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 …

I may have to pull back to a slightly more sensible number in the new year. Between milongas, theatre and socialising, it’s a rare treat to get a quiet night in. But for now, the craziness is too good to give up.

At Los Angelitos, I caught the lesson recap. The beginner/improver sequence looked good, and I would have liked to have done that, but the intermediate one was definitely beyond me, and it’s not practical to hang around for 90 minutes between the first class and the milonga.

The milonga was again fantastic. It still seems amazing to me that this rather ordinary-looking community hall with nothing more than a few coloured spotlights to create atmosphere can be transformed into such a magical place.

My theory about how it’s so consistently good is that the lyrical music Bruno favours attracts the type of followers who love my kind of dance – and then once we all find each other, that becomes self-reinforcing. We go because the people we love to dance with go.

A few snippets …

I had a tanda with a regular follower who is still new to tango but a really experienced salsa dancer (salsa dancers always seem to be good). She’s lovely to dance with, and when I said so afterwards, she gave me my new favourite compliment: “I always feel like a really good dancer when I dance with you.”

I’m still rubbish at turning down verbal invitations. I don’t mind them at all from regular followers who know I love to dance with them (if I cabeceo you regularly, you are one of these!), but do find them awkward otherwise.

I’m going to have to work on the words ‘No’ and ‘thanks.’

I think almost all my Los Angelitos favourite followers were there! I was in my element.

The whole three hours was almost non-stop dance; indeed, one time when I went to make a cup of tea, the music was so great I had to abandon the plan. (I did get my tea later, during a Troilo tanda; I assume that’s the point of them.)

Speaking of Troilo, I’m always appreciative of Bruno announcing the orchestras, as Troilo has some very danceable openings which then go very quickly off-piste, so it would be easy to get sucked in.

I today added Fresedo to the same Don’t Be Fooled list. I was sure he was of the same ilk, and went to sit down, but then the first song was an ‘Aaaah, love that one’ moment. Which lasted for about the first two minutes of the first song. But I’d resisted; phew!

Being able to smoothly correct misunderstandings is, in my view, one of the most important skills in tango. There was one follower I hadn’t danced with before. It was very nice, but every now and then I would intend one thing and she would do another. Almost always, I caught it early enough to just go with it; the couple of exceptions, I figured out a resolution that got us back in sync within a beat or two.

I have finally reached the point of not apologising for those moments, simply resolving it and carrying on. Most followers do apologise, assuming it’s them, and I now fully understand the ‘never apologise’ philosophy: (a) I assume it was my lead at fault anyway and (b) if it was them, I couldn’t care less. One or two beats later, it’s sorted. An apology is just a distraction.

I especially love the final tanda at Los Angelitos. It’s almost always Pugliese, and by that time there are usually only around a third of the people left. That means the inner ronda is either empty or very nearly so.

I managed to get the tanda with of my favourite followers, who loves to walk as much as I do! We walked the entire tanda with just a few ochos thrown in for a bit of decoration. It was the perfect way to end the milonga. She said afterwards: “I don’t think I’ve walked so much in one tanda, it was wonderful!” It was indeed.

This feels like a very brief blog entry for a really amazing afternoon, but it would otherwise be extremely repetitive: ‘had a wonderful tanda with a wonderful dance partner’ over and over again would be accurate, but not exactly riveting reading! If a picture paints a thousand words, the header image says it all.

Image: Shutterstock

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