Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Treasured Chest of Tango



                I wonder if there has been much online discussion on the subject of boobs in tango. There should be, it is a very obvious one. I can remember many animated conversations about this when I was carpooling to milongas. I have to guess that there are people out there who take up this endeavor alone and may be lacking the insight of these discussions. It is to these persons that I speak to today.
               Let me first say that I like breasts but this is not an essay on the gratification I get from them. I believe Playboy magazine has covered that topic quite extensively. I would like to talk about breasts from a practical perspective and how they affect the tango embrace, the leader’s concentration and their role in getting dance invitations.
               Please forgive any puns that may occur; they are not intentional.
               I will state categorically that it is infinitely easier to establish a tango connection with a woman with large breasts than it is with a woman who has not been so blessed. I know this is not fair but that is the way it is.
               Unless there is a great disparity in the heights of the partners, the protruding maguffies usually make contact with the leader’s torso in such a way as to create the perfect communication channel. In such a situation, the leader has no doubt that his message is being received properly.
               The well-rounded woman definitely enjoys a distinct advantage over her undernourished competition when it comes to tango. If any readers doubt this claim, try stuffing your shirt with two rolls of toilet paper and see for yourself.
               The buxom tanguera does not shy away from contact either. In fact, she seems to enjoy mashing herself into her partner, confident that he is pleased with the company.
               In this position, I am absolutely certain which leg is her standing leg. This makes my job a lot easier and compounds the satisfaction I take away from the experience.
               Cleavage, however, can be a major distraction that can severely disrupt the seamless execution of maneuvers.
               Guys, if you have not learned this by now, let me tell you that you cannot stare into the mammaries’ crevasse and still hear the music. It’s harder than chewing gum, rubbing your stomach, patting your head and walking all at the same time.
               I am certain that the girls all know that the un-tethered breast is the great equalizer to size. All a man needs to see is the slightest jiggle beneath the blouse and he’s compelled to make an offer for her join him on the dance floor. It’s not something that can be helped so I ask all the tangueras choosing to keep a lid on their wares to forgive the wandering tanguero for he knows not what he does.
               The draw of those unbound beauties is often so strong that I’ve found myself sitting down for a tanda so as not to miss a chance to catch her eye when the cortina plays. A man’s attraction to breasts is a force of nature equal to gravity and electricity.  
               So don’t be afraid, young padawan tanguero, the next time you are confronted with a magnificent pair of boobs. They are there to be enjoyed and utilized. They are beacons to light your way as well as an undeserved reward. Tango is not always a Herculean task of balance and choreography; it can also be a smooth delight and a veritable walk in the park in the arms of a lovely lady.
                




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Friday, November 21, 2014

Tango and the Older Women

               In Pittsburgh there aren’t too many women my age here. I am fifty-four. I don’t get too many dances either because there are too many leaders. I am already missing the women of Madison.
               Let me try and explain what it is that I am feeling.
               I was on Facebook and I saw the headshot of a tanguera I knew back in Wisconsin. She is a busy mom with a full-time job trying her best to learn tango. When I first danced with her there was an explosion of relief. It was like a fireball shot of whiskey blowing through my soul. Just thinking about her reminds me of that feeling.
               It was a pleasant sensation even though it made me a little sad; kind of like remembering a loved one that had passed.
               I danced with a young lady last night. Very skilled but there was no spirit in our connection. It was like exercise, fifteen minutes on a treadmill, or a non-alcoholic beer or a virgin bloody Mary.
               It’s just me. I haven’t found the kind of women I like to dance with yet but I know they’re here. They are the heart and soul of tango. It is a dance that is all about the woman. There is a lot of tango in this town and it had to come from somewhere so I need to keep on looking.


kayak hombre




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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pittsburgh Tango Seen

