A friend got back from Buenos Aires recently and emailed me. It's such an enthusiastic, warm email that I couldn't help asking if I could put it in the blog. This is what she wrote:
'Fresh off the boat from Buenos Aires, had the best time ever in the 8 years I've been going. I pretty much only danced with people I knew, old friends and people I dance with each year. Met some fantastic new people. & a mirada from last year finally paid off, got to dance with someone I'd admired from the other end of the dance floor for ages. No classes except the group class at Canning on Saturday with Rino Biondi and Mirielle. My friends had private lessons with Adela Galeazzi and her son Gaston. I'm too scared to dance with Roberto (94 year-old) Segarra at Lo de Celia: he's too quick for me!
'The big impression I've come away with this time is that, on the one hand tango is not about 'the dance' but about friends, networks of connections, relationships, everything seems to depend on who you've got to know, how you connect. On the other hand it is about the dance, in that if you are serious about the 'sacrament of tango' (as a friend calls it), if you have waited all night to dance to Jose Garcia, you don't want to waste that tanda on just anybody, you NEED to dance it with somebody you can really share the music with.
'There's a whole load of tango tourists who are desperate to 'get dances', and there are a lot of locals who enjoy dancing with the fresh meat. The locals may go out 3 to 5 nights a week to see their friends & dance, but they are still seeking that perfect tanda after all these years, and they may find it with an old friend... or a new one. If you can show, through your dance and respect for the codigos, that you know what you're on about, you may be able to dance and share that moment with someone special. The old milongueros are very generous with their time. Now that my castellano is a bit better, I've enjoyed chatting with the ladies in the milongas - they can tell you a thing or two! Also with the men, some of whom love the music so much. Perhaps it's been part of their life for 40 to 60 years: imagine dancing to the same music for that long. & it's a new experience every time!
'I have returned feeling very moved because in this world, which can be very lonely and difficult at times, I have met through tango such wonderful people who will be friends for life, people you can share something so intimate & personal with that you can't really put into words.'
Many thanks for that!