One of Sydney’s popular young tangueras is currently visiting Buenos Aires - you may have found her blog as it is listed here. Bora’s tango journey is fascinating – and from a totally different perspective to my own, or that of many people I know. Bora is the same age as my daughter so we are talking generations here but there are other things…
For a start Bora speaks fluent Spanish and she is very confident of her own abilities and her presence. I notice this in my daughter and her friends – they have a confidence given to them by our generation of parents who believed in building them not putting them down as we were by our parents.
And Bora is visiting milongas as a beautiful, young single woman, though she does know people who are in Buenos Aires at the same time, and she is keen to practise the cabaceo (the technique of accepting dances by a look and nod across the room, not by being asked). And practise it she is with a confidence that has had some devastating consequences and makes me gasp just to read it!
It is interesting that in her latest post she talks about conversations she had at the Comme Il Faut shoe shop – I am surprised that her friends on FB think that these shoes are only for tourists and 'menopausic' (sic – the word is menopausal unless it is meant to be a new word with k on the end) women. I love the shoes – and the experience of shopping at CIF and can only assume that her friends either can’t afford the shoes or don’t know an excellent shoe when they see one.
But more interestingly she talks about how she loves the game of the cabaceo and how the women she met at CIF can’t be bothered with it… this too must be something to do with being past the menopause (horrible word, but wonderful turning point in life) because I couldn’t agree more. The woman behind the shoe shop counter “just preferred to go with friends, stay for a few hours and then go home” – my feelings exactly. I would add to that (have a few satisfying dances)!
The cabaceo is a game I don’t want to play – and I would never be able to play it the way Bora is doing, nor would many women I know.
And it is interesting to read on Bora’s blog the point of view of a man who also is not interested in playing the cabaceo game. And Bora’s answer.
She also remarks on the women in the shoe shop who were frustrated by Milongueros who only dance with pretty young things – this is a common frustration of the more mature dancers and one she is clearly unaware of – and how could she be? It is my experience that if you go to the milongas where the older dancers are you will be asked to dance. She did not like Sin Rumbo (I haven’t been) but loved La Viruta (I hated it… one of my FB friends called it Backpacker tango… because of the dancers in thongs, sneakers and loose shoes!... a chaotic, vibrant place for the young). I loved Los Consagrados, Nuevo Chique and Club Bohemios (sounds like Sin Rumbo) – and last time El Beso… and even Confiteria Ideal. I like to go home before I am so tired I am no longer enjoying myself, with a good feeling in my heart.
There is a place for everyone in tango and those with CIF shoes, menopausal or not, playing cabaceo or not… wearing thongs or good shoes , I leave you to decide where you dance when you visit BA, and I do recommend that you do your homework on milongas before you go - and read Bora's blog for an interesting insight into the scene.