Tag Archives: Oswestry

Sally and Carlos Wow them

I know it’s the same old story, but I was tired again. Up at five and a twelve hour shift takes it’s toll, When we go to Shrewsbury there is no time for a rest, so I have tea, shower, change and we are straight out again. I am not a good passenger, especially in my own car, but Viv drove as at least it would give me a chance to shut my eyes for half an hour. We had to stop for fuel in Oswestry and when we get to Shrewsbury I had to direct Viv through the town, so my period of rest was short and disturbed. Nowhere near the fifty minutes that the journey has taken. Never the less I got some refreshment and felt slightly more human by the time we arrived.

We are late and there is not much pre class practica time left, so I got straight in and danced with a couple of women. Soon enough Dave took centre stage and announced the class was starting. Sally and Carlos have again graced us with their presence and they joined along with everyone else.

Tonight Dave was explaining to the class about the structure of tango music, and how it is arranged into eight walking beat phrasing. We do little actual dancing, it is more about moving to the music and pausing so that we can move off again on the first beat. When we changed partners Carlos seemed to understand enough of what was going on to be happy changing along with the rest of us. I think he enjoyed dancing with all these new women and they certainly seemed to enjoy dancing with him. As he understood the music already so getting a handle on what was happening in the class was not such a great problem for him.

Many teachers in this country teach the basic eight, and miss the whole point by not linking it to the musical phrasing. Rather than walk, for some of the time, I did the basic eight occasionally with those women who were comfortable with it. Not constantly but it gave them some idea of why it exists.

After the class we returned to the practica, and again I saw Carlos happily dancing with as many women as he could. When it was Viv’s turn she accepted with relish and was lost back in Buenos Aires for a while.

The better leaders tend to avoid dancing with Viv in the class for the same reason I do; we come here to help the beginners so there is little point in dancing together, still the chance to dance with someone straight from Buenos Aires is not to be missed.

I meanwhile was busy dancing with as many as I could, but again I could not pass up a chance to dance with Sally, we even got a couple of milongas in just for good measure.

Sally has come to the UK to celebrate her parents golden wedding anniversary this coming weekend. She has been asked to give a demo in front of a hundred people, so being the kind people we are, we said she must have a practice in front of a group of friends first, just to warm up.

Rather than try to do something too showy, they elected to dance as they normally do, hopefully this will show the world what real tango is. Every one here was impressed but despite me shouting otro they did not do an encore. I look forward to the hoards of people coming to the lantern after Saturday wanting to learn tango as it is danced in the milongas after being wowed by Sally and Carlos.

After the class we again retired to The Coracle, my tiredness completely forgotten, the dancing had again lifted me out of my torpor.

Once there the conversation again revolved around tango and the music. Carlos was sat, again looking baffled, unable to grasp anything that was said, so I thought I would ask him what he thought of Gales. This would be a good opportunity to practice my Spanish skills. He said it is totally different from Buenos Aires, the city is crowded and noisy, where as Wales is open green and quiet.

 He asked about my home and if that is also different from my apartment in Buenos Aires, so I told him about my bungalow and little garden. One thing I had to put him right on was the weather; he said it gets really cold in Buenos Aires in the winter. We were there in the “big freeze” in 2007 and I told him I was amused by people wrapping up and rushing out to take photos of the snow, he looked shocked when I told him about how the snow would come up to first floor level at our old house in Gwynfryn. I did not know the word for snow plough and neither did Sally, I guess they have never had a need for such a word.

I am afraid I cannot carry on too long in Spanish, I am not a great linguist and struggle, but it was good to get some practice before my next visit.

I had a secret chat with Sally as well, I hope I am OK to let it out here as I expect her to announce Saturday night her intention to get married. There will be, I know, a mountain of bureaucratic problems for them in Argentina but I wish them all the best and I am sure that they will be happy together. I know the others would also have wished them well if they had known.

Soon we had to go, everyone here would be tucked up in their beds long before we get home, and it had been a long day. We will not see Sally and Carlos again before they return so we kissed and wished them well and said we must meet again in October. Carlos reminds me a lot of Juan but at least we were spared the tears at our parting, I love the Argentine way, the hugs, the kisses, the way that they wear their heart on their sleeve sometimes though it is just a bit too much although it is always nice to know they care.


Filed under Dance Venues and Schools, milonga

Old Freinds

Pressure of work is delaying my posts, so let me apologise for the lateness of my posting before I start. There are a number of posts due but they must wait until I have time.

The drive to Pant is mainly large straight roads, the first part dual carriageway until we join the A5. This section past Gobowen and Oswestry is where the A453 and A5 are the same road, and as such is usually heavily trafficked. I was not in a hurry, we had left in good time and I was free to enjoy the trip even though we had travelled this way earlier in the day when we had danced in the street. After Oswestry the A5 splits away and the A483 becomes a more picturesque country road. Pant is only about three miles further on, an old English village with fine old houses hanging precariously from the hillside, next to more modern abodes that have been built with little regard to cost. A modern single story community centre sits to the left of the road next to an old fashioned red telephone box and opposite the well stocked village shop. In the foyer is a memorial to the war dead that makes the place look more like a cemetery, but the place is otherwise bright and welcoming. From the windows you can look out to the hill opposite where someone has carved owls and other statues out of old trees. Sharon was busy preparing the room when we arrived, we were early and able to help sort the food, fill the tea urn and set the tables. Others were arriving while we were busy and all waded in to help.

Sharon still had to man the desk as people were arriving and wanted to pay, so I was surprised to hear some familiar voices from the front. I peered out through the hatch and there at the desk was Atilla our old teacher (old as in from the past not aged) and Margret one of my favourite partners from Wilmslow. They soon came to help in the kitchen, always a favourite spot, and we had a chance to catch up on old times. Margret is now helping with the class, and she tells us has finally persuaded her husband to take up tango. I was glad of this news for two reasons; firstly we always need more leaders, but purely selfishly I did not want to loose Margret, as we loose so many women because there husbands got fed up of them being out every night on there own.

