No longer a milonga wuss . . .

Life is short and
it's gone in a moment,
in this night it is necessary to live.
In the nostalgic evening parties
the old times return
with this tango that takes us
like a dream with its rhythm.
Old memories, pretty women,
sweet moments from the past.


- UNA NOCHE DE GARUFA
"A night of partying" (1909)
translation by: Alberto Paz


Recently, I was able to arrange carpooling with a tanguero who lives fairly close to me. The only catch is that he stays until the very end of the milongas. So if I wanted a ride, I'd have to stay through La Cumparsita. I have had a bit of a reputation for wimping out around 11:30, so this was going to a challenge. So far I've stayed twice 'til the end of the milonga - the last two Saturdays, in fact. And I wish I'd stuck it out sooner!

By the end of the milonga (for tango dancers in Austin, that usually means 1 or 2am-ish) the crowd has thinned quite a bit, and most of the dancers who are still there are more relaxed, maybe even a little punch-drunk from fatigue, and there's far more laughing and socializing. We're all a bit disheveled, hair flattened to faces, make-up long since disappeared. It's so hot no one thinks the Spanish fans are simply a decorative accessory. Many of the tangueros are on their second or third shirt. We're all dancing a bit rough. We laugh when we make mistakes and we laugh when we do something gorgeous. The more daring music is played this time of night, Nuevo and Neotango, and now that the pressure is off slightly to dance "the perfect tango", we can all be a bit more daring in our dance.

As La Cumparsita plays, a few couples find each other and pair up once again for the last dance. Whether I dance or not to La Cumparsita, I'm always moved by it - no matter how many times I hear it. I can't imagine ever getting tired of it. So how could I have missed out on this experience for so long? Even if I'm too tired to lift my feet to dance, at least I can enjoy the company and the music all the way to the end.

How your notes move me
in this Buenos Aires evening;
let the music intoxicate
to make of a tango a celebration.

- UNA NOCHE DE GARUFA

3 comments:

Alex said...

I have 45 versions of La Cumparsita - a few are duplicates - four or five are 'best of the best'. I suppose I need to get my ass in the DJ'ing game again...

mytangodiaries said...

Wow, I thought I was getting a little heavy handed with my La Cumparsita collection - I *only* have 7 versions.

AmpsterTango said...

I only have 24 in my collection. But, More often than not, I stay to the end because like you, I think its fun. I always have to dance to La Cumparsita to cap off my milonga.