Monday, April 23, 2007

Ghost of Gavito

Milongas come and go but there's an exhilarating feeling when a good one comes back to life with full force. I have been meaning to write about this for a few weeks and I can no longer put it off because I was so moved by this milonga and it was even more amazing on my second and third visits. Over eight years ago, Maestro Carlos Gavito started El Recodo milonga at DanceSport. I remember it well and it was the most exciting milonga in NYC with a crisp Porteño air that sent shivers of excitement through your soul. In those days, I was rather intimidated by Gavito but over the years we became friends. He was one of the few who approved of my leading (although in general, he disapproved of women leading.) I suppose the great price I paid for this approval was that he never invited me to dance. He did however, send his girlfriends to dance with me and this was especially helpful to me in Roma as I knew no one there and that first dance showed me off so well that I had female partners for the rest of my stay. Gavito was a godsend. I have many stories about him and some will remain private memories but here is another one that I'd like to share...

The night before Gavito died (of lung cancer), he came to me in a dream. I was sitting in a milonga and smoking a cigarette. He came over to my table and said to me: "I am going but I want you to stay." He reached over and took the cigarette from my hand. He smothered it out in the ashtray, gave me a wink, and then disappeared. I quit smoking shortly after this dream and now it has been almost two years since I quit smoking. It has also been almost two years since I saw Gavito. For those of you who know me, it is not surprising to hear that I see and speak with spirits. It is an integral part of my life and work. Two weeks ago, as Paul Pellicoro welcomed us into the new DanceSport and spoke about the history of El Recodo milonga, I saw Gavito in the room. I saw him again last night and the Holy Ghost of Tango moved through the dancers touching their forms. (yes that means the level of dancing was quite high!) His milonga lives! Gavito’s spirit is still among us and blesses the space.

The new studio, by the way, is lovely. The ballroom is light and airy with lots of windows, French doors, plants and a cafe off to the side. I was totally impressed with the cappuccino machines and Danesi espresso. Leave it to Paul Pellicoro to give us a bigger better and classier DanceSport! After Gavito, Carlos Quiroga, the editor of Reportango magazine, carried on El Recodo milonga. At present it is being lovingly rejuvenated through the efforts of Ko Tanaka - dj extraordinaire! and hosts Ronen Khayat, Jennifer Wesnousky, and Santiago Steele.
Tiger's milonga rating: ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

El Recodo Milonga
Every Sunday night
9pm-12:30am, $12 ($5 Dancesport Students)
DanceSport Intl Ballroom and Latin Dance Studio
22 W 34th St, 4th floor - next to the Empire State Building,
Tel: 212-307-1111

Update Summer 2008
El Recodo has moved to South Street Seaport until the fall.


Ana said...

Few weeks ago, watching Gavito tango in YouTube tears came to my eyes...
Thank you for letting us know he is still here.

Anonymous said...


This is Adriel (Copy Editor) from Dancesport. I noticed that you still have listed on your entry dancesport as the host to El Recodo. Due to the summer, El Recodo has moved to South Street Seaport until the fall. May you please update your entry accordingly. Thank you. Also, your entry is wonderfully written.

"I suppose the great price I paid for this approval was that he never invited me to dance."

This is my favorite line. Comlexity expressed so simply.

Lexa Roséan said...

Gracias Adriel
I have made the update for the summer relocation and thanks for the great feedback on the writing :)