Tag Archives: Sally

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

Roberta learns a lesson

We turned off the inner ring road in Chester, and looking to my right noticed only one car in Linenhall street. It is little known even to those who live here that there is unlimited parking for about five cars within the city walls. My father had worked in the next building, and that has given me an insight not usually given to those who do not actually live within a block of here.

The problem is how to get to it: halfway down the street I turn left into a street littered with parked cars limited to half an hour. About twenty yards further on I turn right again into an alleyway barely wide enough for my car. So tight I had considered folding in my mirrors first, but I managed to squeeze through without incidence. At the top there is a tight turn then free parking, oh the joy of local knowledge.

We leave the car and head across the road to Stanley Palace. We have returned here after a couple of years, happy to be back. The room is quite small and we have no bar, but there are no drunks to disturb us and we have no audience to put off the beginners.

Stanley Palace is a beautiful building over four hundred years old, a beacon in black and white standing incongruously amid the modern buildings that line the inner ring road. Inside, at the moment, is a disaster, the upstairs ceiling had collapsed and the repairs were underway. No simple nailing up plasterboard allowed here, lath and plaster had to be used, after all this is a grade two listed building with a unique history. If you want to know more about it go to http://www.stanleypalace.com/tudor%20building.htm  The room in which we are to dance is relatively unaffected by the work, although Sharon did have to put a lot of talc down as the floor had no slip.

As people start arriving it is clear that we are not going to have enough women again. More men arrive and we only have three women (not counting Sharon)

A tall guy called Peter arrived, I had seen him occasionally at the Groves but knew little about him, other than he danced well. Roberta was in full flight, some men still were not comfortable with the close embrace, but I simply cannot feel where they want me to be unless I am close.

In between dances I noticed that I stood with my hand on my hip, quickly I altered my stance to look a bit more macho. I love the feeling of being led, but that is as far as I go, I am definitely a woman’s man.

When it came to my turn to dance with Peter I shut my eyes and let him lead. I found myself doing things I have never done before. I am not sure what I was doing I just flew around the room. Later we did something that involved us both being off axis and it just did not work for us. It is something I have often thought of doing with total beginners to get them to feel dependant, but the two of us were not comfortable off axis, so that for whatever reason it did not work. Unfortunately he seemed reluctant to dance with me after this. I know I can be a lump but my following has only ever been with beginners and I welcome a chance to improve. I will never be a great follower, but to pass on my experiences best I have to know how it feels from both sides. I did persist and get some more dances with him; I will get better with time.

When the class was over I watched Peter dancing, he had the ability to get the beginners to do things I never could, it left me curious.

We had to leave early as I was off to work the following morning so we moved into the other room to change our shoes. Peter joined us and we talked for a while, I never got all his history but he knew all the milongas in Buenos Aires and had been going there and taking lessons there long before us. He knew dance teachers we had never heard of and all the area around our apartment.

The reason we did not see him regularly was that he was up on business, again I did not have time to question him further, I must rely on Viv to extract more information at a later date.

 I have just recieved the link to the photos that Sally took at Shrewsbury, from the post “Sally comes to Shrewsbury” Go here to see them http://www.flickr.com/photos/sallycatway/sets/72157622055524424/

Check out Carlos and his red baloon, just ignore the idiot doing an Eric Morcambe inpersonation. some nice pictures of Viv’s shoes as well.


Filed under Dance Venues and Schools, milonga

Sally Comes to Shrewsbury

A big warm welcome was given to Sally Blake at the Lantern. Sally for anyone who does not know is the writer of The Sallycat Way (you can link there from my blogroll). She brought Carlos along with her, who proved extremely popular with the ladies. Unlike some he had no airs about him and was happy to dance with all the beginners, in fact he was getting a bit too popular everyone wanted to dance with him, poo, what about me?

I jest of course there are more than enough ladies for a few more Carlos’s, I never missed out, and it was nice to have some more experienced dancers there.

The class, when it stated, had just about even numbers, just one extra lady. That allowed Sally to sit out and enjoy the show. She took a number of pictures, hopefully they will appear soon on her blog.

