Archive for the ‘Milongueras’ Category

A visit to my second home

October 28, 2021

Yesterday I visited the place I’ve referred to as my second home in Buenos Aires for many years.  It is located only ten blocks from where I live.  My plan wasn’t to enter my second home, but to stay outside.  It was a pleasant surprise when someone else changed my plan for me.  The last time I entered my second home was September 18, 2016.  My second home was Lo de Celia.

I climbed these stairs to the salon on the first floor two or three times a week for 16 years.  I noticed that a few dancers were taking the steps more slowly.  It’s a challenge for those in their 70s and 80s, but they manage.  The descent is easier.

 

The first man who entered as I was stationed at the door was Jose Marcos, with whom I danced regularly.  I remember his soft embrace.  I recognized him with his mask on.

 

Then Eduardo Ereson (84) came down the stairs, as if he heard I was there.  After a brief chat, he went back upstairs to get Graciela Cano (82).  Both of them have a very long bus ride to the milonga. Eduardo travels 90 minutes by bus from Berezategui.  Graciela lives in Sarandi, both in the provincia of Buenos Aires.

 

Graciela came downstairs to the entrance to greet me.  She said she can only afford one milonga each week, so she comes on Wednesday to Lo de Celia.  The entrada is 400 pesos, which is less than three dollars for tourists.

Hector was the next milonguero who arrived.  Please note the suit and tie he’s wearing on a day when the afternoon temperature was 85F.  No sweat.

I’ve never seen this photo of Celia before, but I was pleased to see it prominently displayed with framed certificates for her milonga.

Jonatan Rojas invited me from the top of the stairs to come inside for a visit.  I accepted and once again climbed the stairway I knew so well.  He welcomed me back home!

Graciela and Eduardo finished the tanda and came by for another photo.

I was so happy seeing Dany Borelli after five years.  I’ve only seen him virtually during seminars.  He is a wealth of knowledge about tango music, and he has always been my absolute favorite DJ in the milongas.

I stood in the corner near the bar where I had a perfect view of the salon.  I couldn’t believe that I was actually in Lo de Celia after five years.  I enjoyed every moment. 

Dany asked Anna to join us for a photo.  Her previous job was in the kitchen, and now is one of two waitresses.

Then Dany got Jony to join us for a photo.  I couldn’t believe how my plans had changed into a big surprise.  It was more than I could have imagined.

This is the corner table by the bar that I occupied in my second home on Wednesdays and Sundays for at least ten years.  My chair was on the aisle, a perfect position for greeting those passing by. Jonatan always had a bottle of agua sin gas natural on the table when I returned from the first tanda.

Felisa and I hugged and kissed when she arrived.  She usually sat at the table in front of mine and often joined me later in the evening. It was so nice seeing her after many years.

I had to take a peek at the ladies room and was delighted to see the improvements.

Some faces were familiar, but I didn’t know their names.  It felt like I was going back in time.

The dancers removed their masks at the table, but wore them while dancing.  It won’t be long before the milongas will be mask-free!

These are the two women who cheerfully take care of the dancers with food and drinks.  I can tell they are smiling under the masks.

I felt even more at home when I saw all the dancers I could recognize even wearing masks.

Dany must have detected a problem with one of the speakers, so he and Jony took care of it while the dancing continued.

As I was leaving, Elba Estay, la madrina de Lo de Celia, arrived.  She didn’t recognize me with white hair.  I was glad I didn’t miss seeing her.

Nestor Perez Vidal was the next one to arrive.  He hasn’t changed a bit.

Then outside I saw Carlos Lombisano finishing his cigarette.  He recognized me, and we had a nice conversation.

I didn’t stop smiling for the entire hour I was in my second home, visiting with the family.  And my smile continued the rest of the night.

Juana Novau

October 22, 2021

October 21, 1932 —

I’ve been acquainted with Juanita and her family for 20 years, but this week I had my first opportunity to hear about her life in tango.  We spent five hours together in her apartment in Vicente Lopez talking about tango. I met her son Miguel Angel in the local tango scene when I lived in the US.  Juanita’s grandson Marcelo wanted to learn tango, so he came to Buenos Aires when he was only 12 to take lessons and dance with his grandmother.  When Miguel Angel saw  Marcelo dancing tango for the first time, that was the moment he decided he wanted to learn to dance tango.

