Sunday, November 28, 2010

Susy Tilbe at Lo de Celia, October 20, 2010

We posted this back a while ago - Susy Tilbe dancing with her partner in Milonguisimo, Juan Esquivel, at a homage to Carlos Di Sarli held at Maipu 444 by Nina Balbuena and Luis Cordoba on June 18, 2008:

Susy Tilbe and Juan Esquivel of Milonguisimo performing to Carlos Di Sarli's "El Ingeniero", Maipu 444, June 18, 2008

It's a video that we watch again and again... like all performances by the principal dancers of Milonguisimo, there's so much about elegance, musicality, feeling, and entrega that we can learn by watching this!

On the first night of our first visit to Buenos Aires back in 2008, we happened to catch a performance of Milonguisimo at Glorias Argentinas. How we applauded and cheered to watch our tango heroes dance! We got to know some of the wonderful dancers - and Susy, ever so kind and generous and welcoming to her fans, was the first ever milonguera whom Man Yung ever had a chance to dance with. An absolutely unforgettable experience - unfortunately one that Man Yung did not have the pleasure to experience again until this year.

There are some followers in tango that are so extraordinary, they are divine. The bailarinas of Milonguisimo are some of these mythical followers - Elba Biscay, Haydee Esther Malagrino, and of course, Susy.... What they have is not only the skill to follow beyond anything experienced or seen outside of Buenos Aires - what they have is that feeling, that feeling that is like none other. To be embraced by one of these goddesses is to be embraced by Tango. You forget who you are, where you are, what you are doing, who you are dancing with...there is nothing left but Tango...

"No, no! No marry!" Susy said to Man Yung, wagging her finger - her eyes dancing with laughter. Man Yung had just danced the night away with Susy, who graciously agreed to spend time with us at Lo de Celia during our recent October visit. After dancing about ten gazillon tandas with Susy, and of course being completely enraptured, the most natural thing for Man Yung is to propose marriage! Sorry Man Yung, you are stuck with me for now!

What is the secret to Susy's dancing and following that makes men prostrate themselves at her feet? Although Susy has tango skill aplenty, it's not just that - many followers have high levels of skill, but dancing with them is cold - frio. What is her secret?

Maybe there was a clue in something she said to me.

We were sitting at our table and talking about the milongas Susy likes to go to. She has a packed schedule every day of the week - she works full time and performs in Milonguisimo and other theatrical productions at night. Her days and nights are filled with work and rehearsals. She has to steal time to dance. "When work is done, and there's about two hours until the next engagement - off I run to El Arranque to dance, dance, dance all the tandas I could. Then it's off to the rehearsal! When I have a free night, I may go to ___________________ milonga, or to ______________ milonga. Do you know _______________ milonga? The place is nice, the music is so-so.... and the dancing is terrible!" Susy laughs. "But I have such a marvelous time!"

It's not always that she has the time to dance, but so long she is dancing, Susy will always be having a beautiful, wonderful, magical time. Her happiness in dancing tango is in her heart and soul, and anyone who dances with her can feel it too.

After the milonga, we left Bob and Viv, tango blog celebrities extrordinaire, with their deliriously enthusiastic Canadian blog fans [just kidding - a big tango blog hello to Jesse and Dorian from Vancouver] at the door at Lo de Celia - where they proceeded to wander aimlessly around the Entre Rios and Humberto Primo area - hee hee!* As for us, we had to take Susy home.

As we sped along the glittering Buenos Aires streets in the taxi, Susy had more advice for us. "In Tango, you have the man, and the woman. In the three minutes they are together, the woman must give her everything to the man. Her all. That is their agreement when they embrace. That is what makes the dance."

Susy Tilbe dancing with Man Yung at Lo de Celia, October 20, 2010 to a tanda of Pugliese

Susy Tilbe dancing with Man Yung at Lo de Celia, October 20, 2010 - a milonga!

