Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Distinctive Styles - Part 3 (The Luckiest Tanguero in the World/The Mysterious Man in Black)

4 a.m. at Glorias Argentinas. It was the end of the evening, most of the people had already left. We were hanging out with both Adela and Elba and their friends and Osvaldo and Coca - on two different tables on opposite sides of the room, so we were constantly shuttling back and forth! Every night we spent in Buenos Aires was surreal, like in a dream.

Ninety percent of the people at most barrio milongas know each other - they may have grown up together, or have seen so much tango history together they consider each other family. The atmosphere is much more relaxed, and people joke around and have fun. If there are "codigos" here, they are loose and more to do with common sense, courtesy and mutual respect among friends, and not the staid, strict, ritualistic "codigos" of downtown strangers. Do you still have to stick to the codes so you won't offend people you consider as dear as your sister, your brother, your father, your mother, your son or your daughter? No. And so it is with the dancers in the inner circle, at the heart of the barrio milonga.

Some "codigo" gurus would have a fit if they saw what goes on at Glorias Argentinas as the night wears on. Gentlemen coming up to the table to ask for a dance. Ladies screaming and laughing "NO, NO, NO, NO WAY NOT ON YOUR LIFE EVER!" when asked to dance (they were just kidding). Ladies asking gentlemen to dance for multiple tandas. People not finishing their tandas, but not because their partner sucked - it was because they were tired (and/or old) or because the food had arrived. Ancient tangueras asking Man Yung to marry them (he declined - he didn't know what to do with multiple offers).

The night was drawing to a close, and since Elba and Adela are the kindest, most welcoming milongueras on the planet (and as Man Yung was too scared to ask them before), they asked Man Yung to dance! "Hey buddy, don't just sit there - how about a dance?" said Elba

So in these videos, you will get to see THE LUCKIEST TANGUERO IN THE WORLD.

First Man Yung danced a milonga with Elba:

Elba Biscay dancing milonga with Man Yung at Glorias Argentinas

Then they danced one tango to Troilo (last tanda!):

Elba Biscay dancing a Troilo tango with Man Yung at Glorias Argentinas

Now, Man Yung is considered somewhat a terror in Toronto Tango - it's something about all those turns and strange, unorthodox moves that makes some followers think they will trip over their feet and fall flat on their faces (in front of the "Toronto Milongueros" no less)! Some Toronto Tangueras are frightened at the prospect of having to follow all that, and respond in either of three ways: They say "No thanks! My feet hurt!"; or they say "yes", and then proceed to "slow" Man Yung down by digging in their heels and hanging onto him like a human straitjacket; or they say "yes", and then stop the dance in the middle of the dance floor to give Man Yung a lecture about "The Embrace" and "Codigos" (so they don't have to dance, they can just talk)!

Is Man Yung really such a "difficult" dancer? Pffffffffft! Hardly! Milongueras in Buenos Aires and especially dancers in the same caliber as Elba and Adela find following Man Yung a walk in the park. They have seen and followed everything humanly possible in Tango, what could be so difficult about a few extra turns from a little chinese fellow? "They make me feel completely secure and free to lead whatever the music tells me to!" Man Yung remarked. "Complete and utter freedom!" And when the Milongueras dance, they dance with such joy.

For the next tango, Elba proposed that she film us dancing:

Don't watch this if you are severely allergic to "Irene and Man Yung dancing" - you have been warned

Elba is so cool - there's this part of the video where she refuses to film us being ambushed by a milonguero wielding a business card - and we get to see her lovely, glittering, pastel pink and purple coloured shoes! Elba and Adela have some of the the most delicious tango shoes we have ever seen on the dance floor. The first time we saw Elba and Adela, they were both wearing sexy sky-high stilettos - if I recall correctly, Elba was wearing a metallic turquoise pair, while Adela was wearing a pair in black or dark dark red. You couldn't help but stare at their shoes - and their captivating walk and footwork as they danced.

....Ladies, this means one thing: "Beautiful Tango Shoes" and "Uber-Milonguera" status go together like peanut butter and jelly. Grab your credit card and make a beeline for your nearest Comme Il Faut dealer now!