When the music started I danced the first tanda with Viv, as is only right and proper, but this was going to be a busy night for me. So many women, so little time, just as well it would not give me time to go back into the kitchen. (still trying to loose weight)

The next tanda I determined to dance with Atilla. I have an irrational fear of dancing with her, I suppose because she was teacher for so long and I feel all the time that I must be doing something wrong. I need not worry she knows the place for teaching is not the milonga and would never pull me up while on the dance floor, but still my insecurity makes me worry.

Atilla accepted my invitation graciously and stood up as I came to her table. She is of Chinese origin. Although she has the look she is very tall and stands well over me even without her heels. Early thirties about six foot slim and elegant, she is striking and cannot enter anywhere unobserved, even when she is not known, but here she is known as the best tango teacher in the northwest and I know if I lead anything and she does not follow it is my fault.

We dance a wonderful tanda (well for me, I cannot speak for her) but soon it is over, and I congratulate myself on overcoming my foolish fears. Next I chose Margret, she also is very tall, I have never understood why the best men are short and fat while the best women are tall and slim, maybe it is just my perception. Flowing shoulder length brown hair, slim with an ever present warm smile, we dance off across the floor. Very soon though she is complaining, It seems that she can hardly stand the floor is too slippery. She is happier after scraping her shoes and we finish the tanda with a flourish.

As the night wore on I hardly sat down, I of course returned to my wife often, why again not many men chose to dance with her I do not know, but I had too many women with whom I had to dance. I suspect I smelled like an old tramp by the end, I was sweating so much but no one complained.

When we finally left the kitchen was full, so we were able to leave the domestics to others this time. I was exhausted but happy and thankful to have danced again with some old friends, and appreciative that they had travelled so far for us. Atilla asked if we would be at any of her weekends, but unfortunately all of them are on weekends when I am working, such is the life of a frustrated Milonguero. We may yet meet again in the winter though, heres hoping.


Filed under Dance Venues and Schools, milonga

Dancing in the street

The pavements in Oswestry are very good,, hard, and concrete, but level and reasonably smooth. We had been asked to give a demo outside a shop, we were confused. We thought it was some sort of health shop or maybe sustainable products, but it turned out to be a tatoo and piercing studio. The show was not even for this shop, but a fancy dress hire and buy shop up the road. It was just hosted here because of the area of pavement in front.

We had expected to find many more tango dancers here but when we arrived there was only Sharon and a man who attends Gobowen. Things were not going well, the PA system would not work and the crowd were dispersing. Just when we thought it would all fall apart the sound came on and we had a fashion show, times gone by. There was everything from Fred Flintstone and Betty to Roman gladiators.

When the show was over it was time for the break dancers. It was now near the time when we should have been on, it looked like everything was running late, and no other tango dancers were about to arrive. A guy in a purple suit stood in the centre doing break dance stuff and trying to sound like an LA black guy. This was good, at least they would not be too disapointed when we came on. Don’t celebrate too soon! The guy runs classes for kids and soon he had a teem of children doing their stuff, and they were good, very good. A couple of older lads joined and they had a “baddle” they did handstands and head spins, that russian kicking thing. It was all too much for the guy from Gobowen, he did not want to perform now, but that would have left Sharon without a partner “just walk” we said “nobody will know the difference, but he was not for joining us.

There was another fashion show before our tango event, I think everyone was looking for an escape route, but I had put my suit on and Viv was dressed up for the show. Nobody was going to belive we were just casual wachers.

Sharon managed to get a lady from the shop to agree to join us. So at least there were four of us. When we started the guy from Gobowen agreed to do one dance with Sharon, Viv and I did our best to draw attention away from the now struggling Sharon, especially when she was joined by the lady from the shop. She had never had a tango lesson in her life,.

After a couple more dances, we swapped partners, trying to look good with someone who had never danced before was difficult, but she was game. Then we had some milonga, I danced with Sharon, but it was difficult, she had street shoes on and could not move well, but we gamely did our bit. For the next tune I wanted to dance with Viv, but she would have none of it, Sharon by now had had enough, so left totally partnerless, I had no alternative but to retire.

The salsa dancers were after us, and they too were having problems, only four of them turned up as well. Actually it looked quite good doing rueda with just four people.

Viv would not join me with them. Sharon had to go and get the hall ready for the night, so we all just dissapeared, to get ready for Saturday nights Milonga.

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Filed under Dance Venues and Schools, milonga


This week we have an additional report, as we had a Milonga in Gobowen.

For those who do not know, Goboewen is just off the A5 (A483) coming from Wrexham before Oswestry. The Milonga was held in the Scout Hut, I do not know when it was built , but it looks in very good condition and the floor is superb,

I have been here before and it is typical of all Scout huts inside, however Sharon had done a great job in transforming the place. It is amazing what she had done with a few sheets of material, some tablecloths and fairy lights. Sorry I forgot my camera, so no pictures.

The crowd was a good mix, being where it was, people were pulled from Chester, Shrewsbury and all areas inbetween. Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening, and I think I managed to dance withe very lady there.

A good thing about this crowd is that there is no snobbery. The mix of more advanced and beginner level dancers all gel well together, with the better dancers happy to pass on their experience, without the usual stopping to teach, that I see at other venues.

I have but one grouse: Tango venues are few and far between and the number of punters is small. So why does someone organise an event in Chester on the same night? There are not enough of us to support two venues on the same night, and we do not have enough venues that we can afford to have two running at once. Please talk to one another we cannot afford to split such a small community.

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