Saturday, April 21

Confessions of a dancer

In your embrace,
closing my eyes,
my heart is set on exchanging places.

arriving within;
surfing the layers of fear,
living without; these crazy turns.

I am feeling dizzy,
- carelessness: the point I'm at -
- lust: discovering too many arrays of that -

moving in a universe of confusing senses,
breathing your scents, body and pleasures,
- yours, mine, ours: together.

with such air-filled lungs; suffocating,
wishing to breath in more,
deep... in,
in, out,

not knowing how to want this to stop,
tasting the salty tears - in my throat -
choking on words of a sad song,

a sad death:"a death of love"

- another girl,
- another night,
- another lover's lungs; suffocating - just like mine.

Can you not hear this heart bursting?
with beats louder than anything heard under the Sun,
screaming its fear, pain, and wishing her them both - in vain.

Jealousy my old friend,
Welcome! Keep rushing me on!

Touch my skin all over,
be gentle;
Scratch my soul,
hard, deep, soar & tender,

make your promise
give me the gift of being with you,
dance me through this night, till dawn!

The only cat who loves you back!

Wednesday, April 18

The Dome - The Zero Hour

London milongas have been expanding in numbers and to some extent changing in the way they cater and serve their visitors. Gradually gone are now the days when "Milonga" was an extended practica session after the lesson had ended.

The dancers, and their friends turning up to London milongas, are becoming more mature in their expectations from a night-out of Tango.

The established (major/main-stream) London Milongas that run regularly are just a few. MilongaCat tries to highlight them here in our 24tango articles called "London Milongas". There will be no particular order for these other than randomly selecting and giving you the reader a "personal view". Please feel free to agree or disagree with MilongaCat's opinions by making your own comments known.

Zero Hour Tango Club
(locally known as The Dome)
Milonga Evenings: Wednesdays,
Dancing: 9-15 to Midnight , Fee: £6.

The Dome is one of the longest established London milongas. Once you come up the stairs onto the first floor you enter its milonga room, an impressively large hall, tall ceilings, and decorated appropriately to look dark and moody.

Once the evening has begun, it is lit just dimly enough by the right shades of pink, red and odd rays of blue lighting that either by design or coincidence manages to create lighting moods that suit almost all needs. There are "dark and shady" corners for those who want to hide from others briefly or at length, to rest or not being directly spotted, found, wanting not to be asked to dance or viewed, or alternatively take your place in the sitting areas that are available in front; in the "Light & Bright": in full view; where some gather to see all that goes on; and wish to be certainly & immediately seen by all - even though there may not be any dancing by these for most of the evening at all!

The large and powerful speakers are wonderfully old. They produce the kind of music sound that have a tone and vibration very unique to old dancing halls, a deep and reassuring sound, specially when they play older tango songs. The DJs differ depending on their scheduled planning however generally speaking the DJs play the most popular tango songs. The well familiar tangos, waltzes and milongas are played in well-co-ordinated tandas that rotate from one to another with relative ease . There are no cortinas between the tandas but the tandas are always complete in sets and numbers.

During Some evenings there may be a break of 2 songs of salsa or other, this is in the middle of the evening (about half ten) followed by just a few tango Nuevo tracks to divide or change the evening's mood, other than these the evenings are generally run by traditional rhythms and sounds.

If an average is taken then the dome's milonga crowd is international and 'young' with a very good mix of abilities from very good regular dancers to beginners who may have just joined one of the frequently organised tango courses run by the dome.

Most people are friendly and would happily ask each other to dance. Followers can feel free to approach and ask any friendly social dancer however there is the small group of "tango snubs" there too. They are similar to the ones whom you may find everywhere else around the world, just ignore these ones, they keep to their own, they are generally harmless when left alone!

The bar, inside the hall, sells a good selection of soft drinks, beers and wine. Nothing too fancy on their list - just like a typical London's local pub. No one minds this simplicity at all, in fact the drinks are always well chilled, very reasonably priced, and served by the friendly bar staff. The bar is open from the time the milonga begins (after the classes) to just about the very end when the evening finishes.