Speaking of which, the LUCKIEST TANGUERO IN THE WORLD also got to dance one tango with Adela - who was wearing a marvelous striped and polka dot red, white and black graphic print dress... with black and white polka dot shoes to match!:

While I was trying to get this memorable moment on video, a mysterious milonguero in black suddenly tried to interrupt me and take my camera away. How annoying! Here on film is captured forever evidence of my inability to "walk and chew gum" at the same time - or rather, my inability to speak coherently in spanish (I swear I don't usually sound quite so stupid!) explain why I am filming Adela dancing (because it is "lindo"! No, I can't think complex thoughts while I'm trying to multi-task), continue to film AND try to run away camera-grabbing hands.

After that, it was the very last tango of the evening - La Cumparsita.

If "Codigo" violation is as bad for your "Tango Salvation" as breaking any of the ten commandments, then we must have been well on our way to "Tango Hell" - not only did I go right up to the table of the camera stealing milonguero to ask him to dance instead of "saving" myself for THE LUCKIEST TANGUERO IN THE WORLD a.k.a. Man Yung for the very last tango of the night - the camera-stealing milonguero said "Yes"! The only real "Tango Sin" here was heck, I should have put the camera down earlier to dance with him! "Codigos" be damned - everybody just dance!:

Julio Cesar Cordi dancing A SPECTACULAR "La Cumparsita" at Glorias Argentinas

Where have all these unbelievable dancers been hiding? On that night at Glorias Argentinas, it seemed that they all came out of nowhere - splendid leaders, dazzling followers - all with their own distinctive styles of dancing. And the mysterious milonguero in black, Julio Cesar Cordi* - we've never seen such a stunning "La Cumparsita"!

This is the end of our video reports on our trip in 2010 (March). Hope you enjoyed all these different styles of dancing - and we hope that we've opened your eyes a little to what's out there. Happy dancing - and may you all be distinctive, original, and muy, muy, tango.

* It wasn't until this week looking over videos of the television program "Entre Nosotros Tango con Osvaldo Rivas" that we realized - we've seen Julio Cesar Cordi perform before on the show! And I had NO idea at all when I danced with him. Deja vu again at Glorias Argentinas - it happened before when I danced with Ruben de la Pompeya in 2007 at Elba's birthday party and was oblivious to who he was. This proves once and for all, I am such a COLOSSAL dork.


tangocherie said...

As always, your wry writing and self-denigrating humorous style was an enjoyable read. Sounds like a fabulous night!

Irene and Man Yung said...

Hi Cherie,

It was a lot of fun - whenever we spend time with the milongueros (including yourself and Ruben at Los Consagrados) no matter where we go in Buenos Aires, we always have a blast!

Thanks for enjoying our post!

Irene and Man Yung

Anonymous said...

That last video was great, Irene!! You lucky girl. And further evidence that the codigos are very different there, as your two lady friends were dancing together in the background. Oh Horrors!!!

Tangocommuter said...

What an amazing evening! Amidst a few other amazing evenings. Many thanks for making those videos available. There's a lot to enjoy (and learn!) there. It's great to have some good video of Elba, and that Cumparsita is stunning. & good to watch the 'luckiest tanguero in the world', too. Seriously, I'm jealous! Elba is a real star, isn't she? It's in her posture, the way she moves, the way she takes a good lead and dances with it like it was Alberto. It must have felt wonderful. I never got to Glorias Argentinas. Martha and Manolo invited me one evening but I'd already arranged something else: I think it was Pedro's asado that night. It was a big party night, with Tubatango, and Martha and Manolo dancing. Often I wanted to be in several places at the same time. I've got to go back...

I like your post on 'naming'. Rick McGarry says that Alberto Dassieu and El Chino were childhood friends whose dance developed under the eye of Luis Lemos, 'Milonguita', the great 'patron' of Villa Urquiza – but they don't dance like each other, and neither looks anything like the current Villa Urquiza 'brand'. I've watched Alberto and Paulina at Plaza Bohemia, perhaps as downtown as you can get, and to me they look much like everyone else, except much better. I read somewhere that when people complained that the guitarist John Williams strayed away from the classical repertoire he replied that there are only two kinds of music, good music and bad music. I wonder: perhaps there are only two kinds of tango. Just a thought.

Unknown said...

The las video is amazing... his style makes me feel somthing i can not explain... i hope to have very good luck as you when I visit BAs.

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Lit,

Thank you for your comment! I really like your observation that Julio Cesar Cordi's style makes you feel something that you cannot explain. I feel the same way watching awesome tango dancers. They don't have to be competition winners or famous (or they can be competition winners and/or famous) but they have that "it" that so awesome you go, "That's what tango is all about!"

I hope you see amazing dancing when you go to Buenos Aires too.

Irene and Man Yung

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