“Mente Corazon y Pierna”

Raining inside Club AtlantaThe Head, Heart and Legs, you have to feel the dance in these 3 places according to Eduardo Pareja (Parejita). You dance what you can and what you feel.

As I said in the last blog, I was so moved by all the fantastic information and stories that these Maestros recounted, that I wanted to continue to share some highlights here.

Out of the 8 planned classes only 6 actually happened due to the maestros cancellation or sickness. We took a cab during rush hour to arrive timely for these 2 hour classes. When it rained the space became flooded and the organizers would be found mopping. Mariella and Rolo were wonderful organizers of the event: young, enthusiastic, passionate, fun dancers, inquisitive and just lovely to be around!

All of the teachers spoke about their learning to dance and yes, they learned men with men. For example, El Toto Faraldo told us that he had an older brother who would come to the house with his friends and they would practice moves from the milongas at the house. Toto had a keen eye and would end up correcting the guys if they were doing the steps incorrectly.

Clase con Los AgudioElvira Agudio said that she learned to dance with her girlfriends at home. Her husband, Osvaldo, recounted that he grew up just a few streets behind the Club Atlanta and the guys would be practicing out on the streets. He was young then. He would go to them and ask them to show him a figure and they would tell him to go watch in a milonga and bring steps back to practice.

The idea was not to copy steps but to be inventive and creative. One milonguero would do his steps quickly in hopes that no one would see his moves and be able to copy them! This idea of creativity and uniqueness is something that Osvaldo Agudio expounded upon. He said what frustrates him is to see a teacher show a paso (step), then ask the class to imitate it, and then the teacher will ask the students to dance and they are all doing the same step, it looks like a choreography, like a ballet. The minute the woman moves herself it is no longer tango. Osvaldo Agudio was asking us about some moves and asking if they were really led. He didn’t seem convinced!

Clase con ParejitaBaila con amor, sin egoismo y con risa  Parejita

Translates as: Dance with love, without being selfish, and with laughter. Just another beautiful quote from Eduardo Parejita. He came to class with his wife who sat on the sidelines watching and his dance partner, Laura Grandi. He is 82 years old, so sweet and generous. Laura is 30 and she has been dancing with him for 15 of them. He spoke so naturally that you could feel his passion for tango and for his family. (He is a proud grandfather to a current famous soccer player.)

Another thing he said that completely stands out is never speak badly about a colleague, just do your dance. It’s hard sometimes for me not to be passionate and opinionated about what I do and I have never been one to keep my mouth shut. I will continue to strive to do so hearing these words repeated in my head!

Clase con TotoI dance what I feel and if I don’t like the music, I don’t dance. Osvaldo Agudio

We do that which corresponds with age, the youth bring the dance into the future otherwise the dance stays closed or boxed in with older people. Osvaldo Agudio

Disfrutar Disfrutar Disfrutar – Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy

El Toto told us that the ratio of men to women was 20:1. The woman would check out the men from head to toe and if anything was out of place she could refuse him. People were conscientious about their appearance. Everything and everyone were very humble in those days.

There were several other comments about the Championship and stories about milongas and orchestras, personal hobbies and ideologies, which I hope to be able to incorporate into future blogs.

Clase con Jorge RodriguezRommel was very interested in hearing their opinions about the Championship. I think for the most part there were very degrees of enthusiasm. With comments ranging from Great idea – muy bien to I was juror once and won’t do it again!

There was some discussion about labels and one of the maestros said, the labels are money. Easy for them to say living here where most strive to express the same thing in a dance called Argentine Tango to the music of the same name. It is very clear for them and they know amongst themselves who was where, in what neighborhood, when, and why moves were danced the way they were danced!

Such a wonderful opportunity to be with these milongueros. Thank you Maestros!

(translation is mine with some help from Rommel)

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