Man Yung, we can take Susy home but you can't take Susy home with you! You will just have to make do with these lovely memories! And what wonderful times we had. Here's a photo of us, Susy and Roberto and Olga all together - at the always fabulous Lo de Celia. Another night to remember.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Roberto and Olga at Lo de Celia, October 20, 2010

We have never been to Susana Miller's Milongueando Festival of Milongueros - now in its 4th year - but we've got to admit, the roster of Milongueros that Susana Miller selects every year to teach class and to perform are really special, the cream of the crop of the Tango universe.  This year, she had our teachers Osvaldo and Coca and Alberto Dassieu, as well as El Nene Masci and Julio Duplaa.  In previous years, she had Tete, Pedro Sanchez, Abel Peralta, Osvaldo Centeno, Pocho and Nelly, El Flaco Dany... and our good friends Roberto Segarra and his partner Olga Gomez.

Roberto and Olga performing to Di Sarli at Milongueando 2009

You know that Roberto is something special once he steps into the room.  It's in the way he dresses; it's in the way he stands; it's in the way that people light up when he's there and come over to say hello; it's the way the organizer warmly greets him and presents him the best table in the house... and the way that he always has a smile and a word of encouragement for us newbies, us babies in Tango, if he sees that we are putting our heart and soul in the dance.  All over the internet we read of tango bloggers who have written about their encounters with him and who have found him an inspiration.

We see Roberto everywhere. In March we bumped into him at Lujos at Maipu 444, with beautiful Adela Galeazzi in his arms, dancing a joyful peppy tanda of Troilo.  At Rivadavia in October, we saw him dancing tanda after tanda with the lovely milongueras we had met at Lo de Celia. The next night he was in Caricias with his novia Olga.  On Wednesday we were all together at Lo de Celia again, where we had first met back in 2009.  We suspect that he probably never takes a break from the milongas - he must be at one or another, dancing the night away, every single day of the week. 

Man Yung doesn't speak spanish but already he has an in-joke with Roberto.  Whenever we encounter Roberto in the milongas without Olga, Man Yung asks, "Where Olga?"  Then the two of them guffaw with laughter and Roberto gives us a big sly wink.  Then he heads for the floor again for yet another dance.  Jokes aside, Roberto and Olga make a great team.  Roberto lets her take charge of everything - "He's my little baby bird," she says to us as she fusses over him lovingly, feeding him bits of pizza and olives and sausage.  While she is preoccupied, there's that big wink from Roberto again - he's having the time of his life!  Beautiful caring, take-charge girlfriend; great dancing night after night with Olga and with the other wonderful milongueras.  He transmits the feeling of Tango to everyone he dances with and receives it back a thousandfold in the embrace. Is that his fountain of youth?

You don't have to ask him to find out - you can see it in Roberto's wide smile.  Roberto doesn't only know the secret of Tango; he also knows the secret of Life. 

Roberto and Olga dancing a tanda of Calo at Lo de Celia, October 20, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nina Balbuena and Luis Cordoba, El Puchu, and Roberto Segarra at Rivadavia Club - October 18, 2010

We were at Nina Balbuena and Luis Cordoba's "Milonga del Centenario" at Viejo Correo on the first Thursday night.  We were dead tired, having just arrived in Buenos Aires earlier that day - but happy, to see Nina and Luis and many familiar faces at the milonga again.  Every time we are in Buenos Aires, we pay Nina and Luis a visit - they are wonderful people and dear friends.

Many milonga organizers come to Nina and Luis's milonga -  it's a friendly space where they can socialize, dance, relax, and promote their own milongas.  You could almost guarantee that Gloria, the organizer of La Shusheta, will be in attendance - we also met Ricardo of Saraza there on one occasion.  There were also many others that we didn't get the opportunity to know.

Sometime late in the evening, Clely, one of the organizers of the milonga at Rivadavia Club on Monday, came over to talk to us. She had short blond hair, a headband, and was dressed in a lot of white.  She wanted to invite us to her milonga.*  She gave us the flyer - with her handwriting and signature on the back.  "I'll see you two there!" she said cheerily, before scooting back to the other side of the room where she was sitting with all the other single ladies.

* We don't know whether you are familiar with the concept of "The Invitation".  Does anyone else get any invitations when they go to Buenos Aires?  Is it a common thing?  We haven't read anything on the internet about it. Just in case you haven't encountered any - we'll write a short post about our experiences with them after this post.

We met Alberto and Paulina the next Friday for lunch (a very delicious parilla called "Parilla Pena" on Rodriguez Pena) and asked them about "Rivadavia Club".

