Friday, January 13

Negracha: One more of our London milongas

It is that time of the year again when we hear that every milonga starts to get going again with some trouble and gusto.

London tango scene can be very entertaining depending on what taste of milonga one has. The popular middle of the road (traditional tango) music dictates the music choice by almost all London milongas. In other words the dreaded safe populist approach rules the greater if not most or even all of an evening's music in all London regular milongas.

Naturally there are variations between the milongas but they are mostly run under similar guidelines for the type of the music that organisers believe is liked by "the majority".

It is in the light of that above that a few milongas have started to make their mark against the popular. One of these milongas is called Negracha Tango Club where there is a specific effort made to make the choice of music more varied, entertaining, challenging and certainly more of the European tango dancing influence.

Even at Negracha Tango Club they are careful not to brake the mould completely and they have devised the plan of playing different music at the two separate dance floors where one is dedicated to traditional and the other "Electrica Tango".

The Negracha Tango Club has been truly nomadic for over a year now, it has been hosted in 4 different locations to date but it still finds a good following whenever it it finds a home to be hosted and run and this Friday, 13 January will be its first late evening milonga of the year. Their website of usually updates the dates and the location where they are running their milonga in London.

The current place has fabulous two floors , good sound system, great space to dance at and the touch of entertainment that is unique to Ivan who organises and runs the Negracha. He always has a special movie or some multimedia ready program to show his guests as well as treating everyone to more of modern music than others would normally dare in London milongas.

More on other London Milongas at a later date.

Thursday, January 5

Something old: Twinkling Christmas Lights

The soft twinkling Christmas Lights were hardly visible through the late evening fog over the Thames, "this is the London town I love" I thought but spoke aloud to myself. You could feel the dry crisp cold air, misty and mysterious fog, combined with such unusual quietness of the Embankment , hardly any traffic. The Christmas holiday evenings were here for certain. This river Thames can be truly magical sometimes. It allows London to suddenly change to a friendly and personal kind of city, it becomes poetic, distancing itself from the normal harsh, busy and loud place that it is. It lowers its guards and lets you see into its naked soul.

Through the half-open car window I could still hear the cassette player, it is playing one of my favourite Tangos, "I wish I'd be dancing this now". Quietly and consciously I thought and spoke these to myself this time. How I wished it so, I smiled at the delicious but the impossible thought and continued enjoying the music and the scenery.

"The Wheel" did not belong there, the empty cabins of the wheel -London Eye - could be seen through the mist. It looked so out of place that late evening. The loud and annoying tourists who made stupid remarks at anything they paused by at the Tate gallery earlier today were now all gone. The only tourists were those who were mesmerised by the site of the huge and beautiful Palace of Westminster engulfed by the fog. With its spectacular architecture regally it belonged there. The fog felt at ease as it stroked the palace's walls and windows, the union between the palace, the fog, and the river is an old one. They are the old three friends who have spent so many evenings like this one in each other's company, everything else is now long gone.

Not very often but every now and then, through the fog, some couples leaning against each other pass by, they appear and disappear again after. All it takes is a few steps. "A few steps" is the magic itself. They huddled up close, walking slowly and speaking in whispers allowing me to enjoy the melodies of Astor's Tangos even more. Other individuals walk fast and briskly in a rush to get to their loved ones, quicker, earlier. There is someone as impatient and eager waiting there to receive them I am wishing.

I walked closer and leaned over the barriers, the river surface usually mirrors the lights from the surrounding buildings beautifully. The river adds its own silver and gold shimmering interpretation of any rays it is offered, then sends them back with some humbling generosity. The reflections are always deeper and made up with more colourful dancing lights. A true gift.

Tonight the river is in entertaining a close old friend: the fog. So the river's special light show is been taken off its stage to welcome the fog home.

Whilst leaning against an embankment bench I can't help thinking that "like any good Tango; some parts of our life need an obvious ending, a closure, a marking". Something that assures us there is no more to be done. I can't stop these going through my mind, another year is gone. This makes me feel both sad and relieved at the same time. The old heartaches and old cross roads are finally over and behind. The page has turned and the story goes on, another chapter has reached the end and a new one has therefore now begun.

