Paying it forward

About three months ago a British tanguero turned up in Buenos Aires for a couple of weeks. It was his first time here. He knew the names of a couple of milongas and what the cabeceo was but not a lot else about dancing tango here. It was a bad time of year to be a lone tanguero on a first visit. The milongas were very quiet and you had to be at the right one on the right night to have much chance of a dance. I was able to help him out and hopefully made his visit better than it might have been otherwise.

Then about seven weeks ago another woefully under-prepared British tanguero turned up in Buenos Aires for a month. It was his first time here. He knew the names of some tango teachers and a couple of milongas. He knew nothing about the cabeceo or most of the other things that are useful to know. I met him on his second night here, in El Beso where he was having a crap time. I gave him a spare copy of the Caserón Porteño Tango Map and Guide (essential survival gear for all tangueros) and explained the cabeceo. He danced a couple of tandas that night. I was able to tell him which milongas were worth a visit on which nights of the week, what the music, people and dancing were like in each of them. He preferred dancing close embrace to traditional music, the same as me, so we hung out together at several milongas over the next few weeks. He did a lot of group classes and found some of them good, a lot of them not so good. Group classes are very hit-and-miss affairs. I think they can be a good way of meeting people to go to milongas with another time, but not much use for improving your dancing there and then. He met a Turkish tanguera at one of the classes and the three of us went to milongas and did some sightseeing together. I suggested other sightseeing things to do, and recommended somewhere for him to buy shoes. He ended up buying 7 pairs I think from different places including my recommendation. The Turkish tanguera went home.

About two and a half weeks into his visit my tanguera friends from the UK, Sam and Jo, arrived here for their holiday. The four of us went to several milongas and did some sightseeing together. My tanguero friend went home and then a few days later so did the tangueras. I got nice emails from the three of them thanking me for helping them get the most from their time in Buenos Aires.

Helping them all out was great fun and a way of paying forward the help I received from Sally, whose marvellous blog Sallycat’s Adventures provided me with invaluable background information before my first visit to Buenos Aires in December 2009. I hope my friends will pay it forward in turn if they have the opportunity to do so.

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3 Responses to “Paying it forward”

  1. Alan Jones says:

    ‘Tango is passed from one person to another’.I hope that you are enjoying yourself in BA,Mark. There are people(both English and Argentinean) who will ‘help’ when you visit the city of Buenos Aires.I went to a nice milonga called ‘Chique’s’ on a Thursday afternoon,with just 30 minutes notice from Maggie,and I would have missed it without the advice. You should now be a good enough dancer to join us at Pilands,:-).Kind Regards,Alan.

    • Mark says:

      Thanks, Alan, for reading and commenting. I am most certainly enjoying myself. Returning to the UK and to work in 3 weeks time is going to be a very nasty shock to the system! Nuevo Chiqué at Casa de Galicia? I’ve been there a couple of times. What are the details for Pilands? Other people have suggested it but I’ve never got round to checking it out.

      • Alan Jones says:

        It is called Pilands Wood Centre.The address is 1
        Chamberlayne Rd,Bursledon,Southampton,SO31 8DT.
        The phone number is 02380 407863. We dance on alternate
        Thursdays,and it is advertised on the Yahoo chat-group for
        the ‘Tango In The UK’ group. You will be made welcome,
        and we may see you when you get back.Oh,there is no need to bring me back any music,as Lorna and Helen are doing me that favour
        at the moment in BA! Kind Regards,Alan.

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