"This is a concert and a milonga," says Pooja Kumar of the upcoming event her production company Guardia Vieja is bringing to Austin. "Milonga is probably the word that's not as familiar to most people... it's a tango social, so there will be some social dancing -- you'll see some tango dancers who are going to be dancing to the music -- but we also want people to feel comfortable that it is a concert."
Making people feel comfortable around tango is pretty central to Kumar's mission at Guardia Vieja. She's spent the last few years trying to spread the gospel of tango ("I'm kind of starting with Austin, but I hope [tango] takes over the country and more of the world, to be honest," she says), but she's also keenly aware that it can be a bit intimidating to non-dancers. "I hope... through Guardia Vieja to change that image and change that branding around tango," she says. "I really do hope that people can see that it's not this dramatic or super-sensual thing that lives out in a fantasy world. It's something that, for many of us, we do on a daily basis, and it's just part of our lifestyle. In ways it's more like pilates or yoga. It just gets incorporated into your life and brings wellness to it."
As part of that mission, Guardia Vieja is partnering with Austin Urban Tango to bring the Argentinian tango punk band El Cachivache to Austin for the first time. They'll be performing at Gather on North Lamar this Thursday night, and people are invited to come enjoy the band concert style, watch some professional dancers, or if they're daring enough, to get out on the dancefloor and try some tangoing of their own.