Posts Tagged ‘Milonguisimo’

Elba Celia Biscay

February 25, 2009

February 26, 1941 —










I have admired Elba’s dancing for the past ten years in the milongas.  She learned to dance as a teenager in a neighborhood club.  Elba married and raised a family.  This photo shows her as a redhead, but she is more often a blond.

Elba was the only milonguera interviewed for the television series Codigos de Milongas  on Solo Tango.  In the July 8, 2006 broadcast, Elba talked about experiences in her youth and how much things have changed today.  Women never wore pants to dance, but that’s her normal attire these days.  Her advice to women is to wear colored clothing rather than all black to tell everyone “estoy aqui” (Here I am).  In her early dancing days, she went to Confiteria Sans Souci and Club Monte Carlo, both on Avenida Corrientes.  Her best advice is “You have to like tango before you learn to dance it.”

Elba competed in the finals of the III Campeonato Mundial de Tango (August 2005) with Osvaldo Centeno.  In 2006 she and Antonio Yuffré placed tenth in Milonga and sixth in Tango of the V Campeonato Metropolitano de Baile de Tango and then fifth in the Senior Tango division of the VI Campeonato Metropolitano de Baile de Tango in 2008.

Elba has been dancing in Milonguisimo with Alberto Dassieu and other partners in Oscar Hector Malagrino’s show in Confiteria Ideal.

Miguel Angel Balbi

November 28, 2008

miguel-angel-balbi2Nov. 29, 1937–

I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I hadn’t met Miguel on October 15, 1999, in Club Gricel where I was seated next to the milongueros’ table.  Miguel invited me to dance vals.  Although I had never seen him dance, I took a chance and accepted.  That was the beginning of our relationship and my milonga training.

As a young boy, Miguel Angel was exposed to tango in the conventillo where his family lived.  He learned tangos listening to family members sing and began dancing at 11 with his mother.  His uncle Carlos escorted him to his first dance at a downtown confiteria on his 14th birthday. 


Isabel Garcia y Miguel Angel

Miguel Angel met Isabel Nelida Garcia (“Chuni”) at Club Monte Carlo on Corrientes and Libertad where afternoon dances were attended by school teachers.  They married five years later in January 1962 and had two sons Nestor and Aldo. 

Miguel Angel has sung in Oscar Hector’s show “Milonguisimo” at Confiteria Ideal for several years.  During June/July 2002, he recorded a CD which I encouraged him to do.  When he sings “El Conventillo,” he is singing what he has lived.  Miguel Angel sings more than he dances these days now that his milonguero friends are no longer dancing regularly. 

His favorite orchestra is Carlos Di Sarli.  Miguel went to the cabaret Chantecler when Di Sarli celebrated twenty-five years with his orchestra.  When he hears a vals by Di Sarli, Miguel Angel is inspired to dance.  I had the pleasure of dancing every Saturday night with him at Club Bailable Juvenil on Corrientes during the year 2000 where I filmed the dancing.

Confiteria Ideal

October 2, 2008
Built in 1912 at Suipacha 384 in the business district of the city, Confiteria Ideal is one of the most popular venues today for tango with two milongas organized daily on the first floor and tango shows with dinner such as “Milonguisimo” on the main floor. Five years ago, a cultural heritage program to renovate the most notable cafes and bars in Buenos Aires allocated the sum of 59,000 pesos to improve the bronze chandeliers, marble, and ceilings that were badly in need of repair in Ideal.
During the 1950s, Confiteria Ideal was not used for dancing. During the past decade it has been used more as a venue for milongas and festival events.  Today, Confiteria Ideal is one of only a few venues with tango orchestras for dancing. It was one of the locations used in the films “Evita” by Alan Parker and “Tango” by Carlos Saura. It is an old symbol of porteno life. The Thonet chairs are the originals from 1912.

A visit to Confiteria Ideal gives a glimpse into the splendorous life that once was common in Buenos Aires. We can take steps back in time as we dance a tango or vals.