On March 26, 2022, Verdi Club had a magnificent night celebrating 25 years of tango dancing. 25 years, can you believe it? So, how exactly did tango dancing transcend through a quarter of a human being’s lifetime’s worth in this place?
Verdi Club Milonga, 1997~2014
Tango at the Verdi Club began when Victor Meneses & Christy Cote started The Mariposa Argentine Tango Club in 1996. It continued through the early 2000s, but due to various reasons, the weekly Thursday night dancing hosted by Christy and Adolfo Caszarry closed at the end of 2008. Luckily, it quickly re-opened in 2009 with a grand celebration receiving almost 400 dancers on opening night.
As Maika wrote in May 2013 to spotlight the original Verdi Club Milonga, Verdi was the place that had the magic to transport people back in time, particularly, in the Golden Age of Tango. Sadly though, the charming Verdi Club Milonga eventually made its farewell on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
Milonga Malevaje, 2014~present day
As the saying goes, “where there’s a will, there is a way”, Adolfo Caszarry, Ramada Salieri, and Glenn Corteza brought Thursday night tango dancing back on June 19, 2014, with the grand opening of Milonga Malevaje at The Metronome Dance Collective. Within less than a year, the milonga moved back to Verdi in May 2015 and celebrated its 1-year anniversary on June 11, 2015.
What is the meaning of “Malevaje”? As Maika captured in the Milonga Spotlight article in July 2014:
Malevaje translates to ‘hoodlums’ but as a part of tango it’s ‘the congregation of rough people’ which in essence was part of the emergence of tango. We wanted to give our milonga some edge, attitude, and an environment that is lively yet intimate.Milonga Malevaje
Life as we know – it has ebbs and flows. Even the most well-attended milonga goes through some rough patches. Due to all kinds of other priorities and commitments, Ramada and Glenn had to step away from organizing duties between 2016 and 2017. While Adolfo partially moved away from SF, Ramada stepped back in to keep the flame alive whenever necessary. When the downslope in terms of attendance was noticeable, the weekly milonga was adjusted to a monthly occurrence.
The COVID-19 pandemic also put the event on an extended break from early 2020 through mid-2021. With safety measures such as strict vaccination requirements, Milonga Malevaje reopened on June 3rd, 2021, and resumed the occurrence slowly back to once a week.
It’s arguably the best venue in town
Thanks to the generosity and hard work of a Verdi Club member & volunteer, the building went through several renovations including the entryway, lounge, and ballroom circa 2017. Now with the stunning decor and top-notch sound system, dancing tango at the Verdi Club is an experience you can’t have elsewhere in SF.
Did you know the colorful lighting had not always been there? As beautiful as Verdi is an amazing venue, Ramada is the magic hand who brought in the lighting ideas and designed how they should project.
It’s all in the details and it’s amazing how lighting can affect a person’s mood.Milonga Malevaje
It has something for those who love cocktails
Milonga Malevaje has a legit bar where you can order various red or white wines. If that’s not enough, ask the bartender Jeff Kroll for classical and special cocktail drinks – not only holiday specials but also something uniquely for the milonga, with a tango name ‘Tangamente’:
It has something for those who love fashion
If you dance tango, chances are quite high that you have a wardrobe of the fanciest outfits just for tango. Milonga Malevaje is the only milonga in town that features local tango vendor Atelier Vertex by Rina Gendelman. So, you can really pack two agendas in one evening at one place – dancing and shopping!
One of the Malevaje’s regulars since its very beginning days is affectionately known as the “always most fashionably dressed” local tanguero, Carlos Lucha. He and his partner Elaine Lucha have generously put Carlos’ handmade suits and shoes up for sale this Thursday, Aug 11. Don’t miss the unique opportunity to snatch a few in between tandas!
It has an inclusive environment for everyone
Under the new organizing effort by Adolfo Caszarry, Ramada Salieri, and Elaine Chiu, this new generation of milonga hosts strives to create a place that’s friendly for queer tango dancers and dancers who want to dance both leading and following roles.
It has an active social media presence
New times call for new ways of spreading the word. Milonga Malevaje has a Facebook group and if you Insta, find them here. To get the latest event info, follow them!
Milonga Malevaje is a collaboration to keep the San Francisco Thursday’s milonga spirit alive.Milonga Malevaje