In my quest for afternoon milongas which run some way into the evening, I seem to be sampling every milonga El Beso has to offer! Today it was Tango Camargo, which was very much like El Abrazo: older crowd, relaxed, friendly, simple dance.
Antonio wanted to ease himself in gently with a group class and practica, but as this was also at El Beso, I persuaded him to come with me to at least watch and soak up the atmosphere …
Milonga 16: Tango Camaro
I’m now used to bumping into familiar faces everywhere I go, but it’s still a new experience for Antonio, so he was rather surprised when I held the door open for a group of women leaving the milonga and one of them greeted me by name.
We were able to get a front row table, providing good cabeceo opportunities for me, and a good spectating position for Antonio.
It was a very traditional tanda structure, with one faster rhythmical tango tanda followed by a slower more lyrical one (plus the usual vals and milonga ones, of course). That meant I could reliably predict when I was likely to want to dance – though I did also dance a couple of the more rhythmical tandas too! I also danced vals, and had urgent and important discussions on weighty matters of state with Antonio during the milongas.
The dancing was delicious. I enjoyed watching the tandas I didn’t dance, and loved all of the tandas I did.
One follower in particular does stand out. The room was thinning out, so there was plenty of room to walk, and she had the most gorgeous walk! She met my forward intention with an absolutely equal amount, and projected fully before transferring her weight, enabling me to take really long steps, and to completely control the pace. That was an absolute joy. Then when I led a parada, paused and relaxed the embrace, she took full advantage!
That, then, became our dance. We would walk for a phrase or two, when I was in charge, and then hand over to her and simply follow her in the pivots. It was such a lot of fun, and we were both laughing as she tried more and more things and I just turned, matching her direction and pace.
We danced the penultimate tanda too, at the end of which we hugged and she told me where she would be dancing the following day, and I considered it a firm appointment! Antonio shot a short video clip, from which this frame-grab is taken (and I would like to place it on record that we are not actually snogging, despite appearances).
But all the dances were lovely!
Of course, the tango gods had to extract their price for this, and decided to amuse themselves by presenting me with the most challenging mistaken cabeceo yet! I cabeceod one woman sat with empty seats around her, so it seemed pretty unmistakeable to me. She nodded, I nodded, and we maintained eye contact as I walked across the floor. However, just as I reached her, and she stood up, so did another woman from a position which was by now behind me, as I turned to face the line of dance. For that reason, I didn’t even notice at first, but my intended follower did.
On previous occasions, when I’ve been intercepted before reaching my follower, I’ve either done the cowardly thing and danced with the interceptor, or the adult thing and explained and apologised for the mix up before continuing on to my target follower. However, I’d never before been in the position of two followers standing next to me simultaneously!
I apologised to the mistaken woman, then danced with the right one. However, I vowed to put things right by cabeceoing the other woman for the next tanda. This was not successful. Antonio, who had witnessed the whole thing from a better vantage point than the man in the middle of the mess, said the other woman had looked super-offended!
I am, as regular readers will know, a huge fan of cabeceo. I like it for practical reasons (it’s possible to invite someone from quite a distance away), for social reasons (the inviter risks no embarrassment, and the invitee isn’t put under any pressure), and for poetic reasons (for me, the cabeceo is the beginning of our dance). However, it does require both parties to follow the rules! In particular, that the follower (in the traditional roles) remains seated until the leader is in front of her, and there is no longer any possibility of error.
While Antonio wasn’t feeling quite ready to dance in an unknown milonga, he stayed for the class and then the practica, which seemed an encouraging sign.
La Señorita Sin Orejas
We had, before I left, made a firm plan for the evening. Steph and Maria were going to a group class and practica, then we would meet at Muy Lunes at 10pm on the dot so we’d have an hour together before my curfew.
I duly came home from the first milonga, had another shower and changed, ready to walk out of the door at 9.50pm (Muy Lunes is very close). Which is when Steph and Maria walked in! They had apparently been so busy shoe-shopping that they lost track of time and failed to go to their class. Then gone out to dinner, and I assumed lost track of time again, but no: it appeared that when Steph said ‘yes’ to my plan, this didn’t actually signal agreement. Indeed, it turned out it didn’t even signal that she was listening to what I was saying! So she hadn’t understood the plan.
Maria by this point decided to join Antonio at the practica, and as Steph wanted to shower and change before leaving, I estimated that she would be ready at about my bedtime. This turned out to be an overly optimistic estimate on my part: she was still here over an hour later, and eventually decided she was no longer going. So we’ll try Muy Lunes take two next week.
The great key challenge
The final entertainment was the keys. We only have two sets, and the key to the lobby door is a security one which I’m pretty sure we can’t get duplicated without the code. Since we were due to be in three different places (Steph at Muy Lunes, Maria and Antonio at El Beso, and me in bed), this posed a problem. Specifically, if I put the bolt on, they can’t get in without waking me. But if they each take a key, they have to lock me in, and the door can’t be opened without the key. Steph thought the risk of me burning to a crisp in the event of a fire was one worth running; I had a somewhat different view of the matter.
This left us with a puzzle like the one with the farmer, the fox, the chicken and the corn. I came up with a creative solution: I would retain one key, Steph would take the other. The milonga and practica were just a five-minute taxi ride apart, so if M&A wanted the key first, they would collect it from Steph. However, Steph’s decision to stay at home destroyed my genius plan, as both keys were now at home – and she was also likely to want to go to bed shortly.
Fortunately, M&A were ready to leave the practica before we went to bed.
Salon Canning photos
I hadn’t succeeded in tracking down the official photographer, but two friends sent me a link after spotting photos of me, one from each visit.
I’m pretty sure I’m actually leading while sleeping in that one.
Tomorrow, another 6.30am start, and my official appointment at the next afternoon milonga, El Maipu at the Lo de Celia tango club.