Tag Archives: practica

What a send off

Well as our trip to Buenos Aires fast approaches, we held our final practica of the year. I don’t know if they are trying to tell me something, but it was the best yet.
They came for far and wide and we had a great atmosphere. As usual though there was more eating and conversation than Tango, but everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Last dance of the year at Casa Gresford, was really something special, thanks to all who came.
Everything that can be sold is now gone, and today anything of value goes into safe storage so that we can leave the place without too much worry. The heating is set, just have to pack my bags.
Firstly though, there is the small matter of DJing in Shrewsbury this Friday. I will be wearing my Christmas jumper, as I will have no use for that in the southern hemisphere. So if you want to hear my music for a last time, see me looking daft, or just say goodbye, we will be at Morris Hall this Friday evening.
After that it is goodbye cold UK and off to sunny climes.
Watch out for the Buenos Aires posts. Coming soon to a computer near you.

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Soy Jubilado

Don’t you think that the Spanish for “I am retired” sounds so much better than the english?

Well, everyone said “You will wonder how you found time to work”. As you can tell, I wonder how I ever found time to blog. Life is hectic for the newly retired Bob.
I seem to be out dancing every day, not always tango, that is true, but out just the same. My biggest problem now will be the fuel bill. You see there is little if any Tango near me so I spend hours in the car travelling to other milongas.
I have to say they are all making me welcome and the trend is definitely heading towards more traditional music, so I am happy.
My monday crowd are less so, although they have had an unbroken run now for four months, it will soon come to an end as we embark on our great trek.
Talking of which it is only four weeks now before we go. My rucksack is packed. I know I normally pack last thing, but I have been out walking with it all. I need to know I can carry it.

Tonight we are off to another dance, on another night when I should have been working. I know that any time soon I am going to receive calls to retitle my blog. How can I call it “The life of a frustrated milonguero” when i am out dancing so much? Well I suppose we will just have to say it is historic, best to keep the title to remind me of the days when I worked nearly every weekend and so many nights.
If life starts to get me down I can look back and say “actually things are much better now”.

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French fun

Someone told me it was Bastille day on Sunday. Well I need little excuse to dress up and when I was brought a stripe shirt and onion string I was off.
The trouble was I was working this Monday and Viv had her dress rehearsal for the tap show in Wrexham. Still the show must go on and we just went ahead anyway.
I had a disappointment when Tango Stafford cancelled, I was really looking forward to welcoming them to our little suare.
I tried to sleep when I got home, but unusually I could not manage it. I think with Viv not being there I was worried about not waking.
Then I had some great news; our friends Roger and Mirta were going to come.
Well we had some french colours, a french maid, and of course LeClerc cunningly disguised as an onion seller. A good head count despite.
Our entrada is all used to buy food and drinks, but despite two extra bottles of wine arrived, as did macaroons extra drinks french pastries and other sundries that I cannot recall at this moment. Our every reliable neighbour brought a curry. It became another positive calorie event.
Vivs rehearsal finished early, apparently they did the finale first. So by nine we had a dozen and we managed to fill the dance floor.
It always seems that whenever I expect a flat night, our friends come around and lift us to new levels.
Sadly we had to send Roger away earlier than we would normally would have, I still had to get up next morning. Hopefully the sales pitch I was throwing at him all night will bring him back soon.
So that is it, I am now exploring Google and looking for a theme for every event. Next one; The rat catchers ball. International Rat Catchers day 22 nd of July, I am not making this up, it is true check google. So all you Pied Pipers come along and enjoy the fun. Best of all, next week I am off work, so whatever, I can keep the party going all night if you can hold on.

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Bob’s Daily

I am often asked for advice from people who want to visit Buenos Aires. I may not be the number one expert, but I have been a few times and I am close at hand. So as such I am a handy source of information.

In fact I have been asked so often that I wrote a daily guide that I am happy to pass on. Recently I was approached again for information and I suddenly realized how many milongas have closed, so I am reluctant to pass it on at the moment.

Our next visit is now just a week away and it will seem like a totally new adventure as we explore what venues are still open. Many of our old haunts are closed, there are some new ones open and there are doubts about many others.

So for anyone who now wants information I would ask that you are patient. I will update my daily guide when I return. In the meantime keep your eyes on my blog. As always I will endeavor to publish daily while I am in Buenos Aires and you can see immediately what success we have and the places we go.

We arrive on 3rd of May, so expect the first blog soon after.

Meanwhile we have our last practica on 29th April when we will say goodbye to everyone and celebrate Viv’s birthday as well. Come along if you can, we will have a whale of a time and promise no tears as we wish you all goodbye for five weeks.

