So, my first little Buenos Aires adventure is over now and it’s time to have a second and final look at my tango-experiences here.
7.8. (Fry) – El Gardel de Medellín
Before I went to Iguazú, I had a last milonga, that I missed in the last post: The name was El Gardel de Medellín and I really have to say WAS, because it was the last time this milonga took place (in case of political issues in the neighborhood). It was a very special night with masses of people, live singing from Lidia Borda, live guitar music and singing from a drunken guy I don’t know and at last live Orquesta Tipica Rascacielos. Interesting to watch all the people celebrating by singing, dancing, chatting and drinking, but I could not get the feeling, because I had no relation to this place. But the orchestra was really awesome and energetic!
8.8. (Sat) – DNI #2
Not much to say, same thing like the Saturday before, but the fact, that I went there for having a nice time before leaving to Iguazú says a lot 😉
12.8. (Wed) – La Maldita Milonga @ Buenos Ayres Club
After I spend my 3 very good, warm and so necessary days in Iguazú, I came back on a Wednesday, so I literally HAD to go to Maldita, Ernst’s favorite place. And yes, it was a very nice, comfortable local milonga. Lots of beginner’s and intermediates so the floor had sometimes hard traffic, but everyone was very handsome. After an impressive singing solo the house-orchestra “El afronte” played some strong tandas, not easy to dance to. The place really has a nice atmosphere: Wooden dance floor in perfect size and shape without piles, surrounded by easy tables and chairs suitable for either a cabazeo or a laidback look at the dancers, air-conditioned but not freezing, gloomy warm light, a wide stage like in a theatre and a bar with delicious empanadas and for an (eternal felt) long time: Gin tonic 😋
Unfortunately it ended at 2 am, which is pretty early even on weekdays in BA.
14.8. (Fry) – Catedral #2
In case of changing from 30-degrees-Iguazú to 10-degrees-BA (including clouds, rain and air pollution in the streets) I got a little cold in the last days, so I didn’t dance at Thursday and in Friday, Victor #2 and I decided to go again to la catedral, to have some easy dances and yes, everything was quite the same, like the last time: fucked up huge place, young no-tango folk hanging ’round, few dancers, nice little orchestra, nice night.
15.8. (Sat) DNI #3
After I recovered a little bit, I decided to practice again and went to a DNI class for level 6/7 – the highest level they offer for groups. I really have to say that I like the way Dana Frigoli and her team is teaching and dancing, and Dana herself is an impressive women and awesome trained dancer. Once more, I stayed the hole day, including the famous practica, healthy dinner and alternative class. 8 hours of happiness. I can recommend this place!
16.8. (Sun) – El Mundial Tango Festival – Open Air Milonga
Oh, by the way, there was a festival. And oh, by the way, it’s the WORLD CUP of Tango Argentino in Buenos Aires.
Oh and by the way, it started already yesterday… 😶
When there is a big festival in Berlin, you already get the commercial weeks before and it’s nearly impossible to NOT get any information about that, when you are out dancing. The Mundial in BA is a little bit different: It’s organized by the government (well placed in winter to fill the tourism-gap) and you only get information there by yourself. As long as I was dancing there, it was not even once mentioned at any milonga, practica or class I’ve been (and this is not in case of my bad Spanish). And the only people talking about it, were the foreign dancers from U.S. or else. When I asked the porteños about the Mundial, the first reaction always was “Which festival?” … (WTF?! 😣)
I’m not too much into the people (because only 4 weeks and less Spanish) but it seems, that they have a slightly complicated relation with their government. This, the fact, that this Mundial is not community-created and the fact, that there are plenty of different festivals at different locations, made my experience with the “big world festival” a little bit different, than expected.
Nevertheless it was nice: It mainly took place at a culture center in La Boca, called Usina del Arte. And it is really more a culture festival with concerts, films, exhibitions, round tables and a product fair. Nearly all the program is free, same like championship preliminary’s and the open air milonga. Only the (semi-)finals and some concerts at upscale places like theatre colon do cost something.
But the milonga… when I took a view at the map, where it should be, I was kinda irritated: The dot points the address at a highway? Do they shut down a highway for this? … No, they don’t!
In Berlin we chose the most beautiful places for open air festival milongas, like Bodemuseum or Alexanderplatz – in BA they let you dance right UNDER a fucking highway bridge!! Yes, it was loud, so the music needed to be even louder! But it was cool anyway, a huge space with plain cement floor and it was fenced in and conditioned with warm air, so you could even dance in a shirt and leave your stuff alone for some moments.
So we did and Victor and I knocked the socks off this place 😁
16./17.8. (Sun) – La Viruta #2
In the night (and I mean at 1 AM) I additionally went my second time to La Viruta to finally meet Jörg, whom I missed at the festival. And at La Viruta (btw. translated it means “the splinter”) there was the hell dancing at the floor. They just had the finals of their own festival “Tango Salon Extremo” and these guys really blew my mind at their final show. The milonga was super crowded and lots of worldwide known faces were there. It was really hard to dance and I had only a few good rounds, but it was a very interesting experience and I had some nice talks. I left at 5 AM because I nearly broke right on the floor, but the party was still on!
