Tag Archives: Ewloe

Second Bangor Tea Dance

It had snowed all night, but it was not heavy enough to stop us. We had arranged to take Katerina with us, and I had joked to Viv that if she tried to cry off, she should tell her it is far worse in Siberia.

We had allowed plenty of time and as we travelled along the A55 we realised that we would be quite early, so against my instincts I tried to drive slowly, but we were still three quarters of an hour early outside Penrallt Baptist Church. We still had a parking place to find, but this would not take long.

As we turned the first corner we passed Sharon walking up, she had not yet arrived herself.

When we got in my first job, as always, is to make Viv a coffee (hang on, wasn’t it me doing the driving?)  Anyway, Sharon was in a state of stress and not ready for us. She must have snapped at me because she apologized for it, rather sweetly later. I honestly never noticed, it must be because I have lived all my life in families full of women. The thing is I know I am of little use at times like this, so I made the coffee and got out the way, and ate the sandwich Viv had made me for lunch.

All the usual Bangor crowd soon arrived, along of course with Anna and John, always great to see these two, their energy is what I think keeps Tango Bangor going, along with them they brought Leo, who sat there happily googooing.

When the class started there was the usual excess of women so Viv was let out holding the baby. I don’t know who looked the most happy Viv or Leo.

This did not last though, as the class struggled to do double time to a Vals beat (there are a lot of absolute beginners here) Leo got fed up with a substitute mother and decided he wanted the real thing back. This sort of ruined my first dance with Anna, but I know my place in this pecking order.

As usual after the class everyone stuffed themselves with cake, and it was hard to drag anyone away from all the lovely food to dance. It also makes it very hard for me, still struggling with my weight, though I admit to partaking of the odd crumb or two. Ok a big slab of chocolate cake and coated end of the chocolate Swiss roll. Somehow I always seem to drop a pound or two whenever I fail, so I am not too upset at my lack of discretion.

Soon enough we were all dancing, one or two of the first timers were a bit nervous as I took them on the floor, but I was gentle with them. I find it incredible here that people who have never danced before will stay and enjoy the social afterwards, and the men will actually ask the women to dance. There is hope out there with our student generation.

Bangor is unusual in the dance scene, in that as it is a University Town the crowd tends to be much younger than in say, Chester or Shrewsbury. Although they are, or maybe because they are younger they are full of enthusiasm and lacking any inhibitions. The fact that Viv and I are so much older seems to worry them not at all.

A great time was had by all and I am saddened to see that I must work the next one on 6th March, it was a good run but as any shift worker will tell you, you grab these things when you can.

On our drive home I was able at last to unleash the horses, that is, until the snow again pulled the traffic into another disorderly queue, with my wipers battling against the rising spray.

We had to get home you see, because we were out again at Ewloe social club that evening, for the Finches the dancing never ends.

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It isn’t just the weather

Moving away from tango for a bit, I thought a few words about general dancing were needed here due to the low attendances we have been getting.

Those of you who watch my dance diary will have noticed there is an absence of events that have been filled in. I cannot be held responsible if the people running these events do not let anyone know what is happening.

Anyway right up until the end of the year we pestered the committee at Ewloe to give us future dates, so that when we fought our way through the snow-covered roads this Wednesday the only reason we knew that there was a dance on was because we had seen Roy Peters and Geoff Shone at Saltney Social Club before Christmas. (They were also performing at Ewloe Wednesday night).

So it came as little surprise that when we arrived only one other couple were there. Our friends Doreen and Ralf also turned up but that was it. The committee blamed the weather for the poor attendance, maybe that had some effect, but if no-one knew it was on, is it any surprise that nobody came?

We had a great night with our personal band “all request Wednesday”, and of course we had to get up for every dance, it was afterall our requests. As we left Roy told us he would be on in Llay British Legion Saturday. I was horrified because Llay is no longer a regular event, nobody knew it would be on and they will simply not advertise.

I would be on nights Thursday and Friday so I could not get to any other events to spread the news. Come Saturday, and we told Steve it would be on so he would come with his wife. The only others we could contact were Joan and Eric, so we elected to give them a lift.

So how many were there? yes thats right, six. Had we not braved the snow on Wednesday there would have been none. Dances just cannot continue like this.

We made a fuss and managed to reach a guy called Tom who is in charge of entertainments at Llay. It seems he is constrained on how he runs the venue, the committee will not let him organise regular dances, but the room can be booked.

A long conversation ensued and we may well have a solution. I am not yet in a position to give further information yet, but I am hopeful we can arrange regular dances in the future. Watch this space for an exclusive………

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End of an Era

On this blog I know I post mainly about Tango, but as I have said before, on  a Wednesday we normally go social dancing. We go to a small, well run social club called The Ewloe Social club. It is much like the clubs de barrio that I love so much in Buenos Aires, the clientel likewise are aging, mostly in their seventies and eighties.

The act on a Wednesday consists of two men known affectionately as Deryk and Geoff. Deryk plays the organ and Geoff the drums. There is a banter all night with each other and the audience, the entertainment goes far beyond just dance music.

They are both in their eighties and, as you can imagine have had a few health scares. Now though they have decided to call it a day, after twenty five years of playing the club. Unfortunately I cannot be there for their last performance, that work thing gets in the way again. Perhaps it is just as well, Viv would be in tears , and I think I  may have  been as well (very un british).

Viv, myself, Doreen, Ralf,  along with all the club will miss them terribly, hopefully they will come back and visit us often.


Deryk and Geoff

Deryk and Geoff

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Korey Ireland

Those close to me will know why I have not posted for a while, but I hope those who do not know the reasons will forgive me.

This has been an awesome week on the tango front, even more so for my wife, who was able to attend the milonga on Sunday and the Monday Class in Chester. This of course means Viv has had five tango events this week, lucky girl.