Sharon did her balloon class again, always entertaining and great fun. I worried about Carlos, from time to time he looked puzzled, not really understanding what was going on. I had no real need to be concerned, as Sally also noticed his confusion and came out to explain what was happening in her Shropshire castllano. (Shropshire Castillano, something that Carlos and I both love, the way that Sally speaks Castillano with a Shropshire accent. You don’t get much of that in Buenos Aires)

When the class was over we had the usual practice time. I had had a tango with Sally before the class so I made my usual effort to get around as many ladies as possible. Nice to see Carlos doing the same, and many of the men inviting Sally to dance.

Towards the end I put in a request to Dave for some milongas, so I finished the night doing milonga with Sally. While we danced round she commented, what was in my head as well, that the last time we had done this was in Club Fulgor, where there had been much less room.

We retired again to The Coracle. Some have commented that perhaps we should just miss out the dancing, then we would have more time to socialise here. This is not something I would agree with, but it gives an idea of how the group has gelled. As we sat and discussed tango at home and abroad Carlos just sat there cradling his balloon understanding little of the noise these english were making, just looking enigmatic.

We had more that the usual sitting around drinking. I think the presence of Sally and Carlos brought a few more over, even Sharon Joined us. But in time we had to leave, I never look forward to the long drive home, but it has to be done.

We said all our goodbyes. Sally unfortunately cannot get to the milonga on Saturday, so we probably will not see her again before her return, but we have promised to meet up again in Buenos Aires on our next visit.


Filed under Dance Venues and Schools, milonga

Last Tango (in Buenos Aires)

On our balcony we have an inflatable daffodil, just our way of telling the world we are here. This morning I saw a poor confused Argentine bee trying desperately to pollinate it.

I always hate this day, Viv insists on packing and cleaning, I always want to leave it until the last minute. So when Viv lay in bed until twelve and wanted to pack when she got up, I left her to it.

I thought I would walk to Abasto along Humahuaca. I noticed a lot of new building and the odd cafe but really not much new for me along here. When I got to Abasto they were digging up the road with a big digger that had a jackhammer on the front. The noise was terrific, so much so that I nearly missed my phone going off. Sally wanted to meet up so I suggested somewhere around Abasto. She was coming on the subte so we arranged to meet outside Carlos Gardel subte.

Funny meeting a woman alone, in a far off land, so when we met I said “alone at last”. We went for a coffee at a local bar, and talked for some time about our favourite milongas, the people we have met and whether we will actually meet up when she comes to the UK. I said how much I enjoyed hearing her talk Spanish with a Shropshire accent, it appears that Carlos enjoys that as well.

I was starting to feel guilty, as I had left Viv alone too long, so I walked Sally to within a block of the subte and said goodbye. Hoping we can meet again when she comes to the UK.

We had arranged to go with Janis again to Lo de Celia, so we caught the 168 to as near as we could get and walked the last few blocks to her place. The streets here can be dark and threatening if you let it bother you, but somehow the feeling never got to me, until tonight. We turned into Chile, and further down we could hear shouting. Someone was shouting from a window or balcony to two youths in the street. As we got nearer one of the youths ran over to some rubbish near us grabbed some broken glass and ran at the other slashing at him. I said to Viv “shut up, say nothing, stay to my left, don’t slow down and don’t stare”. We walked on to Janis’s place on the next block , and did not feel happy until we were inside the building.

Janis was not expecting us, she thought we would meet at Lo de Celia, but the email had not got through as my computer was packed. She made us coffee while we waited for her to get ready. She was more successful with the coffee this time, as she now had her coffee filter.

In Lo de Celia I had the usual wait outside the ladies while they changed their shoes. I was asked twice if I wanted a table I just  said “espero Janis” the guy nodded sagely.

Sat right at the back, it was OK for Viv and I, but I think Janis had trouble seeing anyone with whome to dance. I feel akward at these times, on the one hand I feel I should ask Janis to dance, but on the other, if she is seen to dance with the man on her table, then no one else will ask her.

