50€ at a touristic tango show. Villa Malcom left a confusing but interesting impression to me…
28.7. (Tue) – Tango Creativo
Noa invited me to come to a special place in Villa Crespo to a class + practica, that she partially organizes. It took place in a private house, I had to ring the bell, a man opened the gate, asked me for what I am here for. “Öhm… por el tango creativo? Por favor?” He grinned and answered “You are at the right place, my friend.” and let me in. It was the owner of this house, and an art-lover. The house was completely different to anything I’ve been until then: It was clean! White walls, big bright living room and art’s from the owners wife and others. There were only 4 people + me and the class / practica was with Juan Miguel Exposito, who has a completely different philosophy of teaching and dancing tango. I was a bit late and not in the best mood for learning, but it was interesting to hear him talking about “intensions” and dancing without “leading and following”. Interesting and lots of things, he said, was just a good description of what I think about free moving and equal dancing. I was a bit tired and not open minded this day, but it’s good to know, that there is a teacher like him in BA.
29.7. (Wed) – El Juvenil / Practica Cheek to cheek
Located in western Almagro and very close to me I went to an other typical practica without anyone practicing. El Juvenil is a dancing place like I knew from Germany: A big elegant room, a long mirror at one wall, good music quality, a very good wooden floor, elegant but not too fancy dressed people. I’ve seen some porteños from Villa Malcom but also foreigners I knew from DNI. I had nice dances in a crowd of intermediate or advanced dancers (no beginners) and danced with a man from the U.S. as well.
1.8. (Sat) – La Catedral
La Catedral in neighborhood Almagro looks like a concert hall for punkrock or alternative music and I really have to agree to Ernst’s description, that this place is “fucked up but cool”. Dirty, messy, gloomy, posters, graffiti and paintings at the walls, old (or let’s say vintage) couches and tables and a nearly destroyed wooden floor. There were lots of young people, but it seems, that many of them were no tango-dancers, but only for drinking, chatting and hanging around.
There I met with Victor and (finally) with another nice Victor, that I got to know by mistake. In case of data and to make it easy, I will just name them #1 and #2 here (Sorry Victor#2 😉). Anyway, two very nice guys. And I nearly danced the whole night only with them, because they are good dancers and it was kinda hard to cabaeo someone in this place or even find out, who is a dancer and who’s not.
Later at night, there was good live music from the orchestra “El Gato”.
2.8. (Sun) La Milonga del Indio @ Plaza Dorrego
On my second Sunday I met with There and strolled along one of BA’s famous fairs in San Telmo. We endet up at the market of San Telmo, el plaza Dorrego, to meet Victor #2 and waited there for an open air milonga to begin, that has a tradition of around 20 years. It was great, out of nothing they build up the whole thing with rolled rubber blankets, music station, flash and colored lights and a VIP-tent.
They startet with a Show and after that a Class for complete beginners (of course it was about walking and the Paso basico). The milonga then was really nice, there were forein dancers as well as porteños from the neighborhood. Exceptionally there was also a women reciting some poems, there was a second show with two women teachers dancing and in the end, they played even Folklore and danced to this. This was the first time, I’ve heard and seen the wide spectrum of argentine folklore (Chacarera, Gato, Zamba and more) and it was magic, seeing all these different people enjoying themselves at this. An other happy Sunday 😊
3.8. (Mo) – De Querusa
Victor #2 invited me to go to this practica in Boedo. This place was supposed to be more traditional and high level, and he said, that same-sex couples are not common there and we probably could not dance together. But he wanted to show me the “other Buenos Aires” as well. In fact, at this place there were very much very good dancers, not one beginner or intermediate, so not a place for everyone. But it was very nice. The place looks a bit like a train station hall and had nice stone floor. The people were in a good mood, because there was a birthday celebration. And then we saw two women starting to dance, which was unexpected, but, of course, good to see, so victor and I decided to join. Nobody was looking strange, we even got some interested smiles (of course, we were two fancy good dressed and fabulously dancing guys!). So, everything went fine in the ‘other world’.
4.8. (Tue) Bichito Tango @ Club Intependencia
Victor #1 invited me to come to this milonga in San Telmo. It was a nice but not exciting place with a wooden floor, that was partially broken and good traditional music. There was a live band called La Trampera playing, who were the same like the place: Nice and easy but without excitement, but the singer has a comfortable voice. So i had a nice and relaxed milonga.
5.8. (Thu) – La Viruta
Finally I made it to the famous La Viruta in south of Palermo. The entrance of 70$ included all kinds of classes and the milonga. I was late for classes but I could join the one for advanced dancers. It was about musicality and powerful dancing and very funny because of its charismatic teacher: Horacio Godoy. After that, I stayed for the milonga, but there were only a few dancers. Very mixed audience from the very beginner to the very advanced one. The room is huge, with stone floor and there is space for at least 200 people or more. Must be a great party on weekends, I think I should give it a second try… Only strange thing was the way to order something. You can’t go to the bar, you have to take a seat and wait for the waiter to serve you.
Ok. These are my first impressions so far. There is one more week to go, some places to visit and some things to discover.
But for now and the next to days, I’m in Iguazú, having a sunny jungle break from Tango 😎