Alberto looked at the flyer and checked out the address.  "It's too far!  There are plenty of good milongas downtown that you could go to, with good dancing and good music.  Why go out of your way to the barrio clubs - these out-of-the-way places?"   Alberto and Paulina like to go to milongas closer to their home in Abasto.

"But we have a plan to visit all the barrio clubs in existence," I replied.  "Glorias Argentinas, Sunderland, Sin Rumbo, Nuevo Chicago, Caricias, Circulo Trovador, Kamel, Saraza, Circulo Apolo, Rivadavia Club..."  Alberto rolled his eyes, he knew we were kidding him - but that we were also serious about going to the barrio clubs to see how the local people lived, socialized and danced.

That said, we weren't originally planning to go to Rivadavia Club - it was truly pretty far even though there weren't a lot of choices for us on Monday nights downtown...We had dinner plans with Nina and Luis on Monday evening.  Where would they like to go after dinner?  I called Nina to confirm our plans.  "How about Rivadavia Club?" she said. That sealed the deal.

We always look forward to partaking in meals with our friends in Buenos Aires - milongas are a great gathering places, but conversations at a nice quiet restaurant or at home over a home-cooked meal are the best way to get to know people better.  In March we enjoyed delicious asado and empanadas at Nina and Luis's apartment (why are Argentinians all Iron Chefs at home?  They made such great food) and now it was our turn to invite them to dinner.

At Chiquilin, we had apple salad with palmitos and cheese, asado, a huge plate of fries and lots of red wine.  We talked about everything... Nina and Luis are encyclopedias of tango knowledge, having been involved in Tango so long.  Nina used to be Antonio Todaro's assistant at his school - she and Luis still teach Todaro's style in their classes at Viejo Correo and Club Oeste.  Tango wasn't all we talked fact, Nina and Luis made Man Yung cry by talking incessantly about their cat - sadly now frolicking over the rainbow bridge.  

Dinner with Nina and Luis at Chiquilin

After dinner, we took a taxi all the way uptown to Rivadavia Club.  We didn't know what to expect - the outside was all dark, like a shuttered up cinema, but already there were people standing outside who recognized and greeted Nina and Luis.

Inside it was like this:

Rivadavia Club

Everywhere we went this October (with the exception of El Beso), the places were not to capacity.  We heard that attendance at Leonesa and Gricel was also low.  Some rationalized that the tourists came in droves in August to the various tango festivals and to the Campeonato Mundial and so that month was extremely busy - to the detriment of the period that followed.

Well, Rivadavia Club has a big, long boomerang shaped dance floor packed with local dancers. So here's where everybody has been hiding!  We saw some familiar faces and went to say hello - Roberto Segarra was there, surprised to see us so early - we had plans to meet him and Olga on Wednesday at Lo de Celia; this was a bonus.  There were also some of Man Yung's favourite ladies of Glorias Argentinas and Lo de Celia.  Apart from us, not a single tourist could be seen.

It seemed that Nina knew everybody in the room - every single person that we passed on our way to our seats on the other side of the dance floor got up to give her a kiss and a hug.  It seemed that the seated crowd was doing "The Wave" in slow motion as Nina made her way through. Luis, reserved and gentlemanly as ever, is Nina's rock, always supporting her by her side, content to let Nina be the Star that she is.  "Wow, that's impressive," I remarked to Man Yung as I watched Nina in action, "It's from all her years as milonga organizer, tango teacher and power socializer - something we've always known about Nina but never actually seen!" 

When we were finally seated people continued to flock to Nina to say hello.  If you ever get to meet her, you would find her as sweet as pie - and her exuberant warmth always draws people to her, she is ready for everyone with a big hug and a kiss with all of her heart.  The non-ending stream of well-wishers and friends lasted the WHOLE evening.

Nina's foot is still injured from a few months ago, so she couldn't dance - but we certainly did!  "Go, go on and dance!" Nina and Luis said.  So, Man Yung got to dance with his wonderful milonguera friends as well as Clely, who came over to ask him to dance - and I got to dance with Luis and also Oscar, one of the co-organizers of the milonga.  At peak hours, the milonga was as crowded, if not more crowded that El Beso on Sunday - but we never got poked in the back by any errant "Elbow Dancers".  If everyone respects one another on the dance floor, we can all get to dance and enjoy the music even if it's like a tin of sardines.  Just think about that!

