Category Archives: Milonga

The tango gods are still my friends

Tango gods smiling

I had to work late, meaning I would – shock! – not make it there for the start of the Tuesday Tango Space milonga.

Steph teases me about wanting to be at milongas when they start (she’s very French about these things), but I like to be there early for one of two reasons. One, I love to walk, and at most milongas the floor will be at its emptiest at the start. Two, at the Tuesday milonga, most people there have already done a class so many only stay for the first hour of the milonga – so that’s the main window of opportunity when it comes to dancing with my fellow students …

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Two hilarious tandas at the Spitalfields milonga

hilarious

I could only make the final hour or so of the Spitalfields milonga, and had four tandas, two of which were hilarious for different reasons.

Regular readers will know that when it’s clear I’m dancing with an experienced follower, I will do my best to create space for her dance via the parada-and-pause approach: lead a parada, pause, relax the embrace and see what happens. Prior to tonight, I would have said there were three levels of response to this – plus a level zero …

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Tonight, lady tango was washing her hair

tango bridge

I’d heard mixed reports about the Tango Bridge milonga. It’s always hard to find a consensus view, as different people have different tastes, and what is great for dancers at one level may be less so for those at a different one.

I’m of the view that I ought to try each central London milonga at least once – and live music tonight seemed the perfect argument for trying this one now …

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Tonight, lady tango smiled on me

lady tango smiled

Sometimes tango can be cruel, when, for no discernible reason, nothing seems to be working. Other times, tango can be very, very kind. Tonight, she bestowed only kindness on me.

I danced exactly four tandas, far less than some nights, but every one of them felt lovely …

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I love vals, but vals workshops don’t seem to be my friend …

embarrassed

The last vals workshop I did, back in June (a time that already feels a lifetime ago), wasn’t a notable success. I’m hopeless at switching between single- and double-time in general, so something that required me to do so quickly and learn a new sequence was never likely to end happily.

I was hoping today’s vals workshop with Juan Martin and Steffi might be a different story; sadly that was not to be …

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From a crazy number of lessons to a crazy number of milongas …

tango

Signs you’re in a tango relationship #47: This conversation …

Steph: Your jacket has lipstick on it
Ben: Oh yes?
Steph: Yeah, you need to take it to the dry-cleaner …

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A giromaniac is born, and a whole new tango world opens up

giromaniac

I am officially now a giromaniac.

After a false start a couple of months ago, I’m finally able to fluidly lead giros and contra-giros in a milonga. I cannot tell you how happy that makes me feel! Partly just the relief of finally getting there after so long, but mostly because it completely transforms my dance and the crowded milonga experience …

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Tango on the Thames tangasms, with giros and counter-giros – and accidental ganchos

Tango on the Thames

As with Spitalfields, I’d first seen Tango on the Thames long before I danced; stood and watched for a while, and thought of it as one of those delightfully eccentric English things done by people who aren’t me.

It was an incredibly hot day, 32C ambient, and more in the sun. We estimated when the sun would have dropped beneath the building line and turned up at around 7.15pm, which was perfect timing …

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Taking a chance at a new-to-me milonga: Sans Souci

sans-souci

The previous blog post was a long one; this is short, just a fun time at a new-to-me milonga.

Last time I danced at St Columba’s Church in Chelsea, it was in the huge basement room with hundreds of people at the Romantica Milonguera live performance. Tonight, it was the more modest (but lovely) ground floor room for Dante’s milonga, Sans Souci …

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Rebounds, barridas, sacadas, planeos – and a very busy time at a milonga

dance

I enjoyed my first taste of barridas, so was looking forward to another class on these with Juan Martin and Steffi. Steph and friends had, however, warned me that leaders often over-use them. A well-executed barrida once or twice in a tanda can feel lovely, I was told, but not more than that.

Like seasoning, then: just the right amount really adds to the dish, but too much can make it inedible …

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