1963 – 2010

2010, January 10

During my third trip in Buenos-Aires I took privates with him and Lorena, for two weeks. It did not go too well, I was so much fascinated by the quality of Osvaldo’s steps that I instantly forgot the explanations and the sequence. We were always four people in the room, the teachers, the assistant and me, I’ve never been alone with Osvaldo.

Except once. One day I hurried because I thought I was late, and rang the bell without checking my watch. As it happened I was ten minutes too early and only Osvaldo was there. Now what to do with this hopeless pupil while we’re waiting for Lorena and Fatima, he may have thought. Poor guy, these classes are a lot of stress for him, he has no gift at all, he comes alone and we’re three teachers surrounding him.

Without saying a word he put me into an armchair in front of the TV, gave me the remote control and brought a drink. This is the kind of moments that I shared with my father. He too would remain silent, having all the answers to my questions but not trying to force matters.

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Sum up

2009, August 23

June: nothing special, attending classes and going to milongas.

July: the town hibernating under ten feet of Gripe A. Everywhere I go I find closed doors and empty places.

August: Tango is back in town, but I don’t care and I stay at home reading comics, Marvel (Wolverine, Superman,,,) and Mafalda.

Not enough to write Tangobeginner though

Not enough to write Tangobeginner though

Countless times I’ve read reports about the shortage of change here in BsAs. “Why do all the coins disappear?” “Where do they go?

For the other coins I dunno but for the one-peso species, they’re in my drawer. It’s not that I like them. On the opposite, I avoid carrying even one of them in my pocket, they’re heavy, one banknote of two pesos is lighter. Therefore,  each time I’m given one by a merchant, it then remains forever in my drawer.  

As in my previous trips here, I’m ending up with one glassful of these horrible coins. I have no use for them and they will be thrown in the dust bin.

Private thoughts

2009, August 16

Or better said, thoughts about privates.

Only here for a few more days now, and realizing that, with my muy debil hand, leading the average porteña was still impossible, I signed up for a few private classes.  A pro is easier to lead, and also it takes less time to explain the situation (the tendinite, the splint) to one person only.

Now a private class can be a curse too. You may think that it will be a hand-made lesson but way too often the teacher only pretends to be listening to your needs, and actually delivers you the very same  stuff  that he/she delivered the day before to another pupil.

Yesterday’s teacher started by asking me what I wanted to work on. One point. Then she told me that we would dance a little, to allow her  to know me a bit. One more point. That we would dance two tangos. Minus one point. She is gaining time. After the little tanda she announced that to reach my goal (I had asked to work on the art of listening to the music) I needed first to correct my terrible posture. Minus one point. There are as many correct postures as there are teachers. And so we worked on my terrible posture until I reached her correct one (butt sticked out backwards, heels up, knees bent). Needless to say I will be back to my usual posture very soon,  after all these years it’s too late to modify anything. Oh and one more minus point, because she knows that it is too late, she asked me how many years of tango I had. The second step to my goal, was my terrible walk. Minus one point because it is totailly irrelevant with what I wanted to work on. Like postures, walks are very numerous, often one teacher has two, the one that he teaches and the one he uses himself when he dances socially. The walk can be on one line, on two lines, you can land with the toe or with the heel, you can project the leg or go with all the weight, you can do some counter-body with your shoulders or not. You can place the beat on the impulse or and the landing. Asking something about the walk on Tango-L is like opening a can of worms and usually brings you an instant ban by the mods. Minus one point. But well, another fifteen minutes of hard work and I was walking the way she liked, heels first, two lines, no weight transfer, and going up and down, reverse counter-body. Here too and for the same reasons I will remain faithful to my own walk (one line, toe first, weight transfer, no ups and downs, regular counter-body).

“Oh there is no time left to give you deep, valuable explanations about your musicality question, but I think that posture and walk are the most important things for you. Let’s dance two more to finish the class.”

How do you think I danced, using an unfamiliar posture to walk in an unfamiliar way? To me it felt like a monkey walking on eggs during a moonless night. 

 “Much, much better Pablo, congratulations!”

