Category Archives: Milonga

A very Argentine afternoon, and closing Parakultural at 4am

Alessandra hasn’t quite grasped that mornings and I have an uneasy relationship at the best of times, and when operating on BsAs milonga time, I view them in much the same light as Guardia Vieja tandas.

Instead, she decided that pre-9am was a good time to suggest going out for coffee, and about an hour later was the perfect time for a Spanish lesson …

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A wonderful welcome back to my second home: closing El Beso at 3am

It was a year ago to the day that I was last here in BsAs for a month-long stay. As a freelance writer, I don’t earn any money when I’m not working, so my last visit was one week of pure holiday, and three weeks working holiday. This was … not a good plan!

Don’t misunderstand me: I had a truly wonderful time. What I did not have was much sleep! So this time I decided to take the financial hit of three weeks’ holiday and just the last week of working in the mornings …

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Milonga with Diego; a workshop with Corina and Ines; and an unusual Tango Garden

Milonga (the dance) and I have an unusual relationship.

Most leaders run a mile from it during their early years; I didn’t. Because I could dance to the beat long before I had the vocabulary to dance to the melody, I was actually very happy with milonga tandas from a very early stage. And because a lot of leaders hide, it made it very easy to get dances, even as a raw beginner.

But as my lyrical dance emerged and evolved, my rhythmical dance felt increasingly unsatisfactory – all the more so at milonga speeds. I wasn’t so much afraid of boring followers as feeling bored by my own dance. I was doing the usual leader’s milonga journey in reverse: I’d now become one of the leaders who avoid it …

Continue reading Milonga with Diego; a workshop with Corina and Ines; and an unusual Tango Garden

Another magical milonga at the ambassador’s residence, and a breakthrough lesson with Emma

The Argentine Ambassador’s milonga is one of my absolute favourites. A spectacular setting, fantastic DJs, three dance floors, and a friendly atmosphere. If the grandeur were more faded, you could almost imagine it were BsAs.

One difference from the real version is that, in London, a flexible embrace is the norm. That’s also the case in some BsAs milongas, but in the more traditional ones, the prevailing style is very much sustained close-embrace: where everything can be danced chest-to-chest. I therefore followed up with a private focused on this …

Continue reading Another magical milonga at the ambassador’s residence, and a breakthrough lesson with Emma

Much pleasure indeed at Un Placer

Diego B had given me two recommendations, one quite some time ago, the other just yesterday – but I have my suspicions that the two may be related.

The first, dating back some time, was that I needed to have the courage to cabeceo more advanced followers. The second was to suggest I dance at Un Placer

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Seeing out the new year at Etonathon and Tango 178

I thought I’d written a blog post about my previous visit to Etonathon, but if I did, WordPress search can’t find it. The executive summary is that I had a wonderful time, and added it to my ‘must go again’ list. So I did.

Etonathon is also clearly just far enough outside London to fall into the, well, ‘outside London’ category. Great floorcraft, great music, and very musical dancing …

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A eulogy to Salon Canning

The closure of Salon Canning sounds so terribly wrong even as a written phrase, let alone a reality. Yet it’s true: the most famous milonga venue in the world has closed its doors to tango.

I first heard the news as a rumour, without any linked source, so Googled ‘Salon Canning closing.’ In a bittersweet moment, the first hit was to one of my own blog posts

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Tango by the Sea: More festival heaven

Filling the tango festival gap between the November and December Feasts was a new-to-me one: Tango by the Sea, in Felixstowe. I did have to take the ‘by the sea’ part on trust, as the furthest I got from the dance floor was a cafe about 200 feet away.

Actually, they refer to it as a house-party rather than a festival, as a way of emphasising the relaxed and fun atmosphere they want people to enjoy …

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A long weekend of heaven, at The Feast

Returning from The Feast feels a little like returning from BsAs – that I’ve been living in this incredible, magical bubble, and now I have to return to the everyday world. It’s almost jarring.

Last year, I described how it was a bit of a slow-burn as a first-timer. The vast majority of Feasters are regulars, so all know each other, and are keen to dance together again. But by my third visit, I was one of those regulars, and was receiving invitations from the first tanda …

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A three-hour round-trip journey to dance in Cambridge, and worth every minute

Five months ago, returning from BsAs, I wrote about my determination to keep the Argentine spirit alive in my own tango – and so far, I feel like I’m succeeding.

I’ve reluctantly conceded that one key ingredient here is dancing a lot more outside of the sub-culture that is London tango. Reluctantly, because I’d love to dance a lot in my own city, and I do see London milongas doing their best to bring the Argentine spirit to London …

Continue reading A three-hour round-trip journey to dance in Cambridge, and worth every minute