Category Archives: Not Tango

A busy first day – but just the one milonga …


Today was a fairly thorough introduction to Buenos Aires. In particular, how Argentine time works.

Our plan was to attend a class, an afternoon milonga, another class and an evening milonga. We only managed the latter two – mostly because we spent a great deal of time getting our hands on some cash …

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My trainee tanguero clothing tips for men


A recent wardrobe re-organisation reveals that a full 25% of my shirts and trousers are Designated Tango Clothing.

Not actual tango clothing – that would feel a bit pretentious at my stage of the game – but clothing almost exclusively used for tango. This includes an unlikely mix of expensive shirts and cheap trousers …

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Mild facial aphasia, or why you have to introduce yourself to me multiple times

mild facial aphasia

As some of you will know, I suffer from mild facial aphasia, also known as partial prosopagnosia. Since tango people are often curious about it when I mention it, I thought I’d write a brief primer …

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Practicing energetic tiny steps with 89,999 other people


Bridgitta had suggested I needed to find my inner 8 year old to give me ideas about new ways to improvise to the music. I’d assured her I didn’t have one, and that I was born aged 40.

However, it turned out I was wrong: it just needed rather specific circumstances to find him …

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Before Tango; After Tango


I began my tango journey at the end of October of last year, making today 8 months AT. In that time, there have been private lessons, group lessons, workshops, practicas, milongas, books, videos, forums, Facebook groups … YouTube pretty much assumes I only want to watch tango dances, and my Spotify playlists contain tango, the whole tango and nothing but the tango.

As for my schedule …

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Milonga withdrawal symptoms


If I were in any doubt about my addiction to tango, this evening would have dispelled it. This was the first week since I started dancing in the milonga after the Tuesday class that I was unable to do so – and I really, really missed it …

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A ballet taster class, and a simple dissociation tip

ballet taster class.jpg

Glamorously attired in the bottom half of a Virgin Atlantic sleep suit and a loose-fitting Nike t-shirt, I looked entirely unlike any ballerino the world had ever seen. Me, one other bloke and about 15 women, waiting in a dance studio in a Kings Cross college for a one-hour ballet taster class to begin …

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Ballet fitness, musicality, and a truly shared dance

ballet fitness.jpg

Ballet fitness class

You’ve got the tango bug pretty bad when a friend talks you into doing a ballet fitness class.

Bridgitta’s argument was that ballet training offers a lot of benefits for dancing tango. It was hard to argue against this given that I’d already booked a ballet taster class next month for exactly that reason.

I’d expected the class to be all women. As it turned out, a third of the class was male. But that third was me …

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One simple sign


Judging progress can be difficult. People talk about a kind of zig-zag in tango. One lesson, everything clicks and is perfect and you feel you’re doing fabulously. The next, everything feels terrible and nothing works and you feel you’re a lost cause.

I’ve been doing pilates for only a little longer than tango, and there it feels even harder to see progression. Maybe an exercise feels a little smoother here and there, but mostly I rely on our teacher’s assessment.

But every now and then …

I can balance really well on a bicycle or motorcycle: I often used to win ‘slow races,’ which are all about balance. But I’ve never had great balance when standing on one foot. I generally carry out a site survey and formal risk assessment before putting on a sock. I knew I’d have to improve my balance for tango, so asked our pilates teacher for one lesson focused on that.

Aside from standing on a balance board for a while, it didn’t feel like much of the lesson was overtly geared to that, and trying a balance ball at home afterwards, I could see and feel no visible progress. Steph was able to stand on it doing a fine impression of a rock; I looked rather more akin to a yacht being tossed around the ocean in a force ten gale.

But side-steps in my next lesson did feel more solid. And putting on my sock the next day, I discovered something amazing: I was able to stand, almost perfectly still, on either leg! When I got back on the balance ball, I was almost stationary on that too.

I could even follow Steph’s lead into a yoga move, lifting the other leg up and alternating between holding it in front of, and behind, me. That’s something I could never have imagined would happen so quickly. I was so surprised I almost fell over.