personal best

2009, June 30

Two milongas yesterday, my personal best. Usually I would need one season to attend so many milongas. But, “Go to the milonga, that’s how you’ll get good“, they all say.

So I spent two hours at El Arranque in the afternoon, reading in the Clarin newspaper why, what and how Kirchner lost this Sunday. And later I spent one hour at Villa Malcolm’s El Motivo, eating a Milanese with french fries.

Hopefully my tango has improved a lot in the process.


2009, June 28

Argentine or not, not all the girls who attend the DNI practise are good. Or maybe there is just one who is not good. The one who invited me. Anticipating the lead, not much balance nor axis. Heavy, and heavier because of her inability to remain on her axis. I suffered silently for one tanda of vals. At the beginning of each song we were chatting a little bit. 

“There was an advanced class before this practise , did you attend it?” she asked. 


“And did you practise the sequence or any part of it while dancing with me?”


Oops. Answer wrong. Follower understands sequence too hard for her. Follower angry. Find something quick, wise guy. I browsed my mental collection of sequences and unearthed a simple one, without any out-of-axis nor double-time, just one sacada-de-la-mujer.

No, but here it is, look…

JK knows best

2009, June 25

The milonguera-formerly-known-as-Pichi stated in a comment that the Wednesday practica a cargo de El Indio in Palermo would be just fine for me. And a statement by JK is something that you may disagree with, or even criticize, but certainly not ignore.  So, despite my flu (hopefully the regular one), yesterday I walked my way to Palermo Soho (29 cuadras). After the huge disappointment with La Catedral my expectations were not too high and I did not even rehearse beforehand any sequence to practise.

Stupid me. The place is perfect to practise. First it is a normal place with normal tables and chairs, not the collapsing variety of La Catedral. There is heating too. Too much of it maybe. Same for the volume of the music. Much, much too powerful. Next time I will come with ear plugs.  The not-too-high entrance fee is a plus too, though I was irritated to see two teachers “paying” with just a hola and a smile, while I had to use a banknote. Also at this TangoLab practica I could watch a species that I thought was extinct,  the lone ladies.  I invited the nearest one for the last piece of a tanda, to check the floor, which when touching it with my hand seemed very slippery. But it wasn’t. I was concerned because almost all the leaders were wearing sport shoes instead of tango ones, and sometimes it does not mean that they are emulating the Chicho, sometimes it is really because of the floor.

A demo was announced but with the 29 cuadras  to walk back home I left without waiting for it. Sorin was here too, if the demo was worth  mentioning then he will, well, mention it in his blog.

La Catedral quizz

2009, June 24


“You have to go to the milongas, it is part of the game”, the teacher said to the group after the class.  Why not La Catedral then? Well, now I know why not.

A. At La Catedral the signs “no photo” or “no video” or “no fumar” mean

1. that you cannot film, smoke…

2. nothing, they are here for decorative purposes only.


B. Beer can be found

1. in large bottles

2. in various brands

3. spilled all over the dance floor


C. I disliked the way people were dancing because

1. They were not on the beat

2. They were trying moves beyond their capacities

3. Even simple moves were beyond their capacities

4. They danced as if alone on the floor.


D. Compared to La viruta, la Catedral is (entrance plus guardaropa)

1. cheaper

2. more expensive


E. During a tanda one tall and drunk guy with geek glasses started an extravagant dance, hybrid between (bad) jive and (bad) polka, kicking all around and using one half of the dance floor. What happened next?

1. An old milonguero killed him with a knife.

2. Four leaders joined their efforts to corral him.

3. The host went and spoke to him.

4. Nothing happened and he continued his kicking until he finally got tired.

Running gag

2009, June 18

Little me is trying to attend a class at 11:00 at Talcahuano 1052 where the Escuela Argentina de Tango has a dance studio.

Monday: the building is closed. June 15th is a special day here, granted, but the E.A.T schedule precisely states that a class was starting from this very day on.

Tuesday: “Oh, this class? Today it won’t take place but there is a probability that it actually opens one Tuesday, can’t tell you when though”, the girl at the desk explained to me.

Thursday: “This is a misprint in the schedule, there is no class at 11:00 with this teacher. But you can go to the other room, there a class will take place at 11:00 with Jorgelina & Cristian, they’ll be here in one minute, just enter and make yourself comfortable until they come.”, the same girl said. And twenty minutes later she added that the teachers would not come after all.

No problem, time is on my side. It’s like the story with the monkey hitting random keys on a typewriter, given some time it will write sensible sentences and even whole books.  Same here, given some time a tango class will necessarily happen at 11.00, Talcahuano 1052.


Escuela Argentina de Tango. Intermediate-advanced level. The teachers show a sequence, sacada, rebote, rulo, gancho, and walking steps in between. My follower  seems to be disturbed by something and after repeating the sequence several times she finally asks me if I don’t think that there is something wrong with the legs.

It’s fine as far as legs are concerned, I reply. Everything else is bad, I think in petto,  no balance whatsoever, not responding to the lead and her right arm  curved in a weird way that make her look like a teapot. 

Not being convinced she calls one of the teacher. “Look, at the third step, each time I feel his leg against mine. What is wrong?” 

This is what we call a sacada, the teacher replied.

Negative price

2009, June 13

Who said there was inflation in Buenos Aires? Two days ago I noticed a sign at the entrance of La Ideal:

coffee (or tea) with milk plus three medialunas, eight pesos.

I did not enter because of the offer, neither was I intending to dance.  I had brought a book about Gardel’s birth and wanted to read it in a tango atmosphere. Also, the entrance of the milonga was free.

One tea and three medialunas please.  The waiter came back quickly, and in a bilingual attempt he said:

Once. Eleven.

Eleven pesos. Not the eight that I had already prepared. My mistake. I figured that without milk the price would be the same. But in fact it was more expensive.

With the math you can’t argue. The only conclusion is that milk in BsAs has a negative value. Next time you go at La Ideal, order just a glass of milk, the waiter will bring it to you for free, and he will even give you three pesos.


2009, June 12

Mora Godoy escuela. The lesson was about linear boleos.  The girl who was my partner at this point of the class suggested that after the boleo, instead of a back step I take a side step. It made no sense to me, linear boleos being, well, linear, continuing with a side step would only disturb the linearity introduced by the boleo.  But I’ve been knowing for long that there is no need to argue with your follower.

– Ok, sure.

– Wait a minute, I’m calling the teacher. Teacher! Look what he is leading to me. See? He’s completely wrong, isn’t he?

And the teacher corrected me, explaining that at this point I was supposed to lead a back step, which he then demonstrated several times to me.


2009, June 7


The DNI teacher explained the movement to  the class. Then he rushed to me.

– Hey I’ve not even embraced my partner yet, why are you coming here when I have not done anything wrong? 

–  You will. I trust you.