We turn and look at him oddly, and then blink in disbelief. "Look at us? Of course not!"
"Why not?" Osvaldo slaps the table and gestures to the dance floor. "Look how everyone here is watching you dance!"
Coca nods and adds, "Everyone everywhere we go are asking about you!"
Every milonga we go to in Buenos Aires, people are staring at us and giving us nods and thumbs up of approval. Osvaldo and Coca must think we are joking when we say we don't stir up any interest in our home town. How do we explain to them, "In Toronto, they aren't looking for the same things as what the Porteños are looking for when they watch someone dance Tango"? And what are the words in Spanish for "Trendy Labels" and "Resumé?" It seems to us publicity and self-promotion (and extravagant, attention grabbing movements and tricks) is what it takes to attract attention on dance floors outside of Buenos Aires - irrespective of the quality of dancing.
When we dance, we dance what we are - we don't try to be bigger, or more interesting, or more perfect. We have our love for each other. We have our love for our teachers and our friends. We have have our love for Tango. We want to dance the Tango that the Porteños feel with their heart and soul - not a "tango" that is engineered for entertainment of people who couldn't tell the difference.
After dancing at Milonga J. L. at La Nacional on Saturday, we called Osvaldo and Coca at midday on Sunday to find out where they wanted to go. Coca picked up the phone. "Myriam called us back - let's go together to La Yumba de Dorita tonight!"
It was the Sunday night before the holiday Monday, so the venerable Club Oeste was packed to the rafters with locals - not a single tourist (except us) to be seen. We have wanted to visit this ancient club for a long time, but have not yet had the opportunity. This is where Nina Balbuena teaches her popular class on Friday nights, and where our friend Ruben Dario Lopez went to dance at the age of 18.
Osvaldo and Coca and Myriam Pincen (Yay Myriam! What a phenomenal milonguera!) had already arrived when we showed up:
Myriam Pincen, Osvaldo and Coca and the two of us at La Yumba de Dorita (Club Oeste)
There were so many people that we had to clamber over chairs and tables to get to the dance floor. Despite the crowd, the dancing on the floor was orderly and calm and everyone who wanted to dance could get out there and enjoy themselves:
The dance floor at La Yumba de Dorita (Club Oeste). Can you spot Man Yung? He is dancing with Graciela Cano, who won the third Metropolitan Championship in Buenos Aires with her husband Pedro Vujovich.
"What was it you wanted to dance to yesterday?" Osvaldo asked me. We had wanted to dance to "Secreto" (for Jessie and Dorian out there in Vancouver! Hola!) but Osvaldo chose "El Adios" instead. Might as well face the music - Osvaldo and Coca and the organizer Dorita wanted us to perform - and not just a tango, but a vals as well. So we did:
Irene and Man Yung perform to Orquesta Tipica Victor's "Secreto" at La Yumba de Dorita (Club Oeste). This is the second time that we have danced to "Secreto" - the first was when we filmed the video of ourselves at our weekly practice for Jessie and Dorian, who generously emailed us the music.
Irene and Man Yung perform to Edgardo Donato's vals "La Tapera" at La Yumba de Dorita (Club Oeste)
Osvaldo and Coca were as proud of us as they are always - and wonderful Myriam had words of praise and encouragement for us. "Many couples I have seen dancing dance like two people," Myriam said, using her hand gestures to emphasize what she was describing. She closed her hands together and intertwined her fingers. "When I look at you dancing - I see one person."
Why do we dance Tango? We want to become one - with our partners, with the music, with the universe. Osvaldo and Coca showed us the way to the infinite. They also performed that night, to their favourite - "El Adios":
Osvaldo and Coca perform to Edgardo Donato's "El Adios" at La Yumba de Dorita (Club Oeste)
Man Yung had been looking forward to another opportunity dance with Myriam Pincen ever since our previous trip in April. No-one in the world can dance like Myriam Pincen - no-one! And how beautiful she is! Here is the video of Myriam dancing Pugliese* with Man Yung:
* "Oh my God!" said Man Yung. I think he is embarrassed. "I can't believe that I started doing back sacadas and enganches with Myriam Pincen when I was dancing Pugliese! What the hell was I thinking??!?"
"Don't worry, I don't think Myriam minded that you were temporarily possessed. So long you danced honestly what you felt the music was telling you to dance, it's ok." I patted his back reassuringly. Heh heh....I'm not going to tell him that yes, he was CRAZY to start doing all those moves with a top milonguera and ha ha! She isn't going to dance with him ever again! (Just joking)
And here's another video of Myriam dancing with Man Yung - Fresedo this time (the Tango happens to be "Tigre Viejo"):
Myriam Pincen dancing Fresedo's "Tigre Viejo" with Man Yung at La Yumba de Dorita (Club Oeste). Osvaldo and Coca take to the floor too!
Can we describe how Myriam Pincen dances? Can we describe her footwork, her musicality, her embrace, her emotion? THERE ARE NO WORDS. She is magnificent. She is a GODDESS. Check out her videos on Youtube (especially her performances with Ricardo Vidort, they are classic) and also her interview with Practimilonguero. This is a lady who IS Tango.
I love it when Osvaldo dances something other than Tango - his musicality is so innate, he can dance to any music. Here is Osvaldo dancing Cumbia with lovely, awesome Myriam:
So there you have it - another glittering night in Buenos Aires. We danced that night like any other night - those who know us can see that we danced in our exhibition as we always dance in the milonga. We do not "walk" finer or do "special" moves, or bedazzle with tricks just because we are performing and wanted to gain applause. Anyone with two legs and two arms can do what we do. But that was enough - because we danced as ourselves for ourselves and for the people we love. Nothing more, nothing less. In the end, that's what the Porteños want to see when they want to see us dance - and they embraced us as warmly as we embraced them.