Monday, March 5, 2012


Beatriz - Betty, the host - reminisced while reciting names of milongas from memory.  "When I was your age, we would go out dancing until 6 in the morning, then eat a breakfast in the café, then go back home to shower and pack a picnic, and spend all day in the parque before going out again at night."  ||  "... park..."

"No dormiste?" I asked, shuddering at the thought of pulling an all-nighter [this was negatively associated with writing papers and studying for tests all night, a reinforcement of which I wanted to rid myself]. ||  "You didn't sleep?"

"No, no, no.  Not during the weekends.  We are people of the night."

At La Viruta, students of all ages learn/practice/play with tango, milonga, and even swing dance for six plus hours.  Few of the teachers speak English; the best way I've coped is to listen for key words ["vuelta!  uno, dos, re-gre-so" || "turn! one, two, I return"] and watch everything the teacher does.  Occasionally I'll meet an English/Spanish speaker, and she'll translate for me.

The first class started at eight pm; my legs had given out by two the following morning.  Unfortunately, I completely ignored the fact that all clubs in Argentina only begin at two am.  By the time I had left, many of the students were gone and all of the experienced dancers were only beginning to warm up.

Unlike many other dance halls I've seen [in the U.S.], the dance floor tiles are not bordered; there is no separation between the place where people dance, where people eat and drink, and where people talk.  Una milonga is one large dance floor upon which some tables for resting and eating happen to be placed.

In a world submerged in red, orange, green, and purple lights, you can't help but lose track of time.  And if you're dancing with other new students [from Sweden, from San Diego, from Michigan/Argentina], especially with those who are willing to attempt to do some of the fancier moves performed by the dancers more experienced than yourselves...  You could easily be there until dawn.  Monday morning.

I'm going to have to try do that soon.

[Soon To Be Person of the Night?]

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