Monthly Archives: April 2009


Working days are never good for tango, I arrived home earlier than usual, and as I always do I checked my email. Most I just ignore, some are saved for later and some require immediate reply, but in the end I cannot give them my full time as I need to get ready for the night ahead.

We have another Gobowen Milonga tonight, during the day there were classes with Haden. I have not yet met him and obviously I could not do the classes as I had to work.

The Milonga followed the usual routine, I would do a couple of tandas with Viv, then I would try to dance with as many women as possible.

There are some here who have not yet reached a level where a dance is comfortable, and so as I lead around the room I spend some time just trying to get the posture right. This annoys Viv, because one of My pet hates is people teaching on the dance floor. I see a subtle difference between trying to get some one to do a new move and just getting the basics, still I take the point. My problem of course is that those who are struggling sort of rely on me, and I have come to feel in some way responsible for them. (Who do you think you are? more of this later).

Anyway as the night went on I think I just about managed most of the women, and Viv enjoyed a dance with Haden. She has now taken to asking the men to dance as they are either too proud or too shy to ask her, so at least I feel less guilty about leaving her and dancing with other women.

Towards the end of the night I get a refusal, it seems sore feet trumps Bob dance. Half joking I say you don’t get a second chance to refuse. I say half joking, it is not so much my fragile ego, but a shortage of time. Just before we leave (I really need some sleep before I get up again at five) I have an opportunity to dance again with the lady with the sore feet. As we begin the dance I say you should be grateful that I returned to you (who do you think you are? again). She replies that I should be grateful that she will dance with me.

So once again let me say, I am truly grateful to all the ladies who dance with me. The good dancers who enjoy the dance and make me feel like a good dancer, the not so good who I can have fun with showing them something new and laughing when things go wrong, even the complete beginners who give me satisfaction when I can make them dance. Every one of you makes me feel special and though I joke with you, I truly cannot forget it and I appreciate you all. So here it is THANKS!!!


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Running and Walking

I was not able to attend the Monday class this week. Viv made me go to work on my bike so that she could have the car. She is a bit laconic about the class, so I cannot report much, other than it seems for once  the numbers must have been more or less balanced, as she spent some time sitting out.

We returned to Shrewsbury again, and as usual I did my best to spread myself about (Tango Slut). Again I spent a lot of time explaining to the ladies how to do a good giro. So much depends on them doing it well, and every time I got a good sidestep I would reward them with a nice secada.

The need to keep the feet down was the theme of Sharon’s Class, great fun was had trying to keep bits of red paper under foot. Later I had the opportunity to point out how keeping the feet down gave the opportunity for many beautiful moves.

Later in the Coracle we had a lively debate on moves. While some felt that they were being deliberately held back, I do not think my argument was convincing enough. Tango, unlike other dances does not rely on set piece moves, the basics all need to be in place, then and only then can some improvisation take place.

The move under discussion needed a giro step executed well before it can be performed, and my view is that the level we are at at the moment is not yet high enough.

I recalled our first real tango in Spain many years ago. A lovely couple (who later invited us to their home, just because we tango) complained that they had walked to Madrid and back in the class. They were having the basics driven into them, even though they taught classes in London.

In the end I think that there is no real answer to those who think they can learn moves. Only time will show them the error of their ways. We all start off wanting to move like Copes and it takes years before we realise that it is not the moves, but the way we move that makes the difference.

Tango, the only place where you learn to run, before you realise you cannot walk.

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Near and far

Firstly let me apologise for the lateness of this post. I had eight days off and decided to spend Easter in Christchurch near Bournemouth. We like the area a lot, but also it was a chance to meet up with our daughter who lives down there.

We intended to travel down Friday, but I hate to waste a journey, and so we traveled on Thursday night first to Shrewsbury for the Tango.  Instead of the usual class we had a practica that was overseen by Ricardo and Sue. We have met them previously at one of the classes we attended here, and are always glad to have new talent  here.

The practica was broken up in the middle with a short class on moving to the music, but in general they let us get on with it, helping out whenever it was needed. Of course it gave me a chance to dance with most of the women there, but unfortunately this time I did not dance with Sue.

Ricardo an Sue announced that they have a festival in early May, it would have been nice to attend but we are in Buenos Aires. I do not have the details, as they had run out of fliers. If anyone would like to send me details, I will post them on the May events list.

We finished the evening off with the usual non alcoholic shandy in The Coracle. As usual there was lots of tango talk with thoughts of future events, so much planning happens over a pint. Eventually the landlord had to throw us out, and we were then off on the road for an all night drive.

Not  a lot seems to happen over Easter, but we did manage to find a Milonga very close to where we were camping. So Saturday night we arrived un fashionably early at The Beaufort Community Centre. We met the meastro before the start, Eduardo Bozzo and by coincidence, one of his first pupils was Juan, our friend in Buenos Aires.

The levels of the dancers was very mixed, so I am afraid we kept to ourselves throughout the dance, but there was plenty of room to move, so we could dance to our hearts content. Work commitments mean I will not get to any local Tango events until next Thursday, so to keep everyone happy here are a few photos of Saturday night.


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Not with the dancing, but about gender:

Monday was a strange day and not best suited to good tango. When I am in work I work a twelve hour day. Monday was no exception in that I worked until six. The difference this week is that the company are making some decisions around the credit crunch, and so we had a meeting to discuss our responses. I did not leave the plant until six thirty, only to be met with a horrendous traffic jam.

