We were enjoying Martha and Manolo's delicious asado at their pretty little white house in the barrio of Jose Ingeniero when the conversation turned to steps. Whenever Man Yung is around Manolo, that's where the conversation always leads - no matter whether we are at having dinner at their house, resting in between classes at the Camicando festival, or walking to our car after having buffet at the Mandarin! Man Yung always wants to learn more from Manolo's own personal style of Milonga and Tango Salon of the 50's, as well as the distinctive styles of dancers who have passed on into history like Manolo's best friends Juan Bruno and Rodolfo Cieri. Manolo is a living encyclopedia of tango.
So there they were, gesturing away and pointing here and there to locations on the floor where they could put their feet (Don't ask me, the only things I know how to do is translate or follow) when they came across a complex series of corriditas. Manolo's face lighted up. "It reminds me... this is a lovely corridita to do - I always do this when I dance to Milonga Brava!"
Man Yung has encountered this phenomenon too. Whenever we are dancing to a tango that we have a particularly strong feeling for, I get this sense of deja vu - because Man Yung is doing the same things that he always does for the same tango/vals/milonga, to the same phrase or accent in the music! It's like he is hypnotized - or perhaps the music is telling him to do this?
In Tango, sometimes the music, the body, the mind and the soul merges. It's the memories and associations we have that makes tango like a time machine, carrying us back to the scents, sights, sounds and emotions we had the first time - or the hundredth time - we had danced to the music.
That's why the porteños could keep on at it, dancing and performing to the same beautiful nostalgic melodies for half a century, or more. The more we dance to our favourite tangos, the richer the feeling becomes, and the greater the pleasure. Volver...they say. Tango is an old friend, who understands us and knows our secrets and desires. It's there for us to come back to, to become again as we once were. The people we have loved, the places that we have lost, the times that have gone by - magically appear again to us in the embrace.
Why wouldn't we want to return? Why should we always be on the hunt for the trendy and new, reinvent ourselves, and bid goodbye to everything that made us who we are? There's something that Martha and Manolo always say when it is time for us to part again. "Hasta mañana, hasta mañana!" they say as we hold on to each other in tears - see you tomorrow! It is never a farewell - because we will always see each other again.
Here is Martha and Manolo, performing to Donato's "El Adíos" at La Baldosa last Friday. Manolo will be turning seventy-nine next Tuesday. We wish them both good health and much happiness, and may they always dance together whenever their favourite music plays:
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