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.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

On Display at the Milonga

Last night the Milonga de los Consagrados was completely packed full of hundreds of dancers. As was Nuevo Chiqué last Thursday. I don't know where the crazy folks who continue to blog about how "tango is dying in Buenos Aires" get their loco ideas! This is winter time, it's cold and last Thursday it was raining, it's the end of the month, and the onslaught of tourists haven't arrived yet for the Campeonato--yet the classic, traditional milongas are jammed.

But that doesn't mean that people are too busy to watch and take note and to pay attention to what's going on with each and every attendee. Don't think you can hide, folks, because no back table or corner is small enough. Which is a good thing. If you go to a milonga you probably want to dance and that means a cabeceo and for that you must see and be seen. People notice your clothes, shoes, how you dance, how often you dance, know where you're from if you're a foreigner, and see who you leave with to have a coffee--even if the departures are 20 minutes apart.

And even more to the point, they remember all of this. Sometimes for years.
(It's also important never forget that what happens in Buenos Aires doesn't stay in Buenos Aires!)

I figure that Ruben and I are invisible after all these years, sitting each and every Saturday night at the same table in Los Cons, with our Alice's Teaparty group of students and friends. Ruben seldom dances with others, and I rarely do. So I feel we are more or less under the radar.

I was reminded last night, though, that no one is beneath watching; a Porteña friend came over to ask us if Ruben and I were fighting as his chair was pushed back a little from the table (he had made room for last minute arrivals)! She walked all the way over to ask if we were arguing because of the placement of our chairs! I couldn't believe it, that she noticed the positions, and that she cared that much. She told us that she likes us so much that she was upset to think that we may not be getting along. We assured her that actually we haven't had a good fight in years, and she went back to her table more tranquila.

So this story is just to remind everyone to watch their body language, their attitude, their posture, and their p's and q's when in the milongas of Buenos Aires.

SMILE, you're being "recorded!"


a Broad said...

Fantastico !!

Elizabeth said...

Cherie, This is what I love about the milongas. You are never invisible. it is demoralizing to be invisible, as we are so often here. To know that one will "be seen" makes one take a little extra care with dress, posture, attitude, and that's a good thing.

sallycat said...

I miss all that soooo much. Hope there will still be a space for me to squeeze in to Los Cons when I get back... SC