7. Trip to Buenos Aires - Travel Notes
Accommodation March 2012:
We stayed 10 days at La Maleva. It is a fabulous four levels house, which is owned and operated by Mariana Dragone of Bs.As. and Mateo of Ouebec Canada. The other staffs Jesus, Elsa and a housekeeping maid were extremely helpful for information, advises and very friendly.
The tango house is located within the neighborhood of Almagro. Almagro is between the neighborhood of Palermo and Recoleta. DNI is only three blocks away. The large local supermarket Coto is only 2.5 blocks away and several other supermarkets near by.
The tango house is equipment with a five burners gas cooktop, gas oven, microwave, two fridges, prep table and dining room for the occupants to share. The ground level has a large dance studio which opens to a tiled courtyard. A big communal balcony with dining table is on the main floor (2nd floor). There is also a large roof terrace equipped with a charcoal BBQ.
Mariana runs classes and practica in the dance studio, once or twice a week (approx 40 peso per class with practica). It is a more local and young crowd.
All occupants can book the studio floor time free of charge for practice and for private lessons.
Taxi rides between La Maleva and
- Salon Canning, about 20 peso;
- Gricel, about 25 peso;
- Gallaria Pacifico, about 30 to 35 peso;
- La Glorieta, about 50 peso.
- Airport (EZE), about 180 peso, need to order the taxi via phone.
Subway and bus statitions are only few blocks away. Cost 1 peso!!
This tango house is highly recommended.
Tango Classes March 2012:
We only took a few classes during this short trip, because our focus was to attend as many milongas as we could.
Gallaria Pacifico: Tango group class (2 classes) with Alejandro Figliolo and Valeria Inarra at the Escuela Argentina de Tango. Cost 45 peso per person per class. (Less if you purchase group of 8 or 12.) We took lessons from them back in 2007 and 2008.
La Maleva: Tango group class with Aoniken Quiroga and her partner. Mariana was there as support. Cost 40 peso per person.
Villa Malcom: Tango group class with Mariana Dragone and Pablo Inza. Cost 40 peson per person with entry to milonga.
2012 Milonga Notes as recommended by others and attended:
- Salon Canning: Parakultural - O. Viola 23:00 to 4:00 (Mar 12th, Entry 30 peso each, very well attended, half local half tourist)
- Salon La Argentina: El Arranque - 15:00 to 22:00 (Mar 19th, Entry 38 peso for a couple, afternoon milonga, started to get busy around 17:00 with lots of local, more mature crowd... walked home under heavy rain and huge hails)
- Club Gricel: Lunes de Tango 21:00 to 4:00 (Mar 19th - it was supposed to be the local night but due to rain, it was not well attended.)
- El Beso: Cachirulo - Hector y Norma 20:00 to 2:00 (Mar 20th, entry 30 peso each. Very nice night, with good dancers)
- Porteno y Bailarin - C. Stasi 22:00 to 03:00
- Club Independencia: Flor de Milonga!! 19:00 to 1:00 (Mar 13th, entry 25 peso, friendly hosts, local people, mixed of different age group and different interpretations)
- Associacion Armenia: La Viruta - 24:00 to 06:00, free admission after 03:00 (Mar 20th, entry 20 peso each, performance by Mariana Dragone and Pablo Inza, younger crowd with excellent energy)
- Boedo Tango: Sueno Porteno - Julia Pugliese 20:00 to 03:00 (Mar 14th & Mar 21st, entry 30 peso each, two large floors, very well attended local crowd plus good foreign dancers...mature crowd... we met friends from USA and Canada... the older dancers were very friendly and open to approach foreigners)
- Salon Canning: A puro Tango - 16:00 to 23:00
- Buenos Aires Club: Maldita Tango - 21:00 to 03:00
- Villa Malcom: Fruto Dulce - 22:00 to 02:00 (Mar 20th 1.5 hour group lesson with Mariana Dragone & Pablo Inza, 40 peso each including milonga, good value, great teachers, good younger crowd)
- Cto. Region Leonesa: Nino Bien - 22:00 to 04:00 (Mar 15th, entry 30 peso each, more elegant dressy crowd so far, nice dancers, mixed tourists spectators, good music)
- Salon Canning: Parakultural - O. Viola 23:00 to 4:00 (Mar 16th, entry 30 peso, performance by Milena Plebs and David Alejandro Palo, very crowded night, lots of good dancers.)
- Confiteria La Ideal: Unitango Club - 23:00 to 04:00
- Associacion Armenia: La Viruta - 24:00 to 06:00, free admission after 03:00
- La Glorieta: Marcelo Salas - 19:00 to 23:00, outdoor milonga under a huge covered gazebo, this was supposed to be the less crowded night. Entry by donation.
- El Beso: Las Morrochas - 23:00 to 04:00
- Associacion Armenia: La Viruta - 24:00 to 06:00, (family orientated) free admission after 03:00
- DNI Practica - 16:00 to 19:00, (Mar 17, fantastic energy, younger dancers, only 10 peso for admission, highly recommended)
- Confiteria La Ideal: Milonga del 40’s M. Peralta Prod. - 23:00 to 04:00 (Mar 17th, 30 peso each, almost all tourist spectators, some local “show” dancers, live music was good but again “show dance” music... great to see the skylight and the tile floor being restored since our last visit in 2008.)
