Tag Archives: Pant

Building Bridges

It was not without some trepidation that we returned to Pant. I have not been since we left the Chester class and I had no idea the reception we would get. Of course the longer I left it the harder it was going to be for me; so it was time to bite the bullet, so to speak and see if I would be as welcomed as promised.

To be fair the reception we did get was warm, whilst I was having some trouble overcoming my nervousness, nobody else seemed to notice.

The music as always was good, only one track as a sop for the Nuevo crowd, but more of that later.

Everyone was so welcoming, wanting to know where we had been and what we had been up to.

It was a joy to see Carlos there; it gave me a chance to practice my Argentine Spanish and Viv a chance to dance again with a Porteño. I will not list names as I am bound to miss some out, but suffice it to say there were many old friends and every one was a joy to dance with.

My chance to practice came when a Chris Rea track came on; Carlos was puzzled thinking it was a Cortina. I am not going to complain as it was good to have a chance to rest, and of course, a chance to practice my lunfardo. As the next track came on he was up again and dancing with Viv and I grabbed the next available woman. All was well with the world and I lost myself again to the music.

I have lost track of the time we have been away, and many of those ladies who had been struggling when I was last here now danced with a confidence that gave no clue as to how they used to dance. Never the less when they asked “how was my dancing” they seemed not to believe me when I said “wonderful”. I am not a part of the teaching here now, so I am not about to coach as I dance, but I do not lie easily, so you ladies must trust me when I say how good you are.

Finally when it was time to leave, we said our goodbyes, but I could not leave without saying goodbye to Sharon. She unfortunately was dancing; I hope that my nod to her across the floor was enough to start the bridge building. I am not the quintessential people person and as such must move slowly. We will start with a nod attend a few more milongas and see where we go.

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One tired Milonguero

Twelve hour shifts and Tango never did go well together, so I arrived at Saturdays milonga not in the best condition to dance. As usual we arrived early to set up Viv’s shoe stall and help where I can in the setting up.

The dancers arrived slowly at first as I warmed myself on the wall heaters. When there were ladies to dance with, they either danced with their partners or disappeared to look at the shoes. My rest did not last long though, soon enough I was up dancing and from then on there were just too many women.

My heart was not in it however and when I danced with Sharon she complained that I was sleeping on her. (I must qualify this as I have been taken to task before; it was not really a complaint just my way of saying she noticed I was not totally there)

Then a milonga came on and I was alive again, the music always lifts me and can drag me out of the deepest stupor. I whisked Viv around the room and for around nine minutes I was lost in the music.

A tanda of DiSarli was what really finally brought me alive, Sharon has spent all the money she has made from the milongas on a new sound system and now it was really paying dividends, suddenly it sounded like we are in Buenos Aires not some village hall in Shropshire and I am grateful for a little taste of heaven.

It was nice to see everyone sticking to the line of dance at last, and I never saw anyone trying to teach on the dance floor, it could be because I was semi comatose but I suspect that everyone is finally understanding the difference between classes, practices and milongas. I did however see the odd case of kicking as someone tries to execute something they saw on you tube and has no idea how to do properly. I let it pass this time as every thing was going so well and you can only change so much at once.

I think I managed to get around most of the women there, but again for those I missed, I probably could not even see you through my haze, so please accept my apologies.

After two weeks of appalling weather I was surprised that more did not turn up, I think that there were perhaps two dozen there, the hall could accommodate easily three times that amount. Personally I was desperate to dance after the amount of dances that have been cancelled, so that even though I was tired I needed my fix. Dancing is my drug of choice and I was getting serious withdrawal symptoms. You need only look at my dance diary                       01 January 2010  and see the amount of red text to see how many nights we have missed.

By the end of the night I was really in no fit condition to drive home, but I had enjoyed myself and yet again I have to say that those who missed it really did miss a great night.

My thanks to those who helped Sharon pack up, as I said; I was in no condition to help.