Naturally, I also got to dance with Roberto Segarra.  He is always sneaking off to dance without his girlfriend Olga in tow (Shhhhhhhh!  Don't let her know! Just kidding)  Actually, Olga with Roberto is a bit like me with Man Yung - she can't keep up with all that dancing that Roberto unleashes upon her and is quite content to have him go and dance so she could take a rest.

Please remember that Roberto has just turned 90!!!!

D'Arienzo Vals with Roberto Segarra - Rivadavia Club October 18, 2010

Roberto is full of energy and life and love for dancing.  He dances like someone who is half his age. We always enjoy a few tandas together every time we are in Buenos Aires - I love his playfulness and musicality and, if you look at the last part of the second vals, you could see how we are flying to the compas together!  Que milonguero!

And now, for a real treat.  Remember in March when I was corralled into a "Surprise" performance with Alberto at Glorias Argentinas?  The headliner performer that night was actually El Puchu - a very well-known and beloved folklore and tango dancer in Buenos Aires.  Sallycat met him in 2007 and wrote a very interesting and informative post about him here.

Now that we've actually got El Puchu's permission, here are the videos of El Puchu performing in Glorias Argentinas back in March - a Biagi tango and a chacarera.  He is really loved by the locals - listen to the crowd go wild:

El Puchu performs to Biagi's "El Recodo" at Glorias Argentinas, March, 2010

El Puchu performs Chacarera at Glorias Argentinas, March 2010

At Rivadavia Club, we met El Puchu again.  He came over to say hello to Nina.  We got up to greet him too - and to tell him that we really enjoyed his performances at Glorias Argentinas in March.  He was probably scratching his head wondering where he had seen these Korean people (hee!) before, but he was very friendly, down-to-earth and humble.  We talked to Nina afterwards about him.  "I love him, he is such a good person," Nina said.  "I've known him since he was a child, he was always so kind and sweet." 

Later on the evening, I got a surprise - when El Puchu came over to ask me to dance!  (With Man Yung's permission, of course).  Here's the video that Man Yung took.  This is the first time I've ever danced with El Puchu.  What a beautiful dancer - with wonderful musicality, inventive improvisation, feeling and what everyone in the Tango blogverse is talking about - The Embrace:

Two Canaro Canyengues with El Puchu - Rivadavia Club, October 18, 2010

We urge you to study the video very carefully.  Who said that dancing in in crowded conditions has to be a boring two-step affair?  The floor was filled with dancers, but El Puchu was able to do all his intricate figures, keep to the edge of the dance floor, stay with the music (and express it like a dream), protect me from being bumped into - and he was never a threat to any of the other people on the dance floor.  The way he dances reflects his gentle kindness, his humility - and also his inner fire.  With dancers of the new generation like El Puchu and Santiago Cantenys, Tango has a bright future ahead.

An evening at the local barrio milonga isn't complete without a lively Chacarera.  Here's El Puchu again, leading the group - and dancing up a storm:

 El Puchu and the Chacarera  - Rivadavia Club, October 18, 2010

El Puchu teaches at and organizes a milonga at Salon Canning on Thursdays.  You can also find him on Facebook by searching for "El Puchu".  He's definitely a dancer to watch - and to learn from, if you ever get the chance!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Adela Galeazzi, Elba Biscay, Santiago Cantenys and Roberto Fortunato - Performances at Salon Canning, October 30, 2010

Tangocommuter has already mentioned these videos on his blog, but we just wanted to post our favourite one - the one where Adela dances with Roberto and Elba dances with Santiago in an energetic Biagi Vals:

You can see Santiago, Adela and Elba dance Tango x 3 and Milonga x 3 here:

And of course, you can check out other amazing, muy milonguero videos on Adela's Youtube channel here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Glorias Argentinas - Oscar Hector's 47th anniversary, with a performance by Toronto's Fabian and Roxana Belmonte!

This morning we got a surprise when we logged into Youtube - Fabian and Roxana Belmonte, internationally famous Tango maestros from Argentina based in Toronto, had sent us a message about a video they just posted of Oscar Hector's 47th radio anniversary at Glorias Argentinas!

