Calesitas, chaos, criminal cabeceos and coronavirus contingencies

Tango Space.jpg

I caught the end of the lesson as usual, and it was a pleasing-looking movement.

I’m not sure whether the intermediate sequences are getting more accessible, or whether I’m making more sense of them by connecting more dots. We’ll see how I get on with Luis’ version on Thursday …

It was a very busy night of dancing. I didn’t get the chance to dance with everyone on my hit-list.

I sat out only a couple of less interesting tango tandas, plus the milongas. Eva always plays slow and complex ones, whereas for me the whole point of milonga is that it’s fast and simple.

I did, though, dance all the vals tandas. I’ve now been fully persuaded that, for many followers, the world’s simplest dance is really enjoyable when it expresses the vals rhythm. Apparently some much more sophisticated leaders miss that bit.

It’s strange. Ever since I first considered dropping the Tuesday milonga from my schedule some five weeks ago, I’ve consistently had a great time there. It feels to me like the hit-rate of the music is far higher, but perhaps I’m just getting more used to the songs Eva plays, or perhaps there are now so many of my favourite followers there that ok music becomes special.

Which was definitely the case tonight! I had so many lovely tandas.

My only ‘homework’ for the milonga was to dance some calesitas. This was successfully done. Again, I still have to actively think about them, but they do work well, and I’m enjoying them. Followers seem to really like them too.

I had a great tanda with a friend where I messed up the lead for something and we ended up in a totally freeform contra-giro that felt great!

There was one wildly out-of-control leader there, who was taking literally three back-steps some of the time, as well as leading numerous ‘wandering tornado’ giros. I had to physically fend him off at one point, and I think almost everyone else on the dance floor had to take evasive action at least once. One of the older leaders there gave him a look which I’m surprised didn’t cause third-degree burns.

It was a very graphic demonstration of how just one person can cause utter chaos. He did at least apologise at the end of the tanda where I had to use my arm to keep him from colliding with us, but he didn’t change his dance style at all. I was very glad to find myself behind Luis for the following tanda!

I had one, uh, slightly illegal cabeceo. A friend was sat on a sofa with her friend on the far side of her. I was approaching from one end, and attempted to cabeceo her friend. They were both clearly unsure which of them I was looking at, and then as I realised the music would be perfect to dance with my friend, I rather naughtily took advantage of the confusion to change my target. I did, though, cabeceo her friend for the next tanda, so didn’t feel too guilty! Fortunately there were no tango police to witness my crime.

Luis was there and complimented me on my dancing, which arguably says more about him than about my dancing, but I’ll take it!

The milonga takes place in a medical school, so no surprise that there was a hand-gel station in the lobby. I used this on the way in and out, but it did feel rather tokenistic: I spent the evening cheek-to-cheek with about ten different women – plus the friends I hugged. Sterilising one’s hands is probably of somewhat limited value in such circumstances!

I was laughing at the fact that there is a distinct difference between the tango and non-tango population of London. Muggles are showing signs of increasing caution. People are avoiding holding onto the poles on the tube, more people are wearing gloves, there are some scarves being worn like face-masks, some people are no longer shaking hands and so on. Meantime, tango folk are still dancing in close embrace with ten or twelve people two or three times a week!

If things do get to the point where milongas have to be suspended, everyone else in London will have gradually reduced their contact with other people, while tango people will go cold turkey overnight.

There is very real medical doubt about whether I could even survive without my regular milonga intake. Let’s hope I don’t have to find out.

Only two days until my next Tango Terra fix!


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