An expat Californian building a new life via the tango in Buenos Aires since 2003, including information on learning the tango and where to dance it in Buenos Aires.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Me and Calo--well and Ruben and lots of others too!





















It was a very special night at Salon La Argentina, especially for us as we're not used to hanging around the house waiting to go out at 11:00 p.m. dressed to kill. (Friday night television is not worth turning on.) When I was "single," I used to go to Gricel at that time every Friday, but those days are long gone.

We never practice before we perform as choreography is just not our social style of tango. The most we do is warm up when we get to the venue.

So there were some nice surprises awaiting us: several of these posters were up in the marquee in front of the hall announcing the programs with photos (see us?), and a group of five lovely ladies from Canada, the U.S., Sweden, and Australia--friends and students--already occupied a center table by the time we arrived. By the time the program began, the salon was jam-packed.


video

The three dancing couples had to sit near the stage. There was to be a fourth, but the woman had an injury and so couldn't dance.

While tandas of other rhythms were played, in fact, a very nice Cuban salsa tanda, all of the tango music was Miguel Calo, since his orchestra was being honored that night. I can never get enough of his music anyway.

So the show began. Ruben and I danced a vals after the other two couples performed first a milonga, and then a tango. Then all three of us danced a tango together.

video



And then the Adolfo Gomez orchestra played, the leader having been a bandoneonista for Calo, Troilo as well as other famous orchestras. Great young singer. It was wonderful.

Guillermo Thorp of Diostango magazine made videos of each performance, but the couple who danced milonga did not give permission to publish their solo (so that's why it's not here).























































So here we are dancing a Calo vals (below), and Judy & Jon dancing a tango (above).





Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reminder: Homenaje a Miguel Calo This Friday!

Please come
Friday, June 26th, at Nuevo Salon Argentina, (Bartolomé Mitre 1769) to honor the music of Miguel Calo (my personal favorite orchestra.)

Alberto Podesta will be there as well as Adolfo Gomez y su Cuerteto Tipico for your dancing and listening pleasure.

And Ruben y Cherie will dance, as well as three other couples.

The event starts at 10:00 p.m., with the show probably starting at 11:00.

Ruben wants me to remind readers that while this event is in the same location as the famous milonga El Arranque, it's not exactly a milonga but a baile; that is to say, tango music will be played along with cumbia, salsa, and other rhythms.

For more information: 4371-6767

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Year of No Money

What does this book have to do with tango, Buenos Aires, Argentina or anything that this blog is about? None of the above, but it does show what it's like to be an African-American expatriate in Japan--with no money. Being broke in Tokyo is the same as being broke in Buenos Aires or Paris. Broke is broke. And so his story has universal appeal. (A series would be kind of cool: A Year of No Money in Singapore, A Year of No Money in Istanbul, A Year of No Money in johannesburg, etc. And then could a TV show be far behind?)





When Wayne Lionel Aponte arrived in Tokyo in the early '90s, he had a job, but quit when things got tough economically in Japan. From then on he went into a limbo of living off of four different women at the same time. A very lucky man, who was able to keep them all happy, while the women provided food, shelter, money, good times and gifts. After about a year he realized how demeaning his life was and proceeded then to get a job and to pull himself back up to respectability.

I saw a lot in common with many of the expatriates in Argentina, although the situation is often reversed here; foreign women from all over the world meet local men who then proceed to live off of the ladies.

So it seems to be a female trait more than a cultural one.

Aponte, a journalist, writes well (written in the present tense) in this brief (165 pgs) memoir, it's just the unpleasant story that bothered me. He seemed to blame everybody/thing but himself for being in that position, yet after scrabbling together enough money to return home to New York, he promptly decided he didn't like it and went back to Japan. He doesn't seem to like Tokyo much either, except for the women (all of his sugar mamas were Japanese.)

Many women travelers to Buenos Aires have written their memoirs about falling in love with tango and the men they dance it with--full of sexual escapades and usually way too much information. And now I see that it's the trend; why write about the history, political issues, geography, culture, art or architecture of a country, if you can go directly to the "good" parts? In Aponte's case he has even a sort of macho pride that he was able to use his body to support himself by keeping four women happy. There's more than a bit of braggadocio in his story--and never a thought of "love."

Many expats, including the ones here in Buenos Aires, have stories in common with this one, and so that's why you're reading about it on tangocherie.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tulip Tango















yes, set fire to frostbitten crops,
drag out forgotten fruit
to dance the flame-tango,
the smoke-gavotte,
to live after all....

