Dance, dance, dance

welcomelive2008b This weekend was supposed to be quiet and disappointing. I had thought to go to Granada in Spain to a tango festival with some friends, but at the last minute the flights were too expensive and I stayed in England. I have to accept that I am now living in South America on a South American budget and I just can’t blow money. I was sad and imagined sitting at home with the TV. Ah but life has changed, and I have changed, and I seem to attract happy times and action.

Friday night saw me backstage at the Eastleigh Festival of Dance. My Argentine tango teacher in England (who is Argentine) was performing, and his partner was organising the whole thing. My job was to collect each act from their various dressing rooms, keep them silent and get them to the wings in time. As a result, I watched an amazing dance show from behind the scenes, and it brought joy to my heart. Young people danced street, tap, Indian, Irish, contemporary, tango and Lindy Hop. A local radio presenter danced a waltz after only 4 hours of tuition, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ style, and a girl band who had appeared on ‘The X Factor’ impressed with some fabulous singing. A previous ‘Strictly’ contestant and professional dancer hosted the evening. And I had the pleasure to meet every one of these talented people.

At the dance festival a tango dancing mate of mine was taking pictures of the acts. He suggested Saturday at the Crypt in London. How could I refuse? So, 7pm the next night and I was off to pick up a few friends, and by 9 I was driving through Piccadily Circus alternating between slight panic at the crowds, traffic, and my lack of street knowledge to delight at taking in the bright lights of London: The Ritz, Soho, Theatreland, Eros… My adrenalin was pumping. I was to dance tango in London for the first time in a year. And I did dance. I liked the Crypt. How could a tango venue under a church not be appealing? It even had tables. I like tables. I’m not that keen on sitting around the walls on a single row of chairs, unless the men are sitting opposite. It’s unsociable, involves people walking all over the dance floor, and you cannot engage the eyes of people you want to dance with if they are sitting down the other end of your row. And I was lucky on Saturday. I was invited by some lovely partners: some I knew, and some were new (Italian, Swiss, and English). No Argentines, but there will be plenty of them soon after all. I enjoyed myself. The best part though came after the tango. Shevki took us to Brick Lane for salt beef baigels at Baigel Bake. Now this was my kind of place: middle of the night, bright lights, streets packed with people, delicious food, hot strong coffee to keep me awake for the drive home, and laughter shared with friends. I loved the fact that we were doing something under the cover of darkness. Not all of England closes by 1am. I felt I could have ‘sort of’ been in Buenos Aires. Certainly getting home at 4.30am after dropping everyone off was not completely alien to me. In fact it made me feel at home.

On Sunday afternoon I drank ‘mate’ with my Argentine tango teacher and his friends, told them of my adventures, and heard all their news. I felt loved, and I loved back. By 7pm I was collecting another dancing ‘chico’ and was back on the M3, this time heading for The Bedford in Balham. This is a great Milonga, sadly on only every other week… Carlos will not get to see it on this trip. It reminded me a little of Buenos Aires. The music was great: well, Leo played ‘Café Dominguez’ which is Carlos’ favourite tango, and so he won my heart. I was also able to dance the Chacarera which I adore. I was delighted to meet a lovely girl who I had met online through this blog. She said I looked completely different to my photos. I think I probably looked exhausted!  I was certainly too tired to dance my best tango and my body let me know it. However I did conduct a bit of a tango experiment and I was very happy with the results. I danced quite a bit with a friend of mine. He is an English dancer and I enjoy his tango. It’s always fun, but I have struggled to feel a real connection, since I’ve been back and know what a connection feels like. I told him that I was going to adjust my embrace and see what happened. I’m not sure what I did, but I sort of snuggled into him and focused on not allowing him open me out too much and the result was amazing. Suddenly it no longer mattered what he was doing with his legs. It felt like a fire burned in my chest, nothing hot or sensual I assure you, more warm and cosy… ah that duvet feeling I get with my Argentine gentlemen on a Thursday afternoon. I stepped back, ‘Can you feel that?’ I said. He did feel it. He told me he had discovered something new. He liked the feeling. ‘Now that is what a woman loves, or this woman anyway.’ I said. We drove home happy.

Tonight I talked to Carlos. Only four more sleeps until I see him, and maybe there won’t be much sleeping that night. I am just praying that the winds that are battering England die down, and the plane can land safely. I cannot bear another minute than I have to without him at my side. Safe journey my love, ‘Hasta el viernes, hasta pronto.’

Get all the links to London Tango Clubs at Takes22Tango

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