El Corte - a place to be -
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Long before being there for the first time some mystique stories of a place in the netherlands where they hold 'Tango Marathons' and dance Tango to any kind of music had reached me through InterNet. At those times I never ever thought about that one day I'd become an 'El Corte-regular' myself.

First time being there

After a couple of days packing up all my belongings in preparation of moving to the netherlands for a new job I finally hit the road one summer day in year 2002. Some 650 km further down the road and about 9 hours later, after all sort of obstacles on the way (not just one traffic jam) I reached my parents place where I had to unload my car (as I still did not have any house in NL). Tired and exhausted, hours late due to that highway conditions, I was ready to let myself fall into any matress to repose ... .

But you'll allready guess what happend: I hit the road again! Another 1,5 hours later I reached the final point of destination: El Corte.

I entered the building ... just being surprised what presented to my eyes: a total other world! Some other tangueras y tangueros immediatly guided me where to store away my belongings - 'regulars' as I later learned. Sure I did not wait any second to put on my dancing shoes before further exploring the building ... .

El Corte - fascinating architecture

I made my way down to the big hall: Never seen such a crowed dancing spot like this one outside of Buenos Aires before. But virutally no crashes seem to occur ... how could this be? (Where I first learned to dance argentine tango spaces were 2-4 times as big with less than half of the people.) Fascinating! But also intimidating! Will I be able to fullfill to this high dancing quality? Luckily the first person I 'recognized' sitting and watching the peacefull moving dancers was Bärbel, a tanguera I allready had virtual contact with through the german tango-mailing-list on the InterNet (allthough we had never met in person before). That way a bit reasured I dared the first dances ... which I survived (mostly due to the high dancing skills of Bärbel I guess).

Then I had to learn another thing: Midnight was there ... and: "the break". (Due to a neighbour dancoing in the big hall wasn't possible after midnight.) At times still a 2 hour one (now it's just one) I could calm down after all that driving and also was introduced to a lot of other regulars. I could not yet imagine that people would travel from towns as far as Berlin or Paris, from all over Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and some even from Sweden just for a long dancing night. Now I do know why, and understand!

Then the break was over - but what's that: People start moving all the furniture from the front hall to the big hall! What was going on? Then a count-down, at 2 a.m.: Dancing restarts in the front hall! Aren't those people tired? Of course not, as I know now for myself. The better question would be: How can one go to sleep before it's over?

As you can imagine: I danced all night. Then went to sleep - as all the others - on the dancefloor! Sleeping bag and camping matrass ... enough for a 'tango die hard'. But what's that: Music? But no 'real' Tango, some sort of 'Salon Orchestra', music of the fourties or so. Why's there music? All right: It's noon, time to go up ... and dance again! Still in pyjama, navigating through those sleeping bags (empty or still filled) on the floor I do enjoy my first bare-foot tango! The mirracle continues!

I learn about that queue for the morning shower: While in the line you learn to know even more people. Coffee is allready prepared, the smell and the taste get you awake. Then, wow, the big table fills up with a gigantic breakfast. I've allways loved having meals together - here everybody shares ... and does the dishes later together!

That day, after the bruch-salon, I had to continue to worm my way around the The Netherlands to organize some official issues ... of course running quite late as leaving this magical spot is very difficult.

But: Residing in The Netherlands I now have the chance to come back every month! (And I only missed out one chained-salon since that day!) Travelling the (tango) world I meet people I often have met at El Corte before. And if I do not have met them before, when I mention my favourite dance spot people congratulate me of living so close by. Even if they do not know the town 'Nijmegen' or the name of the place telling them that it is "Eric Jeurissen's place" gives many a knowing smile.

El Corte - fascinating architecture

El Corte - a place to be -

So what's so special about the place? Impossible to summ up in a word. Even not in a phrase or a whole paragraph. Not a whole website will be sufficient enough. Any words, any pictures can only give you a glimpse of what makes this place so special.

There's the building: A piece of artwork itself it keeps ever-changing. Everytime you come back another detail has changed. A world to discover, in perpetual evolution! As is life, as is Tango ... according to the founder of the place: Eric Jeurissen. He's the master of all - in every positive sense of the word.

But there's also other's: Henry, Eric's partner (and silent backup). Komala, this incredible woman, powerfull and rigid as she has to be managing that crowd of up to 280 tango-maniacs and yet so sweat and warm-heartingly. Stefan, Komala's partner, also acting silently, 'behind the curtain'. Tilla, another silent helping hand, allways present. Those people behind the bar, at day, at night, serving you yet another drink, friendly as allways. Ad, the DJ until midnight, one of the best of his kind (but sure to be surpased by the best: Eric himself).

There's that free freedom: Be free to enjoy yourself - but never at the price of somebody else! This little rule (which is one of the very few unwritten but voluntarily obeyed to) in my opinion forms a great part of the spirit: Respect the other! Respect the other: While dancing - not taking the other couples space (as it is too crowed anyway) limits that "big movement gancho here and there"-dancing (show-off people will be disappointed!) but gives people the chance to feel and explore the power of those little tiny details. Well seasoned, not over-spicey! And what a winst: As well as you avoid kicking around you will be rewarded by being respected by the others, not being kicked the whole time as at a lot of other places. Respect which pays back ... and even is more fun!

Eric with his incredible sensibility invites you to explore (t)his world, tango and most of all: yourself!

El Corte is more than just another milonga - it's a place to be -!


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