by Kevin Carrel Footer

For 20 years, Diego Alvaro Zoraida Fontclara have hosted the Friday afternoon milonga at the Confiteria Ideal, one of the sacred places of tango. Like me, many people learned to dance or took their first tentative steps in a real milonga on these tiles. I used to escape at lunchtime from my desk job (yes, I once held a normal job) to dance — then I’d scarf down a quick bite, no one the wiser.

Today, new owners have announced that they will close the Confiteria Ideal for most of this year in order to restore this ornament of Buenos Aires to its former splendor. This is great news because the Ideal desperately needed some care and attention.

The Ideal might not have survived until today if it had not been for tango. Tango kept that place alive through a time when there was less appreciation of old Buenos Aires and its buildings.

Zoraida and Diego played an essential role in that process, along with the other milonga organizers, the regulars and all the people who flocked there to dance the moment they set foot in Buenos Aires.

On the last day of their milonga, after 20 years of dancing every Friday afternoon, I wanted to take a portrait of them dancing among their friends in that sacred space they created.

www.kevincarrelfooter.com

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