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)

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Ricardo Vidort

August 30, 2017

Ricardo Vidort — in his own words

First posted August 30, 2012 on this blog.

By the time I was fifteen, I was already dancing in the salons.  I remember the afternoon dances and later the evening tango dances.  It was about 1944-45 that I became aware of the feeling that tango produced in me.  Then I began to go into the city to the big and small places where people danced.  Later in the provinces I realized without any doubt that there were some very great dancers, their style so different and individual, and they always walked with elegance and style.  There were no dance academies at that time, only practicas for men which existed in all the neighborhoods.

That’s how I pass through the great milongas in the city center, like Confiteria Sans Souci, which used to open at 3 o’clock in the afternoon until 4 o’clock the next day.  Dancing these hours we used to call “vermouth and night,” meaning afternoon and night.  About two or three thousand people would dance at Sans Souci every day and night.  At the same hour of the night at Confiteria Piccadilly, Desiree, La Cigalle, La Nobel, Mi Club and several more and at the cabarets like Novelty, Chantecler, Tibidabo, Tabaris, and many others, large numbers danced nightly.  In the 40s and 50s in the city center and the suburbs there were more than a thousand places to dance during the week.

In Buenos Aires which has dozens of neighborhoods, there used to be in each of them social clubs, sports clubs, cultural clubs, and all of them with Tango dance halls.  In Greater Buenos Aires, you could count the clubs in hundreds where people danced, so it was very difficult deciding where to go because in all of them there used to be a very high quality of dancing.

Today, in the sunset of my life in the memory of the good moments I have lived in almost 60 years of dancing, I have tried to give the best of myself, not only with steps, but through the feeling of the sensation of dancing with rhythm and cadence, chest to chest and cheek to cheek, the close embrace.  It was marvelous.  That’s why trying to preserve this, the tango, is my biggest desire.  Let’s preserve the tango…let’s dance for ourselves.

Today…now, without a doubt, there is a new tendency in dancing tango.  But not all these young men and women should think only in choreography, which is good only for those that dance in theater, but the real and true place to dance is in the salon, I mean, the milonga.  Practicing in the milonga will give them a better security and style, will develop their own personal feeling to understand this passion which is tango.

Feeling and dancing without thinking in steps, the feeling that each one of us will give to his own body in order that it can be expressed through the dance.  Improving in a small place where the leader has to find the way in the middle of a crowd of dancers on the floor, taking care that no one bumps his partners, with both dancers in the beat and rhythm, embraced inside a vibration which cannot be compared to anything else.  This is the therapy which liberates the soul.

Tango is a choice of a moment for all your life.  When the obsession is finished, you realize tango will be inside you for all your life, like a feeling that never dies.

To Be A Milonguero

To explain what is a milonguero is really very difficult because the feeling of this beautiful sensation is something new in each person — almost impossible to put into words, but I shall try without meaning to offend or hurt anybody’s susceptibility.

To be a milonguero, first, you have the feeling of the music, rhythm, cadence and your own style to dance; and when you do it, the music invades your body and mind and it begins the chemistry that makes you transmit to your partner as if both bodies were talking, whispering, sliding on the floor with sacadas, corridas, turns…dancing only one for the other, not for the people. In that moment that both are listening, the magic of the music, the skin of one in the skin of the other, the smell, the touch, produces the miracle of something like a mantra, and the yin and yang is there!  We are dancing tango!

The priority of a milonguero is the feeling and the woman.  The codes are like commandments that have been born with the tango, and we define the music in three parts: 1. a question, 2. a pause or prologue, and 3. the answer.  All this is in our feeling, and that’s why we always improvise, having the pleasure of being yourself, with your own style, the rhythm and cadence.

Today, people teach methodic ways and tango, the real one, does not have a method because it is a feeling.  Technique and choreography?  It’s only for performance.  It is a tango that has been learned for hours and hours for show business.  There are hundreds of couples in the world doing the same thing, and only four or five of them are very good because they are different.  And that is another thing.

My advice is to walk.  Walk with your toe first and inside the music, and practice always to have your own style — be yourself.

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Published December 2003 in El Once Tango News (London) and republished here with the permission of Paul Lange and Michiko Okazaki, Joint Editors.

Live from Luna Park

August 21, 2017

The finals of the Tango World Cup in Buenos Aires will be broadcast live on public television.  Tune in a 19 hs BA time for the tango de la pista finals on Tuesday, August 22 and the stage finals on Wednesday, August 23.

