Posts Tagged ‘tanda’

First tandas

August 28, 2011

Everyone remembers their first kiss or first date, no matter how many years have passed.  I remember my first tandas with milongueros.

The milonga Glamour was held in a salón at Boedo and Carlos Calvo.  An excellent dancer invited me to dance in September 1997.  It was my first time dancing milonga con traspié.  It wasn’t until years later I asked his name — Ernesto Jorge De Gouvea. 

November 19, 1998 was the first time I danced with Mario Allan “Alito” Candamil.  I kept a diary of my trip.  We danced two tandas in Regin at the corner of Riobama and Corrientes.  It was an Aha! moment for me.  He thought I was Argentine since there weren’t many foreigners and expected me to speak Castellano.  I hadn’t spoken Spanish since high school.  Alito still jokes about our dancing without saying a word.

I danced my first tanda with Pedro Sanchez in Club Gricel in October 1998, a few months before moving to Buenos Aires.  I was too inexperienced to realize what an incredible dancer Pedro was at the time.

The Milonga de Los Consagrados was on Saturday afternoon at Italia Unita where I danced my first tanda with Ismael Heljalil in November 1999.

I danced my first tanda with Miguel Angel Balbi on October 15, 1999, at Club Gricel.  I had not seen him dance and was a bit reluctant to accept his invitation.  I wasn’t disappointed.  That decision lead to a three-year partnership.  He taught me so much about the culture of tango.

Ricardo Hector Suarez loves milonga con traspié.  We danced our first tanda in Club Bailable Juvenil on September 17, 2000, with the permission of his partner Greta Feldberg.  Miguel Angel Balbi filmed us.

Pocho y Nely danced for filming by Solo Tango TV in Salón El Pial on July 11, 2003.  The highlight of the evening was dancing tango and milonga con traspié with Roberto Rafael “Pocho” Carreras.

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Clearing the dance floor

June 12, 2011

Those who have taken on the task of programming music for their community milonga want to know how long to play music for the cortina,  the music played that signals dancers that the tanda has ended.  The length depends on how long it takes all dancers to return to their seats.  I filmed a cortina at El Arranque — see how long it took for everyone to sit down before the next tanda began.

It’s common to see a couple dancing the cortina music, and they get strange looks.  Those who program a different cortina after each tanda are keeping the dancers moving on the floor, not off it.

Milonga 101: hugs and kisses

March 13, 2011

Hugs and kisses are a normal part of life in Buenos Aires.  Foreigners gradually adapt to the Argentine way.  Handshaking is rare, but used as a more formal greeting between men.  Here are some tips for the milongas.

The milonga host:  If you are attending a milonga for the first time, allow the host to take the lead.  Be prepared for a cheek-to-cheek greeting because it’s the most common.  Once you have gone several times, you’ll be greeted like a regular.  A male host will greet women with a kiss to the cheek, however, he’ll have to decide the comfort level of foreign men individually.

On the way to the table:  A host takes you to your table.  It’s best not to stop along the way to greet friends.  The host wants to return to the door to greet others.  You’ll see dancers who greet and kiss everyone on the way to their table; it’s their way of showing who they know to win the milonga popularity contest.  Women who make a point of greeting men when passing do so with the hope of dancing later. 

The first tanda with a stranger:  You have a nonverbal agreement to meet on the floor for a tanda.  You haven’t been introduced.  You share the embrace and dance until the cortina.  A kiss at the beginning isn’t appropriate, nor is one at the end.  

A tanda with a regular partner:  Those with many years in the milongas begin dancing.  A hug or kiss is superfluous for them.  Foreigners and new dancers have changed this tradition by kissing each partner at the beginning and the end of a tanda.

Greetings on or from the floor:  One doesn’t have to kiss and hug friends on or off the floor between dances.  It leads to conversations.  A smile or nod is enough.  Then it’s back to dancing. 

Leaving the milonga:  If we had to kiss every dance partner before leaving, it could take us a half hour to make an exit.  A thank-you to the host is enough.