Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Alberto Dassieu - Performances at Paradiso's 14th Anniversary milonga, April 22, 2011

Two of the many highlights of Paradiso's fabulous 14th Anniversary bash on April 22, 2011 were the performances by Maestro Alberto Dassieu.  Here are the videos of the performances - the first to Osvaldo Pugliese's tango "Arrabal", the second to Juan D'Arienzo's vals "Desde el Alma":

A big thank you to Regina and Patricia of Paradiso for bringing Alberto Dassieu to Toronto - and for keeping the flame of traditional Argentine Tango burning bright here in the city with their milonga for 14 years.  Congratulations!

*  Who is dancing with Alberto in the videos?  Yes, it's me, a.k.a. Irene of "Irene and Man Yung's Tango Blog" (Man Yung wanted to too but Alberto said no, sorry).  While Man Yung and I have performed in the past both here in Toronto and in Buenos Aires on numerous occasions, an opportunity for me to do an exhibition with our teacher Alberto is a great honour.  Alberto has made a huge difference in our dancing - I don't think I really started to understand what it is to follow until we started taking classes with Alberto and were able to partake in the wisdom he has from all his decades of experience in tango.  Thank you so much, Maestro - and thank you also to all the lovely, kind people who came up to me afterwards to tell me that they enjoyed this performance!  A big hug to you all - you made my day!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Defensive Driving


Last tanda of the evening.  The floor had thinned out considerably - people have to work the next day.

Half-way through the first tango, Man Yung got kicked - by a guy who was dancing behind him. It was the intrepid tailgater - AGAIN.

This guy's modus operandi involves bumping - and then looking sheepish.   The fact that he is swinging his left arm out like a crane and charging into and kicking people does not seem wrong to him.  I imagine he collides so many times a night it he feels like he hasn't danced if he doesn't get his quota of tackles. "Whoops-a-daisy!" he must be thinking, plus - "What jolly, harmless fun!"

As for saying sorry - NEVER.

Meeting face-to-face after the milonga, Man Yung couldn't stop himself from pointing out the obvious to The Lord High Tailgater.  "There's more than enough space, you don't have to crash into the people in front of you!" said Man Yung, exasperated.

"No," he said.

It was my turn.  "You are always like this.  One time, there were only two couples on the whole dance floor - you had the whole room between four people and still you had to go right up into the couple in front of you.  All this space and you were practically up Man Yung's ass!  What's wrong with you?"

"That's just your ego talking, " he said, snidely.

I can't explain to you what exactly he meant by that, but I can interpret it as the following:

1.  It's his version of a witty repartee;

2.  He has serious impairment in conceptualizing space.  Or alternatively/concurrently, he has no sense of personal space;

3.  Of course he doesn't remember when he has violated other people's dance space - it's just normal to him because it happens all the time;

4.  He absolutely, unequivocally, obstinately refuses to accept responsibility for being such an a**hole on the dance floor.

Many men try to be better leaders - better at navigation, better with floorcraft, better at expressing the music.  They enjoy tango more - and get better dances with better followers - as a result.

However, some leaders are just content on being bad dancers - until eternity.  Some women will still dance with them anyway!  Unfortunately, no amount of defensive driving can help you from being ambushed from behind by this kind of tailgating folk.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Alberto Dassieu and Isabella Szymonowicz perform at La Cachila Toronto, April 17, 2011

For your instant viewing pleasure: performances  by Maestro Alberto Dassieu and Toronto's very own talented and always lovely Isabella Szymonowicz at La Cachila Toronto last night:

Alberto Dassieu and Isabella Szymonowicz perform to Carlos Di Sarli's Tango "Llueve otra vez" at La Cachila milonga Toronto, April 17, 2011.

Alberto Dassieu and Isabella Szymonowicz perform to Juan D'Arienzo's Vals "Pabellon de las Rosas" at La Cachila milonga Toronto, April 17, 2011.

Alberto Dassieu continues classes and workshops in Toronto over the next week and a half.  For more information, please follow this link to Paradiso's website.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Scents of Buenos Aires

We just came back from our trip from wonderful, glittering Buenos Aires last week...and we miss it already!

