Archive for April, 2010

Bring on the DOMS

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Stop sniggering at the back. And erase from your mind images of buxom ladies clad in Lycra or leather or rubber or PVC, wearing stockings and wielding a whip. They’re not the doms I’m talking about.

This is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, the poorly understood phenomenon of muscles aching 24-48 hours after exercise. I expect to be in for a dose of DOMS on Sunday. I have finally joined a gym 2 blocks up the road from here. I spent an hour and a half in there this afternoon, my first time in a gym in about 2 months. So I tried to take it a bit easy, but being a competitive sort of person probably did more than was wise under the circumstances. Going back again tomorrow and doing some more exercise might alleviate or even prevent the DOMS but if not I’m going to be sore on Sunday.

To anyone thinking “but you tango every night, that’s exercise” I have to say tango doesn’t meet my definition of exercise. It doesn’t get my heart rate up above 120bpm, doesn’t get my pulse that high for at least an hour, and doesn’t get me out of breath. Similarly west coast swing doesn’t count as exercise in my book. Modern jive (some call it ceroc) fits the bill, but so far as I can tell that’s not on offer in Buenos Aires (and nor is west coast swing). If you happen to know anywhere I can dance west coast swing or modern jive in Buenos Aires do please let me know.

I’m still being very lazy during the days: getting up late, faffing about on-line and wasting time. A good friend says that’s OK, I’m allowed 6 weeks of laziness before being ready to get on with stuff. Progress on learning Spanish/Castellano is almost non-existent. That promised blog post entirely in Castellano is going to be a very short one at this rate.

Oh well, one step at a time. The gym is a good start.

For those keeping count, and for me in a few months time when I’ll have forgotten, my tango inventory since the last blog post is:

  • Tuesday afternoon        – Group class at Caserón Porteño
  • Tuesday night               – Porteño y Bailarín
  • Wednesday night          – Sueño Porteño
  • Thursday afternoon       – Private lesson with Maya
  • Thursday night              – Niño Bien

There are a few new photos in the milongas set at Flickr.

I had planned to go to El Beso tonight. El Beso is a traditional milonga in a rather small venue. If you’re not there when the doors open, or you don’t have a reservation then you might not get in. Since I’ve adapted rather well to Argentinian time keeping I thought I’d call and make a reservation. It turned out to be a good thing to do. El Beso no longer runs on Friday nights. It still appears in some of the milonga listings, including the one I refer to every day.

It’s a bank holiday weekend back at home in the UK. Traditionally that means bad weather, and indeed the forecast is not good. I hope the weathermen are being their usual hopeless selves(*) and the weather turns out to be uncharacteristically good. If you’re planning a barbeque I hope it goes well. And if you’re dancing somewhere, sometime, have a great time.

*Honestly, in what other profession can you get it wrong almost every single day of the week and still have a job at the end of the month?

Like a kid in a candy store

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

There are 128 milongas each week on the Caserón Porteño tango map. That’s between 10 and 27 milongas each day. Other listings are available and not all milongas are listed. Punto Tango lists nearly 200 group classes each week, the print edition of el tangauta lists about 500 group classes each week. There are countless teachers offering private lessons. And I’m only here for another 5 months!

There are limits to how many classes, practicas and milongas it is possible to fit into 1 day, or 1 week, or 1 month. With so many possibilities and so little time I might never become a regular at any of them. I’m not going to try every one of those practicas or milongas. Some I can rule out for location, or timing, or type, or music. But even so, it’s going to take a while to try the ones I want to and decide which ones work best for me.

It really is like being a kid in a candy store. My candy selections milongas for the last few days were Entre tango y tango at Centro Región Leonesa, and La Viruta at Club Armenia on Friday night, Club Gricel on Sunday night, and Confiteria La Ideal on Monday evening. There are a few new photos on Flickr. I’ve created some sets so you can jump straight to the milongas if you prefer.

ColorTango

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Last night (Wednesday) ColorTango played at “La Garufa” milonga in Konex, close to the Abasto shopping mall. I have heard people rave about them and I thought they were very good indeed. It was really nice to dance to a live orchestra. There are a handful of photos over at Flickr. It was a nice bonus to bump into Sonya, an Australian girl I met here in December. We danced a couple of tandas and she said my dancing has improved.

I went to La Garufa with Isabelle after a we pigged out at a restaurant in Palermo. Isabelle had bife de chorizo and a huge salad, I had bife de lomo and a mountain of chips. The food was plentiful but nothing special. We talked mostly in Spanish which I thought would be good practice for tonight’s Spanglish event. She’s flying home on Saturday – volcano permitting. Her Spanish is far better than mine and I was pleased to understand and be understood. I didn’t expect it to be so easy tonight.

Spanglish? More of a shambles really and very few native Spanish speakers. I didn’t bother to stay. Maybe I’ll look in again next week, maybe I won’t.

My private lesson this afternoon with Maya was much more productive. The list of technique things for me to practice and improve is getting longer. It’s a good job I’m here for a while!

Earlier in the week, on Monday afternoon I did a couple of touristy things: visited El Ateneo and the Galerias Santa Fe shopping centre. El Ateneo is a bookshop which was originally a theatre. It’s a rather more interesting building to look at than most bookshops as you can see in the photos over at Flickr. The attraction at Galerias Santa Fe is not the shopping (it’s only a small mall with nondescript shops) but the ceilings. There are a few photos in my Flickr steam (the colour has been enhanced a bit because the flash on the camera wasn’t powerful enough to illuminate the ceiling properly). You could sit in the comfy chairs in El Ateneo, or in the cafe section and soak up the surroundings for half an hour quite easily. Galerias Sante Fe might hold your attention for 5 minutes.

Monday night at Salon Canning was disappointing. It may not be the “best” milonga for me but it’s very convenient – only a 10-15 minute walk along Scalabrini Ortiz from where I’m staying. If you’re interested in what it looks like, there’s a picture of it early in the night, before the floor gets crowded in the Flickr photostream. Vals is not my favourite form but I was determined to try. Unfortunately I made the mistake of starting the night with a vals and compounded it by dancing with a rather short Argentinian girl. It certainly wasn’t a good first dance but it wasn’t that bad. Her assessment was less favourable; she thanked me after the first track of the tanda and walked off.

It’s a good job I’m not a local; I’d have had to fall on my sword. Confidence dented I sat out for a bit and the floor got busier. I carefully avoided the vals and milonga tandas for the rest of the night. I danced some tango tandas with other people later which went better.

On Tuesday night after Maya’s group class at Caseron Porteno I went to Practica X (pictures at Flickr). It was rather less crowded than on my visit in December. Although all the dancers were a really high standard, they seemed not quite as good as on my previous visit. Maybe they’d gone somewhere else this week.

Tonight it’s not too late to go dancing. Perhaps Nino Bien. And for the weekend, well more dancing obviously!

Thanks for reading. Have a good weekend. If you’ve been affected by the travel disruption caused by the Icelandic volcano and you’re travelling this weekend then I hope it goes smoothly for you. If you’re dancing somewhere, have fun :-) And if you have something special planned and want to share the details, I’d love to hear them.

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