--Denise Levertov, “A Walk through the Notebooks.”


From an old diary:

It was a dark and stormy night at Schiphol Airport. Freezing cold, too. And far, far away from Los Angeles where I lived. For years I had been setting fire to frostbitten crops trying to “live, after all.” Now I had come to Amsterdam in the middle of winter to dance the flame-tango.

I had reserved a room at the
Hotel Fantasia on a canal in downtown Amsterdam, which was anything but a fantastic dream. Still it was clean. I climbed the wooden staircase to my long and narrow room with an iron cot and no hot water after eight at night. Located above the breakfast room, in the morning there would be a clattering breakfast buffet of sausage, cheese and strange dark breads.

I bought nuts and a cocktail in a little red windmill bottle at the reception desk for my
Christmas Eve in Amsterdam dinner. I didn’t feel alone or at all sorry for myself; on the contrary, as usual when I travel and am adventurous, I was exhilarated: a new country, a new language, new experiences and future memories.

I called a cab to take me to midnight services after looking up churches
(kerk) in the Yellow Pages. Built in 1392, the English Reformed Church was a perfect place to be on Christmas Eve. It was warm and welcoming inside, but the church filled up quickly and the overflow crowd stood under their black umbrellas in the rainy courtyard. How blessed I felt to be sitting in the snug, crowded church, and I sent my thanks up to Heaven as I waited in line to take Communion.




A friend of a friend’s sister had married a wealthy jolly Dutchman, and through the kindness of strangers, I was invited to their house on Christmas Day. They picked me up at the hotel in their Mercedes and drove me around town first, so I saw the
Reiksmuseum’s facade, people lined up for a Christmas concert at the Concertgebouw, the front of Anne Frank’s house, and the beautiful winter countryside full of fat cows on the way to the suburb where they lived.

After a merry family and friends dinner and gift exchange, even with presents for me, they drove me to the train station where I caught the 9 p.m. train to
Nijmegen, 160 kms from Amsterdam. My hosts must have thought I was crazy as I climbed into the cold train clutching my high heeled dancing shoes and waving goodbye.






But I was in search of tango. And I had heard about the famous all night tango marathons at El Corte, Erik Jorissen’s celebrated school. Several European dancers passing through the Los Angeles milongas had mentioned Nijmegen as the best place in Europe to get a tango fix. When I had found out that there was also a tango festival in Amsterdam between the Christmas and New Year’s marathons in Nijmegen, that cinched the deal. I was going to Holland for the holidays.

The first thing I saw when I got off the train at the Nijmegen station were acres of bicycles locked in racks reflecting the dim florescent lighting overhead. I wandered out into the dark and deserted town and searched for the tango school. I was glad I had on wool pants under my short tango skirt, my hat, leather gloves, and heavy fur-lined parka.

I found
El Corte almost by chance as there was no sign, only a brass knocker on the door, which was partially blocked by rucksacks, sleeping bags, boots, parkas, and bicycle helmets. As usual when I entered a tango space, I took a deep breath and paused to feel that flutter, that rush of anticipation fringed with fear. What will happen tonight? Who will I dance with? Would I go to Tango Heaven? I always knew that with tango, anything was possible.




El Corte was a modern building, still undergoing remodeling inside. It had a homey feel, with a loft and little walkways upstairs, and easy chairs and couches lounging around the several rooms. There was a kitchen with food and drink laid out. The wooden dance floor in the back had a high ceiling and dramatic lighting. The crowd was youthful, vibrant, beautiful, and could really dance. In Buenos Aires the talented young people are preoccupied and focused on becoming professional dancers so they can leave Argentina to perform and teach abroad. In Europe the young generation dance because they enjoy it.

I checked in with Eric, a congenial, friendly and funny guy with a youthful demeanor himself, who has almost singlehandedly created Dutch tango mania. He handed out plastic pins of various designs and we were to find our “match” on a partner of the opposite sex. I never found the man wearing the pink and green angel wings like mine, but as soon as I changed into my tango shoes, I began dancing and almost never stopped. I was one of only eight dancers coming from the U.S., who I didn’t know as they were mostly from the east coast. The American dancers didn’t invite me to dance that first night, but my partners included French, Swiss, Danish, and of course, Dutch dancers.