Juanita’s son Miguel Angel De Biasi

Juanita began dancing at home when she was 9 years old and went to the neighborhood social club by 15.  She continued going to El Arranque in Nuevo Salon La Argentina until five years ago.  She made the hour-long trip by bus from Vicente Lopez in the province to downtown for a very good reason–Juanita loved dancing tango.

Juanita spent the winter months in Termas Rio Hondo, a town in the northern province of Santiago del Estero when she enjoyed dancing on the weekends for 26 years.  She was crowned Queen/Reina of the ball.

I couldn’t resist taking this photo of Juanita at the table showing her dancers’ legs.  She had the heels of her tango shoes modified.  Doesn’t she look as though she just nodded to a milonguero for the next tanda?

Juanita plans on visiting her family in Miami next year including a visit to Spain where she will get to meet some relatives for the first time.

Milonguisimo

September 28, 2021

I was browsing the TANGO BA website to see what was on the program for the ten-day Festival and World Cup.  Some milongas were already open, but I didn’t find any information about Salon El Pial.  It was listed as a venue for the festival.  When I checked, I was thrilled to discover that Oscar Hector Malagrino was presenting another edition of Milonguisimo in Salon El Pial, which happens to be located only four blocks from where Jorge Uzunian lives.  I had to get him to El Pial somehow.  Jorge had danced in Milonguisimo for ten years, partnering Oscar Hector’s sister Haydee.  I reserved tickets online two days in advance. I sent an email to one of Jorge’s full-time caretakers about taking him to the show.  She and her husband wanted to join us.  I needed her help in pushing Jorge in a wheelchair.  Luz and Ruben live in El Tigre, which is a long drive to the capital.  They made the trip in their van to transport Jorge to El Pial in style.  It was meant to be.  Without them, I couldn’t have taken Jorge for an unforgettable night of seeing all his milonguero/a friends.

Ruben is a hefty, strong man who could manage Jorge in the wheelchair. I saw that there was no way I could have done this myself.  I showed the printed forms for our reservations at the door.  We were escorted to the front of the salon where we had a perfect view of the show.

We were seated at the table no more than two minutes before Haydee Malagrino came over to greet Jorge, with whom she had danced many performances of Milonguisimo.  That was a very special moment for Jorge, as you can tell by his smile.  He has been unable to dance for six years since surgery to amputate his right leg.

I kept my camera handy to take photos at any moment.   When the milongueros saw Jorge at the table, they came to greet him.  It was like a class reunion taking place in Salon El Pial. Here with Jorge are Aldo Raspanti, Jorge Garcia (El Flaco Dany’s brother), and Carlos Tedeshi

This was our table for the show that began after 8:00pm.  I asked Jorge, when was the last time he put on a suit and tie?  Six years ago, when he danced on his birthday in Plaza Bohemia.  There is a video of that night on YouTube.

I noticed Elba Celia Biscay across the floor, so I walked over to greet her and take this photo.  I’ve known Elba as a blond and a redhead, now she and I both have our natural white hair.

The curtain was closed on the stage since they were going to be dancing on the floor.  I remember when the Orquesta Tipica Gente de Tango performed on stage for a Night of Carlos DiSarli, organized by Oscar Hector.

Milonguisimo is never the same.  Oscar Hector invites different milongueros/as to participate.  He always has new ideas for staging.  The show includes, tango, vals, milonga, and jazz since milongueros/as dance them all kinds of music.

Elba Biscay, Carlos Tedeshi, and Aldo Raspanti wait on the sidelines while other couples dance.

Elba Biscay’s beautiful feet and shoes were also featured in one of my videos.  New female dancers should study Elba and learn from this milonguera who has danced for many decades in the milongas.

After the finale, they lined up for a bow with applause from an appreciative audience who enjoyed every minute of the dancing and singing.  It was so well organized.  No one missed a cue.

Elba came over to greet Jorge after the show.  It was an unforgettable night for Jorge.

The entire cast went on stage for photos.  Oscar Hector had a photographer recording the entire show.

Oscar Hector Malagrino took a bow with his cast on stage in Salon El Pial.  He has organized milongas and shows for decades, and at 80 years of age, he hasn’t slowed down one bit.

Oscar Hector’s son, who handled the music, came over to see Jorge.

