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.



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.


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.