Returning to the scene of the crime, at Tango Garden

Tango Garden.jpg

It was on 28th October 2018 that I first ‘danced’ in a milonga at Tango Garden, after a grand total of five lessons, with the courage fostered by not knowing what I didn’t know.

Some fifteen months later, I figured the various broken limbs would have healed, and the building been repaired, so decided to pay a return visit for the 7th anniversary of the popular Saturday afternoon milonga …

I usually host a small practica at home on Saturday afternoons, but as Tango Garden has a separate practica room, I suggested we meet there instead. I’m not sure any of us actually visited the practica room, though!

The milonga was fantastic. The music was wonderful, both recorded and live; the place was packed with familiar faces, as well as some I hadn’t seen for an age; the floorcraft was mostly excellent; and the atmosphere was super-fun.

I danced most tandas, and all were lovely. This was helped by a discovery that I’ve written about in a separate blog post, but mostly it was great music and great followers.

The live music was, of course, the best! This was provided by Martin and Tim from Tango Terra, so was like a piece of TT heaven dropped into Tango Garden. But the recorded music was also very much to my taste. Heavy on the lyrical, and even the rhythmic tandas had plenty of melodic elements.

A few snippets …

I had the privilege of taking a friend from the practica out for her first ever tanda in a milonga. She’s a good follower, so I knew she’d be absolutely fine, and she indeed was.

I’d just danced a slow tango tanda with one of my favourite followers from TT when they played a milonga. I’m normally very wary of risking a milonga tanda with one of my slow-dance partners. They seek me out for my slow dance, and I kind of feel like I risk damaging my ‘brand’ by dancing a fast and very basic milonga! But in this case, I decided to chance it. I felt super-connected to that follower, and was actually able to improvise the entire tanda. No 6-step basic to be seen!

It felt fantastic, and the feeling was apparently mutual as she told me afterwards that she doesn’t often dance milonga as it can be a bit boring, but ours was great fun.

I at one point had the most British of collisions. I bumped shoulders with another leader. We were in the central area which was a bit freeform, so just one of those things. I apologised to him at exactly the same time as he apologised to me, and both our followers waved apologies to each other …

There were some friends who were fairly new to milongas and feeling a bit nervous, but all had a good time.

The final tanda was with a friend I hadn’t danced with since the summer. It was very nice indeed, and she said I’d made so much progress in that time.

I continued injecting ocho cortados, crosses, contra-giros and pivoting planeos into the dance, and all are going well. From the cross, I found that leading a pivot into a forward ocho worked well as an alternative to a weight-change and walking out of it.

All four figures now feel rather close to becoming part of my core vocabulary. I still do have to consciously think about them, but I don’t worry about any of them.

I also used the chained-together sanguchitos, which now feel really good!

I probably can’t add Tango Garden to my regular milongas, as the Saturday practica is such a useful opportunity to get comfortable with something before using it in a milonga, but I will definitely try to get there some weekends.

The fun continues tomorrow with Tango Terra!

Image: Shutterstock 

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