And then when you least expect it

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Tango’s magic and mystery can return as easily as it faded away. Tonight I danced with the best dancer of my life. I’ll call him Mr.  Anti-cliche. I admired him last night.  Then tonight I complimented him at Milonga Popular. Which has moved upstairs to a larger,  but no less problematic room.  Especially problematic  for […]

Interview with Henning Klose, TangoLoft Berlin

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My first experience of TangoLoft made me cry. I couldn’t even dance that night. I was so moved that a milonga could be everything that I dream of… Elegant – with candles and flowers and antique furniture. Comfortable – with various seating options. Gourmet –with a kitchen. Free – without scowling onlookers. Happy –with laughter and smiles. Diverse –with all […]

Too early

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It seems inevitable that when I arrive too early to a Milonga,  I end up wondering what the hell I am doing with my life.  But the Argentine bartender agreed that the wine was too expensive and gave me a discount.  And the one guy I picked out to dance with turned out to be […]

Zurich first night last tanda

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Guy asks DJ “What’s the next music going to be?“ “A mix with some interesting stuff.” “Who do I dance with? ” “Her.” [Me. What was charming about this, is that the DJ had assessed me from a distance.] After my experience in Berlin I approached my first Milonga in notoriously unfriendly Zurich with clarity […]

Consumption, creativity, celebrity

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This is the beginning of a theory,  about life,  about dancing,  about asking the big questions. I think we are faced with some choices about where to aim.  The culture tells us that consumption will satisfy us,  and money is what we need to make it happen. It doesn’t. We know we were put here […]

Follow the music, and other evasive truisms

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I’m having conversations with people about this restricted “marathon-style” dancing. There are several standard explanations,  all of which are truisms,  applicable to All tango,  and,  as I’ve pointed out before,  ultimately matters of level,  not style. “What’s important is the connection.” “it’s about the music” It’s important to be safe and respect the line of […]

Argentine Tango versus Contact Improvisation

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Fundamentally tango and contact use a lot of the same skills,  and can support one another in the mechanics of connection. But as a practice they are different and this difference is substantive and should inform dancers’ choices. Tango has a Mark and a Revel.  The agreement is that the Revel will not interpret; she […]

The uninvited.

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We didn’t do it on purpose. A2 and B2 wanted to get together again and we settled on Thursday.  They suggested organising a group to go to to Tangoloft. But when we checked tango.info/berlin it wasn’t listed.  So we put the word out to go to another one,  unknown,  inconvenient,  and  brief.  Then B2 called […]

Keep the candles burning

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It wasn’t promising at first.  Three couples dancing insipidly.  Ten men sunk deep into boxlike chairs from which it looked difficult to get up.  It took a bit of convincing to get the unsmiling woman nearest to the moneybox to do her job. I chose a chair and checked out the dancers to be sure […]

And then there’s Neukölln

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I think today I arrived to the Berlin way.  I had a 3 hour lunch with Astrid,  sitting on the edge of the sidewalk.  She insisted on dropping me off at her favourite hamburger place,  where I had the sweet potato chips.  Then I walked to the community garden at the old airfield.  Which was […]

The deeper cabeceo

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Globally,  the best coffee is served in places with inadequate and injurious seating… Black Star and Blue Bottle in Sydney and San Francisco. Here in Berlin Double Eye and the Barn.  If there are enough chairs accompanied by a table of the appropriate height you probably won’t want to drink the coffee. So I am […]

Interview with Thomas Rieser, Nou Tango school, Berlin

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Researching the schools in Berlin, I came across this interview with Thomas Rieser, founder of Nou Tango, Berlin. The interview just made me want to ask him more questions, and he kindly agreed. My first question was the obvious one from the other interview, which was to ask him more about the fact that he […]

Pathos princesses

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There are these tango women,  the successes (“professionals”). They look intelligent and they look like they’ve given up a lot for this bit of glory.  To call one of these gods their own. Tango feeds our hunger for recognition and love.  And because it feeds so richly,  it promises a font of fulfillment and satisfaction. […]

Milongas oscillation

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Went back and forth again tonight between two milongas,  but these were only 3 blocks apart. And at one of them I discovered that the Mark I’ve been talking about exists. By way of description I’ll just say that he was perfect.  He put his body and mine exactly where they needed to be in […]

How to Berlin

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Buy a monthly subway pass so can wander around without doing math and fingering robots all the time… €78. There’s a special ticket for tango dancers who promise never to go anywhere before 10am… €60/month. Stop worrying about how to get home.  The night buses permeate.  Just go to the nearest U/S station and read […]

Victims and angels

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After last night’s self-induced disaster I realized that I needed to get serious.  The first thought in my head this morning was “the point is to have fun”,.  This is harder to remember than any tango sequence. To get things back under control the first step was obvious.  Ice cream for breakfast.  Breakfast is at […]

