MAESTROS de MAESTROS – The Teachers of Teachers, a workshop with those milongueros, who can speak about dancing in their early days with tango in Buenos Aires, and it, the workshops, started out, well, slowly! 4 days, 2 classes per day.
Rommel and I and Tyler show up to this famous historic stadium, Atlanta (which is right down the street from Tyler’s place). The previous night’s torrential rains caused a bit of havoc on the space. We arrived 20 minutes early to find the space being mopped. Not the whole space but a few very large places on the floor were covered in water. After 1 hour of waiting, the first teacher never arrived. The next teacher and his wife show up a little early so the young organizers arrange for those of us who were still there to ask questions and for this couple to tell us a bit about the building, Atlanta, and tango in the early days.
The neighborhood and the space is historic. It was the biggest dance club during its heyday. The actual place opened in 1904 as a soccer club. But it was and is an athletic club and had 1 of the largest dance floors in the 40’s. Many great orchestras came through here and it was known for its “Carnevales” – big parties during carnival time (before Easter).
The first class was not really a typical class – it really felt more like a practica. The maestro would show a step, we would dance and dance and dance and he would walk around and check us all out!
As the week has worn on and we have gone diligently to these classes, I am fascinated, inspired, and touched by all of the teachers. They came and opened their hearts, shared stories, some personal, some silly, but all with a very real feeling of sharing. Some of them showed us steps and we worked on them over and over again. Some watched us dance and gave advice on our embrace or our walking. And some even talked about the Championship and their opinion of it.
We heard over and over again about how dancers need to slow down. We are not running, there is no race, the dance has lasted and has many more years to go! This was said by Jorge Rodriguez.
Most of the teachers commented on the “chaos” at the milongas that they see now, that it’s basically dangerous dancing at milongas with high kicks and tables being knocked about. Rodriguez said that the dance, “necesitamos apoyar a nosotros”, meaning that the dance needs the dancers’ support, the communal tango support on the milonga dance floor. The feeling that I got from his explanation is that all of us on the social dance floor are responsible for tango – for where it goes and how it grows.
Internet was down today and I tried desperately to post this sooner. More Maestros to be continued….