Club Gricel celebrates!

Me and Ariel at Club Gricel Club Gricel is a special place. It is a lovely traditional Milonga with gorgeous music, a local clientele and usually plenty of space to dance. On Saturday nights Maya Gaillard teaches a group tango class there with my teacher, Ariel. The Milonga begins afterwards at 11.00pm and runs until 5.00am. Our class have tables reserved for the Milonga so we are always there with friends and our teachers. Over the weeks, we have gradually been accepted and welcomed by the regular Porteno clientele. There is a strong community atmosphere at Gricel and we are slowly becoming part of the Gricel ‘family’.

Last night was the 12th anniversary of the reopening of Club Gricel and they celebrated with a ‘fiesta’. The place was packed, every table was reserved and at around 1.30am all the couples who teach at Gricel took turns to dance for us. Ariel and Maya danced a tango. Although they teach the class together, they are not partners and have never danced together before. They had no time to practice so their tango was improvised. I thought they looked the perfect couple. One day I would love to have the space to dance a tango like this, with or without an audience. Maya is a beautiful dancer and inspires me to elegance and grace.

Normally we eat empanadas or tostadas at Gricel after our class, but last night they were serving free ‘paella’ – at least that’s what it appeared to be – in little plastic tubs. I couldn’t help thinking that seafood was a slightly odd choice for a Milonga. We were all madly eating mints afterwards! It wasn’t a great dancing night for me, I seemed to end up with a string of men who were more interested in holding on to me between dances (not the done thing) or inviting me to meet them for ‘coffee’, than focussing on their tango. But hey, some nights are like that. It’s the same the world over… I am gradually learning how to deal with this sort of thing, in Castellano, with dignity. Now that I feel like a beautiful dancer I am learning to believe that I can be one, whatever my leader gets up to!

More important to me was the happy social interaction at our tables, and with the tables around us. We had fun, and had our photos taken with the older, distinguished and charming locals who told us we were divine. One man who is clearly a very important person at this Milonga took the trouble to stop me as I came off the dance floor to tell me that I dance beautifully. I can’t tell you how this sort of moment makes me swell with pride. When we arrive people like this interrupt their dancing to wave at us from the dance floor. I cannot believe sometimes that they are actually waving at me! After all I am in Buenos Aires now, not Southampton…

The birthday cake was finally cut at 3.00am. Gabriella and I had been ready to leave at least half an hour before but we were determined not to miss out on our cake! It was worth waiting for because of course it was full of the ‘dulce de leche’, that no Argentine cake can be without. A sweet, sweet way to end a perfect night. It takes us about half an hour to leave Club Gricel. Everyone wants a goodbye kiss, it is the Argentine way. We all promise to be there next Saturday and we will be. It is one of the highlights of my week.

See pictures of the Club Gricel Fiesta

Watch Ariel and Maya dance an improvised tango


2 Responses

  1. Wow Sal,
    6 weeks & you certainly seem part of the furniture – Club Gricel sounds very warm & friendly – I could just imagine sitting with you & breaking into the birthday cake!

  2. Awwww…it’s always nice to become a part of something larger than yourself…and to feel that you belong to a family…especially a good second family when your current ones are soo far away.

    Thanks for the notes, Sal. For you, I would accept your constructive criticisms. Your experiences are priceless. I feel the same way as you.

    I will always dance with anyone…sure, it’s great to dance with a wonderful follower who can truly follow, but sometimes dancing with a beginner who is just learning is also good, especially if you have a good connection…to me, it’s always about that connection you make with someone like making a new friend…because it’s like that…and you hope, after the tanda, that you may see them again and dance again if both of you connected or just felt comfortable with each other another time and strengthen the bonds with each new milonga.

    I doubt I’ll ever be soo good that I would only dance with good dancers. I’m a person who likes to give back to the community…I love teaching folks who want advice and who want to learn the proper techniques to improve their dance.

    Most peeps say I should teach…they say I help them with lil tips and that warms my heart. After all, I’m just passing on what I learned, too. who knows? …maybe someday… for now, it’s free private lessons and practica if you have a gym membership where I live. *chuckle* Already, I’m applying my advice regarding your 4 basic principles…it soo makes perfect sense when I explain and show examples to my current followers whom I practice with. *grin* “….chest, hips, legs…”

    Only one comment tonight, my Dearest Sal…came home too late. But I will try and at least read one entry every night. Soo close to catching up.

    Thank you for your note back. Best wishes on that deal you’re working on, too. I can’t wait to read your pre-Tango days. *warm smile*

    Good night for now and happy tango-ing. Hugs and love, “Sly” 🙂

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