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All Change…

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It’s all change here at Thames Valley Tango this month.

A few months ago we heard that the Trustees of the Baldwin Hall in Eton wanted us to stop using the Hall.  Well, that certainly was a shock; we’ve been using the hall for 11 years but apparently they felt able to just give us notice without any discussion.  There were letters and emails and, eventually, face to face discussions, but all no no avail. We are out, and the work of developing the very best lessons and milongas in Eton has to end.

Naturally, we were totally gutted by the news. And I mean GUTTED.

We immediately went on a voracious hunt for an alternative venue. But that ain’t easy. Weeks and weeks of searches and visits showed that decent dance venues in East Berkshire are as rare as rocking horse sh*t.  Good venues are either wildly expensive, poorly maintained, or totally booked up 7 days a week.

The hunt continues …

It’s that time of year again

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Christmas and New Year can be a hectic time for anyone, but for us it’s extra busy.  There’s 11 milongas in 17 days.

We start with a Christmas party on the Wednesday before Christmas. It’s our most casual evening, as everyone mucks in and brings food and drink to share.

Our special Christmas Eve milonga is a couple of days later. Ever since we started running Tango events there has been a Christmas Eve milonga in Eton, and it gets more popular each time. We spend all afternoon setting up the Tree and the Christmas lights, the decoration and the drinks, and there’s a small and regular band of helpers sharing the work, and the highlight is the massive Christmas Tree that we set up in the middle of the dance floor*.  For me, and many other dancers, it really marks the start of the holiday season.

Fast forward past Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and we’re back at Eton for the famous ‘Etonathon’ event; 4 days of dancing every afternoon and every evening. Getting together the team of DJs has been a challenge this year; I’m very particular about the standard of DJing at Eton, so there’s a limited number of candidates for the DJ team and this year I’ve been kept waiting by someone for over a month, by which time most other good DJs had committed to other events. But in the end we’ve got a great team together, so it has all worked out well.

Then the first event in January is a big annivesary celebration milonga.  After all, it has been 11 years since we started our Tango lessons and events, so we deserve a party!  Last year we had 10 DJs over 10 hours.  Will we do 11 hours and 11 DJs this time?…

*we still get some dancers complaining that the tree takes up the space in the middle of the dance floor, but there is still sufficient room for 2 lanes of dancers, so it tells us something about their style of dancing 🙁

Picture this

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20160702 milonga sketches

Cynthia Barlow Marrs came along to the Eton Milonga, but not to dance.  Instead, she quietly took a seat above the dancers and started to sketch. Most people didn’t even know she was there, watching them dancing and capturing the moments. To be honest, I had forgotten she was there, too, but the end of the evening she showed me the results, and they speak for themselves.  We’re used to photographs of dancers, but her sketches have an extra quality, and I love them! see more of her work at www.cbarlowmarrs.com