Sans Souci with La Juan D’Arienzo (eventually!)

Friday and Saturday nights are my curfew-free days, when I don’t have to work the next day. Friday had proven a washout, as my afternoon nap lasted until 11pm, and failed entirely to make a 1am visit to La Discépolo – but tonight I danced until 3am.

This was a return visit to a milonga I really enjoyed – and again with a live orchestra, this time La Juan D’Arienzo, who I’d really loved at La Viruta

The day began with lunch at a restaurant which Maria and Antonio had adopted as their home from home, brunching there most days. I had a burger, which was very tasty but not very hot, and then we shared two desserts – neither of which we managed to finish. They’d run out of the Dulce de Leche Volcano, which sounded like it had to be tried, but the chocolate mousse turned out instead to be a not-really-mousse made from dulce de leche! Even with three assistants, I was unable to finish it.

Milonga 22: Sans Souci

I booked a table in the group area, having warned Steph and Maria that sitting together as a group meant they’d only be cabeceod when Antonio and I had been seen to be dancing with other women, as there was segregated seating outside of the group area.

Maria again dragged me onto the floor for a milonga as our first dance! We didn’t kill anyone.

The problem with live bands is you never know what time they’ll play. It’s usually late, but sometimes early (I arrived at one milonga at 8.30pm to find the band had just finished), and sometime just a random time in the middle of the milonga. We arrived at around 9.30pm, and the band eventually played at about 2am.

It was worth waiting for, of course! But the music before then was … ok. Steph liked it, but the rest of us weren’t very impressed. It was very samey, with no real sense of contrast between faster rhythmical and softer lyrical: it was all somewhere in the middle. I could dance to most of it, but didn’t feel inspired by much of it.

Additionally (or perhaps related to this), I didn’t really feel on form. Again, nothing terrible, but certainly very far from my best dancing. Despite this, I did enjoy myself, but it was only really during the live music when I felt I came alive.

Steph’s own happiness may not have been entirely unrelated to finding one of her favourite leaders from a previous milonga. He is apparently very selective, and cabeceod her again here.

Maria likewise succeeded in obtaining an invitation.

Both found themselves in demand from a succession of good leaders, including, in Steph’s case, the singer for Los Reyes Del Tango (not that she knew it at the time).

There was a table of non-dancing Scandinavians next to us. They had just come to watch and to hear the band, but they were even less impressed by the recorded music beforehand, and the very long wait for the band. At one point, Steph spotted one of the women covering her ears with her hands! They ended up leaving midway through the band set.

Rita arrived on her own at some point, so I invited her to join our table. It was good to see her and dance with her, and as a bonus it provided an opportunity for Antonio to dance with someone new. He said afterwards this had been his best tanda in Argentina. Given that he’d previously danced with both Maria and Steph, I wondered whether he’d be sleeping in the park that night – but fortunately they were happy for him!

Inspired by this, Antonio accepted a cabeceo from another woman – though when I saw who it was, he’d given himself a real challenge! I’d danced with the same follower at another milonga, and she was very stiff and required a very exaggerated lead. I told him afterwards that if he could dance with that follower in a very crowded milonga, he need have no worries about the rest of the trip!

I had yet another mis-assessment of a follower’s height … I cabeceod a woman from a distance, and as she stood up realised she was much taller than me! As in, one of my primary concerns during the tanda was keeping my face out of her breasts. But she was a beautiful dancer, and it ended up being one of those tandas where mostly all I did was navigate (which had its own challenges!) and indicate direction and (sometimes) speed, while she did the rest.

We’d planned to go on to La Comedia afterwards, but we hadn’t expected to be still at Sans Souci at 3am. By this time, dancing to the live music had left me energised, so I was all for continuing the night there, until it closed at 5am, but sadly was alone in this view, so we instead headed home for too little sleep.

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