Chapter 3. Ricardo Dances

Always . . . My thoughts

As a child of three or four years, I remember  we used to listen to tango music always at home.  My grandmother used to take me to the Teatro Colón then.  She would buy a ticket for me in the top-level and say: “I’ll be back.”  Then she might join her friends.  She always returned for me later.  Then, when I was ten or eleven, we boys used to dance at family gatherings and social clubs.

By the time I was fifteen, I was already dancing in the salons.  I remember the afternoon dances and later, the evening tango dances.  It was about 1944-45 when I became conscious of the feeling that tango produced in me.  Then I began to go to the city to the big and small places where people danced.  Later in the provinces I realized without any doubt that there were some very great dancers, their style so different and individual, and they always walked with elegance and style.  There were no dance academies at that time, only practicas for men which existed in all the neighborhoods.

That’s how I passed through the great milongas in the city center, like Sans Souci, which used to be open at 3:00 in the afternoon until 4:00 the next day.  Dancing these hours we used to call them “Vermouth and Night” meaning afternoon and night.  About two or three thousand people would dance at Sans Souci every day and night.  At the same hour of the night, large numbers danced nightly at Picadilly, Désirée, La Cigalle, La Nobel, Mi Club and also at cabarets like Novelty, Chanticler, Tibidabo, Tabaris.  In the 1940s and 50s in the city center and the suburbs there were more than a thousand places to dance during the week.

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In Buenos Aires, which has dozens of neighborhoods, there used to be in each one of them social clubs, sports clubs, cultural clubs and all of them with tango dance halls.  In Greater Buenos Aires you could count the clubs in hundreds where people danced, so it was very difficult to decide where to go because in all of them there used to be a very high level of dancing.

Today, in the sunset of my life, in the memory of good moments I have lived almost 60 years of dancing.  I have tried to give the best of myself, not only with steps, but through the feeling of the sensation of dancing with rhythm and cadence, chest to chest and cheek to cheek.  It was marvelous.  That’s why, trying to preserve this, the tango, is my biggest desire.  Let’s preserve the tango . . .  let’s dance for ourselves.

Today . . . now, without a doubt, there is a new tendency in dancing tango, but not all these young men and women should think only in choreography, which is good only for those that dance in the theater, but the real and true place to dance is in the salon . . . I mean the milonga.  Practicing in the milonga will give them a better security and style; will develop their own personal feeling to understand this passion which is tango.

Feeling and dancing without thinking steps, the feeling that each one of us will give to his own body in order that it can be expressed through the dance.  Improving in a small place where the man has to find the way in the middle of a crowd of dancers on the floor, taking care that no one bumps his partner, with both dancers in the beat and rhythm, embraced inside a vibration which cannot be compared to anything else — this is the therapy which liberates the soul.

Tango is a choice of a moment for all your life.  When the obsession is finished, you realize tango will be inside you for all your life, like a feeling that never dies.

Published in El Once Tango News (London) No. 41 (Winter 2003/2004) and reprinted with permission.

Video courtesy of Rick McGarry

Published on 30/01/2011 at 1:00 am  Comments Off on Chapter 3. Ricardo Dances  
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