The past 48 hours, I had been in this foggy state of mind, effect of fever, a few doses of cold medicine and the shock of the sad news. I didn’t know how to process it. I was in disbelief.
I just got back from a big tango festival in Europe over Christmas, where I enjoyed the delicious variety of beers more than the dance and I had drunk more glasses of Leffe than tandas I had danced. I was planning to write to Andrea after the holiday, asking for their traveling schedule in 2012.
Up till the moment the El Tangauta news showed up on the FB update, I was actually checking flight to Istanbul for the festival in March, in which Javier and Andrea were scheduled to appear, trying to figure out how I could attend a trade show happening in Las Vagas the same week and show up in Istanbul for the weekend.
I had been planning my BsAs trip for 2012 and looking forward to studying with them privately again. When I posted a question a few weeks ago if I should choose tango between Europe and Buenos Aires, Andrea commented ” Buenos Aires Sin duda.”, which reminded me whenever I complained about not getting good tango in NY and the US, she always said half jokingly: “move here(Buenos Aires)”…
I had to stop logging in Facebook for now. Andrea’s photos kept showing up on the updates. Her students around the world (a lot from Asia) have been mourning. It has been really heart broken to read all those messages. I don’t know if any one who has not known her would understand that. I am not a religious or spiritual man, but now I think I could relate to some of the things religious or spiritual followers would do and feel, when their leaders pass away.
So many things had gone through my mind since. From the first time I saw her in person: my first milonga ever in Buenos Aires, dancing right behind Javier and Andrea, before I went for my first private lesson, to my last private class with her in Buenos Aires in 2010, till the last workshops I took with her at the festival of 2011, all those now invaluable advices she had given me… it has been a painful struggle, between trying to remember, to hold on, and trying to block out the memory so it causes no pain.
Guadalupe, her two year old daughter, is fine, out of the hospital and back home with the family. Her husband is out of critical condition and remains in hospital for now. All the other passengers involved in the car accident are doing well, according to the news. Life goes on and must go on for those who live.
For now, I am lost. My bridge to tango is abruptly gone. It is finally time for me to take a break from tango.
I will leave this site as it is for now even it costs to be hosted. I know that despite my sporadic posting in the last year or so, there are still on average 250 reads per day, many first time visitors. I still remembered my beginner years how I searched all over website for tango info. Hope my experience of the past five years could be some kind of reference to some one.
Last words (at least for a while) even sound like cliché: embrace your partner like you will never dance another tanda with her (or him) again. Tango is much easier than many teachers would teach you. In the end, what it matters, after days, years, what you would remember, is how it was to feel, to communicate with each other, in the embrace.
She looked a little tired. I could sense a bit fatigue too, when she took me aside and demonstrated how the energy should feel with the sequence they just taught in the class. That caused some envy from fellow students (or the new die hard J&A fans, if you will): wow, the maestra worked with you personally.
And that was the end of the last workshop at the festival. She took a seat at a nearby chair and asked: “XXXX (my tango nickname), where have you been? I have been looking for you in milongas. I couldn’t see you.” I was a little surprised by her question. There were close to a thousand dancers each night at the festival milonga.
“Tonight, sit close, where I can see you!”
I smiled. That was Andrea, when you had the good fortune to get to know her, warm, sensitive, subtle, intelligent, classy…
That night, at the last milonga of the festival, I sat and danced among newly acquainted J&A fans, waiting for the right song and the right moment to ask Andrea for a dance. Toward the end of the milonga, a lot of dancers had left and were leaving. While I was out by the door, taking photos with a couple of fellow J&A students, a Di Sarli tanda started. It would be the ideal tanda, but I didn’t want to be rude to rush back to the milonga. By the time I got back to my seat, it was the third song of the tanda. No way I was going to invite her at this point.
