Have heels, will dance

Picture of tango shoes from Argentina

When I am in Argentina I’ll be buying LOTS of tango shoes and they will be HIGH. I have heard that you are judged partly by your shoes at milongas in Buenos Aires. It won’t be good if I’ve never danced in heels before. I don’t want to be wobbling about when I need to impress the great dancers of the world. 

So this week I began my quest for height. Eventually Google came up with The Factory Gym and Dance Centre in London. They have fabulous pictures of shoes on their website. Having no idea of my size, my only option was to head up there from Southampton.  Straight up by train, straight back. A half day trip.

On the one hand my plan was executed to perfection.  I found The Factory fifteen minutes walk from Archway Tube Station. It was open. They had my size, 37.5 I discovered, in a 10.5 cm heel.  Marvellous. 

I now know what real Argentine tango shoes feel like: instantly comfortable, rock solid, a natural extension of the feet. I  hadn’t realised that I’d been dancing tango in ballroom shoes for three months. The lovely man at The Factory explained that the shoes would tip my body onto the correct axis for tango whereas my old ballroom shoes… suffice to say they are now in the bin. He commented that I was ‘quite tall’, which was music to the ego for a 5’3″ girl. He knew of my tango teacher, Eduardo Bozzo, and that delighted me. Finally he put me infront of the floor to ceiling dance studio mirrors and I met my body in its new shoes. I was purring. If another customer hadn’t arrived I would have taken him in my arms for a quick tango. Even the price tag of £79 seemed reasonable to me. After all the shoes had flown all the way from Argentina and made me feel like a goddess.

We talked about my trip. I just can’t help talking. He told me I would easily meet people in Buenos Aires if I made for La Confiteria Ideal afternoon milongas. Apparently alot of foreigners meet up there and make plans for the nights. “You won’t ever have to go to a milonga alone, although after a few weeks you’ll probably want to.” And what a place La Confiteria Ideal looks. Will I really be dancing on those floors…

One element of my plan did not go quite so well. I chose to travel to London the day the worst storms for seventeen years hit the UK. Not quite the half day excursion I’d imagined. Thanks to speed restrictions, queues of delayed trains and fallen trees on the line I spent six and a half hours travelling to get those shoes. Still, my mission is accomplished. I am grateful that a tree did not actually hit my train and that I will be dancing in heels tonight at the Tango UK Milonga in the New Forest. Guys of Hampshire, watch out…

Learn more about La Confiteria Ideal

Learn more about Eduardo Bozzo

Learn more about Tango UK


One Response

  1. Adventure afer adventure…such an interesting story. My first shoes were also ballroom shoes made of suede. They’re comfortable, though, and I still use them sometimes for practicing when I need to not wear out too quickly my good practica shoes BsAs… the only thin is they don’t have that hard heel to make certain toe taps when the right music comes along. The ballroom is too soft AND barely has heels. *chuckle*

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