Archive for January, 2008


This guy seems to be much further along the trail than I, but has the same flavor of angst.   I appreciate how one commenter mentions his post Buenos Aires blues.


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Last Tango in B.A.

It seems maudlin, to write a post like this.  A real tanguero – something I aspire to, but am not at this writing – can toss this off like a zen calliographer can toss off a scroll of Confucian couplets that can hang in a museum.   But …

I wound up sharing a taxi to Viruta´s, and spent about a half hour looking for my one set, after which I left, consciously deciding to make this my happy and last tango memory here.    I took my time, and fudged a bit with the abrazo for the molinetas, and stuck with the basic figures, and moved around her as well as with her.   The lady would not have my request to open the embrace (per favor…abeurto abrazo?)  (in fact, I think some do not know how to tango open embrace.)  And all was well.   None of the angst in the last post at all.   

Quiet and calm lady

Tango is truly a pause

A respite from my life

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…Is what you hear when class is over.   I may not dance tonight, having failed at my good faith efforts at a siesta.  I love to dance but I do not love so much the environment wherein one competes for dances.   One must take one with the other, though.

I will try again to sleep, and then decide.   On the one hand there is a kind of feeling of desperation, to really dance well in a milonga, something that, plainly, will not happen just because I go one more time.     I need to feed my mind and soul a bit with other things, just as one needs to vary one´s physical diet.   One cannot eat cheap Argentinian beef every day, for example, and expect one´s skin to be clear.

I will comment though, for those who find this page by a search engine.     The Tango Hogar on Estados Unidos in Buenos Aires is a good place to stay for travelers on a budget.   I have spent 15 dollars U.S. a night for my small room and have had better accommodations than I would have had at a hostel.     The hosts could not be more accommodating, and get a lot of repeat business.    I had hoped for more tango tourists as fellow residents, but this was not the case for me.   There were a few but they have left, or were couples.   Of the Scandanavian girls here, one dances, but she is here to dance with tall handsome Argentinian men who look like Zorro.  Or so it seems.     It so happens that one of these, though, has left some of her wash in the shower, so one has to move the panties aside in order to use that facility.    Very gemutleich, I suppose, if you squint and look at it the right way with a dose of humor.    That is part of why one spends 15 dollars here instead of 90$ downtown.  

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I have had maybe two experiences here that fit into the “spiritual” column of the balance sheet, one praying at the national cathedral on my first or second day, and other today at a very old dominican cathedral which for sheer antiquity and beauty rivaled any such structure I have seen.  That first experience had its own role to play, I think, in such freedom as I am finding in this.

On my walkabout today before I happened by chance upon this second place, I saw something at the Plaza de Mayo … a man putting something in the carry pouch of his child´s stroller pulled the flap away to put the item in.  Within the pouch a handgun was sitting.    A reminder to me of the spectrum of reality here.

The plan tonight is Viruta´s or a similar venue, most likely.

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molineta not-so-secrets etc.

In normal walking system, lead a right molineta close or open with your left going first outside your right, her left.

In cross walking system,–

Exercise in changing walking systems with close embrace, using the upward lift as the lead, a bit different than c. teaches

In close embrace walking, change the system to cross, then do a micro secada as a way of confirming to both just where you are spatially in relation to each other.  Exercise:   change to cross walk in close, secada, then cross.      Exercise:  change to cross walk in close, secada, then ochos back, then cross.  Exercise in cross walk  in close embrace with changs from cross to normal…   do secadas before doing la cruz.

The up lead, so to speak, for changing the walk from normal to cross system involves going “up” so her weight tends to stay where it should.   These secadas in close embrace walking can happen in either normal or cross system. (aii.. which foot?)

At this point I crumple up some of  my notes.  I need to become the tango alchemist by doing.

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Mi dama

Paula F. – if you come by this way, then I offer again my thanks for your help.   Gracias a vos.    A haiku for you.

 Step, pause, let it flow.

Advice to follow, maestra.

Thank you very much.

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Notes from Thursday

I have no idea why the previous posting went beserk with fonts.

See this in your head:

1.  Lead back steps R.

2.   Small side step  with left to left as he leads her into a back ocho to his left.

3.  Step forward outside her with your left ($) in a sort of curving motion as she ochos to your left, rock step back, then put the left forward to your left (her right), rock step, go forward then and of necessity changing weight ..your right forward now, rock back    … (garbled notes) left back step behind you as you lead her into another back left ocho, – boleo – weight change and walk out.

The $ is to point out that at this point other possibilities can occur.–

Just visualize the difference:    A “leaning” close embrace for two and simple right and and left steps with leads to the cross and a micro pause before stepping out, formed by his leading with right vs. left.   Fill with stepping inside and outside her walk both to the right and left and again midline.  fluid, dyanamic, graceful.  Compare this to salon style with basic eight count, left forward first, pause, etc.   Almost no comparison to the visual and aesthetic.   

Commentary on me by Paula:

Keep the tango log and read it before dancing.

Keep what you learn… don´t let an inexperienced follow cause you to go down to her level.  Adaptation is fine, but do not let her cause you to lose what you have learned.

A balance test (the last thing she taught me)  at times relax the embrace enough to see if she has her footing on her own or not.

Jugar ! (play) con otros… not just with your own movements.  That is, she observes that I seem more comfortable playing with my own movements rather than also with my partners.

Take the time with the pauses.

Keep the arms sleeping.

Keep the feet close when doing turns to keep the position.

She observes that I lead fine with the chest in open but seem to have a mental block about doing this in close.

She emphasizes the importance of collecting, to pass feet closely in figures and to the sides in straight lines.   In side steps, always  pass the feet close by, with our without weight changes.   Siempre.


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