Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Milonguero will always break your heart

A word of advice to the ladies: A Milonguero will always break your heart.

Doesn't matter if you just had a great time dancing with him last night, and he had a great time dancing with you.  Doesn't matter if it's the first time you have danced with him, doesn't matter if you had been dancing together for eons.  The heartbreak is inevitable.  It's as bad as those damn Tango Shoes.

You've got to wait for his cabeceo.  Who knows whether he will look your way tonight?  You might have had the most marvelous Di Sarli together on Friday, D'Agostino on Saturday... They'll play those orchestras again tonight and there's another happy lady in his arms.  Or he's gone to some other milonga on the other side of town, even though he knows well enough where you were going to be. 

Oh, but there's always another one I can dance with, you say.  The milonga is filled with willing and talented gentlemen. No-one is irreplaceable.  Yes, no-one is irreplaceable, but if he is a Milonguero, and a true Milonguero, his style is all his own.  Unique.  No one hears and dances and feels and embraces to the music exactly the same way.  If you are looking for the same magic in the arms of another man - good luck, you aren't going to find it.  You may find less magic, or more magic, but the fact is, never will you find the same magic.

Even if he can't wait to dance with you, will never tire of you, has been dancing with you the same favourite tandas for decades as if you had signed and sealed a contract with blood for the next 99 years - he will still break your heart.  What if he moves to another city?  What if he becomes sick and cannot dance any more?  And there's always a chance he will finally find a nice girlfriend who forbids him to dance with other women.  And even if you are that favoured girlfriend of his, even if you marry him and tie him down ball and chain with blinkers so he can never cabeceo another woman ever again - my goodness, there's always a chance that he might die.  And if he dies, he'll take that special unique magic away with him for good. 

Who wants a broken heart?  What is a Tanguera to do?  No, I will not give my heart away, you say, I don't care if he dances like Fred Astaire (or Fino, or Portalea, or Gavito) - I will never give him all of me.  We will dance politely, more of a handshake than an embrace, I will follow as smooth as silk but you'll never going to get more than 50% of me, maybe 60% at the most.

Yes, let's do our 50%, 60% at the most...but then you won't be dancing Tango.

Yes, a Milonguero will always break your heart but that's why we have to give our 100%, 200%, 1000% every dance.  There is no guarantee what will happen the next tanda, or next year.  Tango at it's purest and deepest can only be found in the arms of a Milonguero and all you have in Tango is now.  He may break your heart into a million pieces tomorrow, but now, you will live and dance your savage and passionate Tango as if it is the last Tango on earth - for you will know that this moment, you have truly lived.  Life is sweet and cruel.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Somebody once told us...

Somebody once told us that when you embrace your partner in Tango, you must embrace them like they are a beloved old friend....

Somebody else once told us that when you walk in Tango, you must walk like you are taking a leisurely walk in the neighbourhood, enjoying the afternoon sunshine and the casual conversation and company of your loved ones...

Yet somebody else told us that to dance Tango well, you have to slow down and taste it with all your senses.  Treat it like a meal of exquisitely prepared asado with a rich dark malbec...

...Or even a simple home-cooked lunch of chicken and vegetables, prepared with love...

It's so simple really.  There are so many beautiful moments in our lives, showing us the way to dance Tango.

Happy Easter to everyone!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Should've known better (I told you so)


It was already 10:45 p.m. after we had finished practicing at the rental studio space last Thursday.   Still, Man Yung wanted to watch the videos we took of our practice, so here I was near midnight trying to download the videos from the memory card to put on Man Yung's iPad.

There was a glitch in the download.  The happy spinning beach ball of paralysis and death appeared on screen and everything got stuck.

I panicked and forcibly turned off the computer.  Should've known better than to do that - because when the computer came back on, all the videos we took were gone. Kaput!  Erased!

I let out a blood-curdling scream.

"What, you lost all the footage!" exclaimed Man Yung between shrieks of terror.  "That was the best practice we ever had!  If we put those fantastic videos on Youtube, we would get so many hits we would become millionaires!"


