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on your marks….

By | News

This week’s small relaxation of the rules about work and exercise came as a welcome sign that things might start to get started again in a small way in the Tango world in the next month or two. Yes, yes, it depends on how the notorious ‘R’ number changes, and the whims of government, but you never know…, do you?

We expect that the first possibility for us will be for private lessons to be able to start again.  We’ll depend on the availability of our venues for lessons, but we’re lucky that the venue we use in Bramley has its own entrance and kitchen, and it’s not much used apart from us, so it’s a pretty good option for us to use for private lessons. We’re contacting our regular private lesson students this week to see who will be interested.

And just get in touch if you think that a private lesson or two will be a great way to get dancing again and refresh your memory after all these weeks!

No doubt there won’t be any possibility of Milongas any time soon, though. They must be the worst possible type of event for spreading viruses, mustn’t they; lots of people, closed spaces, and extremely close personal contact. Argentine Tango is the perfect storm for infections to spread.

But anyway, let’s be grateful that things might be heading in the right direction at long last!!

This is going to take a while…

By | News, Uncategorized

We’ve been shut down for 7 weeks now, or is it 8?  To be honest, we’re starting to lose track of the days and weeks, with just the home schooling schedule keeping us on track with a weekly routine.

And there’s no early prospect of Tango resuming either; we are getting resigned to waiting until next year before anything can start again.  And right now that seems a very long way off indeed. And that’s a very serious issue for anyone who, like us, relies on Tango for their income.

Any thoughts about planning for future events are being put to one side, because it would just add to our frustration.

In the meantime, I’m working my way through a long list of DIY jobs around the home, and spending far too long on Facebook and YouTube!

 

Strange times indeed

By | News

What a difference in 2 weeks.

Our milonga a couple of weeks ago was a marvellous night, and to be honest, we were really happy to see so many people come along to support us. Sure, there were fewer dancers than normal, but somehow the atmosphere was extra special; there was a real feeling of community spirit and warmth from everyone. Perhaps it was because we just didn’t know when we’d been seeing each other again, or maybe in our hearts we know this would be the last milonga for several months. Either way, it was a truly special night.

We had a Wednesday Tango night after that, but that was the final Tango for us until we get the all-clear.

So now our Tango has pretty much stopped altogether, including the big Eastonathon event at Easter that was an obvious casualty. And, of course, we can’t go out dancing and meeting all our friends in the Tango world.

It’s just heartbreaking to have to call a halt to everything that we’ve been building up over recent years. Our milongas have been thriving recently, with new faces discovering us and become loyal supporters, so it’s especially sad to call a halt.

The only things still happening are our private lessons, and our regular students have been fantastic! We’re teaching several days a week, and the private lessons are becoming a real lifeline for us.

But we will be back, it’s just that we have no idea when that will be.  Strange times indeed.

Keep calm, and carry on

By | News

Tte Covid-19 virus has caused masses of uncertainty and concern around the Tango community lately, with plenty of self-taught ‘experts’ happy to share their views and concerns.

As Ricardo Pxt has put it: “I am amazed on how everyone has suddenly become a public health specialist voicing the words of wisdom about the Coronavirus situation above those of the people who really understand what is happening (i.e. public health specialists). Reminds me of June, Wimbledon and how suddenly everyone is a tennis expert.”

As for us, well we’re following the current NHS and Government advice, and the Eton Milonga at Old Windsor is going ahead as planned.

I won’t pretend that it hasn’t caused us to stop and think before running the milonga. I mean, as the organisers we have a responsibility, right?

But it’s not for us to pretend to be immediate experts on public health, so it seems to us that it’s best to follow the advice from folks who actually know what they’re talking about.  That’ll be the NHS and Government (I know, I know, but in this instance I’m prepared to believe them). And they are not saying anything about cancelling events or staying away from crowds yet.

Parents are still required by law to send young children to school (exposing them to contact with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people every day). Sports events etc. are still running. There are no restrictions on public transport. People are still going to work in busy shops and offices.

Folks are always free to make their own choices and avoid coming to milongas. If you’re worried then don’t come. If you’re vulnerable for health reasons then don’t come. If you’re going to talk about nothing else all evening then perhaps don’t come too 🙂

If there’s one good thing that will come out of all this, it’s that people will be more fastidious about washing their hands regularly. And lets face it, that’s got to be a positive result.

Just as well we brought along extra pizza and wine!

By | News, Uncategorized

To be honest, we’re still in a slight daze after last night’s Sueños milonga – the best EVER.

Sometimes Sueños has a nice cosy, intimate atmosphere if there aren’t too many dancers around. And that’s always going to happen if there are other local milongas going on the same day. But somehow Sueños still feels good whatever the size of the crowd.

And then we get nights like last night, with a really big crowd of good dancers coming along and creating a totally different experience. It was, well, just amazing to have a fantastic evening with so many friends. It was just as well that we had brought along extra supplies of pizza and wine!

Thanks again, everyone; you don’t know how much it means to us to have nights like that!.