It was freezing outside, but sultry, hot and smoky on the dance floor. The hundreds of dancers were almost all Europeans and smokers. Since the floor was so crowded, dancing had to be close embrace, and it was a delicious challenge to do an intricate and emotional tango in just a few feet, on a baldosa, as the saying goes. The steps were so small and hidden, that there was little to watch from the outside, and couples were in a tango trance. The hot floor was a pheromone furnace.

The last train back to Amsterdam was at 7 a.m. but I couldn’t tear myself away even though my feet were killing me. I figured I’d get back to the hotel somehow. And sure enough, at 9:30 that morning, as the cold sun peeked weakly up from the east, there was a place in a VW beetle for me with three girls from Paris driving back into town. Luckily there were still some dregs in the breakfast room at the hotel, and I made a couple of quick sandwiches and crashed in my room. The smoke had made me sick, and so I spent the day in my iron bunk taking antihistamines, resting up for the opening of the Amsterdam Tango Magia Festival
the next day.

This three-day tango bash was spread out over Amsterdam in different studios and venues. Famous teachers from Buenos Aires were giving workshops, and there were milongas every night. At the festival registration, we were given bad maps of the various venues, but all of the streets looked the same, especially in the darkness that descended in mid-afternoon: canals, old Dutch row houses, bicycles. I couldn’t tell one street from the other in this city lying completely below sea level.

There was very little daylight at that time of the year, only from about 9:30 to 3:00, and I was even more confused in the dark. Winter is not the best time to sightsee in Northern Europe. Somehow I found the appropriate place for the first class, but Pieter, a man I had met and danced with in Nijmegen, one of the few older than thirty and with grey hair, found me disoriented and put me on the back of his bicycle and rode me to the next workshop.

Pieter had lived in Amsterdam all his life and was an artist, as his father was before him. He used to teach art, but now he essentially did nothing. He liked tango and he danced well, but he wasn’t addicted or passionate about it. He invited me to lunch the next day, and I took a taxi to his mansion on the canal right in the heart of the city, close to the red light district.

To say I was stunned would be an understatement. He really did live in an ancient mansion, with several levels and stairs going in all directions, and dusty antiques and walls covered with paintings and objets d’art, and dead plants in dark corners. We ate in the grimy glassed greenhouse kitchen, but I could see he spent all his time in the front parlour in his worn chaise lounge easy chair. He had inherited the house, and sold off various parts of it over the years to provide himself with an income. Still, it was enormous, and I could only guess at its magnificence when he lived there as a child with his parents.

Pieter and I took the rest of the Festival classes together. He also took me to his favorite coffee houses on his bicycle, showed me the cafes where marijuana was served buffet-style, gave me a tour of the tattoo museum with a client spread-eagled on the icy floor having his full back decorated, and walked me past the prostitutes marketing their wares in the windows. I gawked as a customer left a storefront and shook hands with the fat, negligee-clad working girl in broad daylight, in front of mothers with babies and skateboarding kids, and tourists like me.





Pieter himself looked like a painting by Rembrandt; with crimson cheeks and blue eyes, Ben Franklin glasses, fuzzy lambchop sideburns, and a silver pipe, he was quintessential Dutch. A perennial bachelor, he was droll and eccentric and well-built (from all that bike riding and tango dancing) and that we found each other was my Christmas present.

The first Amsterdam milonga was in
Café de Kroon on RembrandsPlein, walking distance from my hotel. I invited my new friend--my Christmas hostess. She had never danced tango before, but she enjoyed watching and some of my partners were gallant and invited her out on the floor for “walking” tangos.

The milonga finished early (one a.m.), and most dancers went on to another one in
De Boksschool. But I changed my shoes and walked back to the hotel. Jet lag, fatigue and smoke were working on me, and I knew when I had to quit.

It was raining, and I was astonished by all the people on bicycles holding umbrellas, as well as bags of groceries and sometimes bouquets of flowers as they rode, occasionally talking on cell phones as well. I welcomed Amsterdam’s youthful energy, which was permissive and supportive at the same time. Old and historical, nevertheless the city had an avant-garde feeling of innovation that felt very exciting, even in the dark of deepest winter. I could only imagine what it was like in August.

The Roxy was the milonga venue the next night—a fabulous 19th century wooden movie theater turned into a trendy nightclub. The Sexteto Canyengue played on the stage, and the teachers, Gustavo & Giselle-Anne and Esteban & Claudia, performed. Crammed with over 300 people, the energy, heat and smoke were palpable.