I watched the finals on Tuesday for one reason.

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.

Isn’t that my photo?

August 3, 2017

This is the photo I took in Centro Region Leonesa in December 2011, of milonguero Chino Perico (aka Ricardo Ponce).  I’m not a professional photographer, but I don’t like my photos or blog posts being used without permission or credit.

Today I was browsing the city’s cultural agenda and found the Tango Festival and World Cup schedule.  Chino Perico is giving a class during the festival, and my photo appears in the site.

I have a photographic memory.

Nonstop dancing

August 2, 2017

They were sitting right behind me in Obelisco Tango.  I heard the woman speaking in English with another friend at the table.  When she got up to dance with the taxi dancer, I went to talk with the friend.  She said that Anita is from NYC and was there for two hours of dancing.

Later I introduced myself to Anita, and we got to know one another in a matter of an hour.  She mentioned several times that “I’m paying him to dance with me,” and she didn’t want to sit out a tanda.  She was in Buenos Aires for a conference until Saturday, and she decided to make a point of dancing tango, too.

There are so many milongas in NYC, though I know things are different there.  She was curious about why all the men were on one side of the floor and the women on the opposite side.  She asked if there were any couples at the milonga.  She didn’t know much Spanish, and her taxi dancer didn’t speak much English.  She was happy anyway.

“In New York, we do lots of fancy steps in tango.  Why is everyone just walking to the music?”  Well, I explained, in Buenos Aires it’s what you feel in the music that matters, not the steps.

Why don’t you give close embrace a try with your dance partner?  You may even like it.  After all, you’re in Buenos Aires and have an Argentine partner.  He was willing to try, and so was she.  I took out my camera to record a short video of them.  The smile on her face as she returned to the table was confirmation that she liked it. That was her last tanda.

I tried convincing her to stay at the milonga after her taxi dancer’s time had expired, but he escorted her to the hotel in a taxi.  We were so engaged in conversation that she forgot to pay the drink bill.  The waitress spoke with me about it, and I paid it.

I gave Anita my card so I could send her the photo and the video of her night at Obelisco when she writes.  She’s back in NYC now.  I hope I’ll still be dancing tango when I reach her age.

Ariel Romero

August 1, 2017

August 1, 1934 —

Ariel and Liliana are living in Mar del Plata for the last ten years, and their visits to Buenos Aires milongas are infrequent.  They came over the independence day weekend.  I was glad to see them after more than a year.  I have a good memory for milongueros’ birthdays and asked him if I could take photos for the blog.  Then a vals tanda began, and I wasn’t surprised that Ariel was almost dashing to the dance floor with Liliana.  I captured part of the vals here.

Miguel Antonio Figueroa

July 31, 2017

July 31, 1937 —

Miguel danced with an American friend during her once-in-a-lifetime visit to Buenos Aires several years ago.  Dancing with him was special for her during her three-week stay with many happy memories.

Miguel likes to hug after every dance, and they feel wonderful.

Name that tune

July 30, 2017

I hadn’t been to Club Gricel since October and was pleasantly surprised to see a projection screen on the wall on Thursday night at La Cachilla.  There’s no more guessing which orquesta or tune you’re dancing to — the information is on the screen.  What a great idea for those who wants to learn more about tango.  The deejay uses a special software program that automatically displays the name of the orquesta, the title of the tune, and its composer.

An interception from left field

July 25, 2017

I wasn’t wearing my glasses yesterday in El Maipu de Lucy y Dany, yet I didn’t have a problem seeing that Carmelo was looking directly at me for the next tanda.  I accepted with a smile.  He was right next to the bar at the first table, no more than twelve feet from me.  I was at my usual table in the second row. I got up to join him and saw another woman arrived to dance with him.  I returned to my table.

A man saw what happened and invited me for the tanda.  I accepted.  As we entered the floor, Carmelo apologized to me for the interception, although it wasn’t clear to me.  I let him know it wasn’t a problem.

Later Carmelo invited me for a tanda.  There was no doubt in my mind that he invited me, since there were no other women near me.  He explained that he invited me to dance earlier, not the other woman.  She entered the milonga after smoking a cigarette outside and took advantage of the moment for a very convenient interception while walking by.  She made no apology for it.  I refer to them as piranhas.  Her table was on the opposite end of the room.  We laughed about it.