Since we came back, it seems that everything is working to erode the beautiful feeling of Buenos Aires right out of our bodies.  There's work; there's the naughty cat who pulled all the kitty kibble off the top of the fridge (yes, we're talking to you, Mr. B); there's the charming spectacles of Toronto Tango with the "Are you kidding me, you really think that's tango?" and the tango professional/just a regular dancer ratio of 100:1;  and last but not least, there's the marvelous weather forecast that includes wind, bone-chilling temperatures and SNOW:

Make no mistake, this is not Buenos Aires...this is Toronto in APRIL

So what can we do to keep Buenos Aires with us just a little longer?

We tried calling our porteño friends.  They missed us too, and talked about the milongas they were going to tonight.  Sigh.  That makes us wish even more that we were there.

Instead of indulging in Neo-no-no-Tango, Ta-Chango, Craperango etc. as is the wont of many of those tango-ing here in "The Big Smoke", we danced the traditional way that the porteños danced, with old-fangled embraces and old-fashioned sentiment.  With my eyes closed (and therefore not paying attention to some of the nastier atrocities on the dance floor), I could almost feel myself gliding along the tile or sprung wood floors of our favourite Buenos Aires milongas.

It also really helps if you have visiting porteño friends here - for example, Maestro Alberto Dassieu.

If all else fails, you can book your next trip now.  Or you could try this, a trick that I've stumbled upon that works like magic.

Every time you go to Buenos Aires, buy a new bottle of perfume from the duty-free shop at the airport.  Make sure it's something nice you could live with - and something you haven't tried before.

While in Buenos Aires, spray your chosen scent liberally every time you go out. Proceed to have the most wonderful, exciting, pleasant time possible.  The key word is pleasant. Avoid anything all things ugly - like arguing with waiters and taxi drivers, hanging around and having conversations with tango tourists who rub you the wrong way with their arrogance and self-importance, watching tango performances with too much visible underwear, etc. Gravitate towards sublime dances with milongueros and milongueras, and anything involving big hugs and lots of affectionate kisses.

Your perfume will be infused with the great memories you have created.

"Really?" asked Man Yung.

I took the bottle of "Terre D'Hermes" we bought and sprayed it on a pulse point.  We both inhaled deeply.

"I feel like we are in our hotel room in Buenos Aires, just about to go out to a milonga with Osvaldo and Coca!" said Man Yung. 

Until someone can distill the essence of banana licuados, asado, mozzarella pizza, freshly baked empanadas, cobblestones, ruby red malbec wine, diesel fumes, taxis, air conditioning, Gardel, humidity, congested and lively tree-lined streets, tango*, and warm embraces of friends who are more and more like family - into a crystal-cut bottle...this may just be the next best thing.

* Man Yung insists adding to the list - "And Myriam Pincen!"  A milonguera so unforgettable that Man Yung is determined to learn Spanish.  All the combined forces of Martha and Manolo, Alberto and Paulina, Osvaldo and Coca were not enough to get him speaking castellaño - it only took one nod from Myriam and now Man Yung wants to be a porteño too!

Chacarera at Lo de Celia

Friday, April 15, 2011

Alberto Dassieu in Toronto!

We came back to Toronto from Buenos Aires on Thursday - and only a few hours after we came back, we got a phone call from Alberto!

He arrived in Toronto a few days before we did.  We met up with Alberto's wife and dance partner Paulina many times during our trip to Buenos Aires this April, but we all missed him dearly. He was away teaching in the United States.  Now he is here!

Alberto will be teaching in Toronto until the end of April.  For more information, please see Paradiso's website:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Now we will show you - two sweaters!

For those who really enjoy our posts in the "Irene and Man Yung are too busy to write anything proper and will therefore exhibit knitted goods" series, here's another one - replete with tango action figures and hardcore fair isle knitting!

Two sweaters!  Ta da!

I finished Coca's Westerwick Cardigan about a month ago, had a load of yarn left over and started Man Yung's vest with the same colour pattern.  I finished Man Yung's vest only five days before our flight to Buenos Aires - it was such a rush I didn't even have time to block the sweater.

Was Osvaldo jealous?  No, in fact - I don't think you could pay him to wear a pink multi-coloured sweater.  "How about one in orange - or yellow?" I asked.  Osvaldo stared at me in fright.  "No! No!  Brown, Navy and Burgundy only!"

Toronto Weather

Buenos Aires Weather