Looking back

Fifteen years ago today I arrived in Buenos Aires for the first time to dance in the milongas.   I didn’t know that the trip would show my destiny.  By the end of my three-week visit, I was certain that I would move to Buenos Aires.

Our tour group had daily sightseeing and classes on the schedule, but the milongas at night were what I remember most of all — La Galeria del Tango Argentino, Confiteria del Molino, Regin, Club Pinocho, and Confiteria Ideal.  The best of all was Club Almagro, a neighborhood sports center on Medrano near Corrientes.  Our group sat together so it was obvious to all that we were a tour group.  In those days, the tourist invasion in the milongas wasn’t common. 

Nicolas invited me for a tanda at my table after talking with our Argentine host.  As I embraced him and turned my head to the right, he gently touched my chin to turn my head straight so that I was looking over his shoulder.  This was new for me.  I had never seen anyone dancing tango cheek-to-cheek until that night in Club Almagro.  My Argentine teachers didn’t dance or teach that way.

Today, anyone going to Buenos Aires to dance tango for the first time is better prepared than I was for the milongas.  I’m glad I made the trip when I did because I got to see the milongas full of milongueros and milongueras who loved the music and respected the codes.

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One Response to “Looking back”

  1. Paul Says:

    As a newcomer eager to learn, you were able to respond to this unexpected, corrective gesture on the part of your dance partner. I imagine in other contexts, occasions and parts of the world a woman would be offended by this kind of thing unless of course she was on very good terms with her dance partner.

    Incidentally, I have the impression that this right-turned position of the head is gaining ground at dance events accompanied by a closed eyes, trance-like state that makes the man’s protective role more difficult and leaves him at the mercy of his blind spots.

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