During our recent trip, Oscar Hector and his sister Haydee Esther Malagrino had mentioned to us several times that this grand event was going to take place at Glorias Argentinas on October 27.  Unfortunately, that was the day for our return flight to Toronto - so we sadly missed it all.  Imagine our surprise when we discovered that we could experience a bit of what we missed through Fabian and Roxana's "Tangodeoro" Youtube channel!

Oscar Hector's 47th Anniversary at Glorias Argentinas, October 27, 2010 - with a dazzling performance by Toronto's own Fabian and Roxana Belmonte!

In the video, there's performances from Lito and Lidia Filippini, Oscar Hector with Haydee and another lady (what an incredible follower), and of course, a dramatic and spectacular performance from Fabian and Roxana Belmonte.  Fabian and Roxana has strong ties to Club Glorias Argentinas.  They have been going to the milonga since they were kids and had the opportunity to learn from the legendary dancers from the golden age there.  If you have a chance to discover the many wonderful treasures on their Youtube channel, you can see vintage video footage of Fabian and Roxana with all the tango luminaries at Glorias, like this one of an unforgettable homage to El Cachafaz and Antonio Todaro - featuring El Cachafaz's partner, Carmencita Calderon:

Homage to El Cachafaz and Antonio Todario in Glorias Argentinas, 1994 - watch carefully for a much younger Oscar Hector and also, glimpses of Fabian and Roxana

Thanks Fabian and Roxana for letting us know about your video!  You can find more information on Fabian and Roxana on their website here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Night at Glorias Argentinas - October 16, 2010

You'd think that we had enough excitement with Osvaldo and Coca at La Baldosa on Friday - enough to fill our "tango excitement" quota for the whole year.... but no.  We had to head over to Glorias Argentinas the very next day - with our tango parents, Martha and Manolo!*

* They are our tango parents, because we love them very much - and because without them, our life in tango would not be possible.  

At Glorias, we met for the first time the world famous tango bloggers from Wales, Bob and Viv.   We're sure Bob and Viv would agree it was a cataclysmic, ground-breaking event - the first ever Congress of the Chinese-Canadian/Welsh Tango Bloggers, so to speak.  Too bad that Jantango did not capture the entire event on video - the introductions, the mutual pleasantries, the invitations to dance, the threats to start a blog war, etc. etc.  Moving on....

What we did manage to film was Martha and Manolo dancing socially at Glorias.  Many of you may be familiar with the videos on the internet of their Canyengue, Milonga and Tango Salon performances in the milongas of Buenos Aires and from their frequent teaching tours around the world.  It was a treat to see them in a relaxed atmosphere, in a milonga close to their home, dancing swing and milonga!

Our "Tango Parents" Martha Anton and El Gallego Manolo dancing Swing (!) at Glorias Argentinas, October 16, 2010

Our "Tango Parents" Martha Anton and El Gallego Manolo dancing Milonga at Glorias Argentinas, October 16, 2010

As you can see by the videos, Martha is a beautiful, glamorous star of the tango universe (all the girls of the milonga watched Martha's feet and how she walked to learn from her - she is a Legend) and Manolo is impeccably dressed, a gentleman always. Their dancing is calm, joyful, playful. We visited their home on this trip and Manolo showed us his wall-to-wall wardrobe filled with matching clothing and tailor-made suits - he has been a fixture at the milongas of Buenos Aires for decades and decades and he knows how a gentleman should look for tango.

Man Yung is always nervous when we go out with Manolo to events - that's because Man Yung is such a dork, his jacket pockets are always flipped up or something's wonky or not buttoned.  "Yikes, Man Yung, that's gross!  What's wrong with you?" Manolo says sternly (but with good humour).  At the milonga, you have to respect yourself, respect the venue, dress and look like a gentleman.  Gentlemanly behavior (and dress code) comes first.  The dancer comes after.

Something that happened during the milonga that unfortunately didn't get filmed.  Sometime after midnight, a tanda of Canyengue played.  A few couples ventured out onto the dance floor - and so did we, because Martha and Manolo want to see us dance Canyengue whenever possible. Now, we were totally rusty, and our technique (as usual) is off - but after a few seconds, the people who got up to dance sat down, leaving just us on the dance floor!  We had no choice but to stick it out, dance the whole song - and put out hearts into it.  The people from the table stared at us, and we had to keep on going, thinking in turns, "did we miss some announcement?" and "was our dancing so horrible that they are completely mesmerized, like onlookers transfixed on a train wreck?"

