It really has been inspiring and a delight to take classes with these old milongueros. They are so funny and sweet, they share from their heart. They definitely have seen changes in tango.
We took a class with Manolo y Marta Anton and again it was more than just a step that we learned.
We had heard about the Salida of the 40’s but Manolo taught us the Salida of the 30’s, which looks the same! We tried to find out the differences between the 2 but that led to a discussion of the heart and not the step! So no answers to that yet. He also showed us a beautiful parada step. He and Marta went around to each couple, answered questions, danced with each of us, told us more stories! These figures start with the leader facing to the outside of the circle of the line of dance. He said that you don’t want to go towards the middle of the dance floor but in the direction that you are dancing. His style had a lot of dramatic bent knees.
He began dancing when he was 16 and he is 80+ years now. He says he pursued Marta for 16 years!
Manolo reminded us that any step by itself is a pavada (translates as silliness) but it’s the person who dances and brings his heart to that step and to the dance that makes it look good.
He was adamant about not using your whole foot on the paradas or sandwiches, only the tip of your shoe, so you don’t look pigeon toed. We were reminded that we are connected as a couple through the sternum. A man who doesn’t marcar (translates as lead but meaning signal or convey the lead) doesn’t dance. This sounds much better in Spanish: El hombre que no marca no baila.
There seemed to be an ongoing theme this trip about personal identity or finding ones own identity in the dance or simply your own dance.
We are taking another class tomorrow with one of the judges. Rommel had time to chat with him informally this week and I am looking forward to sharing that with you.
I can’t believe that we finished the qualifying rounds. It all happened so fast!
Monday it all began and because it was also a holiday in Buenos Aires, the Centro de Exposiciones, where it transpired, was filled with people. There was a lot of waiting around and we danced, finally, 1.5 hours later than scheduled! But we danced. We recognized our 4 judges and the 3 songs they played. They played 2 Di Sarli’s and a Calo with Beron as the singer. Rommel was looking forward to really showing off his rhythmic side to a D’Arienzo but we had to settle for a middle ground.
Today things ran more smoothly. We danced to Di Sarli, Rodriguez, and Pugliese. As we arrived, Graciela told us right away to be more energized, that the couples she had seen so far had all been attempting to dance correctly and she wanted us to be expressive. I only knew 1 of the judges in this round. We danced our best.
Tonight they announce those couples who will go to the semi-finals on Friday. We wait to find out.
I think we did well. I would like to have the opportunity to dance at the semi-finals so we have to wait and see. It will be posted on the website by tomorrow at noon.
Rommel and I picked up our number today and our time to dance on Monday and Tuesday.
Think of #087 on Monday and Tuesday between 4pm and 5pm. We must arrive at 4pm and we are told we will dance at 5pm. We have our costumes picked out already, Rommel’s hair is cut!
We are very excited. The city is filled with dancers. The Centro de Exposiciones where it will be held was buzzing with enthusiasm today when we went to get our number.
I then went to Graciela Gonzalez’s “Seminario para Mujeres”: her famous technique class. What a great opportunity to continue to reinforce all that I have been working on. I was proud to be used in several of her demos during class. I am constantly reminded that if I am on my axis, or on my standing leg, and I have my intention on that high diagonal behind my leader, everything happens easily: my free leg moves, the pivots and turns happen. I really love her seminar and all that she shares. It has helped my dancing so much.
Here we are, 6+ hours of private lessons, waking up every morning/afternoon to hammering in the building, pouring rain and bubbling with excitement!
The Tango Salon Championship Qualification rounds are Monday and Tuesday.
I just got off the phone with NPR’s Tell Me More program from Washington DC where they interviewed me by phone about the Salon Championships and Tango in general. That was exciting!!!
Between taking classes with Los Maestros and milongas I also managed to be part of Alex and Lisa’s 23rd wedding. Read more at 2people1life. Alex contacted me in late July telling me about their Around the World Wedding plans and I responded to his email a little skeptically. He asked if I would be available for tango lessons and could help arrange a midnight tango wedding. It just so happened that I would be in Buenos Aires at the same time they were going to be here. After about 8 more emails and a few phone conversation, we had Alex and Lisa outfitted in Rommel and my clothes and shoes, we took them to Salon Canning to see Argentine Tango in action; to hear Color Tango play; to see a performance; they almost exchanged vows (again) at Confiteria Ideal but instead on the streets of San Telmo! Phew! all in 24 hours! They did manage to learn a few tango steps and we had pictures taken in front of the Obelisco. We can’t wait to see them!
Today we are off to some more classes. There are so many free events as part of the tango festival and we hope to catch some of them.
Next update will be the times we are dancing on Monday and Tuesday. And Rommel got his hair cut per “la maestras” orders!!!