Bendita Milonga - Todos Los Lunes
Trip Start Mar 11, 2009
28Trip End May 06, 2009
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Feliz Navidad, Viejo!
(Which translates to Happy Birthday, Old Man! teehee)
Bendito Milonga - every Monday.
I don't go to the bar alone. Aside from going to the neighbourhood pub in my desperate attempt to meet people and form some sort of community in Hamilton, New Zealand, I have never been to a bar by myself. When I was handed a flyer yesterday at the antiques market after watching El Afronte play in front of the church, I decided I would go by myself if no one else would join me. I tried - I invited the Canadians from the Kootenays whom I'd met in Uruguay and the British girls I'm sharing a room with. The Canadians went to see the tango show I saw last week (and told them to see) and the British girls, as anticipated, were too indecisive so I left without them. It didn't matter, I had an incredible time on my own.
Pull your spine up through your chest. Keep your body completely straight. When the lead pushes forward, you fall back. Close your eyes and feel the beat of the music, the connection between you, the movement and flow. Don't worry about the steps. Just. Follow. (Think Dirty Dancing. This is my personal space, this is your personal space. Don't move into mine and I won't move into yours.....easier said than done.) Tango is pure improv, you learn to trust your instincts and those of your partner. Once you know the basic steps all it is....is dancing.
A milonga is defined as an Argentine, Uruguayan, and Southern Brazilian form of music which preceeded the tango and the dance form which accompanies. The one I went to tonight was in the nasty district (so I opted to wear jeans instead of my dress - just incase), up a grungy, sticky staircase and into a dimly lit warehouse space they converted into a dancefloor. We got a two hour lesson by some incredibly passionate dancers then were allowed to practice to some vintage milonga music before the band (El Afronte) dominated the stage with their ridiculously sensual and intense tango music. After the band left the stage, it filled with after hours tango dancers (professionals who came to dance for fun) and I enjoyed some wine with a couple of Slovenian travellers.
Looking around the dance floor I saw an interesting melange of people - an older gentleman in a suit and shiny shoes spinning his gown-clad partner around as if he'd been dancing since birth, a younger couple with the man in ADIDAS track pants and a wife beater while his partner wore poofy yoga pants and a tube top along with the typical sky-high Tango stilettos. Anyone and everyone fit in. Anyone and everyone was welcome. Yet another example of Argentinian inclusion.
Damn, I'm going to miss this country.