Clärchens Ballhaus I and II


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 consistent principled experiences: regular classes, practicas, and milongas that represent the values of that school. The school owner may be a person with the vision (and resources) to create a school who then invites teachers and djs. They may not be the diva. I appreciated this interview with the founder of a popular Berlin school called Nou.

* DJs are a distinct job. You don’t need to teach or organize milonga to be a dj.

So….. Tonight I returned to Clärchens Ballhaus for the downstairs milonga. The upstairs one last Thursday had lots of alt music and red and mirrors and dark. The downstairs had tinsel on the walls and wooden tables and chairs. It felt to me a bit like Buenos Aires. Traditional music but much happier than Milonga Popular. There was a lovely sense of excitement at this milonga. The traffic was demanding, but well structured.

Age-diverse, and better shoes.

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

I invite you to join my resolution to take a look at the dark silences of Argentine Tango in our lives. It’s time.


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