Friday, August 7, 2009

July 23-August 5

Friday, July 24, 2009
Monte Cristo milonga.
I skipped Gary and Lisette’s lesson since I am comfortable with where my volcada is, and I am trying to watch the budget. It’s a pity, because it looked like they could have used a few more followers. The milonga itself was lightly attended, but I had a good time anyway since there were many good leaders, and floorcraft was not a problem. I danced with several good leaders who I have seen but never danced with previously.

Saturday, July 25, 2009
Sausalito Milonga with Gustavo and Jessica Hornos lesson on boleos and Tangonero live band.
The lesson itself was a pretty basic one. I feel as though I didn’t get that much value added out of it. The night was pricey at $30, albeit there was a live band. Still, when the $5 bridge toll is added, I find myself wondering if I have reached the point of diminishing returns with all these lessons, which was bound to happen after hundreds of lessons (then again, maybe I am just cranky with licensing fees, car insurance, house insurance, hauling fees, car repair bills, blah blah blah, all coming due at the same time). Tangonero, as usual, played well. What a treat for us in the Bay Area to be able to dance to live tango music with such regularity. And kudos to Maestros for providing hand sanitizer wipes at the food table -- it's so civilized!

Friday, July 31, 2009
Negracha and Diego’s milonga at the Lake Merritt Dance Center in Oakland.
I missed the lesson, but it appeared to be well attended and people seemed happy. The milonga and lesson occur in the upstairs ballroom with pergo floor. It was a very well attended milonga, and I can see why. It brought people from all parts of the Bay Area, so the dancers were more diverse in talent and geography and went beyond my typical Friday night haunt. This milonga had a strong porteno flavor, with tables and chairs on the perimeter of the room, empanadas, and free raffle tickets with outstanding prizes (private lessons with Maestros). The food and drinks were ample and designed to fuel for sustained energy to dance the night away. There was even the sweet (dulce de leche?) gelatinous dessert thing, which I obviously don’t know the name of. The tandas were on the short side (often just three songs), and the cortinas extremely obvious to prevent anyone from dancing to them. High-powered fans throughout the room improved the ventilation, but even in the cool Oakland night, it wasn’t enough to counteract the heat from the recessed canister lighting, which were kept on to have the environment light enough to cabaceo. Negracha sang some wonderful Argentinean folk sings – a zamba, a tango, and a Chacarera, which we danced to. Overall, this was a very nice milonga, and reminiscent of the Buenos Aires experience (including the excessive number of followers to leaders). It is clear that many people in the San Francisco Bay Area adore Negracha and Diego (myself included), as there were ample volunteers to make this a very smooth, well-run, well-attended milonga. This milonga is turning out to be so popular that it is happening all the Fridays of August. Then maestros are off to Nueva York, their first time there, and they are quite excited about it.

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