Beautiful Di Sarli 40s instrumentals had never sounded so long to me. Luckily, the next tanda was Lucio Demare con Raul Beron. The moment I heard the music, I looked over at the table where the professionals were sitting and saw that Andrea was scanning the room. Our eyes met. I cabeceoed her. She smiled, nodded and remained seated till I walked over to her table (como una milonguera!).
That Di Sarli. I was looking around, where is XXXX (my tango nickname, so fondly called by Javier and Andrea)? She said to me in the mix of English and Spanish. “I like Demare too.” I smiled. We embraced and danced to the beautiful voice of Raul Beron.
In between the songs, she asked me if I liked the dress she wore at last night’s performance. “Javi made it” Her voice was full of pride for Javi. She also talked about Guada, her little daughter. “Guada is going to kindergarten now. She likes it.”
There she was, a tango goddess (how much I hated this overused term, but nobody else, imho, more deserving of it than Andrea ), a generous teacher, an elegant, beautiful and talented artist, a loving mother… every virtue of a perfect woman, embracing a normal tanguero, a student of hers, without reservation, just like the way she and Javi taught us, embrace and dance 100%…
At the end of the tanda, she thanked me, sincerely, the same way most of the tangueras would have said it after a good tanda with me. Of course, I thanked her, just the way I would have said to any other tanguera if I just had a blissful tanda. It was the last tanda for both of us at that festival, late spring of 2011.
If only i knew that it would be my last tango with her, the incomparable Andrea Missé.
fundamentally wrong. Popularly wrong. Seriously wrong.
If one doesn’t dance with heart, and doesn’t have much good technique.
” I honestly don’t think that you are worthy of dancing with.”
(in his slightly annoying British accent)
(from an imaginary TV scene after overloaded with X Factor and 18 year old single malt.)
If you couldn’t tell the differences, it is time to learn from some one who could.
(Sometimes tanguero(a)s who have danced for a few years come up to me and ask for my advices. They have stuck at a level for a long time and are frustrated. My advice, most of the time, is simple: go back to the fundamental, the basics: posture, embrace and walk. You might be surprised to see how many have not learned the basics at all.)
altrimenti non si sta ballando.
Found this “new” interview of Javier and Andrea. It is in Italian. But with the help of Google translator (down the pdf and then have Google translate the file from your saved copy) and my still limited Italian (been to Italy six times. ), I enjoy reading it.
It covers the beginning of J&A’s partnership, their usual and consistent views of tango… which is always inspiring.
Andrea: Un messaggio per le donne: si permettano di ritrovare il posto che una volta avevano. Una Volta la donna era la ” dea della milonga”. Oggi le donne vengono maltratte con violenza e ridono come se fosse divertente e questa cosa non l’ho mai capita. Ritrovate il posto che avevate una volta…
Have a read.
Royce has this post about the Speed and Pitch difference (among other characteristics) between CTA tracks and Argentine tracks. I’ve long suspected that the Tanturi collection that I have from Argentine releases suffers the same problem. Often, I felt that the music was rushed while I danced to them, like some of the D’Arienzo. So when opportunity arose, I got all three CTA issued Tanturi (CTA 371,372,373). Not surprisingly, quite a few tracks sound so different at CTA release from the Argentine release. (let alone the quality of the sound). You could actually hear Alberto Castillo singing each word, unrushed.
Asi Se Baila El Tango 1942 Ricardo Tanturi Canta Alberto Castillo
From Album Cuatro Compases (2:33):
From CTA 372 (2:41)
Now I am hoping Mr. Beba will release more Tanturi tracks (mainly con Campos). I love Tanturi and would love to have a good copy of Una Emocion.
Bad dancers/beginners dance only knee high.
Average dancers dance up to hip high.
Decent dancers can dance navel high.
Good dancers dance chest high.
Great dancers can dance neck high.
Qué es el tango para vos?
I came to take all the workshops with them again, from beginner level to advanced level. All the materials were almost the same as I had learned last year in Berlin, and essentially the same as I have been learning from past five years: embrace, walking and attitude. Yet, I had learned something new among the old topics.
That is the reason I am following them.