School of Milongueros

I’ve had the pleasure of assisting several milongueros with private lessons in my apartment during the past 12 years.  Those taking the lessons were mostly from the USA and Europe who already danced tango and wanted help from a milonguero viejo.

Jorge De Gouvea and his student Carlos

When my friend Ricardo called to ask if I’d be interested in teaching tango to two of his Argentine friends, I welcomed the opportunity.  Lessons began with the embrace and the codigos, not the eight-step basic which is useless in a milonga.  They feel the lead first from Ricardo and then practice with him — the way the boys used to learn tango.



Two days after the first lesson, they joined us in Lo de Celia so they could see exactly what they’re working towards.


Mario – Ricardo – Ernesto

Both know the music of tango all their lives and are very serious about learning to dance.


Mario – Jantango – Ernesto

The milongueros viejos are a vanishing species.  The very least we can do is learn from them so their passion for tango never dies.


Marc and Tina from Shanghi found me by way of a former dance teacher and mentor of mine in California. They wanted to learn about the milonguero style, and I was happy to tell them all I know.

Wiebke and Emanuel (Germany) were staying at a guest house near my apartment.  It was their first dance lesson that began with an embrace and focused on the music.  They were off to a good start, and I didn’t give them steps to memorize.

Steven desperately wants to dance with his Argentine wife.  He went years to classes with technique and choreography which his wife refused to do.  Then he found me and begged for lessons.  I taught him how to embrace which made all the difference. I told him that he had to forget what he learned and let his tango come out of him.  He doesn’t need classes; he needs to hold his wife in his arms and dance tango with her.

David comes every year to dance in the milongas.  I saw him doing steps, not feeling the music.  I changed his embrace and got him to give more of himself to his partner.  His tango changed in minutes.  He feels the difference himself.

Franklin knew he was missing something in his tango after years of practice.  I changed his embrace during one class, and his dancing improved.  He felt it, and so did his wife.

Elitsa took many classes during her visit, and then she found me.  She used my tango shoes for the class and shows real potential for tango.

Ines and Marilyn wanted to return to tango after many years, and I wanted to help them get back to dancing.  We met every Thursday at noon for three hours in my apartment from January to April.   We began with exercises and walking to the music, and talked about the codes and customs of the milongas. In three months they were ready to put all they learned into practice at a milonga, so we went to Nuevo Chique del Corazon milonga.

I met Calvin and his daughter Narja at a milonga and asked if they’d like a free lesson.  His embrace needed adjusting which was simple, but forgetting his feet was not.  When Calvin tuned into the music, he danced a feeling.  That’s tango.  He felt the difference.

Shane, from Wellington, New Zealand, came for his first visit. We talked and danced for five hours one afternoon in my apartment.  After a few adjustments to his embrace and turns, he was ready for the milongas.  He met a woman in Buenos Aires who eventually became his wife and dance partner.

Wojciech wasn’t comfortable with the embrace at first, but it didn’t take him long to relax.  I felt the change as we danced and knew he would have many excellent tandas in the milongas.  He reported  how much he enjoyed the feeling of close embrace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s