Los Angelitos has so far been a staple part of my Sundays, but with Tango Terra having taken the mantle of my favourite milonga, I’ve decided to alternate the two …
The fact that the latter only runs every other Sunday(ish) saved me from a trickier decision.
I should have learned one lesson from once arriving at the start of the Thursday one: don’t. Tango Terra operates on Argentine time. Still, those of us who turned up on time today had a very nice time chatting for the first half an hour or so.
We almost had some additional entertainment while we waited: a certain anonymous tanguero stepped over a table with a lit candle on it. He and his trousers escaped injury, but it did occur to me that had they not, it would have made for an interesting accident report.
Even after things got going, it was initially very quiet, perhaps because there were three competing milongas today: Terra, Los Angelitos and Tango on the Thames. It was only around 6pm that it got busier. Still, the numbers were reasonably balanced, and the smaller number there early were all keen, so there was no shortage of opportunity for dance.
One interesting and surprising thing: it’s a different crowd on Thursdays and Sundays. I spotted very few familiar faces, and lots of unfamiliar ones. But it was every bit as friendly as usual, and I enjoyed dancing with some new partners. Even one who danced in open embrace: she was a very skilled follower, and felt good to dance with despite me normally not finding open embrace very satisfying.
Cabeceoing strangers is always a gamble, but all my tandas were lovely. One was with a woman who turned out a guest member of the band; I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time, else I’d never have dared cabeceo her!
The live band was fantastic as always, despite the lack of violin player today. There was a really great singer who I’d heard there once before, and told me she sings there about once a month, singing some Amy Winehouse numbers. I loved dancing those.
“And,” added Laura, “whatever you can do on one side, you can do on the other side.” I tried leading the sandwichito and barrida to the closed side of the embrace and it was much harder. Laura said the closed side might not be so easy, but that was just practice. I tried it again, and … magic happened! After I led the parada, I just instinctively turned counter-clockwise as Laura came toward me, and found myself leading a giro! It felt super-fluid and natural.
I realised I’d always meant to practice that closed-side sandwich but hadn’t yet. Dancing with a friend this afternoon, I warned her I was going to try an experiment at some point during the first song, but didn’t say what. I did it twice in the course of the song, and while it wasn’t perfect, it was good enough that my friend had to ask me afterwards if I’d done the experiment.
It’s a perfect example of the type of thing I’m hoping to get from my privates now.
The time flew by. I checked my watch at one point expecting it to be around 6pm, only to discover it was 7.30pm. My plan to alternate this and Los Angelitos was confirmed – but I will, I think, turn up next time about an hour after it officially starts …