Friday, December 3, 2010

The gigantic Salon Sur, and Tito and Gilda at Milonga del Centenario - October 21, 2010

First we went to Salon Sur.  Haydee Esther Malagrino had invited us [translation: she gave us free entradas!] when we met her at Glorias Argentinas to the milonga she organizes there with her brother Oscar Hector on Thursday.  Unfortunately, we were originally scheduled to go to Martha and Manolo's class at La Salsera...."What time does the class start?" Haydee asked us.  "Nine thirty?  Good then - our milonga starts at six - there's no conflict!"

When we arrived, Haydee and Oscar Hector were both excited and happy to see us.  What we had heard was that Salon Sur was gigantic.  It really was - the biggest dance hall we had seen yet in Buenos Aires.  We were still gawking at the huge ballroom when Oscar Hector led us to our table - really, the best table in the house, with the best view and the best access to the dance floor.  I had to give him a kiss for letting us sit at that table!

Salon Sur has an odd T-shaped dance floor.  It goes straight from the entrance - and then balloons out in front of the stage.  On other nights they must have rock concerts - there are two long bars, mezzanines in the front and on both sides, very high ceilings, and a heavy duty sound and light system.  Here are some views:

Salon Sur is really big - from here under one of the mezzanines.....
....to here looking the opposite direction....
....to here next to the stage!
No tourists in sight!  It was an excellent milonga - the locals were welcoming and fun, and every half hour a different local gentleman would come over to ask Man Yung's permission to dance with me.  Apparently Oscar Hector had been telling everyone what a good dancer I was. Did I ever mention what a great promoter Oscar Hector is?

At Salon Sur, we bumped into our Lo de Celia friends Carlos Velino and his pretty novia Marta:

Carlos Velino and Marta
We were able to stay at Salon Sur right almost to the end after all - Manolo had caught a cold and had to stay home instead of teaching at La Salsera that night.  As Salon Sur ended relatively early, we were able to head over to Viejo Correo to visit Nina Balbuena and Luis Cordoba at Milonga del Centenario.

It was lucky that we made it to Nina and Luis's milonga - otherwise we would have missed Tito and Gilda.  We first met Tito at Sunderland in 2009.  He's quite a character - he looks like the smaller Ronnie of The Two Ronnies and has a sense of humour to match!  Tito is a regular at Sunderland and rarely goes to Viejo Correo, even though he used to be Nina's dance partner.  Nina gave him a call because she knew that we were in town and there was a chance we would show up.  A mini-reunion!  After all, we once had a photo of Man Yung posing with Gilda and Tito posing with me published in El Tangauta.

The way Tito dances reminds me of the older generation of dancers who danced in the barrio milongas - like the ones in the documentary, "Tango, Baile Nuestro".  Here he is dancing milonga with Gilda.  It's rare to see milonga danced like this anymore, everywhere you turn it's usually milonga traspie.  This is more distinctive, like the milonga of Pepito Avellaneda, or even the milonga of our teachers Martha and Manolo.


Tito and Gilda dancing milonga at Milonga del Centenario, October 21, 2010

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Alberto Dassieu

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