Back to business

2009, August 13

Thanks to (or maybe despite of) pills, various creams, a splint (the fun part with the device was the inner iron blade, which could be shifted out a little, reaching a “Wolverine” configuration),  and thanks to two weeks resting on my bed  reading comics, my wrist has recovered somehow, not yet enough to lead but enough to type.

Routine

2009, July 23

Practica Me rio de la plata, Monday 22:30, end of the first session of Raul’s seminario.  Untypically it was balanced (Typically it can be 7 guys for 1 girl  – Tango Brujo –  or 15 guys for 4 girls -DNI), the followers were girls  – not ladies -, they  were dancing in estilo salón, with two exceptions they were familiar with nuevo steps, and as we were changing partners very regularly (except for the last three songs where my then partner asked to stay with me),  I could see that all of them were good dancers.  Young? Good? Open style? Dedicated? Of course there is a trick: with two exceptions they were all foreigners.

The fee of the afterwards practica was included in the amount paid for the class, my last partner asked me whether I was staying, walking back home very late ( even with the North Pole and rainy climate we’re enjoying here)  was not a concern because we were very near from my place, and talking about my place I knew that it would be very noisy until 2:00 because the local students who live here were just starting  a party when I was preparing to go to the class.

I left. My routine with unknown tango places is as follows: first time is for a brief look, if I like it then the second time I  sit and watch, the third time I’m more or less familiar with the place and I may invite someone (or not, because I also have a routine for this). Now in this particular case there won’t be a third time because there are only two sessions in this seminario.

Which, incidentally, is about improvisation.

A bigger fish

2009, July 8

In the July magazine “La Milonga Argentina” I noticed a big  (half-page) ad about classes given by famous teachers at the  Zarasa escuela., managed by the also very famous Julio & Corina.

It’s not too far, I thought, less than 20 cuadras, let’s go to the 19:30 class (beginners).  Independencia 2845, here I am. Let’s enter.

“Hey, where do you think you’re going?”

“To the tango class.” (How ignorant these locals are, I thought, how can they ignore that the great Julio & Corina have a school just here?)

“There is nobody. Nobody. Julio and Corina are abroad. There is nobody here.”

“There are classes by invited masters.”

“No, no, nobody is here. You saw the ad in the tango review but this is just that – an ad. Corina might be back next week.”

“So, this ad is a lie?”

“Yes.” With a big smile, though I don’t see what is funny here.

So the list of virtual, on-paper-only classes grows by one unit.  And the guilty teachers belong to the big fish category, this time.

Thirty minutes later I was back home. I calculated that I could afford a ten-minute rest before walking now to Canning, where there was a class at 21:00. No risk of being deceived again, the Parakultural website had a special mention telling that there would be classes on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th.  My calculations were right, I arrived there exactly at 21 :00. Ah, Canning, this big cube with its famous floor. Soft music. Tables ready for the milonga at23:00 .

And no class.  45 more minutes (yes Canning is further than Zarasa) and I was at home again, trying to read a book about tango in the 80’s (the 1880’s) but I fell asleep before page #3. Too much energy gone walking the dirty pavement.

All these announced and non-existent classes. Let’s hope that this portena 2009 fashion remains in BsAs and does not spread worldwide.

Panic

2009, July 4

Mora Godoy escuela: half of the classes cancelled.

DNI: closed

Tango Flores: closed

Carlos Copello escuela: not closed yet but you have to wash your hands with alcohol before each class.

G and G

2009, July 2

 

Escuela Argentina de Tango, afternoon class (certainly not a 11:00 one!), several couples of students are here already and I take the last available seat. And we start waiting. And waiting. And… until  the  lady at the desk comes in.

– The teachers are not coming, I do not know why, they’re not calling either. There will be no class.

Some students try to switch to the class taking place in the other room, most just leave.

And Gustavo Rosas & Gisela Natoli join the list (los Barrientos, Alejandro Suaya, Georjelina & Cristian, LunaPalacios) of  the teachers who announce classes in the E.A.T schedule and then don’t bother coming.

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.