Lucky for me I had a week to kill before I started my new job here near Wheeling, WV, and so I had a great opportunity to check out Pittsburgh’s multitude of tango offerings. Let me tell you that this is the youngest tango community I’ve ever come across and it is huge! There are lots of tango venues here in and all around the University of PIttsburgh.
Ladies, now hear this! Pittsburgh is LEADER heavy! That means there are too many leaders and too few followers. So please, get your butts up here and even out the numbers!
By far the best, as well as the most unique tango spot was the Milonga @ Rich’s located in the RJW Law Office on a Penn Avenue that is under heavy construction. There are two milongas here simultaneously on the first Friday of the month.
Upstairs there’s classic tango broadcast in a tiny office space. It is strewn with posters of Obama and relics of the Virgin Mary. I think it really is a working legal factory for the masses of Pittsburgh’s proletariat class. Vehicle titles and yellow carbon copies litter a desk at the far end of the room where a laptop executes the night’s music playlist.
It is a very casual scene.
Downstairs are the restrooms, an anteroom where finger foods and empanadas are offered on a small tray before you enter the main ballroom called the Dance Emporium. This place has ambiance that rivals that of the milonga at De Las Puertas in Albuquerque, NM. It does not have the size but it definitely has steel beams of character.
The walls are covered with posters of our President as Comrade Obama and the ceiling is strung with ancient bike parts welded onto plumbing fixtures.
Did I say restrooms? That might not be an accurate description but relief can be found and they are clean(at least the boys room was).
A man who introduced himself as Rob greeted me as soon as I walked in. He was in the middle of a dance with a young lady but that didn’t stop him from fulfilling his duties as a host. He’s a BIG guy: tall and heavy; yet he is a surprisingly talented leader, especially with the colgadas.
I would like to lead colgadas like him before I leave here, if I ever do leave.
It was early and there were five extra leaders. A man came over to play twenty questions and he informed me that Pittsburgh was leader heavy. He promised the odds would even out later and they did around 11 p.m.
I attended several more events over the next seven days and had quite a few conversations with members of the local tango tribe. I feel confident now that I can offer a reasonable account of the state of tango in the Steel City.
Apparently the population surge of young tangueros is a recent occurrence. Tango has been around here in the home of the Steelers since 1995 and there is a solid core of experienced dancers here. I did not notice a dominant style, in fact, I experienced almost all of them, from Milonguero-style or close embrace, to tango salon and nuevo tango.
For a complete and extremely accurate listing of all of P-burg’s tango check out their webpage: http://www.pittsburghtangueros.org/
Almost all of the events I attended were within two miles of the university. Most of the dance floors were small but there are a few genuine dance ballrooms here. 
This town is big on its tango offerings. Just last night I attended a workshop taught by Javier Antar and Kara Wenham. I’ve been here less than a week and already I’ve attended three milongas and two practicas. Sweet!

It looks like the Kayak Hombre got lucky on this job assignment. Great tango only 70 miles away and did I say that I’ve always been a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers? I think I might even get a chance to attend one of their games. Now where is my Terrible Towel?





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Friday, November 14, 2014

A Farewell to Tango Wisconsin

I have officially moved to Wheeling, West Virginia, and have already made three trips to Pittsburgh for tango. I had better put down some thoughts on my stay in wonderful Wisconsin before it fades from my drafty memory, so here goes.
Wisconsin was very good for me in so many ways. It was here that I finally incorporated a healthy diet into the lifestyle of a telecom switch technician where nine to five can be an a.m. or p.m. shift. It was very difficult to resist all the delicious doughnuts that are available on almost every corner in this vast state but I did.
Madison is the capital city and it is THE place to go. It consistently ranks as the number one best city in the United States. If you come here bring your tango shoes and stay awhile. I would have stayed forever if I could.
Dancing tango at the Cardinal Bar, my favorite tango spot, will be something I remember forever. I had so many great tango encounters here that I couldn’t stop myself from coming back every week. I think I came to Madison every weekend that I was in Wisconsin, a period of eleven months.
Most of the people I met in Madison were from Wisconsin. If I had to choose one word to describe them it would be WARM. Cheeseheads, as they are affectionately known nationwide, are easy to spend time with, be it ten minutes of a tanda dancing tango or a year working on a cellular network contract.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, put a $50 bid on Priceline for a room in the Middleton section of town. Half of the time you will get a room at the Marriott or something just as nice. Go to the Hubbard Diner and Bakery, http://www.hubbardavenuediner.com/, while you’re there for a uniquely Madison dining experience at a reasonable price. Make sure you read the t-shirts worn by the staff, they'll crack you up.
There are lots of weekend tango events and lots of weekday tango instruction available but only one place to go to find out where and when: http://www.madisontango.org/.  They’re on Facebook, too, under the name Madison Tango Society.
If you’re looking for a wild tango scene, you will not find it here. The ladies are all very respectable midwestern gals but they are almost all quite willing to dance with any leader. That is why this is probably one of the fastest growing tango communities in America. In the short time that I was here, two new tango communities sprung up in Viroqua and LaCrosse.
Also, the University of Wisconsin is an institution of world renown. I have met many tango dancers here who were visiting the university from Germany, Italy, Kazahkstan and many, many more countries.
If I ever get the chance to come back here, I will not hesitate. If you get a chance to come, don’t miss it. You will not regret it. Wisconsin is cold in the winter time but my memory of it will always be a warm place in my heart.


