Thursday, April 3, 2008

Scouting tour from Buenos Aires continues

Hola Tangueros y Maestra!

Saturday, March 29
El Arranque afternoon milonga (B. Mitre 1759). My roommate and I decided to go to this one last local milonga, just around the corner from our hotel, before her evening flight back to SF. The other popular before-the-plane option is Confiteria Ideal, but she already experienced that one and she wanted to try a different milonga. We had a good time. Her cabaceo'ing was effective, so she was happy. It was more real-deal porteno than international.

Salon La Argentina (B. Mitre 1759, yes the same place as above, only this is the night milonga, hosted by different people). I got the same rude treatment as at La Cachirulo -- They asked me if I had a reservation, I said no, they said they had no room, no open tables, but let in many, many other portenas in after me, without asking if they had reservations. So I am guessing that this was one of those real-deal local porteno milongas that are "unfriendly" to international people. I vow going forward to call for reservations, and am hoping it will make a difference. Or just go to Sunderland every Saturday night.

Monday, March 31
I took two classes at the Escula Argetina de Tango (EAT for short, located in the Gallerias Pacifica on Florida,, 15 pesos (US$5) each class): The first one was a musicality class taught by Jesus Velazquez, and a second tango class by Carlos and Maria Rivarola. The musicality class was OK, but not great since all we did was learn a sequence and try to dance it differently to a different song/orchestra. The Rivarola class was OK. They taught a pretty sequence, and went around to instruct the students individually.

Confiteria Ideal afternoon milonga (12 pesos for milonga only; optional lesson beforehand, which I skipped). I had a good time, as usual, though it seemed emptier on this day than on the other days I attended.

Tuesday, April 1
Morning shoe shopping at P.H. (Grito de Ascencio 3602 in Pompeya). They were super nice here, especially if you speak castellano and mention that you are a friend of Jeff Schneider. Custom shoes are ~230 pesos; ones off the rack are 150 pesos for basic ones, 230 pesos for their most fancy ones. If they have the skins already made, you can get a custom shoe in 10 days. If the need to make the skins from scratch, it takes 1 month.

3 Classes @ EAT: (1) Chiche & Marta Tango Rhythm & Markation class. We learned an interesting sequence and we played with the timing in therms of giving it a different flavor. (2) Enrosques y Sincronization de Brazos y Piernas with Raul Bravo. We learned a really fun sequence, but what struck me the most was that the assistant in the class was astoundingly sharp in what he saw and how he corrected the dancers. The assistant is truly gifted. (3) Tango with Carlos y Maria Rivarola. They built on what they taught the day prior, but since there were many new people in class who weren't there yesterday, much of it was a repeat. What was really excellent about the Rivarola classes was that they emphasized the need to drill and practice our molinetes over and over again, just like ballerinas doing their daily barre routines -- the same positions over and over, day in, day out.

Wednesday, April 2
Milonga Con Traspie class @ EAT with Gabriela Elias. She is an excellent teacher. We did the chasse traspie and liso footwork, and a cute embellishment for followers. She had us do a lot of drilling of the footwork, and dancing the same footwork but playing with the timing and flavor of our dance by having us dance to a slow milonga first (Canaro) and then speeding it up to faster ones (Di Sarli, etc.)

Gustavo & Giselle workshop (30 pesos per person = US$10). This workshop was advertised as "Deep Fundamentals" at the advanced level, but beginners were welcome. They first danced a really gorgeous, outrageous show tango sequence (inappropriate for a crowded milonga social dance floor), and then broke it down for us into small, somewhat easily digestible pieces. Gustavo & Giselle are holding this workshop series every Wednesday and Saturday in April, but I don't know if I will continue as much of it is over my head, and it sucks getting so jarred on the dance floor by all the advanced wannabe show tango stars.

Besos y abrazos,

Ana de Buenos Aires

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