In our tango journey, we've had terrific opportunities that we did not miss (like taking all 52 hours of classes that Martha and Manolo held in Toronto), and "Whew! Close-call" lucky breaks that we took advantage of (like not being fooled into choosing the nice young gentleman who dances badly in sneakers as our first Tango teacher).
But in Tango, as in Life, there are some things we cannot help but regret.
Tangocommuter just unearthed and posted a newly discovered video of Ricardo Vidort here (But IMHO, the best example of his best dancing on the web is here). What a great dancer, but now he is gone. Now all we have are snippets of footage and the memories of those who knew him.
Most people miss the opportunity to learn from the greats of the older generation by not traveling to Buenos Aires, or by traveling to Buenos Aires and just taking classes for three weeks with either people with trophies, or people who claim to have learned from the greats and have big long resumes to show for it.
We missed the opportunity to learn from Ricardo Vidort when he was RIGHT HERE IN TORONTO.
Ricardo was in Toronto for the first Toronto International Tango Festival, must be at least four or five years ago. We saw Ricardo demonstrating in the opening night milonga, and also at Club Milonga, and we saw him hang around a few of the local milongas after the festival.
We knew he was giving some classes and some "talks" about the culture of the milongas. But somehow he failed to capture our interest - and indeed, the interest of a lot of other Toronto Tango folk. We didn't understand the concept of milonguero or close-embrace (except that it seemed kind of boring and stuffy), there was no Youtube to educate - and any tango that didn't have at least one or both persons flying in the air was kind of lame to us (and to most of Toronto Tango), so... well, Ricardo fell under our radar. He just didn't register.
In fact, Man Yung knew Ricardo was watching us while we happily and obliviously danced our "Tango Estilo del Centro" in the Toronto milongas. Yes, even in those days we were kind of different and stood out.
It wasn't until years later, when we finally knew who Ricardo was, that Man Yung told me.
"You know, when Ricardo Vidort was in Toronto, he once tried to get my attention while I was on the way to the washroom? He stopped me, and started demonstrating some steps. He seemed friendly. I thought he was just showing off or having a lark. But I didn't speak Spanish so there wasn't any point trying to communicate. So I just smiled and went on my way."
"What do you think he meant?" I asked.
"Now that I have gotten to know some of the older dancers and have some insight on how they think, I understand. Something I was doing on the dance floor reminded him of the way that the older generation danced, but I was probably doing it wrong. He saw potential in me and wanted to correct me, and teach me what was right. But I had no idea. I missed my chance to learn from him and I feel ashamed to think of it."
It was a missed opportunity, but who knows. Given our level of dancing and understanding, our lack of knowledge of Spanish at that time - no, even when I replay the scenario over again in my head, it wouldn't have worked. It may have been the right person, but it was the wrong time. And if we became Ricardo's students, would our history with Martha and Manolo, Alberto, Osvaldo and Coca be the same?
Missing our chance to learn from Ricardo Vidort, from Pedro Vujovich, from Pupi....these are the regrets we have to live with.... But at least we know our regrets. At least we can learn from that.
How many out there don't know enough to KNOW to regret what they have missed?
Martha's Apartment in Buenos Aires
A Non-exhaustive set of Tango links in Toronto
- La Cachila - weekly milonga
- Paradiso -- weekly milonga
- Practica El Beso
- WE Tango
- Tango Sur - classes, shows
- Rhythm and Motion - classes, milonga, practica, annual Toronto Tango Festival
- Tango Obsession - classes, weekly Practica La Coqueta
- Tango Lirico - classes, practica, weekly milonga
- Tango de Oro - classes, shows
- Tango Soul Productions - classes, weekly milonga, shows, El Congreso annual Tango Festival
- Vivatango - classes
- Tango Argentino - classes
- Club Milonga - classes, special events
- Alternatango - classes, weekly milonga
- University of Toronto Tango Club - classes, practica
- El Abrazo - classes
- Tangoloft - twice monthly milonga