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.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Buenos Aires Glow

A recent discussion on the Tango List was about why people, especially women, return from a tango trip to Buenos Aires with a special "glow."
Someone (a man) suggested that it's perhaps because the women who go there are in "vacation mode" and are more relaxed, unlike how they are in their tango home towns.

My friend Nancy Ingle from Miami has this take on why dancing in Buenos Aires can be absolutely special and at times a life-changing experience for many women.

What we 'get' in BsAs is confidence... The men, the milongas, the ambiance in BsAs are different!

It begins when I walk in the door of the milonga and am greeted with a kiss by the organizer who says, "Such a long time, I have been thinking it was time to see you again."

Then the waiter, remembering my preference from a year ago, escorts me to my favorite table.

The DJ nods to me from his booth and makes a mental note that the blonde woman loves tango valzes and he will play an extra one or two in a tanda if he sees me on the floor.

And the women nearby rise to greet me with a kiss when I sit down.

Then the dancing with the lovely custom of the cabeceo so that I never am put in the awkward position of having to decline a dance with someone or dance when I am too tired or hot.

Once a partner is selected, he greets me with a kiss and some lovely complimentary words which immediately make me feel adored and beautiful. He remembers me, my name, where I am from, asks how long I will stay. (And on my last day he will make an effort to come to the milonga "for our last dance" because he remembers my departure day.

Then we dance. We do not discuss weight changes or heel leads or style or what is best an open or close embrace. I cannot imagine ever talking about dancing with any of these men except to comment on the music or the floor or the weather (between tandas). And they never criticize - they are always encouraging and complimentary and express gratitude and amazement when I am able to follow something tricky and they show off for their friends and tell them how well I dance, too. When I say "thank you" at the end of a tanda, they are likely to reply "It is I who should thank you for the honor of letting me dance with such a divine, elegant, yadda yadda woman."

And perhaps I am a different woman in Buenos Aires, but who has the magic wand?


Painting by Diego Manuel


Caroline said...

What Nancy said should be published everywhere! It's exactly why I too come back from Buenos Aires with a glow and why I sink into a depression returning to the tango scene in my hometown.

Tina said...

Wow I love what Nancy says! :-) Just perfect.

I feel like I get treated like a queen in the Buenos Aires milongas. And in Buenos Aires I think we learn to open our hearts even more when dancing (open heart can lead to a nice glow as well)...

I am so happy to be going back on Monday. I look forward to seeing you and Ruben!

Oh, my aunt should have e-mailed you by now, let me know if she hasn't... ;-)

Psyche said...

Wow, I wish my experience had been like that. I *lost* confidence. I had to learn to provide my own - which is a good life skill, of course, but still, not much fun. It's a different world in nuevoville. The pressure, the judgement, the constant risk of rejection...