Private and video interview complete, it was playtime! I’d had a great time at Sueño Porteño last time, and was looking forward to a return visit. Steph was skeptical about the milonga demographic, claiming it was too old for her, and became even grumpier when she saw we’d been given a table behind the front row, but fortunately changed her mind after experiencing the milonga.
There was a small administrative matter to take care of, and this didn’t prove easy …
Milonga 19: Sueño Porteño
Last week, I’d accidentally done a runner, leaving without paying my bill. I’d WhatsApped the organiser, Julia, to arrange to pay it this time.
But when I asked her how to do this tonight, she shrugged and said the venue hadn’t charged her. I then asked the waitress about it, who was equally bemused. She spoke to the cashier, who joined in the general puzzlement. We did eventually find the unpaid bill (all of £2.80!), but the general sense I got was that life would be a lot simpler without these idiotically honest Brits!
I was given the same table as last time. This looks like a rubbish table, right at the back, but is actually a great one. That’s because half the dancers walk toward that end of the room at the end of a tanda, and it’s common for some to hang around at the edge of the floor afterwards, ready to cabeceo dancers at the tables there. It’s also easy to cabeceo between the two rows of tables. Indeed, Steph was so convinced it wouldn’t work that I had to point out to her that she’d missed five attempted cabeceos, just in the ones I’d noticed! Once she started looking, she was on the dance floor within moments.
Maria and Antonio joined us, in what was our first joint venture to a milonga. Maria and I haven’t danced together for about two years. Our respective dances have changed so much during that time that it would be more like dancing with a new partner. Obviously you want to ease in gently when doing this. You also want to make sure that the first time you’re seen dancing in a milonga after arrival, it’s a tanda where you are at your best.
So, naturally, Maria cabeceod me for a milonga tanda. Italians are crazy.
But we done good! And when we later danced a tango milonga, it was fantastic: Maria’s dance is really beautiful, and we felt very connected. She also coped with all the sudden changes needed to cope with the somewhat crazy floorcraft, and we both managed to turn evasive manoeuvres into dance. I commented afterwards that we’d come a long way!
I had less success in my other goal for the evening, which was to persuade Antonio to cabeceo a stranger! But he did dance with Steph, and coped perfectly with the crowded floor. There is even video evidence!
As before, I had lovely dances, and the same was true of Steph and Maria. By the end, Steph had done a complete 180 on her view of the milonga! I’d had to promise we would only stay for a short time if she didn’t like it, but we stayed 2.5 hours, before going out in the rain cab-hunting. We did eventually succeed, taking the cab to …
Milonga 20: La del Centro
By the time we arrived and settled in, joining Jean-Christoph’s table, it was 10.30pm – half an hour before my weekday curfew. I’d said I’d dance one tanda, then go home, and, for the very first time, I was telling the truth!
Steph danced with JC, and then she and I danced the next tanda. The dance level was very high, but the floor was rather empty and the floorcraft impeccable, so we had a lovely dance. There was, though, a very strong Cool Kids vibe, and the table we were at was pretty hopeless for cabeceo, so I’m not sure I would have stayed too long even without my 6.30am start.
It had stopped raining as we’d arrived, and promptly started again as Antonio and I left. We walked home, just a few blocks, and were soaked by the time we arrived, but I don’t mind warm rain.