Archive for August, 2010

The new X

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Practica X

Práctica X has moved. It used to be at Humboldt 1464, a big cavernous venue with a polished concrete tile floor, comfortable chairs and settees and an ultra-cool ambiance. Now it lives at Viejo Correo (Av. Diaz Velez, 4820), a battered old former post office with a smaller floor, rickety chairs and a more clubby atmosphere.

Tuesday 3 August was the opening night in its new venue. To boost the interest and encourage a good turnout there were a couple of big name acts on the bill. Live music from orquesta Sexteto Milonguero and an exhibition performance by Gustavo Naveira and Giselle Anne.

Viejo Correo is a rectangular venue with the entrance on one of the short sides. Once inside there is a seating area with tables and chairs for maybe 50 people, then the rectangular pista (about half the area of the old one) with a single row of seats (backs to the walls) and small tables down the long sides, then another seating area with tables and chairs for about another 50 people, and at the very back the bar and above it a stage.The class was well attended but the practica got off to a slightly slow start. The place was full by about midnight with hot-seating going on. I didn’t count heads but it felt like there were more people than I have seen in the old venue.

The pista is about half the area (rectangular) of that at Humboldt 1464 (square). The dancers appeared to be doing a poor job of adapting to the smaller floor. Figures which would not look too large in the old venue suddenly looked huge and more importantly invaded other couples’ space in the new venue. Also anyone seated on the chairs down the long sides of the pista was in danger of being stabbed or slashed by a flying stiletto. I went with three friends, two of us were kicked or trodden on.

Sexteto Milonguero started playing at about 1:30am. I had a cold and wasn’t dancing but was taking photos (some of which you can see in my Practica X set at Flickr) instead. So I wasn’t paying enough attention to the music to comment on how good they were. Gustavo Naveira and Giselle Anne danced their exhibition at about 2:30 to live music from the orchestra and rapturous applause from the crowd. Honestly I was underwhelmed. If I can persuade YouTube to play ball I’ll upload a video of their third and final dance.

We left after the exhibition, as did many other people. Probably for the final hour or so after that the pista wasn’t too crowded. I really liked Practica X in its old home, in the old post office not so much.