Milongas

The Cake Offering!

This is a story about a young beginner tango dancer. A student from another country enjoying his graduate studies and some tango and incidentally an excellent racquetball player. He had only been studying tango for about 2 months. So maybe he had taken 30 hours of tango by the time he excitedly made the decision to attend his first festival. Excited and nervous but eager to continue his learning of this fascinating dance he signed up and went. He spent several hours at his first milonga watching and dancing with several of his mates, who had also taken the brave endeavor of attending their first festival. Then he got the courage to ask another dancer, a stranger, a beautiful stranger, to dance. She immediately embraced him closely and within minutes, she left him on the dance floor.
GASP!
I hear your gasps!
He knew from his teacher and from more experienced classmates about tango etiquette, and he knew that this was not a good thing, being “thank you’d” and left on the dance floor. He felt badly. A little time went by and cakes Cake Slicewere served at this milonga. So he went to get a piece of cake and found this woman and brought it to her. He wanted to know what he had done wrong? She thanked him for the cake and he asked her directly what he could do to improve his dancing. She offered him a simple piece of advice, “stay in line of dance”.
His spirit was a little broken from the incident especially because he had been so enthusiastic about learning to tango. He knew about staying in the line of dance and he confesses that having a complete stranger in his arms was overwhelming at best.
BUT I thought the gesture of bringing the woman cake was an excellent and mature way to apologize and to show reverence to the dance and to the dancer.

How can we continue to be kind in this dance? What is your offering?

Happy Weekend!

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Pichuco Movie and a Milonga Night!

What an exciting opportunity we have! Come join us for Pichuco, the movie and Milonga night!
I have been contacted by a close friend of the director to offer to show this documentary on the tango orchestra leader, Anibal Troilo, nicknamed, Pichuco. He heard the magical instrument of tango, the bandoneon, when he was little and got his first one when he was 10 years old. Come learn Pichuco postermore about this influential musician, the music and the orchestra. THEN stay for a milonga!

November 21st
Movie starts promptly @ 7:35pm Milonga to follow.
Please arrive by 7pm to find your spot.
Bring a chair or a pillow, there will be some chairs available.
First come first served.
BYOB
$15 covers the cost of the movie & milonga.
$10 goes directly to the Director
Pichuco group

SYNOPSIS:
A professor at the Escuela de Música Popular de Avellaneda (School of Popular Music of Avellaneda)  is in the process of digitizing close to 500 original manuscripts  with the help of his students. Arrangements from the Aníbal ¨Pichuco¨ Troilo Orchestra that have been preserved until now. Through interviews with musicians from several generations and styles, who play live the most memorable songs from the master, this documentary takes a musical journey through the works of one of the main characters in the history of Tango and of the Argentine music. 80 minutes (Spanish with subtitles)

♫ MORE INFORMATION TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb2aZnZyuMM FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/PichucoFilm TWITTER: www.twitter.com/PichucoFilm IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3689614 WEB: www.pichucofilm.com

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Tango Etiquette and the Infamous Cabeceo

The rituals surrounding the milonga are prized among dancers. Almost like a rite of passage that once you know and have put them into practice you feel like you have actually been admitted into the social realm of Argentine Tango.

Fanning HerselfCabeza translates to “head” and a cabezeo is a nod of the head. This “codigo” or custom signals the invitation to dance. You do not need to approach someone to ask them to dance you can merely catch their eye, nod your head, and if there is a nod in response you have an agreement to dance. The follower will stay seated to wait for the nodee to come to her table to be sure that there is no confusion in a crowded milonga.

There is a lot written about this custom and in the US many argue for it and against it. The cabezeo means never having to say “no”. If you choose not to accept a cabeceo, you merely look away and no one needs to know.

Some milongas are small and it is convenient and expected to use the cabeceo. Other milongas are in very large dance halls and it is very difficult to cabeceo long distances. In this case the dancer looking for a dance (either the lead or follow) may approach who they would like to dance with and try to make eye contact from a closer distance. The goal is always to be subtle and polite. If you are at a milonga in a new city, observe to see what the locals are doing.
(Taken from the Tango Workbook Draft)

I want to make it clear at this point that I am not arguing the usefulness of this invitation, or the reason why it exists or why many people outside of Argentina (read mainly US, where I am most familiar) are very attached to this codigo. Tango etiquette and the infamous Cabeceo are part of the allure of the milonga! But I had a very interesting experience during my most recent trip to Buenos Aires.

I had the pleasure of taking several fantastic classes with well known teachers/dancers / performers. And the one remark that applies here is the following: “Times are different in Buenos Aires’ Milongas. Each milonga now has their own etiquette. Not every milonga uses the same rules.” And this applied to the cabeceo as well. There are milongas in Buenos Aires that are very ritualized and very adamant about los codigos. It is very clear from the moment you enter those milongas, I think you can feel it in the air, if you can’t see it right away. There are milongas where the women are seated by the hosts on one side of the dance floor and the gentlemen on the other, with the veterans or the faithful attendees sitting at their reserved and expected table every week. Ironically the spacing of these milongas usually adds to the ritual, as you often can not walk around and seek dancers out, you must be found at your seat or do the seeking from your seat, thus the cabeceo functions pretty well.

