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Floreal Milonga and the warmth of the Argentine Spirit

(photo credit and copyright Rebecca Travaglia)

If you had walked into this particular Floreal Milonga at the wrong time, you would have been forgiven for thinking that the advertising had it all wrong. The lights were dim, cumbia was playing and the floor was filled with jiving people, a conga line and a single guy surrounded by many people clapping and whooping.  Comme Il Fauts were being kicked around in salsa style dancing and bodies moved in and out of embraces. This wasn´t any normal night at Milonga Floreal. This was a special day.

Organiser, Macelo Lavergata, was celebrating his birthday surrounded by the tango community and friends.  The night was extremely warm and both men and women were using fans in an attempt to dry off before the next tanda. But this didn´t stop a substantial amount of regular and friends from coming to this milonga, both to dance and celebrate his birthday.

I began attending Floreal soon after arriving in Buenos Aires. There was something about the continuity of regular attendees, the sense of family from those who came, the approachability of the dancers and the relaxed atmosphere that made me feel that this is tango at its most real.  It is a small milonga and usually attended by local dancers, remaining a steadfast Sunday night must-do for some milongueros. Its tables are covered in red checked tablecloths and the fideos are simply devine - home made by the organisers. This trio, Marcelo Lavergata, Lucila Bardach and Mariano Romero, work together to run the milonga, held weekly on Sunday nights.

Located in Barrio Flores, upstairs in Club Ciencia y Labor on Cesar Diaz (2453), Floreal is accessible for dancers of all levels.  The tiled floor space is large and inviting with plenty of space to dance. Exhibitions by professional dancers are made every week and there are music performances ranging from solos to orchestras.  It is not unusual to see the waitresses taking to the floor during a lull in the fideos and drink orders, successfully dancing in sandals or sneakers.

The history of the name of Floreal is somewhat interesting. From the information available, Club Ciencia y Labor was formed in the early 1900s for immigrants and socialists with links to anarchists. A popular name amongst anarchists at the time, was Floreal. One of the most famous sons of Barrio Flores is Floreal Ruiz, son of an anarchist and tango singer known for his delicate voice and love for singing. Lavergata wanted a name for his milonga that respected the history of the club where it was held and during a conversation with the first musicians who played at the first milonga, decided on the name Floreal - a name relating to both the club and tango.

With such consistency of attendees, it is easy to feel the warmth of the Argentine spirit within the room as you enter. One of the things I was searching for when coming to Buenos Aires, was to experience the love that porteños have for dancing tango in their own vivid city. At Floreal, there is a real sense of community and this was evident during the birthday celebrations.

Things to Know

Floreal Milonga

Sunday evenings at Club Ciencia y Labor on César Díaz 2453.

Head along early at 8pm for a tango class with Marcelo and Lucila.  The class can cater to a range of levels and Marcelo and Lucila are great attentive teachers that can offer personal attention if you need it.  The milonga begins at 9.30pm and finishes at 2pm.  DJ Mariano Romero provides an extraordinary arrange of fantastically arranged tandas for the evening.

Contacto: 4542-1418 / 155-962-3195 / florealmilonga@gmail.com.

Check their profile on Facebook for further details http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002256837021&sk=wall

Floreal Milonga is also supported by Vos Baila Zapatos which have a great range of shoes. Check their website www.vosbaila.com.ar.



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