When it ended, everyone applauded, like we had just done an exhibition!  We quickly ran off the dance floor, completely embarrassed at all our unintentional attention-grabbing. We asked Martha and Manolo what had just happened, since they had observed it all. It wasn't that mysterious. "I think the people just wanted to see you dance," Martha said.

While I was still trying to understand what had transpired, Man Yung cabeceo'd Haydee Esther Malagrino, one of the principal Milongueras of Milonguisimo [and here's another video of her dancing on stage with the cast of Milonguisimo], sitting all the way at the front of the hall.  We have admired her dancing since even before we met her through clips of Milonguisimo on Youtube.   She has the entrega and exquisite footwork to match the fast feet of her Milonguisimo partner, Jorge Uzunian.  She is another of the goddesses of tango - lucky Man Yung!:

Man Yung dancing with the incomparable Haydee Esther Malagrino of Milonguisimo, 
October 16, 2010

As you can see, we had so stunned the people at Glorias with our Cantonese-style Canyengue (sorry you don't get to see it - maybe it's for the best!) that most were still sitting down when Man Yung started to dance with the lovely Haydee.

Haydee came over a little later and arranged for me to dance a tanda of tango with a milonguero from her table.  And later, yet another milonguero whom she had been dancing with - and it's none other than Hector "Coco" Guaraldi, the brother of our friend Chiche who always sits at Carlos Anzuate's table!  Here we are dancing Coco's unique style of milonga traspie:

Dancing Milonga Traspie with Hector "Coco" Guaraldi at Glorias Argentinas, October 16, 2010

And last but not least - towards the end of the evening, Oscar Hector appeared at our table.  Yes, the Oscar Hector - organizer of milongas at Glorias Argentinas and the gigantic Salon Sur, impresario and principal dancer of "Milonguisimo" [we have posted clips of his brilliant performances before on our blog here, here, and here, and here], producer of radio shows, tango personality extraordinaire - if you have not been hiding under a rock and have actually seen historic footage on youtube, he is the one making the announcements at events in homage of such tango luminaries such as Carmencita Calderon, Lampazo, Los Dinzel....When I mentioned him to Osvaldo and Coca, Coca told me he is "Milonguero Milonguero".... And if you ever get a chance to visit Salon Canning, Oscar Hector's photo is the one that is the first one that you see at the entrance.

Photo of Oscar Hector with Teresita Brandon at the entrance of Salon Canning

So what was Oscar Hector doing standing there at our table, waving and signaling at the DJ in the DJ's booth?  He wants the DJ to play something lovely for a lovely dancer he wants to dance with.

Who was he talking about?  It was me!!!!!!!  

Me! Me! Me! Yippee! I have always wanted to dance with Oscar Hector, from even before we met we have admired his dancing in videoclips of Milonguisimo on Youtube.  He was the first person of the Buenos Aires milongas I've ever talked to - I called Glorias Argentinas on the first day we were ever in Buenos Aires and it was Oscar Hector on the other line, patiently giving me directions to his milonga.  He has never asked me to dance before, this was the first time he ever asked....

So there we were, Man Yung and I, jumping up and down in glee in the most uncool way possible. "Can we film it!  Can we film it!" we asked.  Oscar Hector looked at us with one eyebrow raised. "So you can make DVDs and make a ton of money selling them to the Japanese?" (he was kidding).  Oh, we don't care, we just want to film it so we can have a souvenir and remember this dance forever!  As I said, we are such dorks.

Here's the video of my first ever dance with Oscar Hector - and yes, he selected the most lovely music, a tanda of Di Sarli instrumentals from the 40's. It was a "Dreams come True" moment - I think you could see by the blissful expression on my face:

Dancing to Di Sarli with Oscar Hector at Glorias Argentinas, October 16, 2010.  
I look like I have just been transported to Tango Heaven

That's the end of the videos from our night at Glorias Argentinas - but that was not all.  Jorge Garcia and Susana arrived really late, past 2:00 a.m. - they had promised to met us so we could give them the photo we took of them at La Baldosa the night before.  After greeting us and other friends warmly, they lost no time, and started dancing right away - but I suspect they had already been dancing for a few hours at another milonga. Susana was tired, and when they passed by our table, Susana said she needed a break - and told Jorge to dance with me!
We've admired Jorge Garcia's dancing since we first saw him at Elba Biscay's birthday party, but I've never had the chance to dance with him.  It was a milonga - and dancing with him was so smooth, it was like gliding.  Jorge has great control, great navigation, and a great sense of fun - for about ten seconds we danced right around the centre pillar at Glorias Argentinas, right flush again it - just because there was a phrase in the music that called for exactly that.