Treacherously steep wooden stairs led up to the balcony where there was another bar, and people even danced up there between the jammed tables. Dancers climbed all over the stage and the three wooden bars to sit, to see the show, to light cigarettes. Colored lights bounced off the gray air. I was drunk on the smoke, music, and ever-replenished cocktail in my hand.

(Note: sorry to say that the glamorous and historic
Roxy has since burned down.)

The following day Pieter and I hung out mostly at his house. He was getting tired by this time as well, and didn’t plan on attending that night’s milonga in
Roothaanhuis, a gorgeous wood paneled dancehall that used to be a men’s haberdashery long ago. Unsurprisingly I went, and there was live music, dinner, and lots of great tangos. A polite young man walked me and his bicycle back to my hotel before he pedaled to the neighboring village where he lived.

Gearing up for the New Year’s two-day
Marathon at Nijmegen, I decided to stay in a nearby hotel. It wasn’t for me to sleep in a sleeping bag on the side of the dance floor. Let the Euro Kids do that.

So I made a reservation, and New Year’s Eve I took the late train to
Nijmegen. The hotel was just a short walk from El Corte, and would be a convenient place to nap and shower. The dancing wouldn’t stop for two days, and I wanted to miss as little as possible. What a way to welcome the turn of the century!

Eric had more games planned for the marathon, keeping it alive and fun right to the end. He passed out blinking red heart clips that people fastened onto their shoes and shirts and hair, and then he turned out the lights and all we could see were dancing blinking hearts. The fabulous DJ kept surprising us with unusual pieces of music, and there was always something fresh to eat in the kitchen. With over 350 dancers from all over Europe, new partners were everywhere.

So Pieter took me to Schiphol, bought me a double CD of a Dutch tango singer, and kissed me goodbye. “I won’t write,” he said, “but I won’t forget you.’

And off I went to Denmark, where I danced tango on the cold marble floor of Hamlet’s castle. I was doing my best “to live after all.”

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Worlds of Xochimilco

While not tango or even Argentina, Xochimilco, just outside of Mexico City, is a bit like Tigre, and the haunting historical atmosphere reminiscent of feelings I've had at La Ideal. The day I spent there in 2003 was one of the most memorable of my life.




A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable
. ~William Wordsworth

In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death. ~Sam Llewelyn






Xochimilco, the place of the flower fields (in Nahuatl), is at once an ancient Aztec dream, a modern Mexican fiesta, and an eccentric eerie nightmare—all in one glorious experience and all in one day. Imagine in one short Mexico City afternoon floating between two cultures centuries apart, with the added fillip of a hidden island of ghosts and dead dolls.

Very little remains of Aztec daily life and splendor. Aside from the pyramids, and artifacts desplayed in museums, we can only guess at the wonders of Tenochtitlan while we stand in the middle of Mexico City’s Zocalo and stare at the cathedral sinking slowly into the ooze of the primordial lake below.





In pre-Hispanic times the Xochimilcas built rectangular soil-covered rafts (chinampas) in Lake Xochimilco, which with time became islands rooted to the bottom and separated by water-filled canals. Perhaps because the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco were built on the eternal lake, they still exist. Thankfully they have been restored and reclaimed from the pollution and neglect that almost caused their extinction, and Xochimilco was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Not only do the floating gardens enthrall visitors and tourists, but they are still used today as they have been since the Tenth Century—to grow plants, vegetables and flowers for central Mexico.

You feel like you’re at the seaside as you enter one of Xochimilco’s many embarcaderos filled with the colorful flat-bottomed boats called trajineras. Now duplicated in crepe paper, in times past the multicolored designs with girls’ names on the front and tops of the boats were made of fresh flowers. Still for special occasions, arrangements can be made in advance for real floral decorations to cover the boat and to spell out the name of the honoree.

There are so many crafts waiting that you can walk from deck to deck all across the landing to the one of your choice. You hire a trajinera by the hour, and unfortunately most tourists opt for only one hour, imagining that they have seen what there is to see and rush off to the next attraction on their Mexico City list. For such an extraordinary historical, cultural, and natural site, there is little hype in the travel media. But the local Mexican people know how to party and enjoy themselves, and on weekends the smaller, higher section of the canals and gardens are jammed with vessels and competing floating mariachi bands, stern to port, starboard to starboard, at times resembling bump ‘em boats at a carnival.


