Monday, 5 September 2011

Lujos 4

My last night out at Lujos in El Beso for a while. Lucia and Oskar who run it are very friendly. Alberto and Paulina are always at their milongas, and Alberto always makes a point of telling them to give his friend, me, a good seat, but I've no doubt they would anyway. Alberto says it's a great night here tonight, making that characteristic little porteño gesture with the right hand twisting to the side of the mouth, combined with a clicking of the tongue; I've never seen it anywhere else.

& the atmosphere is especially warm and good-natured. I enjoy the mix of ages at the El Beso milongas. Some milongas seem to be exclusively for older-generation dancers, but in all the El Beso milongas I've been to I've seen a great mix of ages. I know some people don't like this but I've no problem with it. There are wonderful young dancers enjoying themselves, dancing with each other and with the great older generation too, and all in the best close-embrace tango. There are young women here, perhaps hardly into their twenties, dancing as enthusiastically with old tangueros like Chiche Ruberto, and with Ricardo Suarez too (who might even be old enough to be their great-grandfather) as with young guys of their own generation, who themselves are dancing with women who have their own tango histories. I think this is great because within a decade or so what they are experiencing here, night after night, will remain a living link to the tango of the past. This is the future of tango, this is how the past will continue into the future. If young people don't get to dance with the older generation in milongas, the continuity of tango is broken. & the presence of young people brings a lively energy to the evening, too. However, I think there are many more older men than older women here.

& the older generation strikes me as a bit special: they had to be tough and smart to survive a difficult period of Argentine history, and they lived through it together. They grew up to the great 1945-1955 tango party, and now tango, the love of their childhood and youth, has come back to them in their old age, as strong and clear as ever, with friends all over the world. These kids who grew up practicing as teenagers on the street corners in the barrios can now afford to dress up and go out dancing night after night with young women, as well as with older friends, and some of them can enjoy champagne with it, too. Sure they're happy and enjoying themselves! In the end, life has been kind to them.

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