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More Pant Photos

My Thanks to Mike for sending me more photos of the Pant Milonga. By the time these were taken many had left, but we still have all the old die hards here.

I want to initiate The  Tangogales award for services to dance right here. It will be awarded on a purely random basis, and the decision of the judge is final (that is me).

The winner is Geoff Shone, drummer with Sounds Familiar.  I have hassled and pushed the organisers of many venues for next years dates, two weeks of the year left and nobody has yet given me any dates. Geoff quite independently has got me the dates for the first six months at Saltney Social club. Well done Geoff.

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Pant Milonga

I think word is getting out there.  It cannot be just the season, and the cold weather surely would have put some off, yet the numbers were up. Perhaps it was the offer of free bubbly to those who came with some sparkle, maybe it was Viv’s shoe collection, or maybe just maybe finally people are hearing what a good night we have when we all dance socially and in line of dance.

We arrived early to set up the shoe stall in the little side room. Viv added a little sparkle to the table in keeping with the season, but Sharon had arrived even more early, so there was little for me to do to help. (actually nothing, but I like to sound useful)

Soon we were into the dancing and it was just a whirl. I barely had time to breath between partners and Viv who complains that at other milongas she sits out too much said that she never sat down. She did have the odd break to attend to her shoes, but it left me needing to make an appointment to dance with her.

We still however get the odd one who tries to teach on the dance floor and I am afraid I was rather rude, poking someone in the ribs and saying not on the dance floor. Although many will recognise my frustration, I do realise that had that been me, I would have been incandescent with rage. The guy in question seemed to hold me no grudges, so I feel somewhat humbled.

I enjoy dancing with the beginners, they carry no baggage and will not try to do ganchos just because they think that is what I want.  I do not try to teach on the dance floor, but sometimes a total beginner will say to me “I am a beginner and do not know what to do” I always give the same instruction “always move alternate legs keep your body in front of mine, and let me worry about where your legs are” when things go wrong, as they inevitable will with a total beginner, I pass it off as my fault. Of course they don’t belive me but why ruin an enjoyable dance with retributions. This is supposed to be fun, classes are for learning, milongas are where we relax and enjoy.

Battery problems mean I did not get as many photos as I would have liked, but here is a selection, hopefully I can add more if people send them to me.

We finished with a birthday celebration for Dave, is he really almost exactly a year younger than me? Must have had a hard life. Obviously Alison does not look after him as much as Viv looks after me. Perhaps I should count my blessings more.

As always your comments are welcome, good or bad except for Dave who I have permission to insult with impunity. ( BTW  I only insult people I like, those who I do not like just get my killer stares).

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Goodbye to Julia

Julia

Julia

The London scene will soon have a bright new star, our last milonga ended up being a valedictory for Julia. Although still fairly new to tango, she has put in a lot of effort and has been a bright smiling face we will all miss. We all wish her well and have no doubt she will be welcomed in London they are lucky to be getting her.

The Pant milonga (saturday night) itself was a great success everyone enjoyed themselves; This was not just about the people but the way everyone kept line of dance, refrained from overtaking and the nuevo stuff, also everyone was here to dance. Numbers were down, but I think it is just about this time of year, late night shopping, the bad weather, and full social calendars, all help to keep people away. Maybe when they realise what they missed they will be sorry and come to the next one, still I do not want to paint a bleak picture, there were enough people there, afterall I hardly sat down.

Unusually again there were more men than women, this I think helped. Although here it has been drummed into the men that they must ask the women to dance, we still get some who do not get enough dances. Not tonight though, the only respite the women got was to dodge into the kitchen. The crowd who were here were here just to dance, and any woman who sat for more than a few minutes was soon pounced on.

I never understood why, but Viv often does not get dances, whether the new dancers are intimidated or not I do not know (although she always follows the golden rule; never criticise or try to teach in a milonga). Again though tonight she danced all night, I had to make an appointment to dance with my own wife.