18.8. (Tue) – Milonga Queer @ Buenos Ayres Club
After being dead on Monday, Victor #2 invited me to celebrate his birthday together with some family members and friends at the very milonga, where he started to dance 4 years ago. And perfect thing for me: It should be my first real Queer Milonga here AND it took place in the same nice room like Maldita! And it was quite like Maldita, just with gay people. As expected, the young, blond new dancer got some interested views but no one was flirting or offensive to me. We celebrated the night with a live orchestra, two big cakes, two birthday songs and one vals and victor looked like the happiest man on earth 🎂😊 I also met some known faces there, had good dances in both roles and even wanted to dance with some important people (e.g. Soledad Nani, who came later), but unfortunately this milonga too ended at 2 AM 😒
19.8. (Wed) – Zona Tango
On my last night i finally wanted to visit the famous bar Las Laureles… but it was canceled just right at the day. So, after Victor #2 and I were at a small interesting Columbian Concert of my flat mate Javier, we decided to go to a place we both didn’t know, but should be special. And yes – It was special!
Zona Tango is a community organized milonga in a typical argentine flat (what was the special name of this?), that has several high rooms in line and most of them have access to the terrace in the middle.
Stepping in felt like entering a students dorm party, folks hangin round, beer and cake in the kitchen, smoking at the terrace and every room in different style and light. A five headed orchestra played a nice gig with many Piazzollas and people were dancing in the dark room with chucks and high heels. After this gig came two guitar players and a girl with a beautiful dark and soft voice sang, they got three“¡Otras!” What a cool last night 😎
Ok, that’s it.
4 weeks of Tango in Buenos Aires.
21 times dancing at 17 different places (including one private and one unique last one)
5 private lessons and nearly two handful of different classes.
So, what is my conclusion?
How is it like to dance in Buenos Aires?
I need to say, that this was my first time, so these are only some first Impressions. On the other hand, I know Tango for around 11 years now and have some experience in dancing, music and “milonga behaviour” – this could have impact on how I am noticed.
The dancing itself was not sooo different than in Berlin. For sure, there are much more places to discover, but each of them is the same way different like in Berlin.
The dancing level is generally a bit higher and for sure reaches heights very far from most German places, but there are also the same stumbling beginners, nervous intermediates and hasty advanced dancers like in Germany.
And the same like in Berlin, there are fancy and elegant dressed people and the ones with jeans, shirt and sneakers – the ratio depends on the place you are.
One big difference is the music!
The most places play only traditional tangos and mainly golden age.
I heard around a dozen of live orchestras with different instrumentation and number of musicians. Always with a singer and most of the time good or very good.
Elektro Tango as tanda i heard at only two places (DNI & La Viruta) and if something else than Tango was played, it was either a cortina or it was ment for dancing the dance, that belongs to it: Salsa, Rock’n’Roll, Rumba or … Folklore!
I really liked the Folklore music and dancing (Chacarera, Zamba etc.) It is an important part of the culture around tango events and people love to sing the songs, clap hands and dance (when they are able to). And also in general with tango I felt, that many people here have a connection or relation to this peace of culture. It is their history and they are talking about it, singing the songs while dancing or sitting, whistling alone or bellowing as a group, feeling the orchestras and appreciating this culture, because it belongs to them.
So, although I missed my beloved non-tangos it was totally ok, to listen and dance only to traditional music – at some places it would even be wrong to play some neos or nons. Only for this advantage, the journey was with it!
One last observance came to my mind just in the last days and this is something I already watched in Germany: Unfortunately “Alternative Tango” (Queer or Neo) is often related to bad floorcraft! Jumping between the lines, occupying huge space for dancing or even dancing against the circle are things that happen to me more often at queer places or with neo music.
But! On the other hand I also discover way to often very (technically) good dancers at traditional places, who take much space and dance in an dangerously fast way, ignoring others.
I also like, doing things different and playing around, but in the same way I appreciate safety on the floor and taking care of each other.
And it IS possible: We can express ourselves and our emotions and still have an eye on the floor – but this is something you have to learn, practice and take care of.
So, after all, which were the best places for me? Where would I go again?
First thing is DNI practica in Almagro on Saturday. It is really a comfortable place, young, open minded, friendly, very structured, good dancing level, one of the best floors and they have a small lounge with tasty, healthy and not expensive food. Sometimes the teachers appeared a bit arrogant and stocked together with only their friends, but this is can come up while handling hundreds of tourists there.
Second is Buenos Ayres Club in Montserrat with Maldita on Wednesdays and Milonga Queer on Tuesdays, mainly because of the comfortable room and then because of the people.
Third is La Milonga del Indio @ San Telmos Plaza Dorrego on Sundays. I loved strolling down the fair and waiting for the milonga to begin. And this was my nicest experience with folklore!
But as usual, I liked the difference and the possibility to discover so much. And one last fact I really liked: At every location there is the possibility to get something to eat! Empanadas and facturas saved so many milongas 😋 (and the circle to the other posts at this blog is closed…)
So with this, I will finish my first little report and my adventure here.
I will definitely come back – but then in Buenos Aires’ spring or late summer.
I need the sun so much ☀