Monday, 8 December 2008

Christmas in Buenos Aires, the nuevo incident at Porteno y Bailarin

It's beginning to hot up again here. The rain was a week ago, and the 'aire aconicionado' was silent until yesterday afternoon, when it suddenly started to wake up again. & the days are still getting longer, tho' nearer the tropics it isn't so obvious as in the UK.

I walked in a park for the first time since I arrived and marvelled at the soft green stuff underfoot. Lots of birdsong: in the microcentre the chirping of sparrows is all you get. Of course the songs are all new and different. & the trees are huge.

At Porteno y Bailarin again for the Sunday evening. A friendly handshake from the organiser: this is a good-hearted and friendly city in general. A little incident occured: a couple had been dancing 'fantasia' – nuevo – on the crowded floor. Actually I'd admired their skill, his lead was clear and muscular, her responses supple and instant. It looked good – it was just on a crowded floor, and was tolerated until they ended up kicking someone badly. The kicked was either a very tall, heavily built porteno or his partner, a diminutive Japanese woman, and he started shouting. & the nuevo dancer started shouting back. It looked nasty for a few moments, but the incident happened near a table of 2 other heavily-built portenos, who are always there and have the air of self-made people who can sit back and enjoy themselves, which they do with champaign and various lady friends, after a lifetime of hardwork, who joined in, and the nuevo dancer slunked off dragging his partner behind him. There've been occasions when I've wanted something like that to happen... although I'm sorry it did. The nuevos had been stupid: there's a second dance floor at Porteno y Bailarin which isn't used so much and where they could have enjoyed themselves, and probably been enjoyed too, without inconveniencing anyone.

Another (much better) thing I enjoyed was another couple dancing very slow milonga, a very, very slow milonga lisse. It was danced in an exaggerated leaning position, with very bent knees, more of a canyengue position but without the rhythmic stepping. In fact there were long pauses, as you'd expect to see in a slow tango, when the beat was marked by little but stylish foot movements, but more of a tease than the emotional 'tango pause'. Interesting that this slow milonga was rather different to the slow milonga I enjoyed at Ideal on Friday: the two couples were of much the same generation, with a lifetime of dancing, but they'd obviously not learned 'the dance' in a class, but had watched, picked up things they liked and practised them on dance floors for half a century. Not a 'regulation' milonga, but the milonga they'd ended up with themselves. Wonderful, I loved it.

& later there was a performance, a singer who sang to a recorded band. Her voice was very powerful but melodious, a good tango voice.

I was given the December issue of el tangauta as I left, the main free tango listings mag, with articles and interviews, most of it in both Castellano and English, and also at . Leafing thru this back home I was gutted to find I'd missed, just that afternoon, December 6, La Gran Milonga Nacional, the great outdoor milonga, with three sound stages, in the streets not so far away. Oscar had gabbled an announcement at the end of Friday's class but it wasn't at all clear when the event was, and La Net assured me that the national tango day is 11 December (birthday of both Gardel and Julio de Caro).

Damm. What else can I say? El tangauta came out pretty much the same day, and there were no posters anywhere. Got to keep your ears peeled here.

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