Bolting

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Wow, I thought I was free of this. In Dresden I wrote in my notebook that I was over the addiction. In fact it seemed long-gone. But I get one little taste last night and my nose is on the table. It’s a curse to be excited. You’re doomed. The whole day is waiting for […]

Already famous… still goth…Vio in Berliner Zeitung

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“Ein seltsamer Virus namens Tango“, Von Thomas Kröter. Berliner Zeitung 25 July, 2014. TANZEN IN BERLIN Ein seltsamer Virus namens Tango  Von Thomas Kröter Getanztes Gespräch: Tango – hier im Pfefferberg. Foto: BLZ/Christian Schulz Berlin auf glattem Parkett: Kommen Sie mit in die Welt des Tanzes, jeden Abend, jede Nacht wird in Berlin getanzt. Standard und Latein, Argentinischer Tango, Salsa und Swing. […]

Travels in tears

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Traveling is not all fun,  and can even glue highs and lows back to back… A good milonga can end badly.  New friends can leave for vacations.  Great food can make you sick.  Balmy weather can dehydrate you.  And traveling light can make rebuilding a hacked website beyond tedious. The last four days every day […]

I am not a teddy bear: a gender breakdown

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So first of all my motivations and possible rewards as a mark are different than a man’s. I am not interested in romance, or confirmations of my virility. I am not interested in her tits or smile. I do not feel her beauty as an acquisition. The physical sensation will never be the same because […]

Queer desires

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I had some idea about what I would learn on this trip.  Predictably it is different. I am learning something about the construction of desire. The first thing I noticed is that I am not attracted to revels wearing high heels.  Next I noticed that I prefer a girl wearing pants… There are a covey […]

Mainlining Joy

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What makes queer tango different? Not so much the composition of the couple,  or the exchange of roles.  What stands out is how people feel about the whole thing. In my queer tango classes,  when a pair makes a mistake they giggle and hug.  Hetero tango students do not.  When people crash on the dance […]

Queer goes to church

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Wow what a beautiful space!  Very very slippery,  but a gorgeous space,  an entire church nave to play in.  Even a little energetic music,  after 3am. I had a very weird night.  Still exhausted somehow despite a restful day with a long nap and lots of water.  Walked in on my own and cabeceod a […]

Queer Night 2

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Felt awful today,  beyond tired.  The last few days I wake up feeling that sleeping is a lot of work.  Dehydration,  maybe? The exhaustion didn’t lift at the low-ceilinged milonga at Bebop.  The music was bland and the sound system turned it into porridge. Again,  it was great to șee friends,  and I got to […]

Berlin Queer Tango festival opens

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Well it was a pretty big night. First of all,  the level was very nice.  The tendency to jerkiness which has characterised most qt events I’ve seen to date has been overcome.  People danced with nice connection.  I am thrilled about this. Second,  the number and level of women leaders is now significant.  Still more […]

What’s with the Hips?

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Boring as the marathon was,  I did notice that every single mark there maintained hip flexion at all times on the dance floor.  I carefully and systematically observed this. Tonight at Bebop milonga in Berlin,  which had a nice outside dance floor and cool lighting fixtures,  I noticed that (excluding the members of my party) […]

Milonga Strandbar

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 This milonga reminded me of the milonga at Plaza Dorrego in BsAs. Colored lights,  tourists drinking wine,  smiles and dancers of all ages and levels.  This one was full of boys arrived for the weekend’s queer tango festival. WITH a beautiful backdrop of river and museum. Very crowded (it cleared […]

Home Berlin

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014   I had  a coffee yesterday.  Probably should have done that a week ago.  I feel almost normal today. So I’ve  made a big decision  which is to bail on the Zurich marathon (well-informed people tell me it will be similar to Dresden) and Italy and stay here in Berlin […]

NOW I’m in Heaven

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 Broken bus, lost luggage, and M and I arrive Tango Loft in shorts and sandals, famished, at 0030. They give us tomato soup and Riesling. HJ is waiting patiently for us, and I collapse into a chair next to him and have a look at the dance flora. What balm […]

And then it’s over

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Tangotourist in Europe, Summer 2014 An abrupt ending to an endless weekend. I can’t tell if I liked it or not. But I’m sad it’s over. There were some people I am glad to have met. We were all languishing in the abundance waiting for it to warm up, tying to get it there, and […]

Marathon psych

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Tangotourist in Europe, Summer 2014 Runners have to train for the psychological challenge of marathon chemistry. Your body goes into death mode and you want to quit. I think I might just stick it out. The food is good. Good conversations at breakfast. Everyone hated the music last night.  “I needed more power,” said the […]

So a tango marathon, or at least this one

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Tangotourist in Europe, Summer 2014 I imagined something considerably more hippy. More friendly, More informal, younger. It’s mixed ages (which I like), it’s definitely going strong at 4:09. They weren’t kidding about the dormitories. It’s a roomful of mattresses full stop. People are mostly dancing with people they know. Maybe a little more smiling at […]