As in Venice, the gondolas are propelled by one man (and here sometimes a strong woman) standing on the back with a long pole. Our boat with a long narrow table and twenty yellow straw-bottomed chairs, contained only my friend, myself, and a plastic bucket of iced beverages, but even when a boat is party packed, one person provides the power. The only mechanical sound on the canals is from the occasional police motor boat. The trajineras move in silence, but the happy people on them are loudly partying as Mexicans do better than anyone.

The fiesta boats generally have refreshments brought from home, but if anything is forgotten (and for the more casual cruiser who is less prepared) vendors conveniently drift by selling flowers, drinks, candy, souvenirs, fresh hot snacks and main dishes, blankets and rebozos, as well as floating photographers to commemorate the moment.

There are boat after boatload of uniformed mariachis and vessels containing only a single mirimba, which tie up to the party boats during the short concerts paid for by the song. Our gondola barely squeezed by a flotilla of six tied together two by two, plus the required aquatic mariachi attachment. Women were dancing on the three feet of deck when we collided, spilling beer and flowers into the canal, but the fiesta continued with even more laughter as we passed them by. People wave and call out to each other. Several parties had family members regaling their captive partyers with jokes, and we laughed as well.

Homes and plant nurseries and green houses of roses line the upper canals; floating bridges are hauled by ropes into place when necessary for crossing. The islands have no cars, and there are small private gondolas used by residents for transportation. The Aztecs brought in everything to their city on boats such as these, and today the canals are used in much the same way.






Soon we arrive at the lock and descend to the lower and larger area of islands which are pastoral cornfields, farms and pasturelands of grazing animals. We pass indian children in green canoes filled with flowers, and two small boys paddling home with their bicycle on board. No mariachi boats, only the quiet kiss of the water as the gondolier poles us forward. Lazy trees lounge on the banks trailing their limbs in the water, bright red bougainvillea punctuates the green stillness, an occasional mudhen navigates through the waterlilies, a salamander suns on a rock, fish disturb the water’s satin surface, insects and birds sing. Another world—mystical, serene, timeless. Our festive trajinera seems anachronistic, but we are too blissful to care.






The mood changes when we land at the Isla de las Munecas, the Island of the Dolls. Don Julian lived there for fifty years, and for the twenty-five before his death eight years ago, sought to appease the ghost of a drowned child with the dolls he pulled up from the depths of the canals.

Dead dolls of all kinds hang from the trees and vines and rafters, their eyes bewitching and disturbing the visitors who have come to gawk and photograph in this surreal sanctuary. There is an altar to Don Julian, and in an open shed, a kind of museum. As the fame of the Island of the Dolls spreads, people all over the world send their own dolls to be displayed and to disintegrate, covered by cobwebs and dust with all the rest.

It can be disconcerting to see your favorite Betsy or Ginny naked, muddy, missing a limb, and hanging by the neck. While bizarre and off-putting for some (one woman tourist refused to get out of the boat), the island is in fact a kind of work of art in the realm of other “one man’s fantasy” environments—Edward James, Simon Rodia, even William Randolph Hurst come to mind.














Don Julian’s family is carrying on the tradition, and the creepy feel of wandering among childhood toys once beautiful and cherished now tainted by evil and death, is
balanced by Don Julian’s jovial nephew barbecuing fresh corn under the palapa and laying out juicy limes and chili for the tequila he proudly serves us.







Even so, one journeys back to the lock and to the parties and festivities in the high canals and then to the busy embarcadero and home, wherever it is, changed. Some voyages—the best ones—are like that.



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dancing Shoes! A Tanguera's Favorite Topic

NOTE: The new shoe pictures have been added below.





This is what the Universe wrote me this morning:


Happiness comes first, Cherie. Partners, abundance, and cool shoes come later.

Or at least this is how I'd line up my duckies.

Ungawa -
The Universe

P.S.
No, Cherie, cool shoes never came first.

(You can subscribe to your own Notes from the Universe here.)

While shoes are always on a tanguera's mind, they were in the back of mine until last week. I hadn't purchased any new tango shoes for over two years, and with the loss of one of my favorites (read about it here), I was jonesing for some new red ones.

Flo is always up for shoe shopping, so last week we went. First we checked out Taconeando (Arenales 1606), where the shoes are pretty and flashy and less expensive than other places, but none were of the design I need: a peeptoe. Flo managed however, as she always can, to find some lovely ones that were comfortable.






