Category Archives: Tango

My first tango festival: Falling head-over-heels in love with Tango Feast

My first tango festival was supposed to have been in the spring of 2020 – and we all know how that went! It was some 18 months later when I had the opportunity to finally participate in one. Steph said that The Feast was a very friendly one, so off we went to a very soggy Devon, sharing a residential caravan with Einat of Balanceo shoes fame, and Bridgitta.

It was such a magical event that nothing I could write would do it justice. Plus my sleep-deprived brain likely can’t even remember all the highlights, so view this blog post as just a very inadequate taster …

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Transforming London milongas, part 3: Creating more leaders

In part one of this series of thoughts on how we make London milongas a friendlier and more welcoming place, I invited leaders to make a habit of dancing one tanda with a stranger.

The reason I made this suggestion to leaders specifically is, of course, due to the imbalance between leaders and followers. So part three comprises my thoughts on how we might change this …

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Transforming London milongas, part 2: Dealing with perceptions of cliqueness

Some London milongas are perceived to be ‘cliquey.’ That may be one of those irregular verbs, depending on one’s relationship to the milonga in question, from first-time visitor to fixture: I have good friends; you’re a bit snobby about dance partners; they are a clique.

What I’m going to do here is look at what might lead people to feel that way, and some steps we can take to address it. There are a couple of things I think we can all do, and three steps I think milonga organisers can take …

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Transforming London milongas, part 1: The magic of the unknown dance partner

There’s a blog post I’ve been struggling to write for some weeks now, communicating some thoughts about issues on the London tango scene, and how we might address them.

The reason for the struggle is two-fold. First, and more trivially, it might be felt presumptuous for a three-year dancer to think he understands the problems, let alone has any idea how to solve them …

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Dancing from 3pm to 3am: Three milongas in 12 hours

I’d planned to go to two back-to-back milongas on Saturday, dancing from 3pm to midnight. That plan didn’t work out: I ended up dancing at three back-to-back milongas, dancing from 3pm to 3am. It wasn’t quite my record in terms of number of milongas in a day, but it was certainly my UK record.

I’d also planned to do about 50/50 dancing and socialising at each milonga. I managed that at the final one of the three …

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Four milongas later, my tangostential crisis is over (for now)

I was going to say it was less than a month ago when I described my tangostential crisis, but as I caught a lurgy and was out of action for half of it, it was actually four milongas ago that I wrote:

I’m now at a somewhat odd stage in my tango – and I’m not quite sure what to do about it […] I feel simultaneously delighted with where I am, and frustrated with where I’m not.

Every problem in tango turns out to be either far simpler, or far more complex, than I imagined. Fortunately in this case it was the former …

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Balance is just technique – working with Diego on the calesita

When it comes to resolving my tangistential crisis, Filippo had given me a way forward which seemed to be working. Namely, take one element of my less-used vocabulary at a time, and figure out alternative resolutions for every step. Practicing those would then give me the confidence to use them in crowded milongas, knowing that I always had a plan B.

Another aspect of my crisis, however, was feeling unsure how far all my technique work was going to take me …

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A small but encouraging tangistential test-run at Tango Terra

Having been given a potential solution to part of my tangistential crisis, Tango Terra tonight offered an opportunity to at least partly put the theory to the test.

It wasn’t a particularly crowded milonga, but Terra does have one characteristic which proved useful in the circumstances …

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A heavenly Nacimiento, but a tango existential crisis

Tango highs and tango lows are familiar to anyone caught up in the clutches of the dance. Days when we can do anything; others when we can do nothing. After a time, you just get relaxed about that – or at least come to accept that there’s nothing we can do about it, so there’s no point getting stressed.

But I’m now at a somewhat odd stage in my tango – and I’m not quite sure what to do about it.

Let’s start with the good news …

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What is tango?

I’m climbing the stairs in an unfamiliar building in an new city in a country I’ve never before visited, and whose language I do not speak. But already I’m starting to feel at home.

The music drifting down the stairs is known. In my tango bag, my usual companions: dance shoes, a shoe-horn, a hand fan, a box of mints …

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