Milonga Tangocafe (Tango Tanzen Macht Schön)


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 chairs, but the edge-sitting space is quite narrow, so almost everyone has their body in the edgespace, but their toes on the dance floor. From the perspective of the dancers, the first lane extends to the edge of the tables and chairs, but the dancers in the first lane must make an extra buffer for the toes. So they are often a little bit in the space which the second laners believe is theirs, annoying those there. So lane one and two are constantly crashing, and dancers of lane one must tiptoe around the toes.  It’s not unusual for one part of a dance hall to have some kind of traffic problem, but it is especially tiresome to have a relentless problem that goes all the way around the dance floor.

At this milonga there were at least five women intermittently leading. A glass of water cost 1.80, which is more than a very fancy ice cream. There is no free water, and although it is very hot, people don’t seem to be drinking much water.   

Eugenia Parilla and Yanick Wyler taught a “practica” (operated just like a class) before the milonga and made a performance during the milonga. As usual, she is just lovely, and they are very loving. Eugenia is special because she is fearless and fully present. She moves her head more than most tango dancers, but I think she does so in a way that enhances the dance. It’s never too much, instead it adds life.

Eugenia Parilla and Yanick Wyler, Tangotanzen macht schön (Berlin), 11th July 2014, photo by Thomas Conte. Photo by Thomas Conte
Eugenia Parilla and Yanick Wyler, Tangotanzen macht schön (Berlin), 11th July 2014, photo by Thomas Conte.
Photo by Thomas Conte

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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