What was Man Yung doing?  He should have been taking notes, or at least filming.  Well, he was too busy dancing!

More videos to follow.....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tribute to Osvaldo and Coca's 55 years in Tango at La Baldosa - October 15, 2010

We are busy on Fridays in Buenos Aires.  First, we must go to Osvaldo and Coca's class at El Tacuari in San Telmo.  Then, we must follow Osvaldo and Coca wherever they are going after class.

It happened that the second day we were in Buenos Aires fell on a Friday.  It also happened that after class, Osvaldo and Coca were headed to La Baldosa for a special tribute milonga - a Tribute to Osvaldo and Coca's 55 years in Tango!

So, jet lagged and still tired from our flight from Toronto, we tag along with Osvaldo and Coca to the barrio of Flores to popular milonga La Baldosa.  We were looking forward to a nice relaxing evening out catching up with our teachers and perhaps getting a little dancing in.

"Don't sit there like a lump - dance, nene!"  was Osvaldo's advice to us.  So what does Man Yung do? Man Yung goes and dances with Coca:

Man Yung dancing with Coca at La Baldosa - a tanda of Troilo with Fiorentino

Man Yung is always nervous dancing with Coca.  She is his idol - his maestra.  "Mucho miedo!"* Coca says after the tanda, laughing.  Look at how calm and patient Coca is - she is taking care of Man Yung on the dance floor!  The hallmarks of a world class milonguera: feeling,  And of course, magic red tango shoes.

* "Lots of fear!

Here's more magic:  Osvaldo and Coca dancing at La Baldosa.  Man Yung is following them with the camera. Of course they never get to finish any song - everywhere they go they spot someone they know.  And off they dart - to kiss and say hello.  So many distractions, you say! But when they do dance, their concentration on the music and each other is absolute:

Osvaldo and Coca - Social dancing at La Baldosa

So we are sitting there enjoying the milonga and talking to Osvaldo and Coca - when Osvaldo suddenly starts up.  "What do you want to dance to?"  Uh-oh.  Deja vu of what happened at Circulo Apolo in March.  This time Osvaldo and Coca doesn't even pretend that it isn't what it is.  They want us to perform at their tribute.  "But I'm scared!" I said.  "Tonta!"* Coca says.  They figure that what we are doing is acceptable to them - and that will be just fine and dandy for everyone else at La Baldosa, one of the most important milongas in Buenos Aires.  I feel my throat closing up and I'm starting to have a fever and perhaps some kind of rash - allergy to exhibitions, perhaps.  If they call an ambulance now I'll be able to miss the performance altogether!  

* "Silly!"

No such escape hatch.  "So what do you want to dance to?" asks Osvaldo again.

"Poema!" yells Man Yung.  A tribute to Osvaldo and Coca means dancing one of their signature songs. He didn't even need me to translate.

So here we are dancing to Canaro's "Poema":

A little "Surprise" for everyone - we go first and perform to "Poema" at Osvaldo and Coca's Tribute.   
Osvaldo filmed and provided the commentary soundtrack - consisting of a lot of mirth, giggling and cackling!
Here's a little something for Bob and Viv - the gentleman whom we greeted at the end of our performance is none other than your maestro, Jorge Garcia!  We have known him (and admired his wonderful dancing) since Elba Biscay's birthday party in 2008!

Looking at it afterwards, we cannot fail but be amazed - not at us (thank god we got some applause), but at Osvaldo and Coca's confidence in us.

"We had just got off the plane. The only dancing that Osvaldo and Coca had seen of us was in class... they offered no advice on performing and no coaching whatsoever.  How could they be sure that we weren't going to be an absolute and utter embarrassment on the dance floor?" Man Yung asked me.

