The BA Tango Lessons

I have been here one week and my tango is improving by the hour. It’s even improving while I sleep according to my private teacher, Ariel. Honestly, it works like magic. On Monday in my first lesson we worked over and over on different exercises to improve my walking. The exercises were difficult and I lost my balance many times. I swore alot. Today (Wednesday) we worked on decorating walking and ochos with crosses. We decorated ochos before the pivot, after the pivot, in the pivot.  Today I hardly ever lost my balance. How had that happened in 48 hours? My body just KNEW what to do. We broke up the exercises with tangos to try out the decorations. Next lesson we will be working on giros.

Ariel speaks great English, is a lovely guy and unbelievably knows Pastor who gave me my private lesson at the Tango Tangk in February. So, I am loving my private classes which is good because I have three a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, each an hour and a half long.

I am attending group lessons to experience different teachers, understand the various styles of tango, learn sequences that may be danced in the Milongas and meet people – especially men. It is important to arrive at a Milonga with a potential partner, dance with him and show off your dancing to the male throng.  Gabriella and I cheekily ask the guys we like to dance with for recommendations of their favourite Milongas. If we show interest they quickly say, ‘Oh we are heading to XYZ Milonga on Friday, why don’t you come along?’

So far I’ve been to two group tango classes – each totally different:

  1. Escuela Argentina de Tango. Cost 14.50 pesos (£2.50). Held at the Centro Cultural Borges. Number of students: 20. This school has a mindblowing schedule of classes all day, every day with different teachers taking each class. The class I attended was fast, furious and scary at first. We learned four sequences with no in depth individual tuition. The moves included many giros, voleos and a pivoted volcada with decoration. Arghhhhhhhh! The leaders were mixed (as they are in any country of course) and sometimes I knew I was being led wrongly, but pointing that out politely in Spanish at this stage is not an option for me. Oh and another thing, of course the whole class was in Spanish…
  2. La Escuela del Tango. Cost 35 pesos (£6). Number of students: 6. Held at Claudia Bozzo’s dance studio in the Montserrat district. This is an atmospheric space and I loved it here. Claudia taught the class and tried out her English for me which was brilliant. She gave highly individual tuition and to my joy assessed me as – wait for it – ADVANCED! Claudia is Eduardo Bozzo’s sister and I laughed because she is so similar to him in her teaching with regards to musicality and needing to feel the music.  She even explains things in a similar way, for example ‘Attack, attack, attack!’ Again the leaders were mixed but I think I will get more from these classes with Claudia than from the different teacher every time approach of option 1. above – for the first month at least. So I will be going back tomorrow.

Milongas are the reality of tango here and often there is insufficient space to try out anything fancy learned in a class. I have now been to three different Milongas: Confiteria La Ideal, Sabor a Tango and Salon Canning. Of these Salon Canning was my favourite. We went on a Monday night – the ‘happening’ night there apparently. We took some non-tango-dancing friends with us. It was much more informal than the other two and dances came easier. The performances at ‘half time’ were inspirational. All three Milongas cost 15 pesos to get in.

The last two nights I have skipped the Milongas. I am exhausted from the Spanish classes, private tango classes, group tango classes, shopping for dancewear, finding an apartment for April and May and eating steaks… However, I may head to Confiteria La Ideal tomorrow afternoon because it has been recommended to me and I’m getting serious Milonga withdrawals as I type this at 2am Argentine time! Alternatively I could pop out there now of course…

See pictures of my BA Tango Lessons and a BA Milonga

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2 Responses

  1. Great stuff! Duck to water, or water to duck?

    In other news, Pastor is now at this very second flying home, I hope you meet up with him soon.

    The Nile trip was a blast for us, although tango actually took a back seat to tourism and sun-bathing for many. As you might guess I was below decks in the bar whenever music was playing…

  2. Funny how Salon Canning is most everyone’s favorite scene…after many many years. It’s one of mine as well as La Viruta. I heard this year (my friends who went to CITA 2007) that there is no more smoking inside the milongas.

    I will definitely have to look up Claudia for classes the next time I visit. She sounds fantastic!

    I just get goosebumps when you mention La Ideal—other than being a historic place (and one of the big scenes in the movie “The Tango Lesson”, I did my first 3-hr afternoon milonga there. 🙂

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