Two good things: it was a hot day, and England won! The third ODI, that is, a bit of a nail-biting finish, but well done. Not the same Australian team that thrashed us for years, and a well-organised English team that even seems to have worked out how to deal with the few seasoned Aussie players. Two ODIs to go, we've won the series and we're beginning to wonder about a whitewash. Can this really be happening?
& on to Nikki's new Hammersmith milonga, La Pavadita, at the Hammersmith Club in Rutland Grove, five or 10 minutes walk from the underground. The most ideal place for a milonga I've seen in London. Beautiful, a tall, rather narrow building with a stage at one end, and a bar with a balcony over it at the other. It feels spacious, high-ceilinged, with windows close to the roof. Even on a hot evening it was bearable. (I was told that at the Crypt the previous night it had been 33 degrees inside: the place reminds me of an enormous brick bread-oven, and must have been close to turning out human pizzas.)
The dance floor at Pavadita is long and fairly narrow: you can see across it easily, which is great, but subtly confusing because it feels like a cabeceo situation, but it doesn't actually work because no one is expecting it. The opening night a few weeks ago was comfortably crowded, but last night it was a bit sparse: a hot, late-June evening. The building is well-maintained, and the lighting is quite good, a nice change. An excellent wood floor, and space to move in between the tables and the dance floor. Perfect.
Last winter, Cacho Dante insisted that I must not step forwards with a leg bent at the knee: I realised afterwards what this does to posture. In fact, straightening the knee produces that flick forwards, that little kick you notice in a good tango walk. When there are few dancers on the floor you tend to notice individuals, and individuals who lead without looking confident often step forwards with a bent knee. They may be confident and even have quite a range of steps, but someone who confidently leads a wide variety with bent knees simply looks weird. (& I wonder how my posture looks these days, after years of bad posture, some years of yoga and pilates, a few years of tango, and a few months since Cacho's intervention. These days it feels good walking down the street, but once you get on the floor things can change. Some months since I last dared film myself dancing.)
And a couple who dance and teach 'fantasia' tango in London was there. It surprised me how irritating it can look. It kept catching the corner of my eye, and seemed to go against the grain of dancing there, which was otherwise pretty much salon, some of it very practised and good. It was certainly going against the music: it was with the beat of course, but seemed to ignore completely the emotional charge of the music. I like Golondrina's comment about following this kind of dance: '...it can feel like a cryptic word puzzle – elusive and just out of reach'. It's meant to look good, but by comparison it actually looks rather trivial.
Anyway, welcome Pavadita, and best wishes!