- Cto. Region Leonesa: Los Consagrados - 15:00 to 22:00
- La Glorieta: Marcelo Salas - 19:00 to 23:00, outdoor milonga under a huge covered gazebo (Mar 18th, entry by donation, very well attended, completely packed space with all ages, very neighborhood feel and friendly, good experience dancers, great music)
- El Beso: El Beso - 22:00 to 03:00
Shopping Notes March 2012:
- Fabio Shoe: Man practice shoes 520 peso (bought 1 pair) split sole very light; Woman practice shoes 340 peso (bough 1 pair, same style as 4 years ago which lasted for 4 years.) Riobamba 10 - 10th Floor - Buenos Aires; Office: 4952-6628
- DNI: Man tango dress shoes 540 peso (bought 2 pairs) unique composite sole material, rubber pad surrounded by suede, excellent traction on slippery floor; Woman practice shoes 370 peso (bought 1 pair) funky style with 2 inch heels, wide front, very comfy; Woman tango dress shoes 370 peso, very soft, fit medium width feet. Order on-line, expect 1 to 2-week shipping world wide. Bulnes 1011, Buenos Aires; Office: 4866-3663
- Comme il faut: Woman shoes 550 to 700 peso, fit narrow feet mostly. As always, you don’t get to see the style, the staff will bring you the shoes. We were told that they are making wider shoes with 7 cm heels but no lucky for me this time. Very pretty and well made shoes... Arenales 1239 - 3rd Floor, Buenos Aires; Office: 4815-5690
- Lolo Gerard: Women shoes 550 to 700 peso; they fit mostly wider feet; hand made, very soft, very comfy, good selection / variation on styles and heel heights (mostly in 8cm, some in 7cm), very nice overall (bought 5 pairs) Anchorena 607, Buenos Aires; Office: 4962-3860
- Aurora Lubiz: Women shoes 480 peso (bought 3 pairs). This is Aurora’s studio and only open limited hours. She made shoes in both wide and narrow fit. There is a basic pattern then comes in different materials, colors, decor, back (with or without cover at back) and heel heights. Very smart. Her shoes offer more support than Lolo Gerard (Lolo Gerard is much softer though). Overall very good and highly recommended. Martes y Jueves - 14:00 to 17:00. Sarmiento 722 - 7th Floor - Buenos Aires, Office: 4393-4092; Mobile: 15-5699-3537; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Neo Tango: Man and Woman shoes approx 550 peso and up. Great selections in both man and woman shoes, very well organized store. Unfortunately, they fit narrow to medium feet, not for wide feet. Sarmiento 1938, Buenos Aires; Office:4951-8694
- Libertango: Woman shoes approx 470 peso. (bought 1 pairs). Limited style, a bit on the conservative side but well made. Very nice sales person. San Telmo
- Alanis: Women shoes 500 peso. Very limited style during the day of visit. Shoes are very soft and they seem to fit wider feet. Diagonal Norte 936, Buenos Aires; Office: 4394-0606
- Darcos Tango: Large store with man, woman shoes and clothing and music. There is a studio up on the mezzanine. Sarmiento 835, Buenos Aires; Office: 4326-0232
- Artesanal: very limited style on the day of visit. Anchorena 537 Buenos Aires
- Tango Leike: very limited style on the day of visit. Sarmiento 1947, Buenos Aires; Office: 4953-0360
- Tango 8: Lavalle 3101, Buenos Aires; Office: 4864-0471
- Tango Imagen: Tango designer clothing, expensive compared to the other local clothing stores.
- Fran Yard: Tango pants (4 pairs, roughly average to US$50 per pair) Fran is a local designer, owner and operator. Bought 4 pairs in 2008.
Notes from Conversation with Tango teachers / dancers in Buenos Aires during our visit in March 2012:
Argentine Tango is for connecting people, not for separating people. Any act or intention to create division and separation should never allow to exist within any milonga.
A wise milongeuro explains that one must leave one’s ego, social status, political and religious views outside the door steps before entering to any milonga. One must dance with open mind to learn from others’ point of views and interpretations.
Tango is never a static process. It has been and will continuously be evolving from its earliest inception - its music, poetries, how it is danced, and fashion attires. The only constant aspect is its purpose to connect people.
A tango professional explains that tango evolves under the influences of its environment and participants.
From the point of view of the dancing environment, the floor could have been a dirt floor, wood plank, stone, tiles, vinyl, and concrete; with space available from tiny rooms to big salons. The earliest footwear could have been heavy boots (mostly worn by port workers), later on regular walking shoes with leather sole to modern shoes with different sole materials for different dancing floor surface materials. Fashions have changed over time from tight fitting clothing to baggy fashions. All these factors have contributed certain effects to tango’s appearances.
During the early time in tango history, it is believed that dancing was done in heavy boots, leaders can only dance with “heel lead” walking style. Later on, with proper shoes, leaders can dance with “toe lead” walking style.
In a small room with limited floor space and a lot of people, there is no room for intrigue steps. Close embrace was not meant to be a style, but it was due the necessity of the circumstance of the dancing environment.
The addition of waltz rhythm to tango was from the influence of popular partner dancing culture of the old days from Europe. Again, tango had been evolving with time and under the influence of other culture.
The matter of styles is really identification labels of differences to promote segregations and should be left at the door steps before entering into any milonga. However, tango practitioners ought to investigate the history of the evolution of tango and gain a complete picture of tango rather than pre-occupied with the thoughts of categorizing what is being danced on the floor.
These are foods for thoughts from our friends in Buenos Aires.