On the negative side it is let down by lack of care shown about the air conditioning that is not always switched on (the excuse given in the past is: "the noise their fans make is too loud!"). The other common complaint that sometimes gets talked about is about the ladies and gents toilets. They could certainly use a bottle or two of bleach to clean and freshen them up. These changes and works are not expensive, anybody would have thought they would make sure that these essentials are done, unfortunately they are, at times but not always, neglected!

Apart from that, the place is clean and tidy with ample sitting areas at stools, tables and chairs and benches around the milonga room.

The dome operates with minimum of gimmicks. The care is instead shown in having table covers, lit candles, good mood setting decorations and presentation of the milonga hall and room. It gives a wholesome and almost consistent good weekly milonga experience on every Wednesday. It offers its dancers a balanced evening of songs that are spread equally between tangos and waltzes and then peppered with enough milonga tracks to keep the momentum.

There are good transport links (tubes and buses) as well as ample free street parking near the venue. The dome's milonga staffs are friendly and welcoming, and happy to help with most things if they can.

On the whole The Zero Hour (the dome) is among one of the best and popular milongas that London has got to offer its tango dancers. It is very good value for money and worth spending your money and time making your way there. Hopefully you'll enjoy your evening too!

The only cat who loves you back!

Tuesday, April 17


(by Amy Lowell)

Life is a stream
On which we strew
Petal by petal the flower of our heart;
The end lost in dream,
They float past our view,
We only watch their glad, early start.

Freighted with hope,
Crimsoned with joy,
We scatter the leaves of our opening rose;
Their widening scope,
Their distant employ,
We never shall know. And the stream as it flows
Sweeps them away,
Each one is gone
Ever beyond into infinite ways.

We alone stay
While years hurry on,
The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.

("Petals " by Amy Lowell)

Friday, April 13

What is your price?

Sometimes it is easy to get the feeling that what goes around the tango scene is more entertaining, dramatic, funny, shocking, amusing, and often times more unbelievable but actually true than most bad TV soaps or headline stories we might see in our weekend tabloid newspapers.

OK! It could be said that the people involved are not the usual actors, celebrities, or the willing pundits who are looking for their 15 minutes of fame but nevertheless nobody can complain; because everyone involved is trying very hard; doing their very best!

The story lines are of course just as complicated and juicy. If anyone looks hard and long, and to stay around patiently then one begins to learn the who-is-who of our tango scene, and it will be just a matter of time when one may witness many of such story lines. They unfold right in front of one's eyes.

Like all other good story lines here one is guaranteed with any combinations of endless competitiveness, jealousy, envy, petty mindedness, mind-fucks, real fucks, hang-ups, cheating, drugs, alcohol abuse, betrayals, business espionage, plotting, ganging up, bullying, physical pains & torture, professional failures and triumphs, emotional meltdowns, nervous breakdowns, relationship mayhems, forbidden love affairs, unattainable love-contests, and many others. The casualties, the ones who have nothing to do with the main story lines; they are never the real tear-jerker causes and that is sadly despite their frequency and numbers.

We may feel sorry for the victims, and say to ourselves "they are often the innocents & the uninformed". Some may disagree and insist "this is not always true".

"At the end of the day, everyone pays a price which they can afford: they are all too willing to play the game!" This is what the game-keeper would say. The innocence is soon lost once the wheels turn and the game commences, the music plays, and the dance starts.

That is on the outside. Please walk this way! If you care to venture in you will see that this is life, "This is the tango". This is where pleasure and pain mix when emotions are naked, bare for all to see. The striking and stroking of egos; examinations of self perceptions, the delving into our own and others' fears, tasting the raw passion of our needs for 'creation', the realisation of one's own limits; mental & physical, challenging others to share theirs: shortcomings, to reciprocate and insist or to fight to reject the gifts of touch and intimacy without questioning the time or the place, living in some small moments where the rest of life can be thrown into abundance; expiring and commencing lives in those often lost chances existing only in the so very thin surface of time called 'now'.

This is life, this is the tango. What is the price you are willing to pay to enter the game and to play?

The only cat who loves you back!

Wednesday, April 11

Zero Hour

"At zero hour only passion can save you.
You could let distance sketch a smile on your lips.
Cheap irony.
(You won't get away that easy!)

It's all a game.

You're going to play it too,
you're going
to dance with the tiger.

Don't worry, your life IS in danger.