I am fearful but certain of foolishly welcoming new heartaches and confusions, again and again! The affairs of our hearts are so much part of our existence that it is unfair to label them "predictable or weak". It is a signature that we love to share, give and receive and without these it feels wrong to live.

For now though, a closure is needed, short enough to say good-bye but long enough to choose the tender memories that are to be treasured.

It is a trifle colder now so I wrap the coat and my scarf a little tighter round me, still there is a noticeable shiver on my lips, it is not the cold that make my lips tremble but the taste of those tender and sweet moments that are now gone!

It is almost midnight, the Big Ben is about to strike, I get back into the car and as I slowly drive away I turn the volume up, I need the Tango to go on.

I promise myself "next year I shall dance this tango with the one whom I love".

Two For Tango at The Welsh Centre


UPDATE: 2008 This venue is now closed! THE ARGENTINO WAY no longer exists at the Welsh. Many thanks to them for good memories.


It is not surprising to find out that the Welsh Centre kicks off the first milonga of the New Year in London in 2006.

This Friday, not only "Two For Tango" (24tango) blogger but many more will be hopefully showing up there to start off the 2006 Tango joys and Tango pains.

TANGO - THE ARGENTINO WAY is affectionately known as The Welsh amongst many who visit it without fail every week.

The Welsh is different in the way that it has different visiting teachers almost every week, it is right at the centre of the London which makes it accessible to all. It has a very good dance floor and the DJs are themselves from the regular devoted tango dancers.

The music that is played there is under the recommendation guidelines of the milongas organisers and it tends to be a little too conservative for many of younger dancers.

The Welsh is a milonga that is a meeting point/place for most of the
London dancers and everyone feels that it is home. During its many long years of Tango existence, it has been a point of introduction for an incredible number of world famous names of instructors/teachers from Europe, USA, and Argentina.

The regular, myself included, always like to complain about its chaotic dance floor but it seems no one wants it changed! The reason is that it gives us at the very least something to talk about or maybe one good enough reason to complain about the Welsh since everything else about this milonga is difficult to fault.

This Friday 6th Jan 2006, Pablo Alonso is the designated teacher and the DJ there. The class is at 7:30 to 8:30, and the dancing continues till 11:00.
(The address for those who need to know is 167 Grays Inn Road London W1)

Wednesday, January 4

New Year's Eve Tango at the Factory

It was a joyful start into the New Year with dancing tango at The Factory, I was lucky enough to be met and picked up from my home by my dear friend and her girl friend.

The Factory was very festively and nicely decorated. The evening's celebration was given a special treat by making sure that the bottles of champagne and white wine as well as other drinks were continuously refreshed throughout the whole evening, a real blast that I am sure all visitors appreciated.

I had some wonderful dances in addition to the pleasure of hearing the good news of two tango friends engagement during Christmas holidays.

New Year's Eve tango evenings can be very tricky affairs. It is something from the limbo land of "Should I go or should I not?" , and many "What if?" scenarios.

This year I think the Factory was the best place I could have chosen to go to, I had a very good time dancing and meeting with friends to welcome the New Year together.

London, Tango, and 24tango

I have only danced tango in London and no other place, and I also know that that I have danced with so many people from other countries that it is easy to feel that I have danced tango in so many places in the world. It remains for me to find out differently in the future if there are any differences or that Tango feels the same all over the world.

The reason I feel what I stated above is that I love the dance for the moments in which it lives, for the duration of the song that it gets shaped and find its forms, it is danced just for the partner whom I embrace in those moments because together we create and live in that tango. Therefore the place and the time both become just issues of physicality while the tango becomes and is the essence of our emotional mentality
; the soul; and the only "living" that matters for when it matters.

Tango is few moments in which two people who dance it, can share a want, a need and that is to please a hunger for the passion of a loving embrace to show their love for life.