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April 02, 2014

Argentine Tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina Part 2


Written by Flo Jacobson:  “The dance, like a bloodline, is what united us…our family”

The term “DWM Family” is used often and even though I have repeated the word “family” in regard to my understanding of the workings of the studio and what it means to me, it never had more meaning for me until this trip to Argentina. We were a group of 12, 7 students, 5 instructors. Added to that were the wonderful duo that joined us in Buenos Aries. From the moment we took our travel weary bodies into the enchantment of the hotel (credited to Ralph), a 12 hour plane ride, our bonding began. I have a good grasp of the dynamics of groups, but the diversity in age and personalities could only work in this unique rhythm as a family. The beauty of the group, united in mind and spirit, mirrored the magnificence of the tango we were privileged to take into our hearts. The dance, like a bloodline, is what united us…our family. We stayed close, ever respectful of each other, protective at times, playful at others, committed to our goal. We worked as a unit, our rhythms in sync. Whether it was on the dance floor, in the studio or at a milonga (A Tango Dance Party); or horseback riding at a ranch or a relaxing boat ride in the delta of the Tigre River, we remained as one. This thread wove around us into the full richness of a unique, handmade, colorful blanket.

Upon our arrival at L’Hotel in Palermo Soho, a charming neighborhood of Buenos Aires, we settled in and some of us stretched out our tired bodies, until we all gathered again for a tour of the city. Later that night met our wonderful instructors, Antonella Sarago and Ariel Manzanares, who had gotten engaged a few hours prior to our arrival. Allowing us to share those personal moments with us drew us closer, instantly. The celebration began that night at our first tango show, Cafe de los Angelitos.

Our excitement increased when we were taken on a tango shoe shopping exposition the following morning. Afterwards with our new shoes in hand, we had our first Tango workshop. It is difficult to impart the professionalized nature, not only content of what we were taught, but how Antonella and Ariel implemented each piece of our dance day to perfection. At different segments of our day, professional tango dancers met us at our school to assist us in varied stages. The knowledge, with gentleness and patience they gave us, was invaluable.That evening we had a delicious dinner at our first authentic Argentine restaurant, where we had our fill of some local delicacies, such as blood sausage, flan with dulce de leche, and of course, steak. After dinner we were on to our first milonga to practice what we learned that day. It was amazing to see how crowded the dance floor was at midnight on a Monday night. It was fun to practice technique in the midst of a multitude of couples, varied ages, moving around clockwise on the dance floor. It was a fabulous first hand experience that increased throughout our week.

The following day we went to a ranch where some of us rode horses and others relaxed in the quietness of being outside the city. After some lunch and laughter while we shared some personal stories, we were taken back to the hotel to relax before dinner. Dinner was delightful at poolside with wine and cheese, then on to dance at a milonga that night. The following day was jam packed with Tango lessons and of course another milonga night. Each milonga we went to in different parts of the city, had a different flavor!

The weather the next day was magnificent! We were fortunate to spend it outdoors on a speed boat on the Tigre River, relaxing, with our faces embracing the sun, since a few days before we were in heavy winter gear with below freezing temps.
The following day more lessons, and review of what we had learned throughout the week to solidify our knowledge so we could take some of this back home with us. Besides the seriousness and commitment of our lessons, I have Ariel’s words imbedded in my ears, “have fun”. He had a broad smile on his face whenever he was teaching or on the dance floor, symbolic of what this trip was for me. That night was back to a transformed La Viruda, our school, which became an energetic milonga that night. Our instructors, Ralph, Ilia, Trevor, Virginia, and Meredith were invaluable to us. They were joyful, well skilled partners in our whole experience, whether on the dance floor or embracing the moments of laughter we shared.

At this point of the trip is was time to say a tearful goodbye to Buenos Aires and our incredibly fabulous tango instructors with a leisurely lunch at a restaurant along the river.

This whole experience for me was better than anything I expected and could have imagined. There was so much forethought to each aspect of what we encountered, that I was carried along in the essence of each moment, relaxed and happy. I was never homesick this entire week…I had my family with me.


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