I had never been to La Confiteria Ideal at night, but when La Orquesta de los Reyes de Tango performed, I showed up at midnight in January for the one a.m. concert. It was summer, and the old salon had no air conditioning, the hall was hot and humid with the crowds dancing and perspiring under the Art Nouveau skylight, the big wall fans swirling the ladies’ skirts as they turned about the marble floor.
The mirrors on the wood-paneled walls reflected crowds of young hip dancers of Tango Neuvo, old milongueros, portenos, and tourists of all ages in the dim light of old globe chandeliers and sconces. We all were there with a single purpose, to hear these old men, the Kings of Tango, play just as they had in their heyday of the forties and fifties.
The couples on the floor moved to the music as one, slowing together, speeding up together with the orchestra. It felt choreographed, that we all were enclosed in one embrace. The watchers and the dancers were soaked with sweat--hair and clothes--but it felt clean and nobody minded.
I wish my children had been there, my late husband Jack, my mother, I wish everyone I had ever loved had been there. It was a delightful orgy, a celebration, of heat, sweat and passion, of connection of all kinds of people to each other, the music, and the cosmos. It was Heaven.
--from THE CHURCH OF TANGO; A MEMOIR