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Conservatoire

Cleared Ready to dance

Ready for breakfast, table in place.A

Tape cutting Ceremony

Tape is cut Lets danceWell after months of planning and weeks of work we were finally ready to open. Just in time for Easter. It is not finished, you understand. The light fitting is on a plug (as you can see in the first photo)as I have some major work to get the supply through and the garden is not returned to condition. However we were ready to open for dancing.
The floor was warmed, the table was set and the music piped in, all we needed now was some dancers. Our first visitor said “you need a tape to cut” so Viv found some tape and I fabricated a bow.
Dancers soon arrived and before long we had a good crowd assembled.
We had our tape cutting ceremony and then we were off. I think we can declare it a success, nobody fell over my tiling and everyone enjoyed the space. There was not much dancing in the old space but at least now we are ready if we ever get a bigger crowd.
Many mini eggs were consumed, and too much chocolate by half. Well it is only Easter once a year. I have a new source of Argentine Malbec so the wine flowed. Again Gresford Tango was turned into a positive calorie event, with plenty of cake and biscuits as well.
I spent the next day tidying the garden up and cleaning the windows, so next Monday should be an even greater event, now we have a better view.
Only three more practicas until we go to Buenos Aires, so let’s enjoy ourselves. For those who cannot, for whatever reason, make these, we will see you again in June.

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Gresford Pyrotechnics

First of all I would like to thank all those who turned up for our last chance milonga. I realise it had been a beautiful couple of days and the barbeques were calling. You are all stars.

Because it was suddenly so warm and the prediction was that it would still be 12 degrees at ten o’clock, we thought tonight we could spread out into the garden.

Tea lights were lit, a sign directing people around the back was put up and the table placed outside. The table decoration that we had remade for us in the village was placed centre table. The candles in it, looked passed their best so we fitted new ones and lit them, everything looked blissful. Hopefully we had created a magical ambiance.

The dancing began and soon we were all in the dance room enjoying the music.

It was, I think during a vals that things suddenly happened. Some body said “FIRE”, at first nobody did too much. I guess we just did not realize. Then I saw flames pouring out of our table display.

I could still lift it off the table and I put it down on the gravel. Viv then poured the little houseplant watering can all over the foliage. This just made it more angry, so I grabbed the big watering can and poured about two gallons of water over the fire. A little thing it may have been, but it was a persistent little thing. So it had to stay outside for the night, just in case.

After all the excitement we just went back to the dancing. After all we are British, and we British just carry on.

The next day we examined the wreckage. It seems the candles had melted, the wax had fallen into the bottom of the bowl, and when it had reached a critical mass it had burst into flames. So in effect we had been trying to extinguish an oil fire with water, no wonder it had been so persistent.

The only redeeming factor is that, we had, this night, had everything outside. Had the table been in its normal position, the curtains probably would have gone up in flames also, and who knows what would have happened next.

 In all that excitement my carefully chosen cortinas were almost missed, “Spanish eyes” (“soon I’ll return”, and, “This is just adios and not goodbye”) “Around the world” and of course “Summer Holiday” not forgetting the inimitable “Hey we’re going toBarbados”. Cheesy, I know, but hopefully everyone will remember this night and will return when we get back in May. (I hope they remember not just the fire but instead remember the good dancing).

Until then it’s “Hasta la vista” and keep your eye out for my daily postings from Amsterdam and Buenos Aires.

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Rumours

You wonder sometimes where they all start. No? Well I do, probably because I am paranoid. Who was it said “Just because I am paranoid, it does not mean they are not out to get me”.  At least I can laugh at it all.

 

The latest rumour is that my blog is discontinued. I guess that is probably my own fault; when I started this blog there was so much to say, and say it I did. Trouble is, it is like a long relationship, eventually you run out of things to say. We are still together we just talk less. I think I have only posted twice since Christmas and I probably would not have posted this had a lady not written to me for dance details. I need someone to set me off again with talk of Nuevo music or salon verses milonguero to get me back on my fundamentalist course. Watch out for the postings in April though, I write my best when in Buenos  Aires. What can seem quite normal to the porteños appears sometimes quite bizarre to the extranjero.

 

The second rumour, and this is quite worrying, is that my Mondays have ceased. I received a mail from milongas-in.com asking me to confirm that we were no longer operating. Fortunately they will not remove someone without notifying them first. We have not had any real traffic from them, but it is nice to be there just in case. I live in the forlorn hope that someday someone like me will be in the area and trawling the net to find dance venues. It is after all the people who just want to dance that we want to come. OK and drink wine and eat cheese and generally gossip, but like all the good old milongas, we are as much about socializing as dancing. I will continue my Monday practicas as long as people want to come, unfortunately I cannot run them when I have to work nights and they will cease while we are in Buenos Aires but we will be back in May with a bang.

 

I have also heard recent talk that “Bob is not a proper teacher” Who ever said I was? Not me. I am just a spark who brings what I have learned in Buenos Aires back for those who want to experience real Argentine Tango. I give private lessons so that those same people can learn in their own way, at their own speed. I have no worries about my students visiting other teachers or learning other techniques, if your teacher does, then perhaps You should be worried. The broader your experience the better dancer you will be. My students owe me nothing, they have paid for my time and if at the end of my class they choose to take another class elsewhere, then that is their choice. However if you are happy learning tango that has little or nothing to do with Argentina, that is not my problem, but I’m afraid you will have little influence on those who demand the real thing.