Survival of the fittest

By | News

This year has got off to a very interesting start in the Tango world, with at least 3 new milongas opening in the London area. It’ll be interesting to see how many of them survive later in the year, but it’s great to have some new variety in the Tango scene.

In our area there hasn’t been a new milonga for several years now, and we sometimes wonder why not. With no new competition it can be all too easy for the existing milonga organisers to get complacent with their offering. The dancers may not complain, but the Tango scene can stagnate if there are no new ideas and energy being injected.

Hold on a minute… what am I saying?! Perhaps it not such a bad thing that we haven’t got any new competition? Well, obviously yes, we certainly don’t want any extra milongas competing with ours! Obviously anything operating in direct competition is bad news for us.

But, then again, on our nights off it’s nice to be able to go out and enjoy a good milonga, with a good atmosphere and our kind of music.  So we like to see other organisers doing well and putting on good events (I’ve ranted on at length about my personal opinion of what makes a good milonga IMHO).

And, to be honest, it helps us to keep focused on delivering the best milongas. We are always trying the improve things, and we work on the little details we hope will combine to make for a great event. You’d be surprised how much we chat and review our milongas; in fact, we’re slightly obsessive about it!

Done and dusted

By | News

Well, Etonathon 2019 is now done and dusted; 5 days, 9 milongas, and countless hours of dancing and friendship.

These long events are always a real challenge to organise and run, because of the sustained work involved.  We have a huge number of dancers attending, and many of them have travelled a long way to join us for the event.  There are guest DJ to be organised and managed, and catering to be arranged with staff to help things run smoothly.

This year threw some new challenges at us also. One evening the ladies toilets all became blocked, which was a bit of a problem with over 60 ladies I the building!  Several intense minutes later an emergency plumber was on his way, and within an hour everything had been sorted out. The next day Sarah was incapacitated with a Migraine, and our kitchen helper could make it in because of flu. So it was all hands to the pumps to keep the show on the road, and we had an amazing response from Sharon, Jo, & Cathy who stepped up and worked miracles.

Ok, so that was the difficult side. But it was all totally worth it because the Etonathon was such a fantastic success, and the final night’s New Years Eve milongas was just brilliant. Honestly, we couldn’t have wished for a better end to Etonathon. The room was buzzing with a fantastic atmosphere, and the spontaneous rendition of ‘Happy Birthday to Charles’ made my night.

Let’s do it all again next year!

Mr Picky

By | News

The Tango scene usually gets quieter over the summer holiday period; organisers take a break and halls get shut down for maintenance work. We’ve taken it easy too, especially in the past when the old venue was shut (often for no reason whatsoever, but that’s another story…). But this year we were kept active; a Sueños Milonga, ‘Junction 8’, two Wedneday practice evenings, private lessons, and the build-up to ‘Septonathon’. And all this during the school summer holidays.

Now we are in September things seem quieter; at least we are running fewer events this month. But the build up for ‘Etonathon’ has already started, plus preparations for our first ever New Years Eve milonga. And that all starts with the guest DJs.

Recruiting the DJ team is a painstaking process, mostly because we are so picky about the guest DJs. We’re out & about at milongas a lot checking out the music, amongst other things, and we also get plenty of suggestions for DJs we might use. It’s part control-freakery and part fussiness, but we find that there aren’t actually that many DJs who we think make the grade for our events.

If we’re approached by a DJ who we haven’t heard in action, then we’ll ask for a sample of a recent playlist, which we can check out at leisure. This is never the same as being in the room at a milonga, but it can give a good idea of how the DJ structures tandas, and the style of music that they prefer. Sometimes it’s a revelation. But often it’s not pretty, with poor choice of tracks and an excessive tendency towards a particular mood or artist.

Anyway, despite needing to meet our high criteria this years DJ team is just about recruited, and their travel arrangements and accomodation will need to be sorted out soon.  Then we’ll relax and look forward to another great event.

‘I love it when a plan comes  together!’

 

 

 

It’s been a while…

By | News

It has been a while since the previous post.

 

Well, there have been posts in the meantime, but they fell victim to hundreds (yes, hundreds) of spam comments, so we’ve given it a rest and in the meantime disabled the comments facility. Sorry if that means that you can’t respond here to my dry witty observations, but I can still be reached by email or Facebook if there’s something you want to say.

 

What else has been happening in the past few weeks?

 

There’s been lots of dancing and teaching as ever. We have many students who have regular private lessons, and they are all doing very well and having good fun.

 

We had a special celebration night for the 10th anniversary of ‘Junction 8’.

 

Plus we took couple of weeks off for a family holiday.

 

Behind the scenes we’ve been developing new decoration for the Hall at Old Windsor; new lighting colours, table decorations, and screening for the side alcoves that’s much more attractive.

 

And I’ve been actively looking at getting the floor at Old Windsor re-coated to keep it super nice to dance on. With a bit of luck the work can be done in August ready for our next big event – the ‘Septonathon’ weekend.