The milonga floor was less than desirable - something to do with the combination of ancient warped floorboards and a merry coating of varnish that made the floor look shiny but actually turned it impossibly sticky.

"Don't pivot so much on the floor!  Try to just walk slowly if you can," I hinted strongly to Man Yung.  "If you spin, your foot will be stuck in place while your whole body rotates - and this will be no good for your creaky old joints!"

"Yeah, yeah...I know what I'm doing!" Man Yung replied impatiently.

Ha ha - "Knowing what he was doing" consisted of doing even more turns and spins than usual.  It's been a whole week since Man Yung has danced and there were so many steps from Youtube he wanted to try out!

"Ouch!  My knees are so sore!" Man Yung said the day after.

I told you so.


It was the day of the milonga and we still didn't know who the DJ was going to be for the milonga that night.  We scoured the milonga website and Facebook page to no avail.

"Why couldn't the organizers give sufficient warning about who is playing the music?  There's less than 8 hours to go and still no news!"  said Man Yung grumpily.

We wouldn't normally be so concerned....but we really, really wanted to skip the milonga if a certain DJ was playing.

"I have to admit, I am very impressed by the DJ's vast collection of Canyengue music.  It seems like the DJ has every single piece of recorded Canyengue prior to 1915," I said.  "It's just too bad that the DJ has to use every track in this historic collection - every night, all night, every tanda, all the time!"

The last time we experienced this DJ's music, the music was so monotonous and soul-suckingly boring that not only did we not want to dance, we wanted to kill ourselves.

Man Yung was getting so antsy (he really wanted to dance) I did the unthinkable - I contacted the milonga organizer by phone and by Facebook.

The milonga organizer called back.  "DJ Canyengue will be playing.  See you guys tonight!"

I faithfully reported this to Man Yung.  Man Yung slapped his forehead and rolled his eyes to the heavens.

"Irene, you should've known better than to contact the organizer.  Now the organizer knows we called (Toronto Tango is a small world), they are expecting us to turn up at the milonga.  It would be rude not to go!"

"I have no scruples about not going," I said.  There are benefits to being raised by a pack of wolves.

"Unfortunately, I have," said Man Yung.

The other benefit of being raised by a pack of wolves is that I could spend the entire milonga with my feet up and head thrown back while snoring with my mouth open.  Haven't had such a refreshing nap in a long time!


It was late.  The milonga was almost all cleared out.  I was busy playing Plants and Zombies (the original!) on my phone while waiting for Man Yung to finish dancing.

Suddenly some guy appears in front of me.  "Would you like to dance?" he asked, annoyed.

Too many hours of playing games on my phone had numbed my brain.  Instead of saying "No", I said "Yes."

Big mistake.  He was annoyed that I didn't cabeceo him before and that I wasn't willing to dance.  I was annoyed that I agreed to dance when I wasn't willing to dance.  We spiced up our complete lack of connection by standing tensely between tangos, bristling with passive-aggressive, resentful silence.

"Thanks," we said to each other at the end of the tanda.  What we really meant was "No thanks!"

"I told you so," said Man Yung after I returned to my seat.  "There's a reason why the mirada and cabeceo are so important in Tango.  The dancers have to observe the other dancers to see who they want to dance with - and then try to get the dance with their eyes!  When the mirada and cabeceo are willingly returned, that means both dancers are already willing and happy to dance with each other, and there's going to be much more harmony and accord when they do dance.  It's much more elegant  than this ambush bullshit!"

"Man Yung, are you really giving me this advice about not ambushing people in tango?" I said incredulously.  "Didn't you just recently tell me to be more aggressive with my eyes, and stare at people like they owe me money and if they don't dance with me, I will kill them with the laser beams implanted in my pupils?  And if they by any chance get away, you were going to beat them up when they went to the washroom?"

Man Yung shook his head.  "No, Irene, you totally misunderstood me.   I distinctly recall I advised you to be sweet and gentle in your cabeceo and to smile more and act friendly."

Oh really.  Read our post here and judge for yourself!

Alberto Dassieu


Roxina and Adrian Canyengueros


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