We had some shoes on sale as well, this provided a welcome diversion for all. Although Viv had a small collection of womens shoes, Dave had a quite comprehensive collection with mens shoes as well, so everyone was catered for.

Towards the end of the night we had a “cake dance” for Julia, like a “birthday dance” but it was not her birthday and we felt we had to do something for her. We finished with lots of hugging and kisses. We are a close community and are always sad to see one of our number leave, but we wish her well in her new life and have told her to keep in touch.

 

If you enjoyed this or any post, please post a comment. I am always happy to hear your opinions, even if we disagree.

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Blessed

Returning to the tango theme, we are able to attend more and more venues these days. So it was we got to Shrewsbury again this week. There was a new beginners’ class starting this week, and the new intake are looking promising. Quite often there is a weakness about the bodies that takes some time to improve, but for some reason there was none of that here. I was very impressed with the standard and have an expectation that many will stick the course.

For the improvers we had a balance of men and women that meant for once that Viv had to stand out. I suggested she went to the practice room to help out with the beginners, but Sharon wanted her for demonstrating. She seemed happy enough standing at the back and having been there often myself I can understand. All these classes are merging into one with me, and for the life of me I cannot remember what we did. Sharon keeps it very interesting of course, but these days it is the new people I remember more. I enjoy the experience of dancing with different people, helping where I can, and just being part of the scene. Trouble is, I suppose, this means I learn nothing new and just go on doing what I have always done. I am perhaps being unfair on myself, stuff sticks in there, I just only remember it while I am dancing, and I’ll come back to that later.

After the class we are rejoined by the beginners, and I am surprised how many have stayed. Usually they all go home, bored with their few steps, and tired from the strain of learning them, but this lot are different, many stayed for the opportunity to practice. I got told off a couple of times by Sharon, I like to test their limits, and I suppose I went too far. Of course I did, but I was surprised how far I could take them. I moved back to simply walking and side steps very pleased at how well this was going.

 Back at The Coracle I brought this up in conversation, and everyone agreed that this was an exceptional intake. I am really looking forward to next week’s class to see if I can push them even further.

We had another milonga in Pant this week as well, I am blessed at the moment with plenty of tango. So in order to take full advantage we arrived in good time, also we needed to find a parking space where I could be sure to get out before everyone else. The first dance is of course reserved for Viv, we spin around the floor for three dances then she gets bored with me, and sends me off to dance with the other women, while she seeks out willing men

As I dance around the room I notice Viv getting agitated. She does not like bright lights when she is dancing, and the lighting here consists of one large spot aimed down the room. She thinks she has a solution and grabs a chair to stand on in order to adjust the light; of course I am co-opted to assist her. Just when she thinks it is to her satisfaction Sharon comes on the scene, and of course it is her milonga and she wants the light her way, call me a coward if you want, but when two women are at odds, this is no place for a man. It was all resolved amicably, but all goes to show, that the argument about whether we dance in the spotlight or in subdued lighting will go on and on.

As I said earlier, things come back to me when I am dancing that we have done in classes past, and this happened again tonight. We did many things with Korey, most of which just merged into the mass that collects somewhere in the back of my brain, but as I danced away things just came back and I would give a little grin as I tried a new turn here or secada or even the odd volcada that was not previously in my repertoire. Some women wonder why I smile, some even think that I am laughing at them, I try to make them understand, we do this for the joy it brings, just enjoy.

Talking of enjoyment, my love for milonga is not diminished by dancing with beginners, I had some great fun, with women who had never milongered before, little baby steps and moving down the room just by transferring weight, proved popular and easy to follow, I sometimes did not know whether I was leading an experienced dancer or a complete beginner, but I left them laughing just the same. I was loving it but all things must end, up early next day we had to go, still we will be there on Monday.

 I am looking forward to meeting the new Chester intake. Watch out for the next post.

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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.

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