Crisis of confidence

I’ve not had much to say on the subject of tango in the last couple of weeks. There were several nights when I didn’t go out, and some when I went out but didn’t dance much or even at all. The reason was a crisis of confidence. It wasn’t the first and may not be the last. Happily I seem to have overcome it.

I have tried a couple of new (for me) milongas this week; loca! at Chalmers Club on Sunday and La Catedral on Tuesday. 

The loca! venue at Chalmers Club is rather nice, a bit like Práctica X but not so cavernous and with a proper bar and food available. The floor is polished concrete tiles, not as slippery as Práctica X and with a few rough spots. The dancers were mostly young, in groups and very good. Not quite as intimidating for me as Práctica X but close. I went with Maria, a porteña friend, and we both enjoyed it.

La Catedral was an experience! It’s on the first (or second if you’re American etc.) floor of a converted church. It had a distinctly bohemian feel. It was very dark with a high stage at the end you enter, a medium size dance floor with settees/couches down one side and rough tables and chairs on the other, a larger seating area at the far end and a bar beyond that. There was a separate room behind the wall with the settees which had tables and chairs and comfy seating and a bar serving food and drinks. Most of the people were in groups, having a night out with friends. There wasn’t really much dancing going on and some of that was truly appalling. I saw several leaders attempting very badly to lead moves they couldn’t lead to followers who couldn’t follow them. The dance floor was wood, very uneven and not somewhere you’d really want to be wearing stilettos (although a few brave followers were). I saw one guy dancing who obviously knew the music inside out, back-to-front and upside-down. He was hitting every accent in every tango but so over-doing it that he looked completely crazy. The music from the DJ was pretty good. There were 2 live acts, the first was so bad I thought it had to be a joke (but the locals enjoyed it) and the second, an orchestra, were quite good. It was far too dark to use the cabeceo, strictly verbal invitations instead. You can probably tell it made a bit of an impression on me. Somewhere interesting to see but not somewhere I’ll hurry back to. There are a couple of pictures in my milongas set at Flickr.

On Wednesday I went to Sueño Porteño again and managed to get my confidence back. Lots of dancing and even a compliment from a porteña – so much better than a “disculpe” and having them walk off mid-tanda! I enforced my blatant height-ist policy and enjoyed all my dances.

My private lesson with Maya yesterday afternoon went well. I think next week I’ll ask if we can concentrate on milonga. I really struggle with milonga tracks, usually getting stuck in a pattern and unable to get out of it. The result is I’m likely to bore my partner to death long before the end of the track, never mind the tanda. There is one particular milonga track I hear here quite often which I really like, it’s called “la milonga que faltaba” and reminds me of watching Bonanza on TV on Saturday afternoons as a kid. There are lots of videos using it on YouTube, this was the first one on the list. I have a couple of tanguera friends from home, Jo and Sam, who are coming out here in August. It will be nice if I can dance a half decent milonga tanda with them, hopefully including this track.

I planned to go to Nuevo Chiqué at Casa de Galicia after my lesson, then get something to eat and go on to Niño Bien. In the end I was hungry after the lesson and decided to skip Nuevo Chiqué and eat in instead.

It’s obvious from the number of people in the (tourist-circuit) milongas that we’re out of tourist season. A month ago Niño Bien was full, last night it was only about three quarters full. And there were more men than women. I heard one tanguero complaining that May and June are dead months. Height-ism reigned again and it was another good night for me. And I made an interesting discovery – the entrada at Niño Bien includes a free drink. Simply exchange your entrance ticket for your first drink order. Why did no one tell me that before? I don’t know if the same thing applies elsewhere but I’ll be finding out! If you happen to know other places this applies feel free to comment…

Enjoy the weekend!

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2 Responses to “Crisis of confidence”

  1. tangogales says:

    Thanks you've saved me a trip to La catedral, even though it is only two blocks away I have never been.
    I am here for three weeks, I will keep my eye out for another Brit

  2. Mark says:

    Pleased to have been of service! Apparently Tuesday night at La Catedral is the "best" night…

    Let me know if you and Viv fancy meeting up for a coffee and swapping a few stories while you're here.

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