Today’s Los Angelitos was almost in Tango Terra territory

Almost Tango Terra.jpg

Daniel Pereyra was DJing at Los Angelitos today, and while I hadn’t ended up his biggest fan last time, today was a complete contrast! The music could almost have been one of my own playlists.

I loved almost all of it, and danced all but two or three tandas …

I again don’t think I had more than a single tanda that was anything but lovely. The only possible exception was one woman I cabeceod at random. She was clearly a very experienced dancer, and while I did my best to give maximum space for her dance, and it all felt good to me, she didn’t say anything afterwards, which is unusual. I think that one was perhaps disappointing to her.

My mild facial aphasia can be a bit of a nightmare in tango. I have to meet someone about a dozen times before I can piece together enough clues to recognise them. This can mean I fail to recognise someone with whom I’ve had a wonderful dance – and also fail to recognise someone with whom I haven’t.

Today, it was, fortunately, the former. There’s a follower I’ve danced with three times at Tango Terra and I thought I recognised her at Los Angelitos today. I’m very confident the feeling about our tandas is 100% mutual, so I was slightly puzzled when I cabeceod her and she gave me that ‘Who me?’ look of a follower who is worried I might mean someone beside or behind her.

She maintained eye contact as I walked toward her, but didn’t appear confident it was her until I was almost standing in front of her. As soon as we entered the embrace, I realised no, it wasn’t who I thought it was. But I also knew I’d danced with her before. So then the question was … had it been good?

Fortunately, yes! Her puzzlement was that she hadn’t recognised me either and didn’t know why I was beaming at her. But we had a lovely tanda.

The other facial aphasia nightmare for me is the friendship tanda, when we’re supposed to dance with someone new. I, of course, have no idea whether I’ve danced with someone before if they haven’t yet made it onto my regular follower list.

I cabeceod someone I didn’t recognise, only to be told we were cheating as we’d danced before. But she didn’t seem in any way unhappy about it, and we had a very nice tanda.

Initially Bruno had said the tanda was to be Troilo. I thought Troilo with first-time partners was a trifle ambitious, and it seemed he had second thoughts about it too, as he quickly corrected it to Di Sarli.

I still avoid entire milonga tandas, preferring to cabeceo someone on the second or third song, but a friend invited me on the first. Having warned her I think my milonga is too boring for three songs, she decided to chance it. A good 90% of my dance was just the 6-step pattern, but I try to vary it with size of step and direction. It felt like great fun to me, and I was assured it was for her too.

She’d warned me there was one dangerous follower, who had apparently been in my blind-spot earlier, but once I turned 360-degrees to scan, I immediately spotted her: doing high kicks on a crowded floor – which I suspect were unled, as she was dancing with a very good leader. I steered us out of range.

There’s one follower it hasn’t really worked with in the past. But I’ve learned that it’s worth trying again from time to time, as things can change, and that proved to be the case today. I’d cautiously cabeceod her for the final song of a tanda, found it worked well and had a full tanda with her later, which was lovely.

I don’t know whether it remains the case, but certainly in the first year or two, a lot can change in terms of connection, and it’s not the first time a poor one has been transformed into a great one.

There’s good news and bad with my approach to expanding my core vocabulary. The good news is that I do feel I’m going to get there. The bad news is that my dance feels more awkward as I make the transition.

I’m leading both crosses and ocho cortados without any difficulty, and the same with the pivoting planeo when a follower is familiar with it. However, in both cases I do currently have to think ‘Ok, now I’m going to do that,’ and that feels less fluid than my normal dance.

I do, though, feel like I’m 75% of the way there with both, so hopefully the awkward stage won’t last much longer.

The evening really zipped by! I was taken completely by surprise when the last tanda was called.

There’s a follower there with whom I usually dance the last tanda, as we both love to walk, and by that time there is usually space to do so. But she too had been taken by surprise, and had already promised the next tanda to someone else. But I had a very nice dance anyway.

Los Angelitos – once my favourite milonga – does now feel, through no fault of its own, a little like the poor relation of Tango Terra. But tonight, it was more like they were sisters. Perhaps one is a little more engaging than the other, but the resemblance was very much closer than usual.

Image: Shutterstock

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