I thought about it for a second.  "I think Osvaldo and Coca have a lot of faith in their opinion of us.  Sure, we may be just a couple of silly ducklings.  Nevertheless, it's enough for us to dance simply, if we could dance with feeling and musicality.  To Osvaldo and Coca, it's good enough for an exhibition, because that's what tango is about.  That's what they have been teaching us all along.  We didn't need to rush out and get into swan costumes and start practicing pirouettes if that's not what we really were!"

Now we've got that out of the way, please enjoy the rest of the performances from that night!

Here's Pedro Ochoa and Fatima Vitale, reknowned Buenos Aires tango teachers and performers (and Pedro Ochoa is also a musician, playing double bass with his group Z Club Tango Trio), performing to Laurenz's "No me extrana":

[We emailed Pedro Ochoa to tell him that we had posted the video of his performance on Youtube as we had promised to do when we talked to him and his partner Fatima at La Baldosa.  He emailed us back a very nice email - apparently he has toured in Montreal, Canada before, in 2008 and 2010.  He is looking forward to returning to North America again, hopefully in 2011.  You can get more information on Pedro Ochoa at his website and Myspace page for Z Club Tango Trio]

Here's Andreas Erbsen and Ruth Manonellas, the principals and owners of the tango school "El Tacuari" performing a dramatic Pugliese tango:

[Hey Bob and Viv, we think you would like this! - a gift from Irene and Man Yung] Of course, fleet-footed Jorge Garcia and his lovely partner Susana Soar brought down the house with their electrifying milonga:

Photo op!  Jorge and Susana very graciously granted us an opportunity to photograph us all together after the performances ended:

And last but not least, Osvaldo and Coca concluded the evening's exciting performances with their beautiful rendition of Orquesta Tipica Victor's "Carillon de Merced":

And then a little extra as everyone took to the floor in a group dance.  Partner exchanges permitted!:

* Please note that the ladies (except for Coca) did not call each other before the milonga to coordinate their shoes.  It is pure coincidence that all of us are wearing silver stilettos!

Dear Reader(s):  You may be completely exhausted by the cornucopia of tango video goodness in this post - but don't throw in the towel yet.  There's more coming!  Don't say that we aren't doing our best to bring Buenos Aires to you, wherever you may be in the world.

Osvaldo and Coca, Andreas and Ruth of El Tacuari tango school, friends - at La Baldosa, October 15, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Toronto Star writes about Comme Il Faut

I (and perhaps quite a few Toronto Tangueras) couldn't believe my eyes this morning  when I saw this article:

They also have printed a photo of two (very nice) Comme Il Fauts in the article!  Sacrilege!  Would not the ladies of Comme Il Faut come after them with an axe?

I'm ambivalent about my favourite shoe store getting all this non-tango publicity... It's bad enough to have to fight hissing and spitting Tangueras for shoes in the Comme Il Faut showroom, but ferocious fashionistas looking for cut-rate Louboutin substitutes too?  The world of Tango (shoes) gets hairier by the minute....

Monday, November 1, 2010

Adela Galeazzi - Late night at Centro Region Leonesa

We were only able to meet with Adela once during our most recent trip to Buenos Aires in Caricias.

"My broken heart!" said Man Yung.  "We were only able to dance one little tanda.... and then she introduced us to her handsome brother - but it wasn't her brother, it was her son!"

Oh well, poor Man Yung, at least you can enjoy Adela's dancing on Youtube!  We just received an email today from Adela with the links to her latest videos taken at the end of the evening at Leonesa on her birthday.  When we saw her at Caricias, Adela was wearing leopard print pants with leopard spotted Comme Il Fauts.  Here, in these videos, prepared to be amazed by Adela's feet - they have the precision of a panther's pounce, the softness of a cat's paw:

Adela Galeazzi with Santiago Cantenys

Adela Galeazzi with Roberto Fortunato

Adela Galeazzi with Pedro Salias

Note that all the men dance with great musicality - and none of them dance in the same way!  A great follower like Adela always shows off the best in all her partners no matter how they dance.  No nagging about "You've got to dance this way," or "You have to dance that way," or "What you are doing is not authentic!"

"Stop crying, Man Yung, we'll go back next year," I said to Man Yung.  "Meanwhile, if you want to watch more videos of the amazing Adela, you can always check her YouTube site for updates!"

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