For the whiplash scars the bandoneon is leaving on your soul,
Remember your instructions!
Listen up ..., and suffer!
This is the tango."
- Enrique Fernandez -

Tuesday, April 10

The flight, the dance

A very wise woman, in my childhood days, taught me :

" Birds will die,
Let us remember what matters most: 'the flight' !"

In that same spirit, maybe long after some have come into - and gone - from our lives, we should just remember the joy we shared with them: 'the dance' !

The only cat who loves you back!

Wednesday, April 4

"To Marianne Moore"

(by Carlos Barbarito)

If the idea of immortality is excluded,
there remains dust,
water that forms puddles,
the branch from which the bird sings,
a certain mystery that reason
supposes a fleeting shadow.

There remains, in the end, life,
the room where a woman pulls on her stockings,
the other room, perhaps adjoining,
where a couple undress
and embrace, and afterwards
say to each other:
"we shall not die."

"To Marianne Moore " by Carlos Barbarito)
(translation by: Brian Cole )

Tuesday, April 3

A Tango etiquette (2)

[...A tango etiquette (1)...]

The waiter wished that these two could somehow kiss and make up. There is always a handsomely good tip left for him and his mates when people leave the Italian place lovingly. On the other hand when there is a business meeting that goes bad or that the lovers have an argument he knows he would ends up with zilch, zipo, nada, zero, black penny!

He looked at that table again. The couples' charged and animated argument had now ended but the consequences were going to damage his pocket for such a quite evening.

The couple left. The waiter cursed his own luck.

They were both processing the same thoughts. Should they now continue with their intended plan; head for the milonga or simply say good night and part company?

Without saying a word they just continued walking. Before long they were at the front desk. The soulful tango music was being played and it vibrated through the walls. It could be heard outside but just loud enough to invite curiosity from the passers-by.

Inside, the place was packed. There were many who filled the rooms, the dancers and visitors both mingling around the dance floor while the crowd on the dance floor moved together busily in an organised chaos formed by the rhythms. All seats seem to have been occupied. There was not even enough room to stand comfortably in some corners.

A few friends acknowledged their arrivals, smiled at them invitingly, beckoning them to join as soon as they could make their way through the crowded main room. She did not want to be in others' company, not yet, and still angry and even unsure if this was the best thing to do; being here with him after what had gone on in the past 2 hours was enough of a dilemma for her, explaining her mood to friends was quite another.

He looked around, aimlessly and unsure what he is to do now. He looked at her without wanting to be caught doing so, she looked breathtakingly delicious.

Their hearts both missed a beat; the sound that made this happen was of "The Greek Tango" (Nefeli’s tango). That was the song they called their own. It was now scratching their souls as it began to play on.

He caught her looking at him and soon as she caught his eyes she wanted to look away, he took her into his arms and without a single word they began to dance to the song.

Many weeks ago he had found out for her what the words meant. He even whispered them sometimes as they danced the song. She knew all the words by heart but she loved his whispering voice speaking them to her every time the song was on. It seemed that the words were made for her, a gift of love, the embracing for her soul, gentle, soulful, warm, caring and all for her alone.

Tonight he was hesitant, should he or not? He embraced her as he always did with this song. It felt like the very first time and every other spell-binding time. He brought her hand and rested it on his chest, feeling closer, entering the world where they were always alone, he knew she could feel his heart beats through. He glanced at her face, her eyes were shut, and her lips hid a smile.

This time it was her who whispered The Greek Tango words

Two little angels
came and stole
the golden rag
Nefeli used to wear on her head,
so as to differ from us all in the vineyard.

Two little angels
who were dreaming of Nefeli and wanted
to feed her pomegranate and honey,
so that she could not remember, so that she would forget what she wanted,
they managed to seduce her.

Hyacinths and lilies
robbed her of her scent to wear it
while flying love gods laugh at her,
throwing their arrows towards her.

But the benevolent Zeus
takes the adolescence water away from her,
turns her into a cloud and disperses her
so that they could not find her.

The song had just finished, they were in the middle of the floor, tearful moist eyes, still embracing after the song. They kissed, laughed, changing the embrace into a loving hug all through the cortina and the next set of songs.

The crowd around them looked confused and curious, wondering what was going on between these two.

The only cat who loves you back!