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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Albuquerque Tango Festival 2014: No Need to Call a Taxi Here!

                I just got back and once again I am super-elated after four days of total tango immersion! It was the usual smorgasbord of classroom instruction combined with evening milongas but something was different this time and it was us.
               I can’t quote numbers but every milonga and every class I attended was packed. Big deal, you say, we hear that every year about the ABQ Tango Festival, so what else is new? The women were EXTREMELY satisfied, at least the women I met, with the amount of dance invitations they were getting, that’s what was new!
                I have never heard a lady utter the phrase, “I am getting enough dances,” until this weekend! I didn’t hear this from just one person either. It was repeated many times by many tangueras.
               This festival will not be remembered for its fantastic instructors and their teachers, who were absolutely superb; it will be remembered for its awesome milongas and the proclivity of tangueros to sample as many tangueras as possible.
               I asked the show's organizer, Daniel Boardman, if he seeded the field somehow in favor of the ladies but he denied doing anything, crediting it to the good nature of the people in attendance.
               Another recurring event was also different, Tango InForm, a tango warmup session devised and conducted by Carrie Field, a tango/pilates instructor hailing from Taos, NM. 
               I was blown away last year by how well thought-out this exercise was yet she found a way to make it incredibly better. Carrie doesn’t just help us prime our bodies for a weekend of tango, she educates us on what muscles are being used when we dance.  
               The muscle-stretching exercises we performed to her easily understood narration were not the same as those of a year ago but they were just as safe and even more effective. 
               What I found most edifying about her routines were how closely they mimicked tango movements. By the end of the session I felt as if I’d already taken my first class of the day but also felt completely relaxed and refreshed!
               For more on Carrie Field and Tango InForm, check out her website here. For more stories about her click here. And here is a link to their original website where she was and still is one half of the dynamic tango teaching duo known around the world as Taos Tango: click here. Mike Malixi is the Yin to her Yang and he’s also an awesome force in tango as well. If you need more proof of that, clickhere:-D
               Having been to many tango festivals, I employed a new strategy for getting the most out of my investment. This time I decided to focus on one set of instructors to get a clearer picture of their teaching technique as well as to get a feel for how the students reacted to them.
               I chose Cristina and Homer Ladas for two reasons. First, I’d been following them on the internet for most of the eight years I’ve been pursuing proficiency in this dance and didn’t want to waste this chance. Second, they are the most frequently requested tango instructors in Madison, Wisconsin, a place where I tango often but never had the chance to attend one of their workshops.
               I’ll write a separate post about my experience with them but you should know that it was all good! Thank you, Cristina, you've helped my lead for the colgada immensely!
               Once again, the milongas were fantastic! I didn’t lack for partners and the partners I encountered were absolutely thrilled with their experience of the festival. The QTango Orchestra played once again on Saturday night and they were awesome as always. I am their biggest fan so you know I’ve blogged about them before just click here and here for two raving mad reviews.
               The accommodations at Hotel Albuquerque were exquisite: comfortable beds with great pillows, refrigerator upon request; great view of Sandia Peak on the even numbered rooms and a balcony on the odd numbered rooms. If you like the open air, choose the latter. Service was impeccable as it was the last time I stayed here.