Then we went to Paule Tenaillon's, a young French designer that makes shoes to die for! And comfortable as well. However they are very expensive, fragile, and not made especially for dancing. The pair I wanted was made of hand-embroidered silver satin and black suede, and I could just imagine how they'd look after one night of hard dancing. She will be starting a line of tango shoes in a couple of months that are sturdier and cheaper, so I'm going to check back.




Inevitably we wound up at Comme Il Faut, and yes, I found some bright red suede shoes as well as a pair in silver lizard.






My back up position, if I couldn't find anything that I liked, was to order from Suipacha 256 Tango. My friend Dee always does and swears by them, and when I went, I was amazed at the beautiful leathers to choose from. They will make any design you can think up, and even put on buckle-snaps to make changing into them easy. And they are also very reasonable.

So some new cool shoes have arrived in my life, and it's as the Universe counsels, long after happiness.


Great article on feet and shoes.
Shoe stores in BsAs from Tango Australia.
Shoe stores in BsAs with a map
Revisit tangocherie's Sexy Shoes.

Monday, June 08, 2009

National Day of the Singer














In Argentina, everyone has his special day, from the pizza makers, trash collectors, iron workers, ex-students, you name it and there's a day to celebrate it.
For a list of the entire year's honorees, go here.

June 23, 2009, in the Teatro Broadway, Corrientes 1155, at 8:00 p.m., the third consecutive year of celebrating “DIA DEL CANTOR NACIONAL” will take place in memory of Buenos Aires' greatest tango citizen, CARLOS GARDEL.

The event will be under the musical direction of Jorge Dragone and will include the presentation of the star vocalist of Osvaldo Pugliese's orchestra, Abel Córdoba.
Reservations: 4381-5535/1180 or by email: info@tangoenvivo.com.ar


My favorite tango singer is Alberto Castillo. How about you?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Homenaje a Miguel Calo--Mi Orquesta Favorita

For those readers who will be in Buenos Aires June 26, please come to Salon La Argentina to watch us do an exhibition. Miguel Calo is totally my favorite orchestra, and Ruben and I are committed to dance together when a Calo tanda begins. His music is so romantic, so emotional, so tender. Some folks think Pugliese is the most sensuous, but they should give Calo a chance.



Please come out this night and support your tangocherie!


Here's a photo from our exhibition at La Ideal last month in homage a Tanturi (courtesy of Diostango.)


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Fun With Animoto.com

Tangocherie has a new playtoy: animoto.com. As their slogan says, it's the end of the slideshow! What you can do with their amazing software, is to make a video of your photos, complete with lots of special effects. Think Ken Burns on LSD. You can make as many 30 second videos as you like for free, but need to pay $3 usd for longer ones. Animoto is also an application on Facebook, so if you already have photos uploaded on FB, it's extra easy to make a video, which then can be posted to your profile.

At will, you can "mix up" your video, add or subtract photos, change the music, while the previous ones are saved.

My only quibble, and believe me it's a small one because I am totally in love with this fun and useful site, is the music. You have to use their music due to the rights and permissions issue, which is ok I guess, they do have different genres, but there is no tango. An extra cool feature is that the photos are displayed in time to the music; and the faster the music, the more photos shown.

Here's the 3 minute promo video I made.
Please let me know what you think.

7th Campeonato 2009

The immediate change of note about the 2009 Buenos Aires tango championships is the name difference -- the first six years the tango championships were called Campeonato Metropolitano de Tango de Buenos Aires; this year it was Campeonato de la Ciudad.

The second big difference is the reduction of money spent on the championships. Previously there were colorful brochures plastering the city and all the milongas. There was lots of buzz and PR far in advance. The event was spread out over months in the autumn, culminating in August with the big finals in La Rural, where thousands of people waited in line for the free tickets to watch the judging, the dancing, and the live orchestras that performed. The Metropolitano was tied in with the Mundial as well as the Tango Festival making it a huge event drawing tango tourists from all over the world.

This year was definitely very low key. Very little publicity, and the whole thing was rushed through in a few weeks, with the finals and the semifinals directly following the qualifying heats in local milongas. Last night was a special event, billed as the Baile de los Campeones, in Salon Canning of performances by the winners. It was supposed to be a celebration. But it was dull and just a little sad.

I had planned to take pictures last night and write a nice article, but you know what? I just can't. So sparsely attended, the dancing so very unimpressive, the atmosphere so opposite of festive, that I will settle for just posting the photo of the winners (the couple on the right are the "Seniors") and the video of the Finals last Saturday. (Taken from the 2xTango website.)







To read about Ruben's and my participation in 2006, go here.