Monday, 15 August 2011

Saturday; Martha, Manolo and las morochas

Martha and Manolo: I took just three or four canyengue classes with them 18 months ago, and I'm astonished that Martha spots me across the room immediately, clear, friendly eyes, and greets me like an old friend. Welcome back! Both in their late 70s, if not older, and still happy to be teaching.

They teach dance as if it's something really simple, and they manage to make it seem easy, although canyengue really isn't difficult. It's kind of a proto-tango, and it could be a good starting point for learning tango. It's easier and more basic: there's no place for grand gestures in canyengue, as there is in some forms of tango. At the same time, the dance and music are close to tango, although simpler; the dance is emotionally and physically less complicated than tango, and altogether more cheerful. There are ochos and walking turns, but I've yet to come across the giro structure in canyengue, although I gather it was danced in BsAs in the vals from early in the 19th century. I always find canyengue fun and relaxing.

At night, misled by the listings, I go to Nuevo Salon La Argentina in Bartholemew Mitre, but the listing is about as close as it gets to being a milonga. The El Arranque milonga there in the afternoons is useful if you have a partner and want to stretch your legs, as it's a big floor and hardly crowded. But Saturday night is boogie night for the over-50s, 15 minutes of cumbia, a tanda of d'Arienzo, then salsa... Anyone who is deluded enough to think that everyone in Buenos Aires is a magical tanguero might be sadly in need of a night out at Nuevo Salon... I don't stay to find out how long the salsa continued.

I go up the road to Las Morochas at El Beso to clear my head of over-amplified sound and sloppy dancing. Las Morochas doesn't feel as competitive as Cachirulo earlier in the week, and it's not as crowded, presumably because all the ace dancers are at Cachirulo in Villa Malcolm. But the standard is still high. Lighting isn't great in El Beso, which doesn't seem to be a problem for the locals, but then they know each other, and cabeceo often seems easier between friends.

1 comment:

jantango said...

It seems strange that milongas in Buenos Aires are dimming the lights. Salon Canning on Saturday night is too dark to see anyone, but it's romantic for couples. I suppose they want to provide the same at El Beso on Saturday. That's not the case in Lo de Celia where the lights are on all the time.

Were you successful with the cabeceo at El Beso?

It's too bad you didn't show up earlier at Nuevo Salon La Argentina for El Arranque from 3-9 on Saturday; that's when the place is full of tango dancers over 70, not salsa dancers. You don't need a partner for El Arranque since singles outnumber the couples.