Tanya Gardel / People of Tango. Photographed at Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, 2019.
I don’t buy tango clothes because they all look the same and are a little pricey. I buy nice outfits on sale and modify them myself – shortening them, adding slits, lace. Everyone asks me where they can get clothes like mine. They can’t because they are all one of a kind. I like to look nice because I learned that’s one way of getting dances. People take notice because they see me at an afternoon milonga in one outfit and then they see me in the evening and I’m wearing a different one.
I always went to the milongas where the older people go because that’s where I thought I belonged. I like the old traditions. I don’t want them to change too much. But they probably will.
I have danced with men who asked to be my boyfriend or dance partner. I come here not looking for either.
I didn’t know you were supposed to take lessons for two years before going to a milonga! It’s just as well because I don’t like group classes much. Not a lot but a little. It’s hard to keep myself interested in something if it’s not exciting.
After learning tango in BA I went to dance for the first time in San Diego. When my partner opened his arms, I embraced him the way they had taught me in BA. But this guy wasn’t ready for it and he jumped back! But he got over his surprise – and I think he liked it and felt the connection.
But now my life is a lot about tango. I suppose when I go back to San Diego I will get back into the scene there and up in L.A., such that it is.