A fantastic evening at Tango Terra, and very sore feet!

Tango Terra blur

I arrived at Tango Terra as it opened at 7pm, left after it closed at midnight and I think in all that time I sat out three, maybe four, tandas.

It was the xmas edition, and very busy. Although it was only my third time there, there’s quite a lot of overlap of followers from Tango Space and Los Angelitos, so plenty of familiar faces – and some great new ones …

Continue reading A fantastic evening at Tango Terra, and very sore feet!

Back into a milonga after nine, long, tango-less days


My plans for last week and weekend included the Tuesday Tango Space milonga, Tango Terra, Tango Shelter and Tango on the Thames. I got to do exactly none of that, as I was struck down with flu on Monday.

This was the short-and-sharp variety: a couple of days where everything hurt and I couldn’t even get out of bed, but free from symptoms eight days later. The first couple of days were the worst, but it was the weekend which was most frustrating. By then, I felt mostly ok, just tired and not wanting to risk passing it on to anyone else, so I skipped the two planned milongas …

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Another wonderful milonga at Los Angelitos

Los Angelitos

Where I once did a crazy number of classes, it seems I now do a crazy number of milongas.

I had Los Angelitos today, then it’s Tango Space on Tuesday, Tango Terra on Thursday, Tango Shelter plus Corrientes on Saturday, and Tango on the Thames on Sunday …

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They make long hours at this time of the year

Why does no-one ever believe me when I say I’m only staying for the first hour of a milonga?

Today was the final Tango Space workshop of the year, a one-hour one billed as lessons Pablo and Anne had learned from their students, followed by Prosecco and mince pies – then the monthly Browns milonga …

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Erk, voleos! But the Tango Terra fun continues, and a musical mystery was solved.

musical mystery solved

I caught the end of the Tuesday intermediate class before the milonga and it looked like it was a nice turn, so I was looking forward to the Thursday version with Luis and Natalia. But it turned out it was actually voleos*!

*Variously spelled as voleo or boleo, but I suspect the latter arises only because of the Spanish pronunciation. The former also wins the Google Spellcheck Test (try each and see which has the greater number of hits), so voleo it is here … 

Continue reading Erk, voleos! But the Tango Terra fun continues, and a musical mystery was solved.

One more lesson from Buenos Aires

one more lesson from Buenos Aires

I wrote a lengthy piece about lessons from Buenos Aires, but I realised there’s another, slightly more amorphous, one.

It’s about role models …

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Fourteen months in, I’m in a good place

Fourteen months

Tonight was my type of music, my type of followers, my type of dance.

Mara Ovieda was again DJing. There were a lot of lyrical tandas, and the more rhythmical ones still had depth to them. I only sat out a few tandas, and that was mostly because I was busy chatting …

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Giros, contra-giros and following with Los Ocampos

Los Ocampos.jpg

The teachers – Omar Ocampo and Monica Romero, aka Los Ocampos – have an excellent reputation, and I’m of the view that I can never have too many giro lessons. Plus it was organised by Queer Tango London, so I was assured of a fun atmosphere.

The class covered a version of the giro which I’d never been taught before. At its simplest, it was:

  • Leader back diagonal step, leading follower side-step
  • Leader collects, leads follower forward step
  • Leader pivots on both feet, leads follower side-step
  • Leader completes pivot, enters walk, leading follower back-step

It felt slightly confusing at first as it seemed to be three steps rather than four, but then I realised that the follower does complete a full sequence of side-forward-side-back – it’s just that the back step then becomes the first step of the walk.

The first variation was to do the same thing clockwise rather than anti-clockwise. It felt slightly trickier, but I think that would just be a matter of practice.

Next was the original version with a sacada on the follower’s second side-step. I don’t have much experience of sacadas, but this one actually felt relatively easy.

I’ve always understood intellectually that a sacada is an illusion; that you are stepping into the space the follower is leaving, though my only practical experience of a foot sacada is, I think, a sequence in the forward ocho where I then step around her into a parada. But this one made perfect sense: because the follower is pivoting around into her back-step, the illusion of taking her space and’ forcing’ the turn is quite convincing.

There was then a version with two sacadas. I ducked out at this point! I do think the two-sacada version would make sense to me once I’d had enough practice at the single-sacada sequence, but attempting it now wasn’t going to be pretty.

I’d already had enough challenge for one evening: being a Queer Tango event, everyone swapped roles, so I was learning to follow as well as lead the sequence! That was … challenging. I did have to let everyone know that they’d need to use some combination of brute force and telekinesis to lead me.

It was, though, very useful as well as comedic. In particular, I found one of Omar’s following tips for the giro made a huge difference: just follow the leader’s shoulder. Once I started doing that, it made it much more obvious which direction I needed to go, and that was really 60% of the lead. It was really helpful to get such a practical demonstration of that.

The teachers are great fun, and the QTL crowd as friendly as can be, so it was a lovely evening.

More tango tomorrow, of course, at the Tango Space milonga, where Mara Ovieda will once again be DJing. Should be good!

Los Angelitos, and my best ever reaction from a new follower


As I mentioned last time, I’m no longer writing full blog posts for milongas, just a few snippets of things that stand out.

The first of which is what definitely counts as my best ever reaction from a new follower …

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