Of Mice and men!

You can only do so much planning, in the end, luck and experience decide how your day will go.

I knew it was a tight schedule, to do a demo at a tea dance right after a night shift, but the way my shift worked out it was the only way. The crowd at The Lache had repeatedly asked us, so we had said that as a Christmas special we would give a demo. I will be working when they have the Christmas dinner so this week was my only chance.

We had practiced,carefully chosen the music and then saved it on a CD-RW. I had spent a lot of time over the music, I wanted something more exciting like D’Arienzo, but as we had milonga and Vals I agreed with Viv and we instead went for the beauty of Poema and Canaro, for the Vals it just had to be Pobre Flor and Alfredo DeAgelis, while for the milonga we again chose Canaro  and Reliquias Porteñas. 

Our clothes had been carefully prepared and were waiting on hangers in suit bags. All the preparations done Viv had moved everything into the car, all I had to do now was get up and showered. Waking from a night shift is never a pleasant experience but with half an hour to get out, I showered shaved had a sandwich and we were soon out on the road.

We arrived with fifteen minutes to spare, just time to do a sound check and set up ready for people to arrive. (although I cannot get here regularly, Viv has become part of the crew and collects the entrada and gives  out the raffle tickets).

I put my disc in the machine, then disaster, “no disc” I took it out again and tried it in the other tray “no disc” cleaned it, tried again “no disc”. Tony tried the disc I had given him with tango tracks on, that played fine, but I could not make him understand how this would not work for us. Quite apart from now wanting to dance to Poema, his disc had no Vals or milonga on it. There was no choice but to rush home and get the originals. This of course meant I would get no warm up dancing done and quite possibly miss the tea, still it had to be done.

As I left the A483 exit, I had a sudden panic; Viv had locked the house and I did not have the keys. Fortunately though she had thrown them in the tray in the car, so panic over I set about finding the discs. I do not normally use the discs, as all my music is now on computer and I simply play from lists. It took me some time to find what I wanted and then had to choose another milonga. At great risk of receiving a speeding ticket I arrived back with five minutes to spare.

The most difficult part now was letting Tony know which tracks to play as we now had three separate discs. All went well until Pobre Flor, the D’Angelis CD was a double disc and I had given him the wrong one, it took three attempts to get the right track. It was my mistake but I had at first blamed Tony, he, fortunately is so laid back, it never bothered him. Everyone seemed to enjoy it even though it was not like Strictly, but Viv had left the following introduction on the tables:

During the tea break Bob and Viv will perform a small demonstration of Argentine Tango.

The type of tango you may have seen on “Strictly” is called Show Tango. The couple are taught a routine which they then practise over and over until it is perfect. This type of tango is not generally danced in Argentina, except in shows for tourists.

The type of tango Bob and Viv dance is called Salon Tango, which is purely an improvised dance, no routines are ever learnt, Bob makes it up as he goes along and Viv has to follow. Viv never knows what Bob is going to do next (unfortunately Bob doesn’t know what he’s going to do next either). This is the tango that is danced in the clubs in Argentina.

I got a lot of questions like; do you really not know what you are going to do next? and of course, How does she know what to do? By now you, of course know the answers, but one for which I did not know was; What is that funny thing she does with her fingers, is it some kind of communication? I was asked this more than once. I guess it must have been nerves, though  I never noticed when we were dancing, Just something else for us to work on I suppose.


Filed under Tango

6 responses to “Of Mice and men!

  1. Anthony White

    Good read Bob!!

    Keep it up


  2. Anna

    Glad it worked fine in the end. I don’t trust rewritable CDs, they never seem to work right. Viv’s written introduction was a good idea.

  3. tangobob

    Yes Janis I wore a suit and tie, we took a change of clothes with us so that we surprised them when we came out.
    Nobody recorded it, Frankie said she would have but forgot her camera.
    And yes my nerves were shot, not so much the day, but not enough sleep and all the rushing around. I prefer to use my computor for the music but it does not always fit in with other peoples sound systems, but as you say Cherie, once we were dancing everything else is forgotten.

  4. In my experience, the biggest problems in performing are always technical–sound, light, floor, etc.–and never about the dancing.

    I’m sure it all came off great, but it must have been horrible on your nerves.

  5. jantango

    You started my day off with a chuckle. Sounds like it was Murphy’s law that day.

    What I really want to know is did you wear a suit and tie for the big demo and did someone record it?

  6. Well done for pulling it off despite the hiccups! Having organised events before I can certainly relate to the panic attacks you mentioned…

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