Carlos Tedeshi was pleased to see that Jorge could attend the performance in Salon El Pial.

Oscar Hector was happy to see Jorge after the long time he has been away from going to dance.

Luz Chavez joined Jorge, Oscar Hector, and Aldo for this photo.  She enjoyed the night as much as I did, and she was constantly taking photos and recording.  I got to know her during a visit with Jorge after his 91st birthday a month ago. She is such a joyful person and a perfect companion to help Jorge at home.

My YouTube channel includes a video of Haydee and Jorge dancing in Confiteria Ideal for a performance of Milonguisimo.

Ruben doesn’t dance tango, but he knows tangos.  He was singing along during the show at our table.  He ordered pizza and wine before the show.  Ruben and Luz insisted on driving me to my door in Balvanera, so the four of us had more time together after the show.  I arrived home minutes before 11pm, so after they got Jorge to his apartment, they had the long drive to El Tigre.  It was very late when they arrived. What a happy couple they are.  It was so nice that they wanted to be with Jorge that night.

Elba Pateiro

September 21, 2021

September 21, 1934 —

I called her today, not only to wish her a happy birthday, but to ask if she wanted to attend the performance of Milonguisimo on Thursday at Salon El Pial.  Then I reserved our tickets online for the show that Oscar Hector Malagrino has produced with milongueros/as on stage for years.  This special performance is part of TANGO BA Festival and the World Cup.

Rosa Cove

August 30, 2021

August 30, 1928 —

 

I called Rosita to wish her a happy birthday.  She still thinks of Pocho and misses him very much.  They were quite the couple to watch in the milongas.  Her apartment was a block from La Ideal on Suipacha where Rosita danced regularly with Pocho.  Now she is living in Martinez with her daughter and the family.

When I began writing this blog, I focused on the milongueros since they are the ones with whom I danced and conversed.  Readers wrote asking why I didn’t write about the milongueras.  Of course!  So I began taking photos and talking with them.  After all, it takes two to tango.

Haydée Ofelia Sorsonito

August 29, 2021

August 20, 1934 —

When we talked a few months ago, I promised to call on her birthday.  Her phone was so busy that I kept leaving messages.  Today I finally had a phone call with her.  These are my favorite photos, especially the one of her with Ruben Harymbat.

They will be remembered

July 1, 2020

I have known this milonguera for ten years as Dorita de la Yumba.  Always smiling and the perfect hostess, she welcomed me for the first time at her milonga in Club Oeste.  I couldn’t help but notice we were dressed so similarly that night as if we had planned it, so I handed someone my camera to take this photo of us.

Alberto Frezza also left us recently.  He was the organizer of the milonga on Friday nights in Lo de Celia Tango Club.

Milonguera sighting

January 10, 2020

I saw Marta yesterday while walking in our neighborhood.  We live only five blocks from one another.  We had several long chats in her apartment years ago.  Now neither of us goes to the milongas.  She probably went many more years than I did.  She admitted her age (82) to me for the first time.  Marta is the only one I know who talks with milonguero Beto Ayala.  I haven’t seen or heard from him in years.  She gave me good news.

Rosa Cove

August 30, 2017

August 30, 1928 —

photo credit Royce Chau (Hong Kong)

Rosita and Pocho (Roberto Rafael Carreras) met at a milonga when he was 59 and she was 61. She danced only with Pocho for twenty years.

I know that Rosita’s apartment is around the corner from Confiteria Ideal on Suipacha.  Since I go to concerts at the Gran Rex theater nearby, I rang her doorbell one day before going to a concert this month.  She didn’t answer the phone when I called, so I wanted to talk with the building janitor about her.  I rang her doorbell, and I was pleasantly surprised that her granddaughter Milva was there to tell me that Rosita is living with family in Martinez.  There is no gas in the building which prevents her from cooking.  Milva gave me a telephone number, and I called Rosita the next day.  We were on the phone for almost two hours, talking about her life with Pocho and the milongas.

This is my favorite video of Rosita and Pocho recorded on her 80th birthday in El Beso.  I can see why she doesn’t want to dance with another man.

Alito, Rosita and Pocho in Club Gricel (Dec 2005)

Martha Garcia

August 7, 2017

August 7, 19–

Martha is always elegantly dressed for the milonga.  She and Giovanna (right) are the glamour girls of any milonga.