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The All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

by Wendy Goldberg
April 11, 2009
Stepping Out Studios
37 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10010
646-742-9400
The All Night Milonga is presented by Sarah La Rocca.

Read an interview with Sarah La Rocca.
Zigzagging across 26th street, skirting the steam gasping out of the armored manholes, ducking under the noueau art scaffolds, I arrived at Stepping Out Studios early. Three rock musicians, replete with torn jeans, t shirts, and tattoos, held the door open and we all piled into the elevator. They got off on the second floor, and I continued my solo flight up to nine.

I was warmly greeted by Sarah La Rocca and the staff at Stepping Out Studios, who were busy preparing for the long night ahead. Music, tablecloths, food and wine were all part of the elaborate preparations. A beginners class, taught by Sergio Segura and Anton Gazenbeek, would start at nine, followed by a traditional Milonga in the ballroom that would wander into the wee hours and end at five. An exhilerating performance by Carlos A. Paredes and his partner Diana P. Giraldo, World Argentine Tango Champions 2006, was slated for Midnight, for the avid Milongueros, who unlike Cinderella, are just starting to warm up on the cusp of tomorrow.

Sarah La Rocca, diminutive and dynamic, was seemingly everywhere, putting her delicate, hummingbird touch on all aspects of the evening. She intorduced me to Carlos and Diana, who were charming, and filled with expectant excitement. I met Anton, who was practicing advanced Milonga in the quiet side room. He twirled effortlessly, with an ethereal, Peter Pan quality, his long legs gesturing with flamengo flair.

Dancers started streaming in, and the beginners class began. Sergio and Anton explained the faster 2/4 rhythm of the Milonga vs. the Tango, with a smoother, more relaxed style. The connection between the leader and follower, is where the upper body makes contact, mainly on the arms, hands, and back. Posture is very upright, with the legs carrying the movement. The men and women were separated to learn their steps, then partnered for the lion's share of the class. After an hour, the couples were engaged in a continous 8 count milonga, ready to join the aficianados in the ballroom.

There was a festive feel in the air, with the large, attractive crowd in consonance as a tanda, (three to five songs) was played, followed by a cortina, (a short musical break), which allowed for repartnering. The women wore lovely dresses, some long and silky, some short, layered taffeta, adorned with jewelry and slim heeled shoes. The men wore suits, and casual trousers, with two toned tango shoes. The music was soulful and stirring, and the women's faces glowed with a sensual serenity. A quiet sublimity seemed to cocoon each couple, as they communicated almost telepathically.

One woman, in a long, red skirt, black top and red hair piled high on her head, told me that she and her partner drove up from Philly, because the Stepping Out Studios Milonga was the best they'd ever been to. They had just come back from a trip to Paris, where sadly, the Milongas had not lived up to Manhattan standards. Another dancer told me she'd gone to Argentina for a Milonga vacation and had designed her own tango shoes. The crowd mingled easily, groups of familiar couples, with newcomers. People drifted into the cozy flower bedecked food area, and if anyone needed a tarot reading, that was available too.

Finally midnight arrived, and the crowd, larger than ever, stood, sat on chairs and the floor, round the regal room in anticipation of the performers from Columbia. They were not disappointed. Carlos and Diana burst onto the dance floor with all the razzle dazzle of young champions in their prime. Carlos beamed, exuding a sparkling energy, and Diana a subtlety of expression. Each moment astonished the viewers with delight, as Carlos, suave in his white suit, lifted Diana quickly and precisely, her smile brilliant as the gems on her gorgeous, turquois outfit.

Carlos and Diana were quick, effervescent, and nimble, with an acrobatic energy, reminescent of Gene Kelly. Their footwork was impeccable, and inventive. Their passion and sensitivity was palpable, the chemistry between them ideal. Their lifts were exciting, and eventful, creating vivid, interesting shapes. Carlos and Diana were very generous and did four magical dances for the appreciative audience.

Happly, Carlos and Diana promised to come back in October, and the milongueros returned to the dance floor, refreshed and ready for four more hours of bliss. This reporter, with a long drive by the dark Hudson, twinkling with the lights from the lacy, jewled bridge, onto the serpintine highways of beyond, had to regretfully, leave early. If you have any love of Argentine Tango, or Milongas, or if your curiosity is piqued, search out Stepping Out Studios, as soon as you can for an evening adventure to remember, for a long time.

For more info: www.danceworldphotos.com
Sarah La Rocca, the leader of the All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

Sarah La Rocca, the leader of the All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

Photo © & courtesy of Wendy Goldberg


Dancing at the All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

Dancing at the All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

Photo © & courtesy of Wendy Goldberg


Dancing at the All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

Dancing at the All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

Photo © & courtesy of Wendy Goldberg


Dancing at the All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

Dancing at the All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

Photo © & courtesy of Wendy Goldberg


Dancing at the All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

Dancing at the All Night Milonga at Stepping Out Studios

Photo © & courtesy of Wendy Goldberg


Carlos A. Paredes and Diana P. Giraldo perform for the All Night Milonga attendees at Stepping Out Studios

Carlos A. Paredes and Diana P. Giraldo perform for the All Night Milonga attendees at Stepping Out Studios

Photo © & courtesy of Wendy Goldberg


Carlos A. Paredes and Diana P. Giraldo perform for the All Night Milonga attendees at Stepping Out Studios

Carlos A. Paredes and Diana P. Giraldo perform for the All Night Milonga attendees at Stepping Out Studios

Photo © & courtesy of Wendy Goldberg


Carlos A. Paredes and Diana P. Giraldo perform for the All Night Milonga attendees at Stepping Out Studios

Carlos A. Paredes and Diana P. Giraldo perform for the All Night Milonga attendees at Stepping Out Studios

Photo © & courtesy of Wendy Goldberg


Carlos A. Paredes and Diana P. Giraldo perform for the All Night Milonga attendees at Stepping Out Studios

Carlos A. Paredes and Diana P. Giraldo perform for the All Night Milonga attendees at Stepping Out Studios

Photo © & courtesy of Wendy Goldberg


Carlos A. Paredes and Diana P. Giraldo perform for the All Night Milonga attendees at Stepping Out Studios

Carlos A. Paredes and Diana P. Giraldo perform for the All Night Milonga attendees at Stepping Out Studios

Photo © & courtesy of Wendy Goldberg

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