There are other dancing casuallymilongas where you find dancers searching for their friends, (in a dimly lit crowded space) and the gentlemen will approach a table, wait for the woman to look at him and nod respectfully and sometimes even ask, “Bailas”? If the woman ignores his hangout out by her table, he moves on. (Just as there are milongas where the dress code is different.)

Other milongas are in very large halls, a cabezeo from your seat would be almost ridiculous, although it is done. As the ladies scan the seated gentlemen during the cortinas,  you may spy a head nodding dramatically, emphatically and adamantly with eyebrows lifted in your direction. I think it is important to remember too that in Buenos Aires, if you do not live there and are only visiting, that you are entering into their weekly ritual. Dancers have milongas that they regularly attend and expect to see their friends and favorite dancers there. I always recommend that if you go to Buenos Aires, you must go for no less than 3 weeks and make your schedule milonga -filled (if that is your intention, which usually it is). Dancers will begin to recognize you and you will see what the etiquette is for those milongas you attend.

Generally speaking the milonga rules and codes are good ones. They respect others, the flow of the dance, and yet, the cabeceo is the one that people have the hardest time with. It takes a little practice and it’s not so unfamiliar to us in this culture. I see it among the young crowd in a “hey, what’s up man”, accompanied by a nod of the head.

Happy Dancing!

(Quote taken from The Tango Workbook that is currently in a draft stage.)

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The Latest Updates

UPCOMING CLASS UPDATES, ALSO WORLD CHAMPIONS MAXI & JESICA BACK IN TOWN, AND UPCOMING OUTDOOR MILONGA

The next Beginner Blast dates are now posted so if you or anyone you know is interested in learning Argentine Tango, now is the time!

Saturdays: OCTOBER 18, 25 & NOVEMBER 1, 8
4pm – 6pm
SNAP (Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Place) 4425 N. Granite Reef Rd. Scottsdale, AZ
Fee $100
includes 8 hours of Argentine Tango instruction and free pass to 4 tango practicas on Tuesday nights.

For those who are interested in continuing their Tango there is:
Taking your Tango to the Next Level Saturdays: OCTOBER 18, 25 & NOVEMBER 1, 8
(for those who have completed the Tango Blast or who have a little tango experience)
6:00pm – 7:30pm
SNAP  (Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Place) 4425 N. Granite Reef Rd. Scottsdale, AZ
Fee: $75

Maxi & Jesica are the 2013 World Champions of Tango Salon. They will be joining us for lessons and a weekend filled with workshops, milonga, and performances.
October 10 – 12.
MAXI & JESICA FLYER . To reserve your spot and for payment contact Rommel 928-301-5215

AND Don’t forget there’s an OUTDOOR MILONGA this Saturday September 20th
Ribbon Bridge at Stetson & Waterfront (Near 7114 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85251)
7:30pm – 10pm
$10 (water and dance floor provided, bring a lawn chair)

See you dancing!

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Tangovilla Wuppertal

I think I have finally caught up on sleep. And in between have been enjoying the lush tangovilla flag green of my environs. I have been so well taken care of here at the Tangovilla by my hosts, Stefan and Ralph.

I met Stefan at a tango teacher training session a few years ago. We were paired together on the first day and even though he struggled with english I encouraged him to proceed confidently. That was the beginning of our friendship. When I told him that I wanted to come to Europe, he immediately invited me to his home, the Tangovilla.

I had the pleasure of teaching class to several of his students. He helped me now with the language and the classes were wonderful. I was so happy to hear that his students enjoyed them. I had been a little bit  worried about the cultural differences and cultural perceptions of Americans, or cultural expectations, but clearly this group trusted their teacher, Stefan and the students learned and had a good time. As you might have heard me say, “I have such good students” and even here, this applied!

I have been to a couple of milongas since I have been here and so far, I have to say, that they have similar problems to those we have at our milongas in the States. Can you guess? Lots of sitting women at the milongas! I do have to say that this area has a milonga every night and the numbers of dancers in attendance was great to see. I was told that many of the dancers were away for long weekends and yet, I saw the milongas as being well attended.

This weekend was a tango marathon and we stopped by to check it out. It reminded me of a hot and sweaty milonga in Buenos Aires in the middle of summer. It appears that even though the marathon brings in quite a few people, this isn’t enough to encourage the owners of the restaurant to use/fix/whatever, the air conditioning. WOW – that was 1 hot sweaty place. I did have the pleasure of dancing with the current, 2014 Champion of Tango Salon for Germany. He is Mexican, living in Hamburg!!!  We had a lovely tanda, thank you Alonso Alvarez! He will be off to the European Championship and then to Buenos Aires for the Mundial.

AND speaking of Mundials – this weekend begins the World Soccer Cup. There are flags hanging and bars advertising. Clearly Germany is getting ready! And so am I.

Keep dancing! You can find pictures on Facebook!

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10152508786684312&substory_index=1&id=619634311

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