               Finally, there were vendors, lots of vendors selling dresses and shoes and much, much more. I think they only take cash or checks so bring some with you if you come next year. I ended up buying a pair of practice shoes in my size, something I’ve been reluctant to do online.
               Thanks to all who made this event possible, mostly Daniel Boardman and the Tango Club of Albuquerque. Evidently you guys are not just getting older, you’re getting better. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and I want to thank you profusely, so here goes: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, a hundred times, Thank You VERY, VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




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Monday, October 27, 2014

The Right Tango Partner


           It is possible to master the fundamentals of tango and yet remain ignorant of the purpose of this dance. We gather to have fun and to heal. We are drawn to tango by something akin to our sex drive: a need to make contact with the opposite sex and to move in harmony with the music.
               Skill is not a prerequisite for a successful tango engagement; necessity is.
               The gauchos and fisherman of early twentieth century Argentina and Uruguay were busy with cattle and cod and you can bet that they had no time to practice a cat-like walk on the pampas or at sea. The women at the bordellos waiting for the herds to arrive or the ships to dock were equally busy living the life of a prostitute, where good negotiating skills easily trumped a need to move with precision. Tango was born as a result of men and women doing what they needed to do in order to survive.
               No man is an island in a sea of men; he is simply another drop of water in the ocean, grounded to nothing.
               Most men cannot live without the presence of the fairer sex in their world. Our need is much more than a desire to procreate, we crave to be a part of their world, to delight in the sound of a lady’s laughter, to engage in frivolous banter, to be treated with an affectionate warmth that only a woman can generate, if only for a short time.
               I watched a movie last weekend called Fury. It is a gruesome war movie about men in a tank. They share an intense bond that is dissolved by only one thing: a man’s desire for feminine companionship.
               This is demonstrated in a dinner scene where the tank commander, played by Brad Pitt, forces two German women to cook him dinner and serve it to his men. One of the men tries to disrupt the civility of the occasion and the tank commander indicates that he is ready to fight to preserve the sanctity of the meal.
               I believe it is entirely possible for a tanguera to become so focused on improving her skills that she completely obscures what it is that she brings to the table. She is God’s gift to men but sometimes she forgets or maybe she has never realized this to be true.
               All men desire to be king of something and that something is nothing unless there is a woman in it.
               I am like the gaucho and the fisherman in Argentina of old. I am traveling around America in search of employment to provide for my family. It is a years-long endeavor as well as a solitary existence except for the times I get to dance tango.

                 The right partner for me, therefore, is not the tanguera who executes molinete with flawless perfection whilst performing a myriad of dazzling adornments; she is the woman who needs me for whatever reason. The right partner brings beauty into my world, moves with me to the music and soothes the savage beast that lives in the hearts of men.





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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Battle of the Sexes

               I’m a big baby. I can be moody and sometimes resolve never to dance again with a tanguera who has slighted me but I usually get over it. I spent a lot of time, energy and money to learn how to lead the tango and it irks me to have that discarded as a casual endeavor equal to something like lifting the toilet seat. Also, the use of perfume in lieu of showers really bothers me.  
               I say this because I want women to know how combustible a man’s constitution can be though he may appear quite calm.
               I have to assume something of the sort is also true for women. I think that, for many women, men are the biggest problems in their lives, and vice versa for men. An engagement on the dance floor with a member of the opposite sex sometimes feels like a battle-field assignment but you shouldn't back off from giving it all you got.
               A tango dancer needs to be aware of the possibly fragile nature of their partner that could not be discerned from the cabeceo. Do not shirk an engagement with this person, but rather confront their moodiness head-on. Be the bull or the stubborn mare, get angry, flare your nostrils but, above all else, do not walk away.
               Moodiness is no match for tango, a dance that handles unbridled passion with twinkling piano keys. The world is a big place and the emotional forecast is often stormy.
               Tango is not for the faint of heart. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger is an adage that is so true in this dance. You may not have enjoyed that tanda but the fact that you didn't back down from the dark clouds of a poor disposition is a tiny, yet satisfying, victory. A win is a win, no matter what the size.
            If you are here seeking only the fair-weather tanda, then maybe you should go back to watching tango on the computer screen or reading about it in books. We are emotional creatures. Times like these will make you a better dancer and add to your enjoyment when that sunny-day dance finally comes your way. 




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