The traffic lights at the exit to the industrial estate had decided that they were not going to allow anyone to leave. So after a record shower, shave,  change, and eat my tea, we finally arrived in Chester at seven thirty five. (honestly I never broke the speed limit once).

Time now to calm down and enjoy. As published in my monthly list, this was to be a single class doing milonga. When everybody had paired up again there was a shortage of women. Roberta had to come to the rescue again.

People drifted in all through the class, it appears that no one had paid much attention to the schedule that Sharon had posted. This meant that soon I was sidelined again, then I was a follower, then sidelined, then a leader. This continued throughout the lesson. Finally I finished the class with Shirley, a nice way to finish.

We continued on with a practica until it was time for me to go home to bed. As always I enjoy dancing with all the women, but also it is nice to feel how they feel when I am following, it gives my dancing a whole new outlook.

Befor I finish, I must mention Patricia, she has just had a major operation. When Peter (her husband) arrived for his regular bandoneon practice, almost everyone gave him their good wishes. Anyhow it seems she is through the operation and on the road to recovery. We all wish her well and look forward to her return to tango.

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Feria de Mataderos

This has been a particularly bad tango week for me, I am working extra shifts which are accumulating for my next Argentina trip. No Tango at all this week, and it is unlikely that I will even make Dans salsa class, so as promised I will tell the story of another of my Buenos Aires Photos.

The search for a property was not going well, every place we looked at was either too far off completion or there was something we did not like. After yet another fruitless viewing we stopped in a cafe on Corrientes for coffee.

We talked about all the places that we had visited, and Pericles asked if we had been to The Feria de Mataderos yet. “Never heard of it ” we said. Pericles said it was on every Sunday and we should go. He called the waiter over and asked how to get there. “it is simple” he said “just catch the no 92 collectivo (bus) on Guardia Vieja it will take you right to it”

So Sunday morning fresh from Luba’s and filled with croissants and toast, we walked the ten or eleven blocks to Guardia Vieja. Still not fully aware of how things work, we believed catching a bus would be easy. As we arrived on the street we looked for a bus stop, there was simply no sign.

As we walked up the street a number 92 passed us by, with obviously no intention of stopping. We walked fully the length of the street without seeing a single stop, and at the far end found a Jumbo (one of Argentina’s largest hypermarkets ) Viv was excited at this, as we had by now decided on our apartment which was about eight blocks away.

Viv insisted we go in and look around. Inside they had everything we might need, from fridges and micro waves to cutlery, from bedding to food. Viv at least was happy, I was not. I was getting fed up of walking up and down the street being passed by buses that had absolutely no intention of stopping for two extranjeros.

We walked back down Guardia Vieja, passed the point where we had started, when close to our apartment we saw one of the  buses  stop and someone alight. It was too late for us to catch it, but at least we could see where it had stopped. At the “bus stop” there was no sign, but a tree had once stood at this spot. All we can assume is that the stop sign had been on the tree, and there is no need to replace it, as everyone knows it was there.

So we waited at the tree stump, and sure enough in time the next 92 arrived and stopped for us, hurrah we were on a bus. No idea what to do now I asked the driver “?quanto es a Mataderos?” he threw his head back and almost spat at us “$1.60 en el moneda” we looked behind him and saw the coin machine, I stuck $1.60 in and said “uno o los dos” he just threw his head back again and said “listo” so I guess it was for the two of us.

Something else we gleaned from this exchange was, we would get no help with our destination. The bus sped away along narrow streets, we turned one way then the other, and very soon had no idea where we were. Often we would pass large gatherings of people, and debated whether this could be it, but deciding that as there were no horses, it probably was not.

Eventually we passed a large open space with market type tents and hundreds of people milling about, I asked a girl on the bus if this was the Feria de Mataderos and she said “si”.

Getting off any bus quickly is never easy, crowded Argentine collectivos are no exception, and we missed the stop. Bus stops and buses are the same the world over, when you want one, they are never around, then three come at once. I think we had to walk back from somewhere near the Andies, but eventually we arrived.

The entrance to the ferria was lined with stalls, they sold all the usual tat, but also fruit and vegetables, bread, kitchen utensils, and best of all steak butties. Viv was not enamored with the idea of eating on the street, so we dodged into a small restaurant. As usual here, when you go for a light snack you end up eating enough to make a pig sick.

When we had finished we waddled off with our bellies dragging, to see some of the sights. At the centre of everything was a stage and as we passed a band were just finishing a tango number. We were suprised to see them pack up afterwards, not much of a show  I thought. Five minutes later a different band were on playing folk music, this went on all afternoon, there was a different band every fifteen minutes.

Further down the road the gauchos were riding their horses, going like lunatics and taking something off a scaffold as they passed. Somebody stood by and judged them as they did this and somehow one of them was judged the winner.

At the end of a long enjoyable day we had to catch the bus back. We were now ready for the moneda, and got on the bus like we did it every day.  It was now approaching rush hour and as we made our way back into town the bus got more and more crowded. Everything was ok until a drunken youth got on, he fell about causing chaos, he was poked at every turn by irate old ladies with sticks. Then he threw up over the back of one old dear, this proved too much for her and she attacked him with her stick, kept beating him until she pushed him off at the next stop, without waiting for the bus to come to a standstill.

As we came into town I realised that we were on a different route to when we left, now I had no idea where I was, I recognised nothing. Then we passed Gascon (I saw the street sign) and again we missed the stop. It is probably fortunate that we have come to enjoy long walks in Buenos Aires as yet again it seemed to take an age to get to the next stop.

Finally; Check out the video of the little guy with the big horse.


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