 

Argentine tango comes from Argentina: The clue is in the name.

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Merry Christmas 2011

We had a huge number of promises for our Christmas party, but I never count my chickens. Still it was necessary to ensure we had enough food at the ready and drink of course.

Women just kept arriving but no men. By the time the numbers had settled we had about three times the number of women than we had men, and one of those a complete novice. This left me with a duty, to just keep dancing.

Unfortunately I was not on hand to pass out the wine, so that did not get drunk until well into the night, and theChampagne we had on ice, is still there.

Still everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and at least the women could socialise without me mythering them too much. Our neighbour brought a cake, decorated with shoes, much to Viv’s delight, and various bottles of wine and other food items arrived as well.

My playlist was well received although there were one or two comments about my Christmas tandas. Fortunately no body noticed my one mistake (A Vals in a Lomuto tanda of tangos). I have now altered the Genre in my library so that it will not happen again.

For once though most people stayed to the end and were treated to La Cumparsita followed by  Jose Feliciano singing Feliz Navidad.

Nobody ate much so Viv and I have a surplus that will keep us going for a few days to come, and, of course, we still have the Champagne. I keep trying to pass it off at our practicas but somehow it never happens, our stock of about half a dozen is still running at three bottles after the first year.  Still there is always next year, I am sure we can find something to celebrate.

So to all my readers Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo, Hope you all have a happy and relaxed Christmas. My Christmas wish? More men next year please.

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We all fall down

Well, my proud boast that I have never lost a lady yet is dead. It did not happen in tango, I hasten to add, but still I am in disgrace.

It all started with Viv saying “It is all getting too serious, we should have some other music”. So we decided to do a Club Fulgor and have a “Tropical” section in the middle.

I chose a variety of music, Cha cha, Salsa, meringue, just something lively to ring the changes.

We had takers for the cha cha, but no one for the meringue. So Bob the hero got up and said “I will show you”. “Just step, one, two, three, four, and I will lead you around”. It all went very well until; I had the lady behind me and spun her around. Her shoe flew off. She lost balance and I attempted to keep hold.

I suspect I saved her from injuring her wrists by keeping hold of her arms, but it did nothing to save her from the fall. Then ignominiously I crashed down besides her.

Fortunately we did not have a big crowd this week, so my embarrassment was not too great.

Fortunately we have not joined the litigation culture and we had a good laugh about it, but meringue is off the play list for a while.

Today we compared bruises, well I kept mine hidden. I am not exactly a Chippendale and my bruise is in a place reserved for Vivs viewing only.

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Careful what you wish for

I’m tired.  We have just come from a marathon dancing trip to Llandudno, followed by our usual night out at Ewloe. Perhaps I should not be so tired, as apart from Viv , I was the youngest  there. I wonder sometimes where they all get their stamina.

It was on the bus travelling out there that I started to wonder “when did I lose my enthusiasm for the seaside?”  When I was a child, it was somewhere we went maybe once a year. It was a great journey that took hours on the train. In these modern times, we can reach the coast in less than an hour and a day trip is no longer a big deal. So perhaps my childhood wish to always be at the seaside has almost come true.

Now, of course, it is so accessible that it is no longer desirable. Is it just that we always want what we cannot have? Or, has age just shown me that it is always cold and windy, you get burned, and sandcastles will always wash away? Perhaps I am one of those people who are just never happy with their lot.

Right now my wish is not to have this endless stream of shifts; not to have to work almost every weekend and thereby miss almost every event that I want to attend. That wish will come true before very long, as I approach retirement age, but old age will come with that also.

My other big wish is to make a living out of Tango. This, of course will never happen.  Firstly, if I had to rely on tango for my living, the joy would go out of it, it would just become the daily drudge. Secondly, my attitude to tango is not one of a business nature.

Let me explain: I charge too little, I do this because I want people to come and dance tango. I remember my early years spent travelling around the country, learning at workshops and tango weekends. All this cost me a great deal of money. I spent many hours worrying that I could not afford this level of expenditure, and that this way of life was beyond me. This may be why tango has become, to some extent, the exclusive realm of professionals. (See    https://tangogales.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/whores-and-dockers/

Now I try to bring tango to those who perhaps have the same trouble keeping this lifestyle up that I did.

Here is another illustration of why I do not have that business edge; it all started with my midweek time off, I was not available for weekend milongas and unable to have our Monday practicas so I had a big slot for private lessons. So, unusually I had two visitors in an afternoon. My first pupil, after her lesson, stayed for a coffee, then a chat, some cake and more talking. I think it was a further hour and a half before she left. We loved the company, but there was no time before our next pupil arrived. Again he stayed on talking for, well I can’t remember how long, you lose track of time when you are happy.

This of course took out my whole day. I enjoyed every minute of it. I felt fulfilled at passing on my knowledge and by the appreciation I received, but as a means of earning a living? Well I would earn more stacking shelves at the local supermarket.

Could I ever be happy doing that? Well what do you think?

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