Viv was tired after her packing, and she had made an effort to look good, but as usual, when she puts on any sort of eye make up her skin suffers, so we did not last long. We thought it would be a good idea to leave Janis on her own, as she would then get more dances, but she insisted on coming out with us. It was a shame we left so early, because as she reminded me, we never did the chacarera together.

It was the last night, so we forewent the bus, Instead we walked Janis, almost, home and caught a taxi. Almost because just before her house the street went in the right direction and a taxi was going past, oportunities, as we have found before, once missed will not reoccur.

So our Buenos Aires tangoing is over yet again, here’s to the next time.


Filed under Uncategorized

The Argentine way

It’s a beautiful day, and there is no sign of Viv getting up, so I have some breakfast leave her my mobile and go for a walk.

This barrio is a maze of streets and even though we have walked for miles I doubt we have seen half of it. My first stop however is Jumbo where we have been often. There is a sign outside that says pagofacil and I want to pay the electric bill. At the kiosco there is a boy behind the counter with a guitar. He is staring at the strings, perhaps in some way he thinks if he looks at them long enough they will show him how to play, but I must interrupt his study,”Puedo pagar es aca” I said, he looked at me like I was some sort of lunatic “la maquina no funcionada” he said, then went back to staring at the guitar, which also seemed to have some problem functioning. Though I love this place I still have trouble dealing with the Argentine way, “no pasa nada”, things do matter especially when you are here only a short time.

After returning Viv was now up and about we decided to go for another walk.

Another of Buenos Aires beautiful plaza is Plaza Miserere right by El Once railway station and bus station. We watched the antics of a big moma as she touted for business,in broad daylight, the children pseudo splashing in the empty fountains,and the buskers hopefully watching every stranger expecting some change, it was all happening here.

The sun starts to fall early here, so around four we headed back via Sarimiento, Viv wanted some flowers, and I know they can be bought here. Janis complained she could not get fresh rosemary here, so when I saw a plant by the station I thought I must buy it, another case of it finding me. I like this attitude of Sally’s Carlos.

So as we walked home we bought fresh salad items, then a bunch of flowers, phoned Janis and bought a prepared meal from our local panaderia, total cost, less than £6, inflation may have hit hard here but if you stick with local produce, and the colectivos, you can still live very cheap.

Talking of colectivos, we used one again to go to Janis’s, we were going from her place to Lo de Celia. I have not been there since 2004, I don’t know why, it just never seemed to be in our circle.

Next door to Janis’s place is a new tango venue, we know little of it, so when the patron came out Janis probed him for some time. Most of what they said passed me by, as my spanish is still not quick enough, but we did work out that they have dancing there on a Thursday and early classes.

In Lo de Celia the old problems with change cropped up, Janis said when we arrive early we should have change, this I knew, but I had spent almost the whole day trying to get people to give me change. The situation here does not get any better.

The floor in Lo de Celia is ceramic, but I like the way there is a line about half a metre in from the edge, it makes lane discipline a little easier. In general the lane discipline is very good, although there was one clown who was all over the floor (he thought he was the best there). So even though it got quite crowded in general it was not difficult to dance.

As usual, when out with Janis we danced a lot less than usual, we discussed the music, who were the good dancers and generally enjoyed each others company. We were suposed to sit separately so Viv could dance with different men, but at he last moment chickened out. Viv is happy to dance with me, so long as she thinks I am the best not much else matters.

We met our tango singer again (Luis De Rosa) and had a short conversation with him. I am afraid my only contribution was “no entiendo nada” but thinking about it afterwards I think he said something like, I wander all over this land and I keep bumping into you. It was either that or, you dance like idiots, easy to mix up.

We met more people at the door when we left, every one is keen to meet Los Galeses, before Janis put us on the bus home. This time it passed right by our building, even though it was the same number as last time, it passes five block closer. Is it any wonder I have problems working them out?

One thing before I finish; Janis like others here complains my lead is not strong enough. This is the result of the English way “you must invite the woman”, forgive me if my quote is not perfect but she says; on the floor I like to be in a strong embrace, and led so that I do not have to think about it at all.  I add this for those at home who think my lead is too strong and I hold too close.


Filed under Argentina, Dance Venues and Schools, milonga