Monday, 9 November 2009

La Confiteria Ideal - the BBC 4 documentary

I think that most people who get into tango and enjoying reading blogs and watching youtube videos will sooner or later read or see something about Javier Rodriguez and Geraldine Rojas. Both are incredibly talented dancers who for several years were partners and danced all over the world, stunning audiences. They each now dance with other people (another story and not one I would deign to speculate on) but you will still find lots of videos of them dancing together on youtube.

It was through watching some of their performances that I came across the BBC documentary 'La Confiteria Idéal' which was broadcast on BBC4 in 2005. You can watch snippets of it (including interviews with Javier and Geraldine) on youtube but unfortunately the documentary has never been repeated, which is an awful shame as I have since discovered that many people rate it as one of the most insightful programmes into the BA tango world.

With dance growing ever popular in the UK and being given primetime viewing slots ('Strictly Come Dancing', 'So you think you can dance' and the soon to start ‘Move like Michael Jackson' (!)) you would hope that this documentary might be broadcast again soon. I wonder if any milongas could be persuaded to start a petition and get people to request its repeat?

Here are a few of the clips, focusing on Javier and Geraldine as well as other older and influential dancers including Puppy Castello.

Postscript: If anyone knows where it is possible to get a copy (even if it is just more snippets) please let me know!


  1. I was able to find a bit torrent of the documentary online a few months ago. It was clipped a little. Just a few very small number of seconds at the end. It is excellent and extremely well photographed.

  2. Thanks for the tip! Sounds a bit high tech for me but I'll rope in some IT friends to help me!

  3. I've got it - on VHS - somewhere. It's a strange confection, a lovely myth that the Confiteria Ideal is where all the wonderful old milongueros and milongueras go to meet each other and dance. Possibly it was like that when the BBC filmed, but I'm inclined to think that was something the BBC created for a few days. Sadly, for a marvelous old building, it's mainly a tourist trap now, certainly not a place you'll see the best dancers. And although the BBC brought in many wonderful dancers they mostly cut bits of dance with interviews. Actually, the YouTube fragments are probably the best of it. I'd really like to see a remix, a selection of just the best dance footage, uninterrupted.

  4. Tangocommuter: You have crushed my faith - I thought La C.I was an Arcadia of sorts!
    I'd still like to watch it but I had rather hoped there would be lots more dance in the original.

  5. This documentary is now available on DVD as 'The Tango Salon'.

  6. Many thanks! On my Amazon wishlist.