(A little) life in Dresden

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Dresden reminds me of Wellington. A sweet counterculture with a worldly feel but small enough that you can easily get anywhere. Eating ice cream seems to be the thing to do, so I had it for breakfast (mint chip) and dinner (salted caramel). In between I had a look at the old black buildings and […]

Life berlin

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G has loaned me a nice rolling weekend case so I travel with dignity. I really wanted to avoid the backpack, and what with my sleeping blanket, four outfits, yoga mat, and angel wings for the Tango Heaven Dresden marathon, even the trusty capacities of the Freitag messenger bag was overloaded. I have with me […]

Tango Vicioso at Insomnia

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 Some of my friends said I must see tango at Insomnia and others spent 30 minutes trying to dissuade me. “It’s a sex club!”,  they kept repeating. So? here’s my report: A spacious room with bar and large couches, dark, fabulous mix of music. About 20 dancers + 5 observers […]

Tango class

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 I am sitting in a Berlin tango class, sitting because there are no extra revels. When one came in I excused myself from the man I had been placed with. She accepted my invitation but he then whined that it “wasn’t fair ” for me to get to mark her. […]

Clärchens Ballhaus I and II

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The physical and institutional organization of tango in Berlin: * spaces: cool rooms may be used several times a week by different organizers for milongas with totally different characters. * teachers: may teach at several different schools. And probably do not run milongas (that’s the job of milonga organizers). * schools are physical spaces with […]

Milonga Popular

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 A major benefit of dancing tango is walking home through cities quiet for dawn. Even if the milonga was uninspiring. Milonga Popular is run by the hopelessly hip youngsters, the ones still seeking satisfaction in righteousness. Actually not quite. This milonga reminded me of the first El Yeite, which later […]

Happy tango.. so right I want to cry: Tango Loft

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 This milonga is so the way it should be that I’m in shock. Lots of girls dancing together, men skipping and giggling, all kinds of whimsical music, soltadas everywhere, a breadboard with shared bread, a kitchen, big bouquets of fresh flowers, couches, candles, cats. Nobody watching much. People dancing for […]

Taste of Freedom at Walzerlinksgestrickt

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 Tonight we went to Milonga Ballhaus Walzerlinksgestrickt. A formal room with gold columns and red velvet. At first it seemed a bit stiff and I felt my skirt was too short. But it turned out to be a very free atmosphere. The lights were low. The level was mixed, and […]

eis

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What this photo tells you is that I live across the street from the ice cream shop, so I just take my bowl in my pocket. 

Milonga Tangocafe (Tango Tanzen Macht Schön)

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Tangotourist in Berlin, Summer 2014 As you know, my goal when dancing is to get lost.  A good milonga environment facilitates this, and the cabeceo. Milongas at Tango Tanzen Macht Schön have an unfortunate impediment to the environment: toes. The dance floor is wooden, extending to the walls. Around the edge are various kind of […]

Maestro’s reflections

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He shared one criterion he uses for observing a dance: “Would that dance make sense if they were alone in a room?” I loved his idea because I am well aware that my best tangos happen at the end of the night, when no one is watching and it’s more likely that my partner and I fuse and travel beyond space, time, and mind.

Sorry it’s raining

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She was able to wait list me for a flight 6 hours later, sending me with trepidation back to Air Berlin for a boarding pass and luggage rerouting. Fortunately there had been a shift change since my first contact at 630 am who barked at me “why are you telling me that?” as I looked up my flight number to be helpful. The new one said “I don’t care about class codes and gave me a confirmed seat. “Don’t hang around the airport, take they subway to the city. Sorry it’s raining.”

I don’t think you can tango in hiking boots anyway (18 hours in Kuala Lumpur)

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Final completed itinerary: 0500 Express train KUL to Sentral Station. Commuter train to Batu Caves. Commuter Train back to Dang Wangi for breakfast at Yut Kee. Walk through Jalan Melayu neighborhood on the way to Tasik Perdana. Islamic Arts Museum. Beautiful Kuala Lumpur station to Sentral. Walk Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields in search of Yarl’s Corner restaurant that has moved. Banana leaf at Vishal. Bukit Bintangm, Sungei Wang, Jalan Alor. Because of the monorail breaking, there’s no transport to or from this part of town. Walk down Jalan Ceylon to Masjid Jamek. Train to the towers at KLCC. Fall asleep on park bench, wake up to prayer calls and rainbow water fountain show. Train back to Sentral for airport express. Arrive KUL 20:50.

Europe 2014 Itinerary

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Updated: 9-16 July Berlin … 16-20 July Dresden … 21July-13August Berlin … 13-21 August Zurich … 21-27 August Istanbul