Korey Ireland has come to visit us, and this has prompted me to travel to venues that I normally do not attend, and to get three sessions in a week where I have to miss one of my regulars. Tuesday is when the twice monthly Bangor sessions are, too far to travel normally, this week by luck it falls in my rest days, so I am able to make the journey. We set off in bright sunshine, along my usual route towards where we join the A55 at Ewloe. The fair weather was not to last; as we approached the coast, the mountains that protect us from the worst of the weather were now forcing the clouds to yield their watery load, before they reach our inland haven. The mist had dropped, we were plunged into a premature night, and the roads were suddenly lashed with rain.

The traffic on the A55 was heavy as usual, but fortunately, this time, it kept moving, if a little slowly, and we arrived in good time at the house of John and Anna. Their house, stands in the midst of a terrace, with a view of Bangor University, and the sea beyond. The road outside was filled with parked cars, the only break being the entrance to Johns parking space. Now I don’t claim to be a genius or anything, but why did no one else work out that as we were paying good money to have Korey at his house, John was going nowhere. So I just blocked his driveway off.

Inside John was sat at the top of the stairs waiting for Anna, who was in the bedroom settling down Leo. A couple more of us waited at the bottom, because Korey was giving a private lesson in the lounge.

Once we were allowed into the lounge I noticed that they had got rid of the shelving units, which took so much off the room. They have an excellent wooden floor, but it is still a small area, so they had restricted the class to four couples, just enough for the size of the room, and allowed Korey to give us all good feedback.

How he achieves it is a mystery to me, but somehow he gave us all something to work on, even though the abilities were so mixed. He gave me an interesting move, involving sidesteps and turns. There was nothing here I had not done before, but I had never used it in this way before, certainly not to achieve full rotation. While his corrections to my posture will no doubt be weakened in time, as my body fights back to do what it wants and not what it has been taught, the move he gave us will continue to be part of my repertoire, and join my favourites.

As always a class with Korey was a great experience, but the best thing about the night was a chance to dance with Anna again. Maybe I am speaking out of turn but I think Viv also enjoyed a chance to dance with John again as well, and hopefully John and Anna enjoyed dancing with us as well.

I fell off the wagon though I’m afraid, I have been successfully loosing weight now for a couple of months, but that cream cake, it was just too much, and the fat fairy made me pay heavily. Life is so cruel.

Wednesday we have a long standing arrangement, where we dance with the locals at Ewloe. It is purely social, no tango, just sequence and ballroom. But Korey was in town, so we broke the rules and headed off instead to Gobowen.

We arrived early because we had a private lesson arranged, too early it seems. As we crossed the road from the station car park Sharon and Korey drove by, themselves not yet there. The scout hut was open already, the local karate group were just packing up, and to save locking up had waited for us. As we passed in the doorway they asked what we were there for “tango” I said “like karate but we don’t hit each other” they seemed happy with this explanation and left. I think I frightened them off. GRRRRR.

We had no idea what we wanted from this class, Korey had seen us dance at Bangor and we hoped he had some ideas. Fortunately he did, he had noticed some deficiencies in both of us and quickly gave us some exercises to sort out our problems. One of my biggest problems is occasionally leading with my leg, this has been pointed out before, but no one had so clearly identified the times I was doing it or what best to do to sort it out. Viv has a tendency to lift her heels and this also needed sorting. By the end of our hour I think our connection had greatly improved and the lead was definitely better.

Towards the end of the class people started to arrive for the workshop and soon the place was filled with expectant faces, all waiting to see what was to come. They were not disappointed; soon we were all spinning like dervishes

Not entirely sure what we learned from this except some detail around the dynamic. Everyone enjoyed it however and again there was some improvement in the connection of all.

Soon we were back into the practica, and as usual I made an effort to get around as many women as possible. I worry sometimes that some women feel that I am trying to get away, but I always feel obliged to dance with as many as possible, so if any feel that I gave them too short a time I am sorry but time is always so short. My last dance with Alison was also cut short; Korey played some Gotan, and while I enjoy it sometimes and some of their tunes are danceable, but usually it does not inspire me to dance. This time it was a chance for Korey to show off and play the bandoneon along with the track, so I took the opportunity to just listen to the music. Dave (Alison’s partner for those not paying attention) like me is fussy about what music he will dance to, so Alison understood, and we agreed to continue our dance tomorrow at Shrewsbury.

I think we achieved a terrific amount with Korey and I made a point of thanking him before we left, hopefully it will not be too long before he returns, this group has come a long way in a short time and benefits greatly from quality teachers like Hayden and Korey.

For our final tango of the week we returned again to Shrewsbury. We were a little late, it is always difficult to arrive early when we have an hours drive, but there is only one class tonight with plenty of practice time, so we missed nothing.

Sharon was doing some milonga stuff, so I was having a great time. She brings new things back with her every time she returns from Nijmegen and tonight was no exception.

Lots of double time tested my leading to the full; I think the things I had learned with Korey were helping. It also tested the ladies and I think some of the newer dancers really struggled especially when they were with less experienced leaders. Still nobody said tango was easy.

Great for me, we had plenty of milonga in the practica, and I got to finish that dance with Alison. By ten thirty I was well ready for that drink in The Coracle. As usual we talked tango, but tonight we were accompanied by The Beatles Help on the bar television. Quite amazing the rubbish the film makers used to make as a front to push someone commercial. Thankfully we have got a bit more sophisticated now ( ok don’t mention Spiceworld).

Viv has finally decided we will not be returning to BsAs this October, I know we have many friends who will be sad to miss us, but believe me, I am gutted. Still only four more years before I can spend much more time there. We will have to arrange lots of tango while I am off, and perhaps another Gresford milonga? Watch this space.

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