After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Waiting is normal here in Argentina. The Argentinian people have so much patience. (My first Waiting post was about waiting in lines to get things done.)

But people who want to dance tango also need a lot of patience, and to wait. There are no short cuts. You have to put in your time.

Tango is the dancer's dance, remember? It's the most difficult of all the social partner dances. In the olden days, men would practice with their mothers and sisters just walking for maybe two years before they ever went to a milonga.

Nowadays, dancers, especially from other countries, don't want to wait. They want to dance tango Right Now Right Now. And so try to learn a hundred steps in huge group classes and expect to dance right away all night long at a milonga. Impatience as adults comes naturally to norteamericanos and europeos.

My son Jason used to dance ballet professionally. A graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts, he was a principal dancer with the Hartford Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet, and before I lived in Buenos Aires, danced in the Teatro Colon. His teacher, Tatiana Riaboushinka Lichine, one of the famous Baby Ballerinas of the '30's, used to cry at him: Rome wasn't built in a day! Because even as a teenager, he wanted to soar before he could jump. She knew that he had to put in his time.

Tango too needs time--time to understand, to feel, to express, to hear, to communicate, to learn grace and elegance. It just isn't possible overnight, no matter how many Tango Weeks and Tango Festivals you attend.

When Ruben and I take our foreign students to their first milongas here in Buenos Aires, they are impatient to dance. They see all the tango around them and want to be a part of it. But in the milongas, they have to put in their time. And wait. Wait and watch until people get to know them and how they dance. Wait until they learn the codigos of tango and milonga etiquette. Wait until the tango takes them.

And that takes time. Tango is worth waiting for.


Tanguillo said...

Cherie, we don't have so much patience, except in things that we know we can't change (like waiting lines!). We know how things work in Argentine, for good and bad. But yes, probably we are more patients than most of foreigners.
You are completely right about how much time takes to be ready to enter in a dance floor properly. One complain very common of old milongueros is that today even beginners with only a few classes taken share with them the dance floor(causing a lot of mess, lets face it). Some of old milongueros waited years to feel ready to step in the dance floor. For them is a matter of "respeto".
I dont think we Argentinians are more patient in that particularly issue, I think we want to start to dance and look good... or at least, not be embarrassing.
Probably that's doesn't care so much when you are just visiting a place.

PD. Your son dance in the Colon???? WOW!!! He must be damn good!!!

Cherie said...

Saludos, tanguillo!

Thanks for your interesting comments from the Argentine perspective.

Yes, "respeto" in tango is more important than people in other cultures realise. Several of our visiting students have told me that they are on vacation and are going to do whatever they want in the milongas and everywhere else, which includes disrespecting the codigos and traditions in order to dance. It sometimes puts me in a difficult place.

Yeah, my son was damn good because he was beautiful and macho and could soar over the moon. But he gave it up to make money in Beverly Hills!


Livvy U. said...

Hello, Cherie, I came over to visit your blog after reading your review request in TopBlogMag. I just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed reading your posts on a subject and country I might not usually read blogs about!
On with the dance - best wishes,

Cherie said...

Thanks, Livvy, for stopping by.

I appreciate your reading and comments. Please don't be a stranger!


miss tango in her eyes said...

Hehehe...not so sure about the Argentines having haven't seen my novio in action!

Dalila said...

Hi Cherie, it was nice meeting you yesterday. I added your link on my blogroll, I haven't realized it wasn't already there. Saludos!

Elizabeth said...

Good words, we want things so instantly. I am in my third year of Tango, and some days it feels wonderful and some days it feels difficult, with the bar ever higher, and really all I want is that sweet moment,,

Cherie said...

I've always enjoyed your blog and keep copies of the Feedblitz updates in my files for future reference.

Thanks for putting me on your blogroll, and I would have done the same a long time ago, but i don't have a blogroll/sidebar list of links, and even though I think I can find my way around the computer, I can't seem to figure out how to do it on Blogger with my template; I've tried several times and searched the help archives, etc.

Anyway, The Blogger Cookie Fest was lots of fun, especially meeting in person those who I only knew from their writing. I hope we can do it again soon--maybe a tango party next time??

Besitos from Boedo to Palermo!

Cherie said...

So glad you stopped by!
I love your blog and your artwork; the video was brilliant, with a great choice of music!
Good luck with your tango, and let me know when you come to BsAs, as I know one day you will!

Tina said...

Speaking of taking time, yesterday I excitedly wrote a blog entry about this, and then today I realized I'd written it too quickly (bad Tina!) and have edited it five times today. :-)