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, December 29, 2009


My first holiday season in Buenos Aires as a resident was in 2004. That year, on December 30, the entire country was horrified to watch on TV news the unfolding tragedy of a burning nightclub full of kids, even children, with chained and locked exit doors. Naturally all New Year's Eve events were canceled, and nobody felt like celebrating anyway.

My friend Connie was visiting from Los Angeles, and we just sat on my balcony in Caballito with a bottle of champagne. I was so happy for her company that night, but we were feeling so sad, so mournful for the needless loss of the many young lives.

There was no tango that night, or the next night in memoriam, but soon a moratorium on all dance clubs was passed. The idea was to get safety issues checked out, exits inspected, etc., but that became a whole other story.

After the CroMagnon tragedy in 2004, one of the few
milongas that was allowed to stay open in Buenos Aires
was at the Club Espanol. Dany Borelli, the DJ,
used the music of Piazzolla as the cortinas because
all other music was banned. Or rather, for fear of
being closed as were most of the milongas,
only "musica nacional" was played.
At this time, there were no tandas of
tropical or rock 'n roll, because salsa clubs, rock clubs,
all other dance venues were closed for months.
People flocked to provincia where they could
still dance tango. Starving and frantic dancers
came to Club Espanol every Thursday afternoon
and waited in the lobby to be allowed to enter.
The energy was palpable. It was a feeding frenzy.

Being summertime, there were lots of planned
tango trips to Buenos Aires from other countries
which were canceled. Buenos Aires suffered from tango
withdrawal as well as loss of tourist funds, not to mention
the psychic pain of the tragedy even for those not
personally involved.

Some tango venues such as Lo de Celia were
closed for six months or more.
Many never fully recovered their cachet.
Tango house parties became the norm for
those who had space in their apartments
to invite their friends for dancing.

To those of us who were here the summer of 2005,
that desperate time became known as
when the tango died.

These kinds of senseless tragedies have occurred all over
the world due to greedy managers and bribes
of safety inspectors. Let's not ever forget what happened
in order to prevent it from ever happening again.

Peace. Love. Tango.
in 2010


Margarita Milonguita said...

Well said someone once said 'f*ck politics... let's dance!'
No one should EVER stop the tango. It won't die as long as it's inside us.

99 said...

Peace, love and fun to you too. Have a Happy New Year!