On my last visit I went to a class at La Academia Tango Milonguero at el Beso, and didn't enjoy it. Susanna Miller taught: she came across as pompous and unfriendly so I didn't think of returning until a recent partner recommended Maria Plazaola, who now takes the classes at El Beso. She is refreshingly straightforward, friendly and helpful. She speaks enough English if you need it, and takes trouble to help when required. The classes start with stretching and warm-up exercises, which are never amiss, then basic walking in rhythms, solo and in embrace to the music, developing into walking ochos. After a quick break, we are taken through a fairly common but always useful pattern of steps. Towards the end I enjoy a few dances with a partner who says, let's just dance, put the 'figura' in somewhere if you can. An irresistible invitation: she clearly enjoys the music, and I enjoy the dance.
The classes are straightforward to the point that almost everyone dances in ordinary shoes, which I found reassuring. In fact, I was slow to recognise that this young woman teaching in fairly substantial boots had actually been the late Gavito's partner...
Here she is, emphatically not in boots, with Gavito at the Welsh Centre in London some years ago.
(Thanks to adagio con brio.)